Tuesday, June 06, 2006

New London approves evictions in eminent domain dispute

This one issue will be my TOP priority when elected.

By Stephen Singer, Associated Press Writer | June 5, 2006

NEW LONDON, Conn. --City officials voted Monday night to begin eviction proceedings against residents who refuse to leave their riverfront homes, signaling the end may be near in an eminent domain dispute that reached the U.S. Supreme Court.
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The City Council approved the action 5-2, authorizing the city attorney to take the necessary steps, including possible court action, to evict the remaining two families and obtain the properties. A lawyer for the families said they are considering continuing their battle with the city.

About 100 people packed the meeting room, a hallway and an adjacent room.

The small city has been trying for a decade to redevelop the once vibrant Fort Trumbull neighborhood along the Thames River. Seven homeowners challenged the city's plans to seize their properties and build a hotel, convention center and upscale condominiums, saying eminent domain can't be used to make way for private development.

But a 5-4 Supreme Court ruling last year upheld the city's right to take the homes. The court, however, said states were free to restrict eminent domain seizures, and many already have. A proposal to change Connecticut's law died in this year's state legislative session.

Since the Supreme Court ruling, all but two families have settled with the city and agreed to leave.

Michael Cristofaro, one of the Fort Trumbull holdouts, spoke out against the property seizures.

"Just give us back our deeds," Cristofaro said. "You are not being straight with us or the public. You are not listening to the general public."

Cristofaro singled out five of the seven council members who favor taking the property.

"You are a disgrace to the city, the state and the nation," he said.

One Fort Trumbull resident, William Von Winkle, agreed to a settlement with the city Monday, just minutes before the City Council meeting began, The Day of New London reported. The terms were not disclosed.

Scott Bullock, a lawyer for the Arlington, Va.-based Institute for Justice who represents the residents, said the homeowners can still fight the city. He said they'll be considering appeals to state government to ask that state funding for the development be pulled. He said they also may engage in civil disobedience.

"This is a civil rights struggle to save poor and working class people from eminent domain abuse," he said.

City Councilor Robert Perro supported the effort to remove the families. He said the issue has been through state agencies and three courts.

"This was a plan that was well thought out," he said. "The development of this peninsula needs to move forward."

But Charles Frink, one of the two councilors who opposed seizing the properties, criticized supporters, saying they should admit they made a mistake.

"I can't accept a possible reduction in taxes by having neighbors thrown out of their property," he said. "This is morally abhorrent to me. I refuse to profit from my neighbor's pain."

Gov. M. Jodi Rell had proposed letting the holdouts remain in their homes but giving the city the right of first refusal if the houses ever were sold.

New London Mayor Elizabeth Sabilia predicted before the meeting that Rell's proposal would not be approved.

"The balance of councilors are staying the course," said Sabilia, who also votes on the council.

The vote came five days after a deadline for settlements to be reached with the remaining property owners.

One local resident who spoke Monday night, Donald Harrington, was against Rell's plan.

"What right has she got to tell the city of New London what to do?" he asked.

The eviction process, which may include another court fight, could take a month to three months. But that's negligible in a land dispute that has been up and down the court system over several years.

"You know how some things take on a life of their own?" Sabilia said. "This thing is like a cat. It's taken on nine lives."

Bullock said he didn't think the city wants the publicity that will come with razing the homes.

"It would be a disaster, evicting Susette Kelo from that pink house that nearly everybody in the nation recognizes by now, when you've got a proposal from the governor on the table," he said.

Kelo, a 49-year-old nurse who bought her home in 1997, became the lead plaintiff in the court battle and has refused to sell, as has Cristofaro.

School board looks at another tax increase

I don't know when the voters of Springfield are going to wake up. Every time a tax increase is passed onto the taxpayer do you walk into your bosses office and request a pay raise in the same amount equilevant to all the increases?

As a business owner it is quite difficult to pass on these increases since in some regards you will lose more business by doing this. I don't know how long the American taxpayer is going to put up with constant revenue demands by local, state, and federal government branches. I'm beyond the point of tolerating them which is why I decided to run for political office so changes can be made.

We collected over 7000 signatures to have the city of Springfield audited, but the education system in this town is exempt from that audit. We only required 5000 verifiable city residents registered to vote to sign. I believe we have more than enough for Claire McCaskills office to certify this and start looking into the expenditures of this city to find out where 215 million dollars on an annual basis is going.
Of course some of the local media outlets are doing there best to misinform the people, but that is to be expected since they are all part of the same network which gave us a $100,000.00 street paved with bricks outside of a building owned by our very own Tommy Carlson. Can you say PRIVILEDGED TREATMENT? I would like to have my street repaired since it floods out when it rains, I won't hold my breathe.

The cost of this audit is going to be $.53 for every man, woman, and child residing within the city limits. It is costing us almost $1400.00 for every man, woman, and child to sit on our hands and do nothing.

It is time to change government and the taxpayers choice is
candidate for the 139th district

Members want more money for 2006-07 budget.

By Cory de Vera

Voters shouldn't be surprised that their Springfield Public Schools taxes go up this year.

They did, after all, approve a $96.5 million bond issue, which will be paid with an 18-cent jump in the debt service rate.

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But if the school board goes through with its current plans, the total increase could be as high as 25 cents per $100 of assessed property value. That's because members are considering using their authority to increase the operating tax 5 to 7 cents to balance the proposed 2006-07 budget.

In board discussions at public meetings last month, the plan drew little to no opposition.

Board member Bruce Renner said he supports the increase because it means the district will be able to add teachers, reducing class size.

"I really felt like we needed that," he said.

Other budget additions will include expanding pre-school programs, adding the A+ Program at Kickapoo and Hillcrest high schools, and training for a new curricular approach at Pipkin Middle School.

An increase of 5 to 7 cents on the operating tax rate would raise $1.6 million for the district and cost the owner of a $100,000 home between $9.50 and $13.30. Along with the 18-cent increase on the debt service tax rate, that same homeowner could see a jump of $47.50 over what he or she paid in school taxes on 2005's property tax bill.

Director of Financial Services Cherie Alderson told the News-Leader the increase is a possibility, but the board won't know whether it will need to invoke the increase until all the books are closed on the 2005-06 school year later this year. The board must pass the 2006-07 budget before July 1.


Voters actually did approve an operating tax rate of up to $3.14 cents in June 2004, when they approved a two-phase operating tax increase. The first phase was a 15-cent jump that went into effect on the 2004 tax bill. The second phase, a 10-cent hike, was authorized to go into effect on the 2005 tax bill.

But in August, 2005 the board learned that property assessments had grown faster than anticipated, and collecting that full increase would produce more revenue than they told taxpayers during the 2004 campaign.

They were anticipating collecting $6.2 million, but had they imposed the full 25-cent hike, they would have collected closer to $9.8 million. So instead of collecting the approved increase, they rolled the operating tax rate back to $3.

Now, Renner says, the district needs some of that rollback.

"I feel we are providing everything we promised voters at less than the amount they approved," he said. "Even at 5 to 7 cents more, that is less than they approved."


Resident Ann Grace came to a board meeting last summer to argue against last year's rollback. The fact that the rate is going up again does not bother her.

"I thought it was silly that they dropped it down," said Grace, who at the time headed a committee to raise money for unmet needs at Parkview High.

"I thought they had enough commitments that they really didn't need to go rolling it back."

Resident Mel Hall came to the board last summer to plead for a restoration of transportation. She said she's disappointed that the board still isn't considering it a priority.

"I have to drive my son to school, we can't afford to pay the fees," said Hall, the single mom of a student at Study Middle School.

"It's hard to find a place to park, and it is dangerous the way people fly through there. I don't see how the school system is so unconcerned about busing issues," she said.

Beginning with the 2002-03 school year, the district kicked more than 2,000 elementary and middle school children off buses when it changed eligibility for bus service from those living farther than one mile from school to those living farther than 1.5 miles from school. The move was expected to save $421,000 a year. If space is available, a family can pay to ride.

Renner said he is concerned about safety and a new transportation director is reviewing policies. Current policy, Renner said, considers mileage only, and in most cases does not make allowances for children who must cross major roads.

"I don't think anything will change by fall, but I think as the new director gets in there, he will see what he can do," said Renner.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Things that will always bother me

This is not meant to include all people into these groups, however in most cases the vast majority will fit the description.


why do republicans still believe that the party is the party of smaller government

why democrats are determined to bring socialism to our way of life

why libertarians think it is OK to use government services(I don't care if your paying taxes)

how people can be offended at a piece of paper because it contains an essence of morality.

why there are no species of gay animals

why both political parties of power believe defending the Constitution of the US is optional

why do parents go out of there way to try to make there children wards of the state with problems that are mostly behavioral.(by today's definition). ie.. ADHD, ADD, Bipolar, Autism
before you jump to conclusions I have one son that can and would've been diagnosed as autistic, the other had been diagnosed ADHD. It is truly amazing what a change in diet and close parenting can do to alleviate these issues.

why people that complain of weight problems make frequent trips to the buffet line

why alcoholics and smokers are said to have an addiction. I've had problems with both but since have kicked both habits. It's called WILL POWER.

why people have children they can't afford

why parents can't teach there children to accept responsibility for their actions and why parent don't accept responsibility for how they raise the children.

why people get married only to get divorced if life becomes to hard. Yes long term marriages have had problems as well, they just get worked through.

why Rush thinks he's correct over 98% of the time, it's easy to do when you cover items that are already in your court.

why people of religion feel compelled to use government to create a perfect role model society.

how children born before the 70's managed to stay alive when government wasn't mandating everything.

why people think there vote belongs to either the democrats or republicans

why people will order the jumbo size burger and fries then order a diet coke/pepsi.

I have more of these but I would like to save some for later

District 139 State Representative