Paul Jacob

Strong-arm, power politics — how long does it take self-proclaimed “caring” folks to learn that such tactics cannot lead to their promised peaceful, loving utopia?

New London, Connecticut, was ruled by a cadre of allegedly well-intentioned movers and shakers, the kind of people who believe that politics is a way to “get things done.” This group of Democratic Party loyalists concocted a scheme to take a “blighted” neighborhood, the Fort Trumbull area, and turn it into a clean, bright, shiny complex of businesses, featuring biotech firms and the might Pfizer.

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But to do this they needed first to “take,” quite literally, the several property of the community’s owners. And, so, under a strained (but sanctified-by-recent-tradition) reading of the Takings Clause, the politicians condemned the property.

The case went to the U.S. Supreme Court, the majority of which abandoned any common sense in interpreting “public use.” Infamously, the court decided Kelo v. New London in favor of New London, giving the city the go-ahead on the project.

So the property was condemned. Ms. Suzette Kelo and her neighbors were forced out. And the developers went to work.

And then stopped.

Just as the court documents demonstrated, there was no market for biotech firms in their trendy utopia. Now, even Pfizer — the main player — has started pulling out. The area becomes doubly blighted: no development, no homes.

Paul Jacob

Paul Jacob is President of Citizens in Charge Foundation and Citizens in Charge. His daily Common Sense commentary appears on the Web and via e-mail.