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Politician Questionnaire: Ian Freeman
Politician Questionnaire: Darryl W Perry
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In the Shire, the Keene city council voted this week 15-0 to ban synthetic drugs. Well-intentioned though this may be, this will have the predictable consequence, as it always does, of putting more money in the hands of local illegal drug dealers. The seven-page ordinance proscribes fines in the hundreds of dollars and will result in the products being removed from local store shelves. While the concerned moms and dads pat themselves on the back for successfully achieving the illusion the drugs are no longer available, local drug dealers now have another product they can add to their repertoire.
Oh, and of course they can now raise the price so customers who are hooked will be more likely to steal and rob people to get money to continue their habit.
It’s simple: Prohibition doesn’t work.
Some have argued that the city has no authority to ban substances–that that is a matter for state legislators. But as if living in the Twilight Zone, City councilor and state rep Kris Roberts proposed legislation to, quote, “remove the ability of anyone to challenge the city’s ordinance based on its lack of authority to enact it”. In other words, he wrote law that says City Council can do whatever they want, and no one’s allowed to challenge it. Does the government really rule by consent of the governed?
It’s election time in New Hampshire, and some famous Free State liberty activists are running for positions in local government. Ian Freeman is running for Keene City Councilor at Large and Darryl W Perry is running for Mayor of Keene. While it’s unlikely they’ll win, this is a nearly free but very effective way to get radically new ideas about government to a large geographic area. For example, the two candidates recently had their ideas published in a local newspaper in response to a candidate survey.
When asked why he was running for Mayor, Darryl wrote, quote, “In a State that prides itself on political involvement, it is somewhat ironic that there are so few candidates for local office. I am running to give the voters a choice. On November 5, voters will have two choices for mayor, had I not filed, they would not have had a choice at all.”
Ian and Darryl put forward similar plans: both seeking the abolition of coercive taxes and ending the prosecution of victimless “crimes.” Ian also put forward a suggestion to abolish the parking enforcement in favor of allowing downtown property owners to own the spaces adjacent to their property and let downtown merchants and owners figure out the best policy for their own spots.
One of the most interesting questions of the survey was, What role should the city take in dealing with its population of homeless people?
Ian responded, quote,
As a regular financial supporter of Hundred Nights, I’m familiar with how their shelter actually encourages the homeless to make their lives better, while the city’s shelters just provide a way for homeless people to take advantage of the system. The city should get out of the business of trying to help people and leave that to community members who actually have the correct incentives to care.
Darryl responded in a similar fashion, with the addition of a historical example. Quote, “Mary Ruwart explains how the government of New York City prevented the homeless from being helped by the Missionaries of Charity. “In 1988, Mother Teresa’s order, the Missionaries of Charity, bought two abandoned buildings from New York City at $1 apiece and raised $500,000 for repairs. The city approved their plans for a homeless shelter, but after construction had begun, inspectors demanded installation of a $100,000 elevator. The nuns didn’t want to spend 20% of their funds on something that wouldn’t really help the poor, but the city wouldn’t budge. In frustration, the good Sisters abandoned the project. The street people of New York City, who would have been thrilled to live in these buildings even without an elevator, remained homeless.”
The City of Keene should reduce the costly tax burden and eliminate zoning ordinances that prohibit more individuals from providing help to those who need it.
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