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Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Pfizer's Role In Kelo

Coyote Blog provides some background on the Kelo property taking. Pfizer has expressed publicly that they just happened to be nearby and just happened to be looking for more property when government officials approached them with an opportunity for business expansion in New London. The local newspaper, The Day, reports that as far back as 1997, their needs for more land was known by public officials and were a condition of their construction of a research facility in New London.

Quoting The Day:

The records — obtained by The Day through the state Freedom of Information Act — show that, at least as early as the fall of 1997, Pfizer executives and state economic development officials were discussing the company's plans, not just for a new research facility but for the surrounding neighborhood as well.

And, after several requests, the state Department of Economic and Community Development produced a document that both the state and Pfizer had at first said did not exist: A 1997 sketch, prepared by CUH2A, Pfizer's design firm for its new facility. Labeled as a “vision statement,” it suggested various ways the existing neighborhood and nearby vacant Navy facility could be replaced with a “high end residential district,” offices and retail businesses, expanded parking and a marina.

Those interactions took place months before Pfizer announced that it would build in the city, on the site of the former New London Mills linoleum factory, and months before the New London Development Corp. announced its redevelopment plans for the neighborhood and the former Naval Undersea Warfare Center next door.

Business hates governmental intrusion. Drug companies especially will complain about the costs of the FDA, litigation, patent protection and other regulations. But when the government can help them with a tax break, research grant or taking land needed in condemnation, they certainly sing a new tune.

In Coyote's later post on a different subject, he showed the lack of consistency between rhetoric and acts. He discusses opposing positions taken by the National Association of Convenience Stores. He writes:

In the last two weeks, the NACS has:

1. Opposed government "price gouging" regulations aimed at how gas stations price their product.
2. Advocated government intervention in the pricing of credit card processing services, arguing that gas stations are getting gouged by banks today.

I guess we need government only when it helps us.


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