Fogarty Accepts Support from an Opponent of Eminent Domain Reform

Rhode Island Gubernatorial candidate Charles Fogarty is appearing today with Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack, who is a leading advocate for seizing property by eminent domain in order to further economic development. Governor Vilsack believes that government needs broad powers to take property away from private owners in order to “create new jobs and strengthen their communities”.
In June, Governor Vilsack vetoed an eminent domain reform bill passed by the Iowa legislature in response to the Supreme Court�s Kelo v. New London ruling. The Governor believed that the bill’s mild restriction on the use of eminent domain in cases involving “blighted areas” to cases where 75% or more of a condemned area had been deemed blighted was too strong. (Before the law was passed, there was no restriction on how much non-blighted property could be swept up when blighted areas were targeted for seizure). The Iowa legislature overrode the veto, 90-8 in the House and 41-8 in the Senate.
Given the opportunity, Governor Vilsack almost certainly would have vetoed Lieutenant Governor Fogarty’s initial eminent domain reform proposal for Rhode Island, which prohibited using eminent domain to take “significantly residential” property.
However, Lieutenant Governor Fogarty’s strong version of eminent domain reform never reached the full Rhode Island Senate. During the committee process, the protection for residential property was removed, leaving a “reform” that still allows the government to force residents out of their homes if the government determines that new owners will pay more in taxes. Lieutenant Governor Fogarty, at least on his official web site, didn’t make any official statement regarding the differences in his bill as proposed versus as passed. Senator James Sheehan, the primary Senate sponsor of the bill, did tout passage of the watered down bill as a success.
This sequence of events, first claiming to be an advocate for eminent domain reform, but then allowing the legislature to gut his bill, and then making a major campaign appearance with a staunch opponent of eminent domain reform sums up the concerns voters have about Lieutenant Governor Fogarty. Whatever he may personally believe about an issue, he just doesn’t seem to be someone able to take a meaningful stand against the special interests and the groupthink within the Democratic Party.

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Tom W
Tom W
17 years ago

I’m shocked … SHOCKED! … to learn that Fogarty is two-faced.
Presenting a reformer face to the public – while “going along to get along” with the Party behind closed doors – is to be expected by lifetime (“never held a real job”) Democrat politico Fogarty.
The sad thing is, a majority of Rhode Islanders may fall for his scam. We have a history of it …

Bobby Oliveira
Bobby Oliveira
17 years ago

Dear Tom W,
Your side doesn’t seem to have a problem supporting a Governor who’s taken all 17 sides of the gaming issue.
In order to be elected, both the Governor will be seen with, take money from, and in other ways, align themselves with persons who may be different on one or two particluar issues. If you choose to spend time pointing it out every time it happens, we will do nothing else.
For instance, should we spend time looking at some of the PAC’s the good General running for LG has donated to? We can if you like.

Stretch Cunningham
Stretch Cunningham
17 years ago

Tom, careful what you sling, the Dems have their fans ready at all times.
Did you get the underlying message?
Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. This is Rhode Island, we won’t tell if you don’t…
Keep this simple rule in mind an you’ll be able to filter out who the real reformers are.

Tom W
Tom W
17 years ago

Mr. Oliviera –
The point is that Fogarty has NEVER given any tangible indication that he buck the Democratic machine and the special interests that control it (i.e., the public sector unions and welfare industry). He is a product of that machine.
While one might be able to criticize Governor Carcieri for some contradictions, he ran as a reformer and HAS taken on the General Assembly appendage of the Democrat machine.
Conversely, had Fogarty been in office today we’d HAVE unionized “day care workers” (even though they aren’t state employees); absolutely NO reduction (more likely increases) in state pension benefits (which remain grossly excessive even after last year’s “reforms”); and NO reduction in the income tax.
For Fogarty to portray himself as a “reformer” promoting clean government is not mere election year pandering, it is bald-faced lying on the level of his predecessor Frank Licht.
You remember Frank Licht, don’t you? He’s the Democrat who LIED LIED LIED about the income tax to get elected.
In recognition of his “public service,” the Democrat General Assembly named the main courthouse in his memory – you know, the building in which people “swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Such is a perfect illustration of the moral and ethical bankruptcy of Rhode Island Democrats!

Bobby Oliveira
Bobby Oliveira
17 years ago

Dear Andrew,
Just on a format note: Any power of any LG to “save a bill” died when we removed them from the Senate. I don’t remember him testifying on the Sheehan version so any answers to your questions would be speculation. I would suggest, since they are fine questions, to refer them to the LG’s office so a full accounting can be given.
Now, as to your “mainstream” point:
Did you the latest polling data? 76% dissapproval for the sitting President. Should we now bar the Governor for appearing with anyone from the Cabinet because they are “outside of the Rhode Island mainstream”?
I think it’s an election and both sides will do what they have to. I know I will both in my race and in any other race.

17 years ago

Being the political novice that I am… isn’t the whole idea of having political fundraisers, to invite “big names” to them who have greater name recognition than yourself? Who the heck is Tom Vilsack? Governor of where? Ha, ha.
Anyway, I’m sure the Fogarty folks didn’t check into Mr. Vilsack’s background, esp. when it came to the lunch he got handed to him by the Iowa legislature in regard to the eminent domain bill he vetoed there. The Kelo folks in CT will love hearing about this…

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