Property Rights

New London's 'Carefully Considered' Plan: How's That Working Out?


A decade ago, when it began seizing property in the Fort Trumbull section of New London, Connecticut, the local redevelopment authority had grand plans. They were so impressive that the U.S. Supreme Court, in a highly controversial 2005 ruling, said they took precedence over the individual plans of the people who happened to own the neighborhood's homes and businesses. The Court's decision in Kelo v. City of New London cleared the way for the neighborhood to be cleared away. But the "waterfront conference hotel at the center of a 'small urban village' that will include restaurants and shopping" never materialized. Neither did the "marinas for both recreational and commercial uses," the "pedestrian 'riverwalk,'" or the "80 new residences." The one major benefit the city could cite was the Pfizer R&D center that opened adjacent to Fort Trumbull in 2001, lured partly by the redevelopment plan. But today the pharmaceutical company announced that it will close the facility and transfer most of the 1,400 people who work there to Groton. As Scott Bullock of the Institute for Justice, one of the attorneys who represented Susette Kelo in her unsuccessful attempt to stop the bulldozing of Fort Trumbull, told the Washington Examiner's Timothy Carney, "This shows the folly of these redevelopment projects that use massive taxpayer subsidies and other forms of corporate welfare and abuse eminent domain."

Tim Cavanaugh considered the failure of New London's "carefully considered development plan" in 2006. More on Kelo here.

NEXT: Wow, Dude, it's Really Not About You

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  1. Argue that this wasn’t for a “public purpose”. I dare you. I double dare you.

    1. As someone blogged elsewhere, the plan was for “public use” and technically, the public was used.

  2. So a bunch of money has been pissed away for some politicians’ grand scheme and the residents of New London are worse off than before.

    Who could have known?

    1. Aand SCOTUS said that was OK.

  3. Hey, they bull dozed a bunch of people’s homes and made a vacent lot. And did it all while getting some connected chrony rich. You guys are just behind the times. That is what we call sustainable, smart growth or in some precincts, the Chicago Way.

  4. So who paid the “just compensation” to Kelo and the others? Pfizer? The taxpayers of New London?
    Let’s set up an entertainment complex – call it “Follywood” – on the site to commemorate every governmet fubar. As a qualification for office, potential candidates have to visit and write essays on the folly they thought most enlightening.

  5. Hey everyone! Groton’s getting a monorail!

  6. From Todays “Best of the Web” (WSJ):

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    BEST OF THE WEB TODAY NOVEMBER 9, 2009 Prejudice, Denial and Fort Hood We mustn’t jump to conclusions–but neither should we go astray for fear of reaching them.
    Article Comments (7) more in Opinion ?Email Printer
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    (Editor’s note: We’ll be on assignment tomorrow, returning Wednesday.)

    “We don’t know all the answers yet,” the Associated Press quotes President Obama as saying Friday about the Fort Hood massacre. “And I would caution against jumping to conclusions until we have all the facts.”

    Not only is the president right, his advice is tautological. Premature judgment is ill-advised by definition. But one senses in much of the commentary about suspect Nidal Malik Hasan a desire to avoid considered judgment as well–not just a reluctance to jump to conclusions, but a drive to go far out of one’s way to avoid ever reaching one particular conclusion.

    “It is unclear what might have motivated Major Hasan,” the New York Times reports this morning. “He seems to have been influenced by a mixture of political, religious and psychological factors.” A Times story yesterday suggested that Hasan was driven crazy by the stress of his job as a psychiatrist:

    Major Hasan’s motives are still being investigated. But those who work day in and day out treating the psychological wounds of the country’s warriors say Thursday’s rampage has put a spotlight on the strains of their profession and of the patients they treat. . . .Many military [mental health] professionals, meanwhile, describe crushing schedules with 10 or more patients a day, most struggling with devastating trauma or mutilated bodies that are the product of war and the highly advanced care that kept them alive. Some of those hired to heal others end up needing help themselves. Some go home at night too depressed to talk to their children. Others, like Bret A. Moore, a former Army psychologist at Fort Hood, ultimately quit. That’s informative, isn’t it? Some, some and others, respectively, do something, something else and another thing. It occurs to us, though, that only one military psychiatrist is alleged to have committed mass murder. Is there anything else that might set him apart from his peers?

    Here’s one clue, from London’s Guardian: The gunman “allegedly shouted ‘Allahu Akbar,’ or ‘God is greatest,’ as he opened fire.” The paper’s Michael Tomasky helpfully explains:

    The fact that Hassan reportedly shouted the above is meant, I suppose, to imply that he was an extremist fanatic.I’m not sure that it does. My understanding is that it’s something Arab people often shout before doing something or other. So, to recap: Some end up needing help. Some go home depressed. Others quit. Still others do something or other! And if they’re Arab, they “often shout,” according to Tomasky. But although we do not wish to jump to conclusions, we should point out that they do not often shoot dozens of people, and that doing so could be taken as evidence of being an “extremist fanatic.”

    Here’s another straw in the wind, from London’s Daily Telegraph:

    Hasan worshipped at a mosque led by a radical imam said to be a “spiritual adviser” to three of the hijackers who attacked America on Sept 11, 2001. Hasan, the sole suspect in the massacre of 13 fellow US soldiers in Texas, attended the controversial Dar al-Hijrah mosque in Great Falls, Virginia, in 2001 at the same time as two of the September 11 terrorists, The Sunday Telegraph has learnt. . . .The preacher at the time was Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born Yemeni scholar who was banned from addressing a meeting in London by video link in August because he is accused of supporting attacks on British troops and backing terrorist organisations.Hasan’s eyes “lit up” when he mentioned his deep respect for al-Awlaki’s teachings, according to a fellow Muslim officer at the Fort Hood base in Texas, the scene of Thursday’s horrific shooting spree. The Middle East Media Research Institute last month excerpted a blog post from al-Awlaki’s Web site in which he cheerleads for America’s enemies:

    America failed to defeat the mujahedeen when it gave its president unlimited support, how can it win with Obama who is on a short leash? If America failed to win when it was at its pinnacle of economic strength, how can it win today with a recession–if not a depression–at hand?The simple answer is: America cannot and will not win. The tables have turned and there is no rolling back of the worldwide Jihad movement. Today al-Awlaki has a post titled “Nidal Hassan Did the Right Thing”:

    Nidal Hassan is a hero. He is a man of conscience who could not bear living the contradiction of being a Muslim and serving in an army that is fighting against his own people. This is a contradiction that many Muslims brush aside and just pretend that it doesn’t exist. Any decent Muslim cannot live, understanding properly his duties towards his Creator and his fellow Muslims, and yet serve as a US soldier. The US is leading the war against terrorism which in reality is a war against Islam.The Sunday Telegraph reports that Hasan “once gave a lecture to other doctors in which he said non-believers should be beheaded and have boiling oil poured down their throats”:

    He also told colleagues at America’s top military hospital that non-Muslims were infidels condemned to hell who should be set on fire. The outburst came during an hour-long talk Hasan, an Army psychiatrist, gave on the Koran in front of dozens of other doctors at Walter Reed Army Medical Centre in Washington DC, where he worked for six years before arriving at Fort Hood in July. . . .Fellow doctors have recounted how they were repeatedly harangued by Hasan about religion and that he openly claimed to be a “Muslim first and American second.” One Army doctor who knew him said a fear of appearing discriminatory against a Muslim soldier had stopped fellow officers from filing formal complaints.In light of all this, consider the following insight from Susan Campbell of the Hartford Courant:

    Much has and will be made of [Hasan’s] religion from people too ignorant to read a Qur’an, or too isolated to talk to a Muslim, or too stubborn to educate themselves. Even the Washington Post calls him a “devout Muslim.” But can a “devout Muslim” commit such acts? No more than a “devout Christian” can, no.In fairness to Campbell, she posted this on Friday, before much of the above information had been published. Still, it seems fair to ask: Just who is jumping to conclusions?

    At the root of this sort of denial is a fear of anti-Muslim backlash–not an unreasonable worry, as’s Tunku Varadarajan argues:

    Muslims are the most difficult “incomers” in the ongoing integration challenge, which America has always handled with pride–and a kind of swagger. We’re the salad bowl/melting pot. Drive through Queens to see how we do this. America differentiates itself on integration from Western European countries, which are far more cringing and guilt-driven in their approach. But can the American swagger persist if many Americans come genuinely to view Muslims as Fifth Columnists? The integration compact depends on a broad trust that the immigrant’s desire to be American can happily co-exist with his other forms of racial/cultural/religious identity. Once that trust doesn’t exist, America faces a problem in need of urgent resolution.Have we reached that point of breakdown in trust? Not yet, I think, and not by some distance; but a few more murderous incidents of the Maj. Hasan variety–a few more shouts of “Allahu Akbar” as Americans are shot dead–will push many Americans on to a dangerous cusp. Some are there already: Since the Fort Hood massacre, this columnist has heard more than one acquaintance make invidious anti-Muslim generalizations.

    But Susan Campbell-style denial is merely the mirror image of such prejudice. It is as stupid to exonerate “Islam” for crimes committed in the name of Islamic supremacy as it is to issue a blanket condemnation of the faith or its adherents. It’s a pointless argument in which each side’s ignorance serves mainly to inflame the other’s.

    Preventing future such attacks will require a vigilance that was lacking among the officers who reportedly feared “appearing discriminatory against a Muslim soldier.” Servicemen will need to understand the difference between vigilance and being discriminatory–a distinction with which too many journalists seem to have difficulty.

    None Dare Call It Terrorism–Because It Isn’t!
    An editorial in the Washington Times faults those–without specifying who they are–who say the Fort Hood attack wasn’t terrorism:

    Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan was declared “not a terrorist” before the facts were out – even before officials were sure whether the attacker was alive or dead. Failing to honestly name a terrorist attack despite the evidence is as destructive and dishonest as leaping to call an attack terrorism without the facts to support that. Apparently, the claim was based largely on the fact that Maj. Hasan appears to have been a lone gunman. However, terrorism is defined not by the number of people involved, but by the motivations and intentions of the attacker. If reports about him are true, Maj. Hasan clearly was a terrorist. In fact, this was not a terrorist attack. By definition, terrorism targets noncombatants. When an irregular force like al Qaeda attacks a military target, such as the bombing of the USS Cole, that is more accurately termed guerrilla warfare.

    The real question here is not whether the attack was terrorism but whether it was an act of war as opposed to personal aggression. ABC News reports that “U.S. intelligence agencies were aware months ago” that the suspect “was attempting to make contact with people associated with al Qaeda,” which if true certainly bolsters the case for the affirmative.

    When a soldier attacks members of his own force in an act of war, it seems to us the most apt term is treason.

    Pelosi’s Pyrrhic Victory (Let’s Hope!)
    The House, where Democrats now outnumber Republicans by 81 members, managed to pass Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s version of ObamaCare by just 5 votes late Saturday night, 220-215. Thirty-nine Democrats dissented, mostly from relatively competitive districts. Just one Republican, Rep. Anh “Joseph” Cao of Louisiana, voted “yes.” Cao was elected in a flukish low-turnout December runoff against an incumbent who was under indictment. His New Orleans district gave 75% of its vote to Barack Obama, which makes him one of very few House members of either party who could figure on gaining politically by backing ObamaCare.

    In one of its opinionated “news analysis” pieces–its sympathies are closer than usual to ours, but still!–the Associated Press argues that this is as far as the bill is likely to get:

    The glow from a health care triumph faded quickly for President Barack Obama on Sunday as Democrats realized the bill they fought so hard to pass in the House has nowhere to go in the Senate.Speaking from the Rose Garden about 14 hours after the late Saturday vote, Obama urged senators to be like runners on a relay team and “take the baton and bring this effort to the finish line on behalf of the American people.”The problem is that the Senate won’t run with it. The government health insurance plan included in the House bill is unacceptable to a few Democratic moderates who hold the balance of power in the Senate.The Pelosi bill includes every horror the left could hope for, except for free abortions for all, which were kept out of the bill by an amendment that passed 240-194. It’s interesting that abortion, often thought to be a killer subject for the GOP, is the only area in which the Democrats were forced to compromise in order to pass this bill.

    If the AP is right about the Senate, this will be a Pyrrhic victory for Pelosi–one that could threaten the Democrats’ House majority without accomplishing what she wants to do to the country. Let us hope. Our worry would be that the Senate will compromise and pass something less terrible but still terrible, which Pelosi would then force the House to accept.

    He’s Dangerous Without a Teleprompter
    The Associated Press has a dismaying report on a meeting in which President Obama lobbied House Democrats to pass the ObamaCare bill:

    Participants also said Obama had referred to this week’s shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Texas, in which 13 people were killed. His remarks put in perspective that the hardships soldiers endure for the country are “what sacrifice really is,” as opposed to “casting a vote that might lose an election for you,” said Rep. Robert Andrews, D-N.J.If Obama actually said this, it’s even more shocking than his infamous “shout-out” last week. Blogress Ann Althouse has a nicely understated response:

    I’m trying to imagine the political environment that Washington Democrats occupy. A President glibly lays out that analogy, and it is received–without any wincing or taint of disgust–as awesome inspiration. These are the minds that will be making decisions for us for quite a while.The New York Times has another jaw-dropping secondhand Obama quote:

    According to Representative Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, who supports the health care bill, the president asked, “Does anybody think that the teabag, anti-government people are going to support them if they bring down health care? All it will do is confuse and dispirit” Democratic voters “and it will encourage the extremists.” If Obama really said “teabag,” let’s call this what it is: antigay hate speech by the president of the United States.

    Two Presidents in One!

    “It is an indisputable fact that in recent years, lobbyists for major special interests have wielded extraordinary power in Washington DC, resulting in a national agenda too often skewed in favor of the interests that can afford their services. It is that problem that the President has promised to change.”–White House blog, Oct. 21
    “I urge Congress to listen to AARP, listen to the AMA.”–President Obama, Nov. 5
    Zero-Tolerance Watch
    A 6-year-old British girl has been branded a “racist,” London’s Daily Mail reports:

    Sharona Gower had been eating chocolate mousse and was playing with a friend when she was chased by two 11-year-old girls. When one of the older girls, who was black, said Sharona had chocolate on her face, the youngster replied: “Well, you’ve got chocolate on yours.”The older girl wiped her face and said: “I’ve got nothing on my face, actually.”The girl then complained to a teacher, who gave Sharona a telling off. But when Michelle Gower, 34, went to collect her daughter from school, she was told the incident was ‘racist’ and that a complaint had been logged. . . .Mrs Gower said: “The teacher told me that the girl had complained that Sharona was racist. . . .”Mr Gower, a dealer in antique collectibles, said: “It was a bit of playground banter that has been taken as a sinister racial remark. . . .”Now of course Sharona’s comment would be highly obnoxious if an adult, or even an older child, had said it. But she’s only 6 and probably has not yet internalized her society’s complicated customs around race. What’s really astonishing is that the adults at her school seem to have no clue that those customs are socially constructed and need to be learned. To paraphrase George Bernard Shaw, they have mistaken the ways of their tribe for the laws of nature.

    Metaphor Alert
    “How little you have to do to get into the feature well of a slick magazine these days. Thomas Mallon’s takedown of Ayn Rand in The New Yorker is not online, but it is so phoned-in and lacking in protein that even this synopsis of the article feels padded.”–Tim Cavanaugh,, Nov. 7…..50920.html

    1. Um…I third or fourth the ‘what the fuck?’

    2. Thank you for sharing. Please sit down.

  7. psssst, Gobbler. *Preview*

    1. Sage advice.

      (shuts door and self flagellates)

  8. All I thought I copied was the Tim Cavenaugh piece. I am so sorry.

    Metaphor Alert
    “How little you have to do to get into the feature well of a slick magazine these days. Thomas Mallon’s takedown of Ayn Rand in The New Yorker is not online, but it is so phoned-in and lacking in protein that even this synopsis of the article feels padded.”–Tim Cavanaugh,, Nov. 7

  9. I offer as penance:

    Robot Cow Rectum: For Educational, Not Recreational, Purposes:…..l-purposes

    1. I pronounce your penance paid in full. Go forth in freedom and respect, Bovine Fister Linker.

  10. They [the plans] were so impressive that the U.S. Supreme Court, in a highly controversial 2005 ruling, said they [the plans] took precedence over the individual plans of the people who happened to own the neighborhood’s homes and businesses.

    In my dictionary, the action of making the collective plans take precedence over the plans of individual people is called Socialism. And if done to benefit a private enterprise over the wishes of individual property owners, it is called Fascism. So the Supreme Court were impressed by Socialist/Fascist arguments – that tells you where their ideological lines lean to.

  11. I enjoy the opinionjournal too, but was that really necessary? I couldn’t find a Kelo connection.

    Now, I see. The Tim Cavanaugh bit.

    I think Taranto worked for Reason in the distant past. He doesn’t admit he’s a closet libertarian.


  13. If someone makes a total clusterfuck plan and blows their own money on it, Some people are going to get hurt. They are the ones who thought they would make good on it, so they can take the hit.

    In the Kelo case, hundreds of innocent people had their homes taken and their land laid waste. The tax base has shrunk and the remaining taxpayers are left with a whopping bill? Has a single one of the politicians who proposed this resigned? Or even offered an apology?

  14. The government of New London has now officially, utterly screwed it’s pooch.

  15. If you want to see what the land looks like after New London took it from Susette Kelo and her neighbors, I was in New London a couple months ago and took some pictures:…..aftermath/

  16. Sage advice.

    (shuts door and self flagellates)

  17. Thank you for sharing, I really like your blog

  18. Fabulous blog! Blogs are so informative where we get lots of information on any topic. Nice job keep it up!!

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