Cider Press Hill

Quit apologizing!

Thursday, 5:23 pm

By Kate

Jun

23

2005

sunny

As Jeanne at Body and Soul says, we need to send a few of these to our Dems in Congress. Just as a daily reminder.



 

Kelo vs New London

Thursday, 4:43 pm

By Kate

Jun

23

2005

sunny

In a Supreme Court ruling today, which leaves my head spinning and with expectations that the Rapture is now imminent, I side with Justices Thomas, Scalia, and Rehnquist who dissented from the majority opinion.

The case was Kelo vs. New London (Connecticut) in which residents in the town of New London fought the city government’s attempts to seize their private property/homes, under rights of eminent domain, to establish an office, residential, and retail complex to support a nearby Pfizer pharmaceutical research facility.

Sandra Day O’Connor, who also dissented, said:

"Today the Court abandons this long-held, basic limitation on government power,” she wrote. “Under the banner of economic development, all private property is now vulnerable to being taken and transferred to another private owner, so long as it might be upgraded—i.e., given to an owner who will use it in a way that the legislature deems more beneficial to the public—in the process."
The effect of the decision, O’Connor said, “is to wash out any distinction between private and public use of property—and thereby effectively to delete the words “for public use” from the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment."

In other words, if you own a piece of property that someone else, with a lot more money and influence, can develop so that local government can realize increased tax revenues, you are fair game. It’s about as simple as that.

I wonder at the effect that may have in my area where there are several older small homes in the beach front area where developers have long wanted to bulldoze and move in. If you don’t have boodles of money and the town council is receptive to a development idea, I think you’re pretty much screwed now.



 

It ended well

Thursday, 10:54 am

By Kate

Jun

23

2005

sunny

A couple of days ago, the atmosphere in this house was bleak. The lad had completed his final exams and felt absolutely certain that he’d done poorly on two of them and not all that great on the rest. Chemistry, he felt, would be the worst, liable to bring his grade down by a full letter grade—and he moaned about two of the students who probably would get high grades and skew any possible grade curve.

I’ve gone through this with him many times before. Most of the time, I’m pretty reluctant to sympathize—I don’t believe that he has done as poorly as he thinks. At least that’s what experience tells me.

This morning he went up to school to consult with his teachers who said that anyone who stopped by would get their exam and final grades. With a long face, he trudged on in.

When I picked him up an hour or so later, he was doing kicks and leaps in the street. It appears that, once again, his ability to undermine his own confidence led to a lot of unnecessary agony. Turns out, in Chemistry, he was one of those rotten kids who skewed the curve and he ended up with 6 ‘A’s and one B+. He worked hard this year and it paid off. He will be tapped for National Honor Society and that’s a pretty nice thing, I think. I am very proud of him.



 

Battle of the bike lanes

Thursday, 10:22 am

By Kate

Jun

23

2005

sunny

Last autumn, the main drag in town was finally repaved and new lines laid down on the road. For the first time we had bike lane lines on the edges of both sides of the street. It surprised me the first time I saw them. The street sees heavy traffic and it didn’t seem like a particularly wise use of road space (or parking space), but there they were and what are you gonna do? We all learned to cope and bike riders finally had a lane where they felt somewhat protected. Drivers were aware, daily, that the bike lanes were off limits and I’m sure that has made it much safer for bike riders. We have a lot of bike riders, especially kids riding to school in the mornings for 9 months out of the year. They ride in the winter as well as summer, if the roads are clear enough.

Wellll....many people have complained, looks like. Now the mayor has decided it was a bad idea and she wants to have the bike lane lines eliminated. To the tune of $10,000. Now lots of other people are complaining over the frivolous use of money to erase lines when we’re too strapped to pay for things like lifeguards at the beach—or school books.

I don’t really like the bike lanes, but now that they’re there, I think they should stay. They serve a good purpose. I’m happier to see people riding in them with drivers taking care not to drive in the bike lanes. It works. Bike riders are safer. And it would cost a lot less to leave the lanes than remove them.

Reading the paper this morning suggests this is going to be a city-wide battle of epic proportions. Money will be raised to campaign for both sides of the argument and much energy will be expended. And I sat there for a few moments thinking that in our current world, fighting over bike lanes seems pretty darned stupid. Just think what else could be accomplished with all that time and money being spent on something that won’t even be remembered in a couple of years. This is where my cynicism kicks into high gear and I am convinced that politics is the worst of human inventions.