Jun 05, 09
Recommended to Lobstergirl by:
Read in June, 2009
I would rate this book more highly if it weren't written, largely, at a sixth grade level: "George Milne hadn't become president of Pfizer's central research by accident." You don't say? Not by accident? Indeed.....do tell.....
Little Pink House is the back story of Kelo v. City of New London, the Supreme Court case of 2005 that ruled it's perfectly okay for a municipality to seize the property (blighted or not) of citizens by eminent domain and give it to a private developer, as long as you argue that such redevelopment would be a public benefit - i.e. that it would generate more tax revenue and/or jobs. We meet Susette Kelo, the lead plaintiff, who lives in the little pink house, and all the other plaintiffs; the villainous and always provocatively dressed Claire Gaudiani, President of Connecticut College and head of the New London Development Corporation, the vehicle of the redevelopment and eminent domain proceedings; George Milne of Pfizer, which agrees to build a virtual university, hotel, and condos on the land; Scott Bullock of the Institute for Justice, the Ayn Rand-inspired nonprofit that brought the Kelo case against New London. There is sleaze and ignominy aplenty and as we know, Goliath beat David. Ultimately Kelo and the one other remaining holdout settled with New London, and Kelo's little pink house was moved to another location in the city and she bought a modest waterfront house in Groton with her settlement money. And crazily enough, after so many years, so much grief, so much private property razed, so much money spent and promised by the state of Connecticut (nearly $100 million) - the land parcels still sit empty, barren and undeveloped because the developer hasn't been able to secure enough financing.
The good news is that the Institute for Justice raised such a public stink that after the Court's decision, many state legislatures acted to restrict eminent domain laws. I was inspired to read the book after seeing a Cspan panel featuring Susette Kelo, Scott Bullock, and the author, Jeff Benedict.