The musings of one Andrew Langer - defender of liberty, passionate protector of individual rights, foodie. (Note: Said Musings of Andrew Langer are his own, and the views represented herein are likewise his views, and not the views of any other people, entities, foodstuffs, etc [unless otherwise specifically and explicitly noted].)

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

I Owe You _WHAT_??!!!

I know I’m young, but when it comes to the idiotic things that governments can do in inflicting pain upon people, I’ve seen a great deal. While I haven’t become hardened to it, it does take a bit for a government action to out-and-out surprise me. Heck, I can get enraged over commonplace government actions (like DC placing speed-trap cameras in areas where the speed limits are set ridiculously low). But it takes a lot for something to make my eyes pop out of my head and take my breath away.

I thought we’d heard just about enough regarding the victimization of Susette Kelo and her courageous compadres in Connecticut. The Supreme Court’s already ruled that the City of New London can take their property in order for Pfizer to develop it. We know that the Insitute for Justice’s petition for rehearing most likely won’t result in a changed outcome. We know that the various forms of federal and state legislation won’t give the Kelos, et al, their houses back.

But just when I thought all was said and done, I was astonished to learn of a new infliction of pain and distress. Reported today in the USA Today, and reported last month in the Fairfield Weekly, not only is New London going to take the property… they want to charge the owners rent for the privilege of having remained on their land while the case was fought!!!

That’s right – I said that New London wants RENT!!! Even though they’re going to get what they consider a “public benefit” from taking the land that Susette Kelo and others have lived on for decades, they want more:

“New London is claiming that the affected homeowners were living on city land for the duration of the lawsuit and owe back rent… NLDC (the New London Development Corporation) sent the seven affected residents a letter indicating that after the completion of the case, the city would expect to receive retroactive "use and occupancy" payments (also known as "rent") from the residents. In the letter, lawyers argued that because the takeover took place in 2000, the residents had been living on city property for nearly five years, and would therefore owe rent for the duration of their stay at the close of the trial. Any money made from tenants (some residents' only form of income) would also have to be paid to the city.”

But what’s truly shocking is the limitless arrogance within that letter itself, "We know your clients did not expect to live in city-owned property for free, or rent out that property and pocket the profits, if they ultimately lost the case."

Breathtaking, isn’t it? He should have just come out and said, “Thank you for letting us ruin your lives and make you live in misery and fear for the last five years. As a special bonus for the anxiety and pain we have caused, we are now going to demand that you pay us for that special privilege.” That would have been a damned sight more honest.

If the Kelo case, and eminent domain abuse in general, can be summed up as the end result of what happens when fairness and justice depart the halls of government, this latest action on the part of New London is a prime example of common sense within government.

Common sense, not to mention fairness and justice, dictates that when you win a victory such as this (as despicable an action as the events leading up to the Kelo case was), you be magnanimous in your win and allow for as painless a transition from pre-taking to post-taking as possible. It needlessly cruel to take away things that are most dear to people and then heap more pain on them.

People across America were outraged by the Kelo decision. The President himself has said that he is “disturbed” by the decision and the abuse of eminent domain generally (and is going to carefully examine proposed legislative solutions). People are going to become positively unglued when they read or hear about this latest round, the sheer arrogance and temerity of the City of New London, the New London Development Corporation, and their lawyers.

Astonished and unglued and outraged. This is America, for pete’s sake, and in America we are supposed to protect the old and the weak. We’re supposed to protect the little guy from the predations of bigger and stronger folks. We’re not supposed to dash their dreams, take all that they own, and then inflict more and more pain on them.


Blogger Cajun Tiger said...

Comments just can't describe the pure idiocy!!!

August 17, 2005 9:54 PM


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