“The beneficiaries [of this ruling] are likely to be those citizens with disproportionate influence and power in the political process, including large corporations and development firms.”

Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Conner



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Many developers approached Mary Alice to buy her land and home, but once they talked to the Town Planning Manager, they were history.

Pleasant Harbor's Planning Manager, Harry Martinet walked over to Mary Alice and yelled loud enough so everyone in the room could hear, “You’re never gonna get sewer for your development! We’ll make sure you never make a dime off of your property!”

"You can continue to live in your house," council chairman Wildman shot-back hotly. Unless you’re willing to donate at least a hundred acres to the town, you won’t ever be able to make any income from your land.” “That’s extortion!” gasped Brent Collier, Mary Alice's attorney.

Water was everywhere; pooled on the floor, running down the walls and even dripping off the ceiling. Howard’s mattress, sheets and bed cover were soaked. Everything in the hospital room was soaked. The call button and the phone were on the floor out of Howard’s reach. Howard was tied down to the bed in restraints, his Johnny gown askew so he was half-naked.

"What you do with your property," councilwoman Blower said smugly, "is the business of everyone in Pleasant Harbor. Investing in private property is like investing in the stock market. You take your chances. In this case you lost."