GOOD

The Craziest Way to Fight Developers Trying to Seize Your Home

The tricky legalities of economic development become even trickier when you try to seize the home of a martial arts champion.



Dan Lewis, author of the daily newsletter Now I Know (“Learn Something New Every Day, By Email”) joins us Wednesdays with surprising facts about the world of business.

In 2005, the United States Supreme Court heard the case of Kelo v. City of New London. The city was attempting to use its powers under the Fifth Amendment to take (with compensation) the homes of Suzette Kelo, the plaintiff, and others and turn their land into an economic development area—much of which would be owned by the Pfizer Corporation. In a controversial 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court held in favor of the city.


In 2004, when local developers in Chongqing, China came for the house of Yang Wu and his wife, Wu Ping, they, like Ms. Kelo, refused to move. But unlike Ms. Kelo, the Chinese couple came up with a much more aggressive solution: break into their condemned house and refuse to leave.

With their power and water cut off and their house surrounded on all sides by a 10-meter-deep man-made dry moat, Yang and Wu needed to do the seemingly impossible to prevent demolition. Yang, a local martial arts champion, built a staircase to their home using his nunchucks—and acted as one-man security team over the disputed home. Wu (pictured here) took to the airwaves, becoming a local television celebrity by shedding light on the couple’s battle against the government and developers.

After a three-year struggle, the couple settled with the developers. The couple received a new apartment in downtown Chongqing and an undisclosed lump sum payment, exceeding the equivalent of $500,000. The home, pictured above and here, was demolished in 2007.

Bonus fact: While Suzette Kelo lost at the Supreme Court, she probably got the last laugh. The city of New London paid $442,000 for her house, and the developer of the would-be “economic development area” ended up running out of money. The area in question is now abandoned.

To subscribe to Dan’s daily email Now I Know, click here. You can also follow him on Twitter.

Photo courtesy of Dan Lewis.

Articles

McDonalds sells a lot of coffee. Over a billion cups a year, to be exact. All that coffee leads to a lot of productive mornings, but it also leads to a lot of waste. Each year, millions of pounds of coffee chaff (the skin of the coffee beans that comes off during roasting) ends up getting turned into mulch. Some coffee chaff just gets burned, leading to an increase in CO2.

Now, that chaff is going to get turned into car parts. Ford is incorporating coffee chaff from McDonalds coffee into the headlamps of some cars. Ford has been using plastic and talc to make its headlamps, but this new process will reduce the reliance on talc, a non-renewable mineral. The chaff is heated to high temperatures under low oxygen and mixed with plastic and other additives. The bioplastic can then be formed into shapes.

Keep Reading Show less

For over 20 years, our country has perceived itself as more divided than united, and it's not getting better. Right after the 2016 election, a poll conducted by Gallup found that 77% of Americans felt the country was divided on the most important values, a record high.

The percentage of Americans who agree that we disagree got higher. During the 2018 mid-term elections, a poll conducted by NBC News/Wall Street Journal found that 80% of Americans felt the nation was "mainly" or "totally" divided.

We head into the 2020 presidential election more divided than ever. A new poll from USA Today found that nine out of ten respondents felt it was important to do something about the conflict in our country. We can't keep on living like this forever.

Keep Reading Show less
via Honor Africans / Twitter

The problem with American Sign Language (ASL) is that over 500,000 people in the U.S. use it, but the country has over 330 million people.

So for those with hearing loss, the chances of coming into contact with someone who uses the language are rare. Especially outside of the deaf community.

Keep Reading Show less