October 19, 2005

Another Kelo Update: Degenerating into a Soap Opera (see Update Below for Next Act)

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 5:19 pm

Now the State of Connecticut is mad at the New London City Council for severing its ties with the New London Development Corporation (link requires registration and will require subscription on October 26):

State Upset With City’s NLDC Vote
Official warns of ‘negative impact’ on success of Fort Trumbull project

New London — State development officials reacted angrily Tuesday to the City Council’s vote the previous night to strip the quasi-public New London Development Corp. of its control of the Fort Trumbull project, saying the action took the state by surprise.

In a letter to Mayor Jane Glover, which staffers said was approved by Gov. M. Jodi Rell, Ronald F. Angelo, deputy commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development, warned that the three NLDC-related motions passed by the council “could have a serious negative impact on the success of the overall project.”

“At a minimum,” Angelo wrote, “this action will exacerbate the level of uncertainty and result in substantially increased delays with the Fort Trumbull project.”

Angelo, who has overseen the Fort Trumbull development and attempted to ease the city’s stalemate with the NLDC, requested a meeting with Glover and city officials today, and asked that the city take no action on any of the three motions.

…. Councilor Rob Pero, meanwhile, said the city had only acted because the state had not more pointedly directed the NLDC to resolve its differences with the council.

“We really shouldn’t be at this point,” Pero said. “They hold the purse strings. If they feel as though NLDC and its director is not functioning well with their partner, the city, then they have to act as well.”

And both Angelo and Londregan repeated what most councilors acknowledged Monday night: If the council stands by its decision, none seemed sure what the precise effect would be on the project.

“I just think right now it’s too early to tell at this point,” Angelo said.

The same was true among the members of the NLDC’s board of directors.

“The bloody awful thing about it is they don’t know where it’s going to go from here,” said Karl-Erik Sternlof, the vice president of the board. “And to my mind you never, never take an action that has that much at stake unless you do know.”

….. Meanwhile, the holdouts of the Fort Trumbull neighborhood, while cheered to hear what the council had done, were skeptical as to its motives.

“It should have happened a long time ago,” said Byron Athenian. “Let’s face it, the NLDC has never done anything right since the beginning.”

But Athenian said he thinks the whole thing may come down to politics.

“It’s election year,” he said. “Maybe they did it because of that. You don’t know who to believe. You don’t know that you can believe the City Council, either.”

Bill von Winkle said the council’s decision was “certainly long overdue.”

For his part, he said, he has taken comfort in Rell’s interest in the case.

“I’ve just signed the contract to put a new roof on my house, so I’m pretty confident that we’re staying,” he said. “The governor is going to protect the homeowners of this state. She’s stated she’s interested in keeping the homes and working around us. With the arrogance of the NLDC gone, maybe that can happen.”

Michael Cristofaro, who is challenging the incumbent council members with his One New London political campaign, was more skeptical, saying the council acted because members were “running scared” weeks before an election.

He also doubted that the solution to the problem was as simple as the current council seems to think it is.

“The NLDC has weaved themselves a nice little web, and I think to unweave that web is going to be a disaster,” Cristofaro said. “How do you get the property out of the NLDC’s name? It’s a great concept to say you’re fired, but are they really fired?”

The only difference between this mess and the soaps is the dramatic organ music.
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“As New London Turns” Update: “New London to Rescind Vote to Sever Ties with NLDC”:

HARTFORD, Conn. — Under pressure from the state, New London officials said Thursday they will rescind this week’s vote to sever ties with the quasi-public development authority at the center of a national debate over eminent domain powers.

The state’s Department of Economic and Community Development, which has invested more than $70 million into the city’s Fort Trumbull riverfront development, asked local leaders to allow the New London Development Corp. to continue overseeing the project.

iring the agency would create numerous legal headaches and further delay the development, said Ronald F. Angelo, the deputy commissioner of the economic development department.

For example, the state could no longer provide money for the project, because agreements currently call for the funds to be paid to the Development Corp., not the city.

Will the Council and NLDC reconcil and find true happiness? Will Suzette Kelo be able to stay in her home? Stay tuned.

Zheesh.
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2 Comments

  1. When Justice Stevens wrote the decision in this travesty, he said “The city has carefully formulated an economic development plan that it believes will provide appreciable benefits to the community…” Now look what the situation has degenerated to. “Carefully formulated” indeed.

    Comment by Jeff — October 20, 2005 @ 3:19 pm

  2. #1, that is a GREAT point. Heh.

    Comment by TBlumer — October 20, 2005 @ 3:33 pm

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