"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.The local democratic process may not be well understood by Justice Stevens.
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.
As I have noted, a particular understanding of the facts in the case and the governmental processes behind it seems to underpin Justice Stevens's opinion in the case. His belief that judicial enforcement of the 'public use' clause is unnecessary seems to be rooted in the notion that local democratic processes will be transparent and participatory in discerning the 'public good' in these matters. In fact, it seems clear that Pfizer had the taking of individual's house 'wired' from the outset and that there was little that could be done to change this.
On the other hand Pfizer claims Zywicki's assertions are incorrect:
""Letters To The Editor: Your story 'Pfizer's fingerprints on Fort Trumbull plan,' published Oct. 16, simply recycles a well-worn, untrue myth - that our company's decision to invest here was conditional on the replacement of the surrounding neighborhood.
That charge is unjustified and plain wrong. The documents and conversations you report show that, in 1997, the state and city asked Pfizer executives for ideas on how our arrival might impact Fort Trumbull.
At that time, we believed our $300-million investment and 1,500 new employees would act as magnets - drawing many others to this area.
Our architects shared our optimism and their diagram includes ideas about how our new neighborhood might evolve if we built here. We had optimism and ideas, but we had only two demands. First, we wanted the next-door sewage plant capped to reduce odor. Second, we wanted the restoration of the long-abandoned and derelict Revolutionary war fort. Both conditions were met and brought considerable benefit to the city."