You trust your local government at your peril

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!



  1. The city commission of Gainesville, FL passed a ban on straws, plastic grocery bags and single-use styrofoam containers because, as one councilwoman said, "Our garbage is clogging the oceans." They did this against public sentiment, without any pre-announcement, without any discussion, just… Boom, done.

    Sorry, toots, but if our garbage (dumped into a landfill at 150' above sea level) ends up in the Atlantic, we have other issues than garbage, like sea levels have risen 150' above current levels…

    And, of course, there are lots of people like me who are openly mocking and discussing the stupidity of the city commission at stores, loudly. I even managed to get into a spirited discussion with another angry old man while standing in line behind an actual city commissioner. Boy, the ugly looks he gave me. Boy, the even uglier looks we gave him when he tried to defend his and the commission's move.

    Thanks to all the public sentiment, it looks like we're gonna be able to keep our murder-sticks, smothering bags and death-plates.

    Stupid jumped up politicians. Hates them, hates them I do.

  2. I recall a local council in Northern Virginia (I was living in Wonderland on the Potomac at the time) that tried something comparably stupid. The locals had decisively rejected a proposal to build an expensive new government building. The local panjandrums, piqued at having their Divine Will thwarted, cut an underhanded (and quiet) deal to have the developer build them exactly the building they had proposed, and then lease it to them.

    The citizenry found out, voted the Panjandrums out in a body (there was a recall in there, too, if I remember correctly) got the leasing agreement voided on the grounds that the entire arrangement was fraudulent, and bankrupted the developer.

  3. This Portland proposal will simply drive a lot of businesses (and residents) outside the Portland city limits. Multnomah county has some of this craziness as well. But Clackamas county does not and neither does Vancouver and Clark county just across the river in Washington state. I live in Vancouver. If I caught wind of something like this being proposed in Vancouver, I and many others would be descending on city council to put a stop to it. We would also demand that city council dissolve any such "sustainability" commission.

  4. "many of our local cops would probably be joining in the tarring and feathering"

    Many – perhaps even most – officers consider themselves to be municipal employees, sworn to follow /lawful/ orders. Many have families to feed. If the Board of Selectmen says to jump, they'll jump.
    Not all civil wars have only two sides.

  5. CSPS – would not be surprised if the developer was closely related to one or more of the city council, or was partially owned by one or more of the city council, or all of the above. With a healthy dose of under-the-table payments to the city council, of course…

  6. In Arlington TX the city council has decided to ban airbnb. In other words if you have a house that would otherwise sit empty 7 months a year, you can't rent it out on a short term basis when you are not using it. Lots of the citizens are against the ban, but the hotel industry is pushing it.

  7. I moved to a place where there is no local government. The nearest sheriff's office is a one hour forty-five drive away. There was a resident deputy but he quit and there are no plans to replace him. I guess there are county rules, but I don't know what they are. There are six people who live within a few miles of me and they don't know what the rules are either.

    We all live and let live. And are armed to the teeth.

  8. I think the Portland proposal applies to downtown commercial buildings.

    Part of the City Council's attempts to make downtown more accommodating to the homeless.

    Don in Oregon

  9. Here's a thought for those that are not like LL and I. Term limits with a twist.

    A nationwide limit, at every level of grubbermint, to "Public Service" in any elected capacity of 12 years. That would mean only two U.S. Senate terms for your whole (miserable) life.

    Or six (2) years terms as city council, or whatever. Do your 12 years and go get a REAL job.

    You want to poke fun at someone? Pretty much EVERYONE that has spent more than 12 years in elected *public* service; they are leaches, liars and thieves.

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