September 25, 2005

The Kelo Backlash Continues: New London’s Voters May Strike Back Tuesday

Filed under: Economy,MSM Biz/Other Ignorance,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 4:13 pm

The amazingly underreported local Kelo news continues.

New London, CT voters may strike back hard this Tuesday in a city budget referendum. The New London Day’s Editorial Page Editor is obviously worried, and decidedly unsympathetic (link requires registration and will require payment if accessed after 7 days):

New London Faces Rising Tide Of Anger

New London never has lacked for taxpayers upset with the city. But this year the mood is much more extreme. Anger rules the day in New London and that environment is not good, for it threatens to tip the fragile balance that keeps the city hopeful in difficult times. The vehement local reaction to the Supreme Court decision that upheld the city’s taking of Fort Trumbull homes is glaring enough, but it has been exacerbated by two events.

The first is the ham-handed decision by the New London Development Corp. to send out letters telling property owners that they’d soon face eviction. The message that went out was an insult to many people in town. Did the NLDC (director) not understand the letters would produce a gut reaction similar to that felt across the country to the Supreme Court decision, no matter how correct he feels it was? Does the NLDC board ever put a human face on what it is doing and understand that people have feelings and don’t enjoy being lectured to or threatened?

While the City Council tries to figure out how to get the Fort Trumbull development on track, it has exhausted its patience for the NLDC leadership. The timing couldn’t be worse, of course, but few people in the city, and certainly not the council, can figure out how to turn negative anger into positive passion and forge a solution. The Fort Trumbull project is a mess that requires cooperation among the tenants there, the council and the NLDC, but how that happens amidst the ire felt by all three parties is not obvious.

Gov. M. Jodi Rell wisely provided a mediator to set up talks between Corcoran Jennison, the hotel developer, and the NLDC. But since then, the governor has made some curious remarks, the most damaging of which was her condemnation of the Supreme Court for its decision in the Kelo v. New London case. The reaction took everyone by surprise, since it is the state Department of Economic and Community Development that continues to push the project. The deal may have started in the Rowland administration, but it is the governor’s problem now.

The second tribulation visited on New London comes from the threat that residents will take their anger from the Fort Trumbull dispute and apply it to the city budget referendum scheduled Tuesday. When people are angry, it’s convenient to direct their feelings at anything in front of them. The foul mood in New London has now struck the budget vote.

To understand the depth of feelings, drive along some of the most expensive neighborhoods on Pequot, Montauk and Ocean avenues. Signs to vote “no” on the budget are numerous, and they come from people who largely can afford the taxes.

The reaction is worse than unfortunate. It amounts to a pending disaster, for New London has so stripped down its basic services, even police and fire, that necessary functions often don’t get done. Should the referendum be successful, for example, vacancies in the Police Department may not be filled. Department consolidations, prospective layoffs, large numbers of teachers’ jobs going unfilled — all demonstrate a small city with huge revenue problems and voters who have lost their capacity for reason.

….. These are chaotic times in my native city. Amidst all the anger, will there be a majority of people who seek the common good and possess a penchant for the truth? Or will the warring parties seek their own ends, and the hell with the character of the city?

Despite Mr. McGinley’s protests, the real “problem,” is that the voters have lost their patience for tyrants. There’s nothing like closed pocketbooks to wake up political leaders.

- What’s Happening to the Real People in the Kelo Case
- Kelo Eviction Notices Issued in Apparent Defiance of CT Governor
- Kelo Update: A Major Blowback against the Eminent Domain Tyrants?

Of Crowds and Context: Iraq and Vietnam

Filed under: General — Tom @ 2:58 pm

OK, let’s give the antiwar protesters in Washington yesterday a HUGE benefit of the doubt:


If you do the math, starting with the 0.6-mile diameter of the sidewalk around The Ellipse, assume that ALL the people in the in the picture would fit into about 70% of The Ellipse, and assume that each person takes up 5.7 square feet (2nd-last paragraph), you’ll get a crowd that is very close to the 100,000 claimed (fourth paragraph). Of course, all of this assumes that everyone inside and outside The Ellipse was an antiwar prostester, but again, give them the benefit of the doubt.

Sounds impressive–but how about some context?

Here’s the context: Compare Saturday’s “nationwide” protest to Moratorium Day on October 15, 1969 (bolds are mine):

1969: Millions march in US Vietnam Moratorium

Americans have taken part in peace initiatives across the United States to protest against the continuing war in Vietnam.

The Peace Moratorium is believed to have been the largest demonstration in US history with an estimated two million people involved.

In towns and cities throughout the US, students, working men and women, school children, the young and the old, took part in religious services, school seminars, street rallies and meetings.

Supporters of the Vietnam Moratorium wore black armbands to signify their dissent and paid tribute to American personnel killed in the war since 1961.

The focal point was the capital, Washington DC, where more than 40 different activities were planned and about 250,000 demonstrators gathered to make their voices heard.

So, let’s see:

  • The US population is about 45% higher now than in 1969.
  • It’s cheaper to fly to the protest site of choice. It’s also quicker though a bit more expensive to drive.
  • Communication of “major” events such as these, especially among true believers, is infinitely easier.
  • With all of that, Washington’s 2005 anti-Iraq War crowd was 60% smaller than Moratorium Day. In the rest of the nation, 2005 antiwar rallies were barely visible, as “Thousands of people attended smaller rallies in cities on the West Coast, including Los Angeles, San Diego, San Franciso and Seattle” (compared to over 1.5 million in other cities nationwide in 1969).

Yeah, Iraq is just like Vietnam (see fourth quote at link).

UPDATE: EU Rota came out of retirement (alas, it’s probably temporary hey hey, it looks to be for real) to have fun at the protest yesterday.

Why Hackers Are Often Easy to Catch

Filed under: Economy,Privacy/ID Theft — Tom @ 12:31 pm

I’ll admit, if I were a hacker and I hadn’t read this item, I’d probably do the same dumb thing:


Positivity: Kyle Maynard–”No Excuses” Amputee Wrestler

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 7:30 am

“Born a congenital amputee — missing his limbs below the elbows and knees — 19-year-old college student Kyle Maynard has excelled at nearly everything he has attempted in life:….