Public will versus bribery |

Public will versus bribery

When I was younger I was told how official business was conducted in some other countries. If you wanted something from the government then you were expected to pay the government employee an extra payment for whatever you sought. This was business as usual, but to me it was disgusting. It was after all a bribe. And my country didn’t operate that way. This was one of the benefits of living in a democracy and a reason for pride. Somewhat later in my education I learned that many larger groups and corporations made huge gifts to politicians that were called donations for their reelection and that these were perfectly legal and expected.

Our inability to enact campaign contribution limits is very terrifying. Every day more wealth and power shifts into the hands of the few. Every day we are less a democracy. How can bribery and the will of the people coexist? The Enron scandal and the failure of the government to meaningfully regulate genetic modification of our food are two examples. So long as legislation is for sale things have to get ever more terrifying.

I was toying with the acronym “P.Y.P.R.” It is not our property rights that are under siege in this nation but our political rights. Without political rights there can be no property rights. We have wandered so far away from the basics as to allow the government to suspend our essential liberties while we battle over superficial and imagined intrusions.

As a builder, I am for any program that takes the voodoo out of land-use decisions. I have learned that while I may not personally like every rule on the books, that my ability to conceive of building solutions, to sponsor projects and to move ahead is greatly enhanced if I know the rules in advance. It is my understanding that NH 2020 will clarify the rules of land use. I don’t think the actual process of NH 2020 is really a core issue. I think it is more the us-and-them kind of thing that apparently is essential to our political society.

Bill Sheatsley

Nevada City

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