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.