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There's licenses for everything nowadays, from marriage, to adding a bathroom in YOUR house. Speeding tickets and speed limits make us "criminals" for going 66 in a 65 zone, even if nobody else is on the road. Motorcyclists and bicyclists get tickets and fines for not wearing a helmet, and then there's seatbelt laws... We've become a society of laws that force people's "good ideas" on everyone else, regardless of constitutional freedoms. Here, we'll discuss our freedoms and how to keep them.

Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force;
like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master.
Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.
- George Washington - founding father, general of the continental army
in the war of independence, first president of the United States, and
framer of the Constitution.

To all who cry "peace at all costs":
"NO WAR" you say? We tried that.
Fifty-five million people died.
It was called World War II.

Friday, May 06, 2005

RAAAARRR!!!! Fix your sidewalk or we'll charge you!!! RAAAARRRR!!!

Ok, so yet another notch in the "we're going to force you to do what we say or we'll scare you into submission with fines and fees" battle, the local city here wherein I own my house has sent me a letter saying in effect "the city has entered into a contract with a sidewalk contractor for the replacement of hazardous sidewalk abutting your property... The estimated amount of sidewalk to be replaced adjacent to your property that you are responsible for and the costs are summarized below... in accordance with City Ordinance blah blah blah, this letter shall serve as your notice to replace the sidewalk.... If you elect to not replace the sidewalk on your own by this date, the City's contractor will be in your area to perform the work and you will be invoiced for your share of the work actually completed." (my "share" of the work is the whole freaking thing by the way) (oh, and by the way, from what I've seen, there is no dangerous sidewalk on my property anywhere, it's all flat and level, no chunks or big cracks at all)

Now wait a minute here. I read this and am thinking "so some random city ordinance says that the city can come onto my property without a contract from ME or my consent, and fix something they deem to be dangerous on MY property and then bill me for it?" When did this happen? So I call the city and say basically
"I received this letter... I don't plan on either doing this work or paying for it if it is done..."
The lady on the other end of the line says "Well city ordinance such and such says you have to..."
To which I reply "So because some lawmaker wrote a law that says something, we all have to comply to it?"
She says, "Yes, it's city ordinance"
I say "Well who owns the sidewalks?"
"The sidewalks are your reponsibility because you live in this city..."
(Nevermind that she didn't answer my question...)
"Well ma'am, if I own the sidewalk, then I don't want it in my yard, since it's mine, I should be able to go get a jackhammer and tear that sucker up. I don't want it, I don't want to pay for it, I don't want to deal with the hassle of it"
"Well, you HAVE to have it and take care of it..."
"Ok, I got it. So because some lawmaker says so, we have to? So if some lawmaker made a law that said we all have to get up on our roofs with red underwear and do a little dance, do we have to do that too?"
"I don't think they would make that law..."

At this point I pretty much gave up, but had I continued the conversation, it probably would have gone something like this...

"I don't care whether or not they would make that law, the fact is, if they did, and it was city ordinance, you're saying I would have to obey that ordinance and go dance on my roof in red underwear?"
"Well I suppose if it was city ordinance, yes"
"Oh, I see. So we would have no duty to stand against that blatant disregard for our private rights?"
"Sir, it is city ordinance"
"Yes it is maam, and let I remind you that years ago, it was 'city ordinance' that African Americans could not drink from certain water fountains. And were it not for some African Americans disobeying that city ordinance that blatantly violated their rights and was therefore unconstitutional, then we would STILL have those city ordinances today. As a matter of fact ma'am , if it were not for some 'troublemaker' women years ago, you would not be on the other end of this phone line because people would still believe only a man could hold your position in the city engineer's office"

And so, another notch in the annals of stupidity and carelessness on the part of our government officials. They figure that if they threaten us with "friendly" letters saying "we're going to do this, you do this or else..." that we'll just cave in and do what they want, regardless of how much they are disregarding our rights.

Now, if they sent me a letter saying "we just wanted to let you know, there's some sidewalk on your property that's dangerous (I look and it isn't dangerous by the way), if you could fix it for the safety of those using the sidewalk, we'd appreciate it, thanks" Then MAYBE I might be inclined to fix the thing, if I so chose to do it. In this case I wouldn't because it's not in my budget, and I don't have the spare cash to do it, but if I did, I might be inclined to do it.

I've been wondering what the heck a "tree lawn" was for ever since I was a kid, and I ask my dad, I say "why don't we do such and such to the tree lawn?" And he says "we can't, we don't own it, the city does". I reply "um, then why the heck do I have to mow the tree lawn if we don't own it?"

At any rate, the whole point is this. If the city owns the sidewalk (and the tree lawn, and the curbs, and the roads, etc...), then it is the city's problem. It's incumbent upon them to pay for it, to maintain it, to fix it when it breaks, and to settle lawsuits when someone trips on THEIR property.

Conversely, if it is my property, if I own the sidewalk, then I can post signs at both ends of my property saying "no trespassing (including my sidewalk), not liable for injuries to trespassers upon my property". I can let it fall into a state of disrepair, or I can layer it with 24k gold if I so choose. I can let the snow fall on it and admire the pretty snow in my front yard, and yell at anyone who trespasses on my property, leaving ugly footprints in the pretty snow that fell on my property. OR I can take a stinkin' jackhammer to the sidewalk and crush it into teeny tiny bits, throw away the concrete, and plant grass (or leave a hole, whichever) where the sidewalk used to be, because it is MY property.

But unfortunately, the city is giving me the worse of both deals here. I do not own it, but I must pay to maintain it, or maintain it myself with my labor, and I can do NOTHING about it. Basically they're saying "you must come and fix our property for us, and receive no compensation for doing it." What does that sound like to you?

US Constitution Amendment XIII
"Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."

You make your own judgement, but last I checked, I can't come to you and say "Hey, I've got this hot tub that I'll let ALL the people in the neighborhood use, but since you're my neighbor, you have to clean it once a week, or I'll have a cleaning crew do the work and send you the bill".

If the government has no power other than that which "we the people" give to it, and since "we the people" don't even have the power to force someone to come in and "clean our hot tub", making them our "involuntary servant", then the question we must ask ourselves is: "Since people can only give government powers that they themselves have, then where did government get the power to force us to do that?"

The only answer to that is "they're bigger than me, so they can force me to do it whether I like it or not". Just like the 5th grader picking on a 3rd grader on the playground, he's bigger and can bully around the 3rd grader. But if all the 3rd graders gather together to stand up against that bully, he's in trouble. It's the same with govenrment, "they" aren't bigger than "we the people", and if we all peacefully stand up for our rights, "they" can't bully us around.


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