What happened to residents’ rights? | TheUnion.com

What happened to residents’ rights?

Regarding the Chevreaux asphalt plant, Meadow Vista residents should pray they don’t become another St. Thomas, Pa.

When the St. Thomas Development Corporation proposed to bulldoze 450 acres of apple orchards to develop a rock quarry and asphalt plant, Friends and Residents of St. Thomas Township, concerned about pollution, the health and safety of their children and diminished property values, elected anti-corporate candidate Frank Stearn as township supervisor.

STDC threatened to sue the township, claiming violation of its 14th amendment right to equal protection if Stearn voted against STDC’s interests. When the township’s insurer asserted that it could not afford to defend such a suit, Stearn was effectively silenced.

FROST then sued, denying STDC’s claim of constitutional rights, demanding that Pennsylvania revoke STDC’s business charter and claiming that their right to representation had been denied.

U.S. District and Appellate courts both ruled against FROST, declaring the constitutional rights of corporations to be settled law. St. Thomas residents – who have no right to sue for lost property values – are still wondering how their own constitutional rights to representation and majority rule had become so unsettled.

Robert Lobell

Nevada City

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