Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Little Pink House And The Keystone XL: Suzette Kelo Revisited.

You may not know this lady, but if she's still in this world she could probably tell you a thing or two about current events-as could her old neighbors in what used to be the Fort Trumbull neighborhood in New London, Connecticut.

If you need a brush-up, here you are.

Suzette Kelo and a lot of her neighbors lived in a small neighborhood of houses in the Fort Trumbull neighborhood of New London, Connecticut. Life was pretty good, and many of the neighbors had lived there their whole lives in the same houses. The neighborhood has a nice view of the river, and even if the water treatment plant smelled a little ripe in the summer it was a good place to live and raise your kids on a blue collar pay envelope.

The city was concerned with revenue-as all blue collar towns with fading industrial bases are. So they hatched a scheme with generous lashings of kool-aid for swigging.

The scheme was this. The city would attract the then pharmaceutical giant Pfizer to locate an allegedly major research center in New London. With the research center would come plush condos, shops and restaurants that cater to the high end, high salary people who would follow Pfizer, just like seagulls trail in the wake of a garbage barge or a tramp steamer. This, it was believed would bring in big tax dollars.

Of course there was this problem with the pesky residents of the neighborhood who, unaccountably, did not want to fall on their bowie knives and sell out.

So the city started eminent domain proceedings, evicted the residents, and bulldozed the neighborhood after a long and costly struggle which went to the Supreme Court-which signed off on the use of the public use clause of the 5th amendment to disposess people so that the city could "improve" the neighborhood and to jack up its tax base.

Conservatives far and wide thundered and fulminated about the abuse of eminent domain and the oppression of the little folks. Republicans foamed at the mouth like rabid dogs over this fiasco. States passed laws in response that limited the power of cities to use eminent domain where the public use fiction was to transfer the property to folks with more money and power. It's as if they took your house and a Walmart was built on the spot.

What's funny about all this is that after all the litigation, Pfizer bailed on the deal, the neighborhood is a bulldozed wasteland since then, and the city of New London doesn't even have the modest tax revenue that the small neighborhood of shops and houses provided in the first place.

You say "B-b-but Dougloid, what's this have to do with the GOP today and the Keystone XL pipeline?"

Read on, little feller.

The House and the Senate seem ready to ram the Keystone XL pipeline project down Obama's throat and if he vetoes it, which will likely happen, they'll wait until Jeb Bush gets elected president and then do it again.

But how will the land and the rights of way be acquired? By eminent domain, of course, because the same people who fulminated about the abuse of the smallholder in the runup to and the aftermath of the Kelo decision are perfectly OK with signing off on a Keystone land grab in which the Kelo decision will be institutionalized.

If you care to, read the dissenting opinions of Clarence Thomas .

What's the common element? Why, the abuse of power over those of limited means, of course.

I wish somebody in the GOP would explain to me why the now majority party seems ready to swig the Koolaid that was left over from the New London debacle.


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