Local Control, Not Local Tyranny

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Local Control, Not Local Tyranny

By: 
Jeremy Cady

Several years ago I had the opportunity to sit on the Board of Adjustments for the City of Springfield. The board heard appeals from residents about decisions made by Planning and Zoning.

On one occasion, the City of Springfield told a resident their new garage was three inches too high. The city requested the resident either lower their garage or rebuild it.

They appealed and the board unanimously voted to approve the appeal. It was crazy for the city to ask a resident to spend $30,000...for three inches hurting no one.

This is an example of both local tyranny and local control. Wayward city employees held back by a board of fellow residents - neighbors.

I don't know a conservative that does not believe local control is important. Who better to run counties, cities, police, and schools than members of that community? Who's going to be more accountable - your neighbor or a faceless bureaucrat in Jefferson City?

It's an easy concept to understand and that's why the state allows local governments to manage many services.

But at times, local governments do get carried away.

Columbia tried to force citizens to use certain grocery bags with extra fees. The city would make food less affordable for the poor so their council could sleep better knowing the landfill was void of plastic bags. 

Kansas City passed a minimum wage hike, a direct breach of state law. This move will likely displace the most needy and least productive in Kansas City. A shameful act of raising unemployment to garner support and votes.

Progressives cried "foul" when the Missouri General Assembly worked to rein in this tyranny. They seem to believe local control means allowing local rulers do as they wish. 

Progressives called the legislature hypocrites but, let's be honest, local control means nothing to them. Where are they on local control when we discuss Obamacare or Common Core? Exactly.

We saw local tyranny when certain municipalities enacted gun control. Cities outlawed the open carry of a firearm though the state of Missouri is an open carry state. Last year voters approved Amendment 5 and stopped this attack on your Second Amendment right. As a result, cities may no longer ban open carry.

Another victory against local tyranny was SB 5, sponsored by Senator Schmitt. It was clear cities were prioritizing their bank accounts over the safety of residents. SB 5 limits revenue cities may create through fines and ticketing, resetting their priorities.

A local government is a political subdivision of the state of Missouri. It exists and has authority because the state allows it.

Any law, ordinance, or rule enacted by a local government cannot give a resident more freedom. Local governments, at the least, must follow state law. All they may do is increase regulations within their scope of authority.

Local government is often the preferred method of management and delivery of services. But tyranny is ALWAYS wrong.

When tyranny occurs it is the responsibility of the people to put a stop to it. In our government that often comes in the form of our legislature in Jefferson City. It's their place to entrust local government while also ensuring no rights are violated by that entity.