Wendell Phillips said in 1852:
Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty; power is ever stealing from the many to the few. The manna of popular liberty must be gathered each day or it is rotten. The living sap of today outgrows the dead rind of yesterday. The hand entrusted with power becomes, either from human depravity or esprit de corps, the necessary enemy of the people. Only by continued oversight can the democrat in office be prevented from hardening into a despot; only by unintermitted agitation can a people be sufficiently awake to principle not to let liberty be smothered in material prosperity.
Sadly, nothing’s changed since he uttered those words. Two recent reports highlight the necessity of watching over your local government, to make sure it isn’t pulling a fast one on you behind your back.
First, an Ohio town has just voted to dissolve itself after its local government secretly passed a tax on residents.
“Free Amelia” PAC founder Ed McCoy said Thursday that Ohio residents’ decision to dissolve their village was “bizarre” but warranted.
After 119 years of history, almost 70 percent of the residents of Amelia, Ohio, voted to oust the local government after it secretly passed a 1 percent income tax on all residents and workers. The 5,000 residents who live there will now be split, with half becoming residents of one municipality and the other half becoming residents of another.
… McCoy said it was a fly-by-night decision, adding that some residents said they found out about the tax change from a letter in the mail after the decision was already made. The village council approved the tax increase last year, without public input.
“It kind of passed in the dead of night,” McCoy said. “In a special meeting, there was not public input.”
There’s more at the link.
A tax passed in secret, with no public debate and no prior discussion at all? I’d think tar and feathers would be more appropriate than dissolution . . . but that’s just me.
Second, Portland, Oregon’s Planning and Sustainability Commission is up to tricks – and its members are refusing to say exactly what they mean. Bold, underlined text is my emphasis.
On Nov. 12, the commission narrowly approved a change to the design process language to say, “Provide opportunities to rest and be welcome.”
Oriana Magnera introduced the idea.
“Just one of the realities of Portland right now is that we have a lot of folks who are unhoused who benefit from some of these spaces that provide weather protection,” she said.
The Commission Chair Katherine Schultz questioned what impact the change could have.
“What does it mean to rest? Am I providing a place to sleep?” Schultz said.
Members of the commission questioned how this could impact private property and the entire design review process.
“I’m concerned that this is going to become quite controversial,” said Jeff Bachrach, a member of the commission and attorney.
“I think for us to put into design review some loaded words that suggest we want some design commissioners to think about people resting for hours, pitching tents, I think we’re just putting too great of a burden on design review,” Bachrach went on to say.
KATU News reached out to each member of the commission. No one would agree to talk about the proposal on the record, including Magnera.
Again, more at the link. Note, too, that the Portland City Council also won’t talk about the matter – which I find suspicious in itself.
So, I want to build a house in Portland, on my own private property, but the commission responsible for the building guidelines tells me I must – must – incorporate “an opportunity to rest and be welcome” to outsiders, without spelling out what that means. What if, a couple of years down the line, they tell me that means I have to allow outsiders to pitch a tent and live there for an indefinite period? That’s entirely conceivable, given the vague language being bandied about, and Portland’s well-known history of moonbat loony-left social justice proposals. I have news for them – given a restriction like that, I won’t be building! In fact, I’ll probably move somewhere that’s more respectful of my rights as a property owner – and take my contributions to city rates and taxes with me, as well as all my economic activity.
Think that sort of thing can’t happen where you live? Think again. If those holding the reins of power think they can get away with something, they’ll try to do so. It’s a disease that seems to go with public office. There are few, if any towns and cities where that’s not the case – and all those I know are that way because the incumbents know their electorate will tar and feather them, and run them out of town, if they try any shenanigans. Fear like that keeps politicians honest; and Texas does have certain advantages in that regard. For a start, many of our local cops would probably be joining in the tarring and feathering!