Thursday, June 16, 2011

Mayor wants us to all "go along" with her

I wrote this as a Clovis News Journal column, but it was rejected. So, I am now free to present it here.

Clovis’ mayor, Gayla Brumfield, was recently quoted in these pages as saying "I believe it is time that we all worked together as citizens of Clovis to move forward with all the exciting opportunities that lie before our growing community, and become one voice — the voice for
the betterment of Clovis, New Mexico."

She was speaking about the controversy over the Hotel Clovis deal. I smell politics.

What the mayor sees as moving "forward", I see as regression to failed collectivist policies of socialism. Collectivism still isn't a good idea, no matter which flag you wrap it in.

I do agree this is an opportunity, but not all opportunities are a good thing. A lost and confused elderly person in an alley is an opportunity for a mugger, and government-subsidized housing is an opportunity for collectivists; those who believe they have a "right" to your money and property. How does an increase in collectivism and dependency qualify as "betterment" of the community?

Nor is all growth positive. Good growth is self-generating and self-sustaining. Bad growth is parasitic and dependent on subsidies.

That "one voice", calling for collectivism which will ultimately harm individuals, is not a chorus to join. It seems to simply be a tactic to silence the critics. Contrarian opinions need to be expressed. Especially since there is nothing that is "good for everyone".

Where Clovis or any other community is concerned, there is a smart way to grow, there is a true "forward", there are real opportunities, there is a more honest appraisal of "betterment", and there might be a time for "one voice". This is none of the above.

If an idea is good there is no need to tell people to speak with "one voice". They may join you anyway, but if not it is their loss. If an idea is bad or controversial you should welcome dissent as an opportunity to make your case, reach consensus, and examine your premises. Either way, you need to let people opt out of financially supporting anything they don't want.

My suggestion, as a libertarian, is to get government out of the way. Stop interfering with Hotel Clovis and simply stand aside. This is complicated by the fact that the city believes it owns the building, but this complication could be solved by signing Hotel Clovis over to the prospective developer. No red tape, no zoning issues, no taxes or tax credits or subsidies, and no stipulations or conditions. Sure, this sounds scary to people who aren't accustomed to seeing freedom and the free market at work, but it would be the best solution in the long run.

Added: It has been pointed out that the NM constitution has an "anti-donation" clause so that the city can't sign the building over to anyone. When has a constitution stopped any government? Anyway, they could probably bend the law to sell it for a low price.

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