Episode Information

WWL: Little Pink House
Where We Live - with John Dankosky
Aired:
05/01/2009
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In 2005 the supreme court ruled in favor of the city of New London in a landmark eminent domain case

 

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48:55 minutes (23.49 MB)
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In 2005 the supreme court ruled in favor of the city of New London in a landmark eminent domain case. But there’s much more to the story.

The ruling was widely criticized – because it allowed land to be transferred from private home owners to a private development company – to bring more money to the city through higher tax revenues. Some municipal leaders, including mayors in Connecticut, supported the ruling – as a way to revitalize struggling cities.

But it also raised populist anger over the taking of private property. Home owner Susette Kelo was forced to leave her little pink house – after a nearly eight year battle. Today the 90 acre Fort Trumbull Redevelopment project is still an empty lot – however the case has prompted seven states to pass constitutional amendments to ban taking private property for economic development.

Today, Where We Live, we’ll talk to Jeff Benedict - about his latest book Little Pink House: A True Story of Defiance and Courage – about the fascinating Kelo case, and the impact it had on New London.


 

Kelo v New London

I couldn't believe the guest kept claiming, over and over, that he had made no judgments and his job was just to report the facts, statements he was barely able to slip between all the judgments and conclusions which otherwise made up his chat.  I actually agree with most everything he said about the case, but his claims of objectivity rang so hollow as to call into question everything else.  Could anyone this unaware of his own bias be reliable enough that we should trust his research?

Listener Email from Carole

Hello. Listening to the story about eminent domain in New London....I go to New London frequently.... New London wanted to remake itself, maybe like Boston or other popular cities...but I think they went about it the wrong way. Successful, desirable cities, that people want to travel to, are such because people live in them. By removing residents from New London and planning businesses or development instead, they essentially made the city less livable.....no one wants to visit or live in a city devoid of residents....think of "commuter/tourist cities" like Hartford, and compare it to very livable West Hartford.

Listener Email from Susie

Thank you, John Dankosky and Jeff Benedict, for this program. I have read Jeff Benedict's book with my book club, and since we live in the New London area, and lived here throughout the brouhaha, we were impressed with his thorough investigation and balanced reporting. The last question you asked, John, was why Jeff referred to all the men in the book by their last names, but the women were all referred to by their first names. I was gratified to hear Jeff say it was to provide a sympathetic response for Susette, but It has had the opposite effect. The women in my book club felt it was sexist, paternalistic and condescending. It certainly wasn't balanced construction, and instead of inspiring sympathy for Susette, the implication was that Jeff was giving more respect to the men than to the women involved.

The other question I have is, why were the names of the Coast Guard and Navy not capitalized, except when they were in quotes ascribed to other writers? These words are the titles of the organizations, not generic words for the two services. For the same reason, Air Force and Army should be capitalized when they are referring to the United States' military services. I will forgive 'army' only in the case of 'army ants', or 'an army of volunteers', for example, and 'navy' in the case of 'navy blue'. Only when the word is used in a generic sense should it be deprived of its capital letter. (This is the English teacher in me talking.) So can you explain why you chose to do this?

Thank you for the program - I enjoyed the book, and am appalled that Connecticut has STILL not addressed the eminent domain problem.