January 27, 2009

Review: Little Pink House by Jeff Benedict


Courtesy of Hachette Audio

Susette Kelo Tells Her Story at the Cato Institute and a podcast interview

(Thanks to Chris for sending these links) 

When Susette Kelo’s five boys grew up and moved out of the rural house she shared with her husband it became apparent that their marriage was no longer working. Susette made the decision to leave him and move out on her own. Having also made the decision to use no money from their joint account all Susette was able to afford was a small fixer upper on the waterfront in New London, Connecticut.

Around the same time Susette purchased her new home and began to fix it up. The New London Development Corporation was formulating a plan to re-develop the waterfront which included the Ft. Trumbull area where Susette’s house was located by selling the land to the pharmaceutical company Pfizer.

When Susette and more than a few of her neighbors refused to sell, the city and the NLDC tried to take their homes using eminent domain, the law which allows the state to seize a citizen's private property for public use. What resulted was court case that made it all the way to the Supreme Court and a fight that lasted over 9 years. 

Burb: “In Little Pink House, award-winning investigative journalist Jeff Benedict takes us behind the scenes of this case -- indeed, Susette Kelo speaks for the first time about all the details of this inspirational true story as one woman led the charge to take on corporate America to save her home.

The amazing spirit of Susette Kelo and the other families that refused to leave is so moving. They refused to back down when it seemed impossible that they would ever win. I admire they way Susette showed no sign of weakness in front of the big corporation and the rest of her opposition.

The news stories about the case became national news and the Supreme Court ruling became one of the most unpopular rulings of all time. Since this case states either have or are considering amendments to the eminent domain law which prohibit the state turning over land seized under the guise of public use over to private corporations.

My review is based on the abridged audio version which was read by Maggi-Meg Reed. I think that listening to this as opposed to reading gave me a better mental picture of Susette as fighter and a strong woman to admire. I highly recommend this book to readers of all genres as it is an inspirational story.

3 comments :

MikeB said...

Citizens in communities across the country can identify with Susette Kelo and her fight.

Speaking as someone actually fighting eminent domain in federal court with Houston-based Spectra Energy, I can confirm that, nowadays, eminent domain has less to do with projects for the "public good," and everything to do with the financial good of publicly held companies.

In Bedford County, Pennsylvania, property owners are being hauled into federal court by Spectra Energy, backed by the power of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The landowners' property is sitting on top of the gas-rich Marcellus Shale; but they can't develop that because Spectra Energy wants to use the Oriskany sands layer for an underground gas storage facility.

Here is the great mystery and frustration with eminent domain: property owners possess the key asset that companies and government covet – the land. But they are treated as a waste product in this process rather than as key stakeholders.

For info: http://www.spectraenergywatch.com/blog/

Ladytink_534 said...

It's sad when people are forced to move. It happened not too far from here recently so they could build the new Target (which my area doesn't have and it's been driving me crazy since I've lived here).

I have an award for you here.

bermudaonion said...

I listened to this last week and loved it. I thought the author did a good job of writing the legal items so that I could understand them and I thought the narrator did a fabulous job.