The Shotgun Blog
Monday, July 11, 2005
The recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, Kelo v. City of New London, has plenty of people upset. They include a London Darrow Clements who appears to be pretty clever. He was steamed enough to try to figure out a way to use eminent domain on one of the Justices that voted in favour of the eminent domain ruling. He found one in Justice David Souter.
So what's he up to? He's put forward a proposal to take just that Justice's home and replace it with the Lost Liberty Hotel. The Hotel would feature a 'Just Desserts Cafe,' as well as a permanent museum to the loss of liberty in America. Found under each pillow will be a free copy of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged.
Wrote Clements in the application:
"Although this property is owned by an individual, David H. Souter, a recent Supreme Court decision, Kelo v. City of New London, clears the way for this land to be taken by the government of Weare through eminent domain and given to my LLC for the purposes of building a hotel. The justification for such an eminent domain action is that our hotel will better serve the public interest as it will bring in economic development and higher tax revenue to Weare."
Does he have a case? Maybe not. But he does say this:
"This is not a prank ... The town of Weare has five people on the Board of Selectmen. If three of them vote to use the power of eminent domain to take this land from Mr. Souter we can begin our hotel development."
The Boston Herald likes the idea, but doesn't think much will come of it.
Which would be a shame. So I did a little digging and found the email addresses of the five Board of Selectmen in the town of Weare, New Hampshire. I then wrote them a letter explaining that, for one, I will make the trip out to New Hampshire regularly to visit the Hotel, and I will also try to host a Liberty Summer Seminar in New Hampshire as well, should the Hotel be built. It'll be good for the Town of Weare, after all, with all the tax revenue and tourism dollars which, surely, will be of greater public benefit than Justice Souter sipping sweet tea in a hammock all afternoon.
You can write them a letter too, if you want.
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I like the idea too...cutting statists a slice of empathy pie.
Posted by: WLMackenzie redux | 2005-07-11 9:15:08 PM
Oh, wouldn't it be delicious? I'd be lining up for a weekend getaway to THAT hotel.
Posted by: Mike H | 2005-07-12 7:27:50 AM
this has made my day! Atlas Shrugged under every pillow...that's my kind of hotel.
I know all too well what a lack of property rights feels like. My farm was deemed the right spot for a highway extension by the provincial government. The message from the government was basically: you can negotiate nicely with us for a fair price, or will give you nothing. Either way, we're getting your land.
Posted by: Charlotte | 2005-07-12 10:53:48 AM
This made my day as well, which is why I shared it.
But I did get this comment on my blog, which I want to pass on:
"Alex Elliott said...
Actually, the selectmen might appreciate it if you didn't petition them directly. As someone who lived in New England for a long time, I'd have to say that there's a lot of misinformation going around about how the towns there are run.
New England towns have no executive or legislative government other than the entire population voting in a Town Meeting (they have real direct democracy). The Board of Selectmen only have the power to carry out the decisions made by the Town Meeting - they have no decision-making power over budgetary or policy issues all by themselves. Therefore, the statement that all it takes is three of the five Selectment to accomplish this is completely false. It would take a majority vote of the Town Meeting to make a budgetary/policy decision like this.
Elected officials usually don't take kindly to letters from random strangers urging them to do things outside the scope of their offices' responsibilities."
Alex might be right. Still, I think letters wouldn't hurt, really. They might mention it at their town council or whatever (like: "I got twelve letters of support for this proposal. All from Canada, no less.")
Posted by: P.M. Jaworski | 2005-07-12 12:59:29 PM
Charlotte: I'm interested in your story, but can't seem to find eastcoastblogger.blogspot.com... Would you be so kind as to drop me a note (peter - at - peterjaworski.com) and tell me a short version of your tale?
That goes for anyone who has been, or knows someone who has been, affected by eminent domain.
I'd appreciate it.
Posted by: P.M. Jaworski | 2005-07-12 1:15:33 PM
This Supreme Court ruling is a travesty and flies in the face of everything that the United States is about. If our founding fathers were still alive, some Supreme Court justices would probably be invited to a duel.
This is one that our conservative politicians are going to have to deal with. The US electorate will not stand for inaction on this issue.
Already legislation is being drafted in the Senate and the House to circumvent this ruling all or in part. (Tom DeLay is involved on the House side, and John Cornyn on the Senate side, but they are only 2 of of many.)
If the forces behind this ruling want a fight, they are going to get it. We simply will not tolerate confiscation of our private property in the US.
Posted by: Greg outside Dallas | 2005-07-12 1:59:46 PM
This could work in Canada too. We just have to apply for a loan from the federal government bank. And get grants and further loan guarantees from the provincial government for tourist development. Then go to the municipal government and ask them to develop the infrastructure we need and add us to their bus lines. After that, we need matching funds from the federal and provincial governments to promote our hotel in their tourist publications, and we'll have to lobby Via Rail and Air Canada through our local MP and the federal political minister for our region, so they will include us in package tours and advertising campaigns.
Once we've met federal, provincial and municipal employment standards for bilingualism and minority hiring quotas, get an environmental assessment from each level of government and secure UNESCO designation of the surrounding land (in order to enhance our attractiveness and prevent competitors from developing near us), then watch out! Canada's own What Liberty? Hotel will be open for business!
Posted by: Justzumgai | 2005-07-12 3:02:28 PM
I have the correct blog address up now, P.M.
We are currently still in 'negotiations' to receive money from the government in yearly sums for the land (involuntary procedures cannot properly be called negotiations), however the goverment is in a horrible economic position right now and will probably not be able to afford the 17$million highway expansion for a few years. So, we wait in limbo, with our land partly ours and partly not. When you factor this into the fact that our beef cows aren't allowed into the US....good times to be a farmer.
Thanks for the info on emailing the Selectmen. I sent a general email stating that if the Lost Liberty Hotel were built, my friends I would definitely visit Weare.
Posted by: Charlotte | 2005-07-12 6:57:15 PM
I hope this is allowed, Ezra, I emailed a link to "Eminently Approriate" to my fave American Blogger,
Atlas Shrugs (http://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com
and she has posted a link on her well-read blog to the Western Standard. She has been following the Kelo case closely, so I know she's appreciate it...
Posted by: Charlotte | 2005-07-13 7:52:54 PM
You can now pledge that you'll go to the Lost Liberty Hotel:
Posted by: P.M. Jaworski | 2005-07-14 10:05:29 AM
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