Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Taxpayers shouldn't foot hotel bill

Taxpayers shouldn't foot hotel bill (My CNJ column from June 2, 2011. As written, not as published.)

I think it is a noble thing to want to save the Hotel Clovis building from decay or destruction. Personally, I love to see historic buildings preserved and put back to use.

I'm somewhat less enthusiastic over the plan to use it for subsidized housing. If you own the building I think it is yours to use as you see fit as long as you harm no other person, however I believe subsidized housing is harmful to everyone.

Where some people go astray is when they demand that others pay, through taxation, "public funds", or other government coercion, for their own pet projects. Other people do not value the same things you do and it is not very nice to force them to pay for that which you think is important. If I believed in doing that I might demand a huge tax-funded "living history" site, complete with tipis, bison, and gunfights, somewhere around town. It might become a tourist attraction and I'd probably want to live there. But I know it is wrong to get what I want that way, even if 51% of the voters agreed with me.

A majority of 100%, minus one individual, has no real right to force the lone holdout to finance or participate in their project if he'd rather not. As long as he is allowed to opt out, losing neither his time nor his money in the process, he has no authority to stand in the way of the voluntarily organized and financed project he opposes, either.

If something really should be done, there will be volunteers to do it, or a market for it to be done "for profit". A fund drive for the Hotel Clovis building might be the proper way to put your money where your mouth is. I'll even pledge the first dollar. The campaign to "Keep Cannon" got the community organized and energized; why not devote the same energy to the campaign to "Save the Hotel"? If it doesn't gain momentum, perhaps the desire is not really there. If that is the case, a private group could still be organized to purchase the hotel with their own money and save it in their own way. Once again, I'm willing to help.

To those who want to save the hotel, I ask: What is stopping you? My follow-up question is: Why do you let that stop you?


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