November 10, 2005

As New London Turns: Kelo Update (111005)

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:01 am

Three major events relating to Kelo occurred in New London, Connectictut during the past three weeks.

First, on October 21, as expected, the New London Council reinstated its ties with New London Development Corporation (NLDC) that it had severed just days earlier.

Then, the leader of NLDC “unexpectedly” quit early in the following week:

Embattled chief steps down

A surprising development in New London’s land battle. The leader of the city’s development corporation suddenly steps down.

Now the search is now on to find a replacement.

A source close to the talks tells Eyewitness News a search will begin immediately for a new chief operating officer.

This after COO David Goebel resigned last night during a special meeting.

Goebel, a retired Navy admiral and head of the New London Development Corporation since 1998, leaves his job November 4th.

The departure comes under pressure from the state and city council after they claim the agency failed to update them on activity, such as an eviction letter last month to six Fort Trumbull plaintiffs.

Governor Jodi Rell has since appointed Bob Albright to negotiate with those fighting to keep their homes at Fort Trumbull.

The third event was Election Day. In what appears to be a significant upset, an upstart party in New London grabbed two seats on Council:

Independents win two seats in New London

After a campaign focusing on rising taxes and the eminent domain controversy, New London voters have sliced the Democrats’ City Council majority from three to one.

The upstart One New London Party won two council seats, losing a third seat by only 19 votes. (Nov. 14 Update: The Democrat who won the third seat by 19 votes survived the recount.) The new seven-member council will consist of four Democrats, one Republican, and two aldermen from One New London.

One of the successful One New London candidates, Charles Frink, says the three-party City Council must work together or risk deadlock in what he called dangerous times for New London.

Many people in New London apparently felt that the Council’s severance and then re-establishment of ties with NLDC was an insincere grandstanding ploy to make it look like it was troubled by the eminent-domain controversy when in reality they want the Fort Trumbull project to get done. Some also feel that Goebel’s departure was an attempt to douse voter wrath at incumbent Council members. One letter-writer to The New London Day (requires registration, then subscription after a week) wrote:

Does the New London City Council expect anyone to fall for the sorry spectacle of their on-again, off-again divorce from NLDC?

Or their silly attempt to make David Goebel, chief operating officer of New London Development Corp., a scapegoat for blame that clearly rests on the City Council’s shoulders?

Numerous votes by this council repeatedly went against the best interests of New London, but were beneficial to the special interests. The same city councilors who for years actively worked with NLDC members and contractors (and have accepted many thousands of their campaign contribution dollars), now pretend they are really, really mad at NLDC for making a mess of our city.

Especially with the new makeup of Council, it looks this drama has many interesting acts before it’s over.
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UPDATE: I should also note the back and forth between The New London Day and Pfizer Corp. regarding Pfizer’s degree of involvement in, interest in, or influence on the Fort Trumbull project. Todd Zywicki at Volokh notes The Day’s piece (link is to Volokh, as The Day is not accessible any more) claiming that “Documents show the pharmaceutical giant was involved in the Fort Trumbull project form its inception, even before announcing its research center would expand into the New London neighborhood.” Pfizer’s response in a Day letter to the editor (also linked to Volokh for the same reason) is in my opinion a non-denial denial that does not address the document evidence.
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2 Comments

  1. [...] t have ye wrought Posted in Eminent Domain by SayUncle on November 11th, 2005

    BizzBlog has a run down of recent events. Most recently: After a campaign focusing on rising taxes and the emin [...]

    Pingback by SayUncle » Kelo, what have ye wrought — November 11, 2005 @ 8:21 am

  2. Latest on Kelo and New London:

    Tom Blumer has the latest, including an upset victory by two upstarts on Election Day.

    Trackback by The Volokh Conspiracy — November 13, 2005 @ 1:20 pm

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