News Release: Property Rights Champion Susette Kelo and Author Jeff Benedict to Discuss New Book at Issues & Ideas Forum

Media bus tour of “blighted” East Village available following forum

For Immediate Release
Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2009

Bruce Edward Walker
Communications Manager, Property Rights Network

MIDLAND — Susette Kelo, a New London, Conn., homeowner whose name became synonymous with property rights, will join Jeff Benedict, author of "Little Pink House: A True Story of Defiance and Courage," at a Feb. 10 Mackinac Center for Public Policy Issues and Ideas Forum in East Lansing. Benedict's book is the story of Kelo's attempt to protect her home from the exercise of eminent domain for economic development.

The forum, titled "After Eminent Domain — Protecting Against Regulatory Takings," will take place from noon to 1 p.m. at the East Lansing Marriott at University Place, 300 M.A.C. Ave. The event is open to the public and lunch is provided at no charge with reservation. To make reservations, please call the Mackinac Center at 989-631-0900 by 5 p.m. on Feb. 6, 2009.

When the city of New London attempted to seize Kelo's home for another private entity in an effort to increase city tax revenues, she refused to surrender her property — and took the case all the way to the Supreme Court.

After the court ruled 5-4 in favor of the city, Michigan and other states adopted ballot measures preventing Kelo-type takings. But even with the passage of Proposition 4 in 2006, Michigan residents and business owners are still beset by government entities employing regulatory takings that restrict property use so severely as to render it useless. One such case is occurring in East Lansing, where city officials are attempting to declare the East Village area "blighted" in order to proceed with plans to commercially develop more than 30 acres of privately owned property.

The city of East Lansing has also received a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to inventory and conduct environmental assessments on so-called brownfield sites in the East Village area.

Following the forum, journalists can reserve a spot for a media shuttle bus tour of East Village to determine for themselves whether the area is blighted or a brownfield site. The bus departs from the East Lansing Marriott at 1 p.m.

Benedict and Kelo will be available for media interviews prior to and after the event. They will conduct a book signing at the East Lansing Barnes & Noble on Grand River Avenue between 4 and 6 p.m.



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