Monday, August 4, 2008

I am prepared to fight

Connecticut's Attorney General Richard Blumenthal rode in on his white steed, and in his inimitable knight-in-shining armor routine, literally laid down the law about the proposed Army Reserve Training Center in Middletown.

Blumenthal said that since the Army has not followed the letter of the law regarding environmental clearances on "all alternative sites," they could not summarily chose a site, and begin the process of preparing to build there.

"I am prepared to fight, if necessary, in court," he said to a partisan crowd which erupted with applause. And we know how well he uses the lawsuit as a billy club.

Blumenthal's rousing injunction was followed by his celebration of citizen activists who, he said, "were the finest demonstration of democracy."

Blumenthal's words were particularly welcome after Attorney Joseph Milardo, who represents Middle Boardman Associates, current owners of the site, said that the city, with its proposal to oppose the Boardman Lane cite, was creating "inverse condemnation of property" and that if the resolution was passed with all the "whereas" clauses, it might be grounds for legal action.

As a result, the resolution was amended by stripping away all supportive clauses, and simply stood as a resolution in opposition to the building of an Army Reserve Training Center on the proposed Boardman Lane site. The vote on the resolution was taken early in the meeting to accomodate supporters who were attending (and likely the news crews who were also there).

The resolution opposing the Training Center on that site passed unanimously after little debate. The passage received another hearty round of applause.

Speaking in favor of the resolution were Paul Torop, among several others, who said the proposal to build anywhere in Middletown, particularly on River Road or Saybrook Road, was "a small wedge to produce development in Maromas."

Of a potential Pratt and Whitney site which was rejected by the Army Corps because it was "too contamined", Mayor Sebastian Giuliano said that the site was contaminated by the federal government, and that "if it's too contaminated for the Army to use, it's to contaminated for us to live with, and the federal government should clean it up immediately."

One final interesting note was the appearance of a letter from Joseph Redlinger, Army Chief, of the Real Estate Division, written in November of 2006, which says, in part: "We are inquiring about the availability of approximately 16-25 acres of land in the town of Middletown or withing 20 driving miles of the town limits that could be used for an Armed Forces Reserve Center...We also would welcome information on property owned by counties, other municipalities, or other parties that might be suitable for our requirements." The letter, of course, is the proof that the Training Center did not ever have to absolutely be built in Middletown.

Early in the afternoon, Governor Rell, as Commander-in-Chief of the Connecticut Army Reserve recommended to the Army that the footprint for the new center could be reduced considerably by keeping the reserve base in New London open, and not having it be part of the base consolidation effort.


Anonymous said...

The Record Skips On

At least, the flawed process for selecting the best site for a regional consolidation of Army Reserve and National Guard personnel has finally come to some prominence during this exciting show of political puffery, posturing and pap. In a state of wide open spaces, the current difficulties would not occur. In Connecticut, finding a new construction site for a large tax-exempt presence, even for the much admired and needed Army, is not easy. Possible sites are, more often than not, either valuable natural resources such as the rocky bluffs of Maromas, high above the Connecticut River, or acres slated for development by tax-paying entities. This time , the City was willing to give up natural resources in exchange for the Army's aid in its sprawl-oriented development plan. But when the Army decided that the best spot for the base would be on farmland in an already developed industrial zone, the Welcome Mat was pulled out pronto. It did not take a genius to foretell this future. Small, impoverished town, no wide open spaces, big tax exempt Army Base...What to do? What to do? Pick your poison and search for the good in this ill wind? Had the Army not insisted on this one-size-fits-all approach to Base Realignment and Closure, I would bet you that their $100,000,000.00 would have been better spent. Oh, and BTW, that is actually our federal tax dollars at work.

Anonymous said...

The last speaker to comment regarding the Army base, was one of the owners of the property, who said something to the effect that Richard Blumenthal should think twice about what it means to not be able to sell your own property. I have a hard time believing you will not be able to sell the property, it is just that you will not be able to sell the property at a price that will bring you the return on the investment you had hoped for. Well let me bring out the crying towel for all of you hoodwinked investors, poor guys, I guess someone forgot to tell you that investing has inherit risks, and that there is no guarantee on making money. Perhaps someone gave you bad advice --was it 20 years ago--when you purchased the property as a long term investment! Did you not realize that you where purchasing a property that sits on wetlands? Did you not realize that the city has zoning laws and regulations in place? Lets face it there are no guarantees on investments. It is possible, you just may have made a poor investment choice. It is possible that this investment, was one that will bring you a loss, and it is not to be blamed on the city, or NIMBY's or Mr. Blumenthal. It is just plain old dumb luck. Sorry. Better luck next time.

Anonymous said...

To the better luck next time commenter: If you have any children, I hope they do not expect your property to have appreciated in value when you leave your estate behind. Or that they will be glad that it has become a liability on account of undocumented public commentary regarding its conservation issues.