Too often we believe that violations of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are exclusive domain of the federal government. While the loons at the federal level get more press regarding their gaffes, the sad truth is that there are just as many savage attacks on freedoms on the state, county, and local levels.
In Texas, we have seen some real eye openers on abuse of power. A few years back, current Governor Rick Perry mandated a vaccine for teenage girls that drew ire from all walks of life – including me. Former Senator Kip Averitt blew right past Texas riparian rights of property owners in drafting and passing laws that taxed owners that actually had the gall to use those rights.
However, some of the most egregious crimes against freedom are local in nature. If you really want to see a turf war, then go down to your County Commissioners Court or City Council meetings when budgets are being discussed. Start asking for copies of the budgets or show up with video cameras to record your own copy of events and hear the leather chairs howl as they are collectively sucked up into the butts of the public officials. The party affiliations matter not here – it is all about power and how to take more of your money. Ever noticed those cameras at signal lights? Are they there to “protect” or to be a cash cow for a local government agency? More importantly, did the voters get to approve the expenditures and loss of freedoms? Sometimes voters do get to 86 these ideas. Last year Houstonians told the City to stick it on this subject by a wide margin http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/7276380.html.
Our Appraisal Districts in Texas are amongst the most artful thieves in the nation. Oil and gas leases are not uncommon in this state for individual property owners. These are payments from oil & gas companies for allowing them (choked by a laugh) to drill under one’s property. If the drilling hits a well, you get some moola. Now – you pay taxes on the property being drilled under ( we have mineral rights in Texas), we pay tax on the production of the gas as it comes out of the ground, and we pay taxes on the actual income received. Pretty crazy, right? Well, the Texas Appraisal Districts felt the good citizens were not getting screwed enough, so they created another tax on the well site interest paying the property owner. Understand that this site is most likely not on your current property, as they need 5 or more acres to drill a well head. Now, in what I just illustrated the property owner getting the payment does not own the well head site, but gets ANOTHER tax for owning an “interest” in the site. It is a loophole in the Texas Statutes created long ago when Texas dominated the oil industry as a way to keep getting money back to the local governments. It was intended for “wealthy” land owners to participate more in the social injustices of big oil profits and the “lack of distribution” to the masses. Challenge was that this law stunk to begin with and never factored in Average Joe Homeowner getting the shaft in taxes. That zero lot line home that might pay a few hundred dollars a year in gas royalties costs more in the taxes that the interest brings in. Yeah, this screw up will never get fixed. The counties want the income and our Legislature does not have the brass pair to make amend the law.
This past week, the citizens of Cedar Falls, Iowa really took it up the nose when their city council decided that privacy and the 4th Amendment mean nothing and passed an ordinance requiring businesses, apartments, and certain rental houses to have keys in lockboxes for the City to have access to. The premise is that the fire or police department might have an emergency situation that could require access in advance of an owners permission. This clip is from the meeting to approve the measure: My friends, when a government requires you to do anything beyond the laws from the US Constitution and those of a State Constitution modeled in its image in which you live, its time to grab the pitchforks and torches and have a large body protest. Once upon a time this was a common practice when the Lords of the land became a little too inconsiderate of the common folk in the laws passed and taxes levied. The showing of the mob with fire and farm implements was enough many times to force changes; sometimes it took violent actions to get corrective action. I think the citizens of Cedar Falls should start asking if the City Council is going to require chip implants next to track everyone in the event of an emergency. Hitler is laughing in hell right now on this one. I hope the good people of Cedar Falls vote in a new City Council as soon as they can to replace these Nazis.
So why do the locals abuse your rights and mine? For the same reason a dog licks their genitals – because they can. It is the same pervasive problem that we are turning on eyes on at the federal and state levels. We have allowed the lies of those who sought office to ring as truth to our ears and we turned a blind eye to their actions. It will take the same efforts to wrest loose the control of local government as the efforts being exercised towards the federal and state governments. Perhaps even more so because of the familiarity of the electorate to the officials in local politics.
It must be remembered that the efforts of the conservative movement in the current revolution of government change cannot overlook local politics. Conservative candidates must be recruited, sponsored , and elected to local positions. One we can re-take the local positions, it makes the next step at the state and federal levels even easier. If you doubt that, take a hard look at the number of Democrats that control local politics in your county and state.
In the meantime, keep the tar on the torches and a few sharp farm implements around. You never know when a quick protest at City Hall may be needed.