Caveat Emptor – Check the Tires Before You Go

A preamble sets the rules of the road. The Preamble to the U.S. Constitution sets a vision for our country in just fifty-two words. The Preamble of the Colorado Consititution sets the vision for Colorado in sixty words. Author Brad Beck questions why the proposed Home-Rule Charter for the town of Erie, Colorado is one-hundred ninety-four words. Beck suggests Erie residents “kick the tires” on the proposed charter before voting. Because of ambiguous language in the charter, Beck recommends a “NO” vote.
The Kim Monson Show
The Kim Monson Show
Caveat Emptor – Check the Tires Before You Go

When I learned to drive in high school, the first thing I was instructed to do was walk around the vehicle and inspect it. Are the tires well inflated? Are there any open doors or items around the car to remove? Are the rear view and side mirrors aligned for the driver so they can see oncoming traffic prior to making a lane change? And does the car have enough gas? For a new driver, these basic instructions gave me the rules of the road prior to going anywhere. I pre-checked all the things that needed to be done prior to driving.

Like a new driver, a new preamble gives one the rules of the road. A preamble is the beginning of a document written to give its readers an understanding of the intent of those who wrote it. It defines its goals in clear and concise language. This ensures the reader can safely traverse the ideas in the document to come. The Preamble to the United States Constitution, written 1787, is clear and concise using fifty-two words to lay out the purpose of the United States Constitution. It states:

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution of the United States of America.”

The Colorado Constitution’s Preamble was written in 1876, 100 years after the Declaration of Independence. Hence Colorado’s nickname, the Centennial State. Colorado’s Preamble’s sixty words are clear and concise as it states:

“We, the people of Colorado, with profound reverence for the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, in order to form a more independent and perfect government; establish justice; insure tranquility; provide for the common defense; promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this constitution for the ”State of Colorado.”

The Town of Erie, where I reside, elected a commission of citizens to write a town charter for the purpose of creating “Home Rule” governance. Currently the town is governed as a statutory entity with governance by the state. In full disclosure, I ran for this commission and was not elected to serve on it. I had hoped that the citizens elected to this commission would create a document that would be clear and concise and give the citizens an understanding of its intent. Here is the proposed Town of Erie Charter Preamble.

“We, the people of the Town of Erie, Colorado, in order to establish a more effective and responsive government, to promote the general welfare, and to secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and future generations, do ordain and establish this Home Rule Charter.

We recognize that Erie’s history, character, and resources require a government that is dedicated to local control, sustainability, and the preservation of our natural environment. We affirm the rights of all residents to participate in the decisions that affect their lives, and we seek to promote transparency, accountability, and good governance at all levels.

We pledge to uphold the principles of democracy. equity, and justice, and foster a community that is inclusive, diverse, and welcoming to all. We value the contributions of our residents, businesses, and institutions, and we seek to promote economic growth and opportunity while preserving the quality of life that makes Erie a desirable place to live. In order to achieve these goals, we adopt this Home Rule Charter as a framework for local governance, and we commit ourselves to its execution for the betterment of our community and the well-being of all who call Erie home.”

The entire premise of their document is written as a post-modern ideal viewing the world as they wish rather than how it is. If you read no farther than the preamble in this document, you will realize that it is dangerously written. The proposed preamble has one-hundred ninety-four words. This is 30% more words than our state Constitution and the language is intentionally ambiguous. My first suggestion for this committee and the citizens who will vote on it in November 2023, is to check their premises.

Unlike the State of Colorado’s preamble there is no mention of Supreme Ruler or Creator. This is problematic since our wisdom is endowed by our creator as written in the Declaration of Independence, with inalienable rights of Life Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. There is no mention of the purpose of government, which is to protect universal, natural rights, and therefore to protect property.

There is no mention of personal responsibility, or the ideals of citizenship which are to be self-restrained, self-reliant, self-assertive, and to have civic knowledge. The proposed preamble has words and phrases that I am opposed to for their ambiguity. They include:

Sustainability, when properly defined, is a steady state of no growth. This is a “greenwash” word to sound environmentally concerned but what it really means is needing approval by your local government to build or improve a property. It is coercion at the local level.

The preservation of our natural environment. We all want to live in a beautiful, clean environment yet when The City of Boulder enacted their preservation of the natural environment under the Danish Plan it created a “green belt” around the city. This artificial bubble limited amounts of land to build on and inflated home prices which negates the ability for real affordable housing.

Democracy, which literally means “rule by the people” is really rule by the mob which impinges on individual rights. We are a republic with elected representatives. The Founders of this county feared democracy and understood its true outcomes.

Equity is not equality. Equality states we should all have equal opportunity at the beginning of our lives and enjoy the fruits of our labor by industry. Equity states we should all end up in the same place with no regard for merit, industry, or property. Equity takes away our individual rights.

Inclusive means if one agrees with the majority. Who is the arbitrator of this inclusiveness? What’s fair in the process to include, who pays for it, and who benefits from it?

Diverse, is broad and subjective. Is it only diversity of skin color, religion, or sexual orientation or of ideas, experiences, and the ability to bring unique perspectives regardless of checking a box?

We are told that local control is better for local municipalities which, in theory, would give the local citizens more to say in their local matters. This sounds good yet if a citizen does not get all the facts and understands what is being sold to them, they may regret their lack of understanding. Like the new driver who does not walk around his vehicle before driving and does not kick the tires then pulls out of the driveway with a flat, the experience will not be a good one from the beginning.

As I continue to review this proposed Town of Erie charter I hope to expose more of their incorrect premises about local government. If I had to vote on the proposed charter in my town today, I would vote NO. Why should anyone care if they did not reside in Erie, Colorado? You may wish to look at your own city or town charter and discover if you are being sold a Lincoln or a lemon. You may be surprised at what you find under the guise of local control.



3 Responses

  1. Thomas Paine found a way to get his words distributed. What you have to say is important, but if the words don’t get read what is the point,?

    Please find a way, in fact find numerous ways to distribute this essay.

  2. Excellent. I have heard of home rule, but knew little about it. Sounds like just another subversive way to execute the Socialist agenda. Thank you for Markeducating me on this topic.

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