It’s Sunday morning and the doorbell rings. Two ladies walking by my house see and read the home-made sign in my yard and stop by to ask about it. I am glad they did. They said they were new to the neighborhood and wanted to know more about the issue of Home Rule regarding the Town of Erie question 3E on the November 8th ballot. It states, “Shall the Town of Erie form a Home Rule Charter Commission for the purpose of drafting a Home Rule charter”. They asked, “what is Home Rule, why do some people not want to continue as a statutory town, who is leading this initiative, who benefits, who is paying for it, what is fair about it, what are the unintended consequences of it?” These are all great questions. I answered them as best I could from my reading and facts I have found from sources as varied as the Colorado Municipal League, the “Yes, on Home Rule website”, and other towns and municipalities with their proponents for and against Home Rule all around the State of Colorado.
After a nice conversation and answering their questions I asked, “What problem do you think Home Rule is trying to fix for the town?” They shrugged. I suggested they do their own research and said, “I am voting NO on the issue.” I asked the ladies to do the same, and to vote for the individuals who did not fill out the issue committee’s questionnaire on their website. Confused, one asked, “If we vote no, why do we have to vote for nine people for the Charter Commission?” I explained, “Even if you vote no, the measure may still pass and the nine people who garner the most votes will be chosen to serve on the Charter Commission.” The other said, “They are trying to confuse people”.
I have read from those in favor of the measure that we need more local control of our town’s destiny, give the citizens what they want and raise more sources of revenue from businesses so the town can provide more services for the community. These comments are exactly why I am against this measure. The people who are for this measure say they want to help the town manage future growth. They want to provide more of the services and help people’s needs. These are all terrible ideas because they use the force government to pay for these services.
The people who are supporting the town forming a Charter Commission have said things such as, they are running to “give back to the community,” stop the “head butting contest” between the reds and the blues,” “grow in a sustainable and managed way,” “help shape Erie’s future and make sure that it continues to be an enjoyable place to live,” “regularly encountered situations where we were restricted in how we could make a decision or address a local issue,” “I want to ensure an honest voice for my community,” “to provide Old Town Erie with representation in town politics,” “we have a vested interest in Erie,” “I am passionate about the well-being of our community and the opportunities provided to all residents.” All nice sounding platitudes to run on yet not one of these folks understand the proper role of their government. No one has stated a philosophical understanding of the purpose of government. The purpose of government is to protect individual rights. Not to provide for people. Not one person who is supporting this charter has written or talked about this exceptional concept.
Those who have studied history, philosophy, and human nature see this measure for what it is, a grab at more control at a local level and adding another layer of bureaucracy into the lives of Erie citizens. We should all be involved in our government, yet when people do not understand what a citizen is, it’s easy to see why we have the sort of bloated government we currently have. As citizens, we must be self-restrained and be in control of ourselves. We should be self-assertive and not surrender our sovereignty to those in power or abdicate our personal responsibility. We should have civic-knowledge and an understand how our government should work. We should be self-reliant and use our mind to reason and create our own wealth. These things must be done to remain free and independent beings. These are the conditions of freedom in a civil society.
If this measure passes and a new charter is to be written, it should embody the recognition and protection of individual rights. I want to be part of the Charter Commission if it does pass to do just this. If citizens are to be free, they should understand that production proceeds consumption. That no amount of need is a reason to force others to do for you. The human mind is the source of all your wealth. Capitalism is the only moral system consistent with human nature. All trade should be mutually beneficial and voluntary, trading value for value. The initiation of force is evil, and that government has a monopoly on force. To understand the objective rule of law on property is critical. The proper way to champion capitalism is a moral defense based upon the unalienable rights of each individual to live their lives according to their own judgment.
The Yes on Home Rule people can’t estimate the cost of a new charter because they are saying it depends on what is written into it. I can assure you that your taxes will rise, and your life will become more complicated with more government if Home Rule passes. To sum this up and paraphrase Matte Kibbe, President of Free the People, “Leave people alone, don’t take their junk, and don’t be a jerk,” by growing government. I ask you to vote NO on Home Rule and in case this measure passes, vote for me, Bradley Beck because I will protect your individual rights if elected.