Saturday, September 03, 2005

Battle in the Fray

Soprano Kathleen Battle

(At the August 22nd meeting of the Portsmouth City Council, Lela Perry read a statement from her sister, Kathleen Battle, protesting the mistreatment of Joe Perry, her nephew, whose property in Hatcherville is being eminently domained. "How can the City of Portsmouth even think about exclusively supporting certain 'property developers,' " Battle wrote, "while at the same time preventing another property owner-manager from making an honest living?")

The Developer and the Diva: A Fable

There once was a white boy from the wrong side of the tracks who married a pork rind heiress and became a rich real estate developer in his home town by conspiring with local officials to use Eminent Domain to deprive people of their property. Hawk-like, wearing a wrecking ball lapel pin, the Developer lived in his nest on The Hill, eyeing other people’s property.

The plight of those below, who were deprived of their property, was not reported in the local press, which dared not criticize the over-abated and over-privileged denizens on The Hill, most of whom, like the Developer, were afflicted with a degenerative illness called Porkinson’s Disease, which results in extreme dependency on government money.

There also was from the same town a poor black girl who became a world-famous opera star whose voice had a magical quality that captured the hearts of listeners everywhere, not just at the Met and La Scala.

When the rich white developer tried to Eminent Domain a young real estate entrepreneur, a nephew of the opera star, she raised her pure voice in protest. Her voice was joined by a chorus of others, the sentinels of democracy, who denounced the monopoly the rich white Developer had over the local real estate market. It was the Soprano versus the Sopranos.

The state passed a law to stop the abuse of Eminent Domain. The Developer’s wings were clipped. The property of the young black entrepreneur was rescued from the Developer’s nest. Things ended on a high note. Justice triumphed.

Moral: Don’t count your eggs before they’re hatchered.