Sandy City, Utah – “Truth In Taxation Hearing”

Sandy City Town Council

Truth in Taxation Hearing

August 8, 2015

Utah State Constitution, Article IV, Section 10:  All officers made elective or appointive by this Constitution or by the laws made in pursuance thereof, before entering upon the duties of their respective offices, shall take and subscribe the following oath or affirmation: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support, obey and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of this State, and that I will discharge the duties of my office with fidelity.”  Violation of this oath of office is an abuse of office (UCS 76-8-201, Utah Criminal Code).

It was labeled as a “Truth in Taxation Hearing.”  It was a far cry from “truth.”  It would have been more meaningful if the Council would have expressed their feelings in the first instance, instead of the members of the community.  After listening to the “excuses” for passing this increase in our property taxes, it demonstrated that the Council and a couple of members of the audience have no idea of the importance Article I of the Utah State Constitution plays in the conduct of business in government.  It showed that the council had its mind made up and the meeting was only a facade.

To those council members who feel that the hiking trails and other special interests of Utah are more important than the protection of our inalienable rights,  our property. . . our freedom, are providing only lip service when they declared they felt that the protection of our property and safety were important, then proceed to “take” from our labor to pay for the pleasures of others.  They forget that “honesty dies where interests lie.”

In the year of Utah’s centennial, Paul Wake wrote an informative article on Article I, Section 27 and comments: “One provision in Utah’s Constitution, Article I, Section 27, seems by its terms to be more important than any other part of the Constitution. . . . No other provision in the Constitution claims to show an essential key to freedom.  Yet strangely, virtually no jurist or scholar has commented on Section 27. . . .  The Utah Constitution can and should be used to protect rights and to perpetuate a free government . . .”  Do Utahns Remember How to Be Free?

Utah State Constitution, Article I, Section 27:  “Frequent recurrence to fundamental principles is essential to the security of individual rights and the perpetuity of free government.”

In the Utah Constitutional Convention, on the final debate over the Declaration of Rights, Section 27, some suggested that the section be omitted.  However, Heber Wells spoke out; “. . . because the tendency of the times might be as it has in the past, not to recur very often to fundamental principles.  When the people are oppressed and do not get their rights, it may be necessary to recur to fundamental principles.”   Paul Wake, Do Utahns Remember How to Be Free?   Mr. Wells, the time has come when trails, dog parks, skate parks, etc., have a higher priority than our freedoms.  We have individuals who are elected to positions of honor, yet have no idea what the fundamentals of a free society are.

To vote for increase in taxes against the sacred property rights of the citizens of Sandy is a violation of a calling and charge for which this Council was elected.  I know that I asked the question to the State legislature as what were the fundamentals of our government.  I sincerely doubt that the Sandy City Council could answer that challenge.

“It must be conceded that there are such rights in every free government beyond the control of the state.  A government which recognized no such rights, which held the lives, the liberty, and the property of its citizens subject at all times to the absolute disposition and unlimited control of even the most democratic depository of power, is after all but a despotism. It is true it is a despotism of the many, of the majority, if you choose to call it so, but it is nonetheless a despotism.” Supreme Court Justice Miller, Loan Association v. Topeka, (1874)

By our lack of attention, we have transformed our unique gift of a republic, which is required by the United States Constitution of each and every State omitted into the Union of States, into a democracy, governed by opinion polls.  With elected leaders who have forgotten that the inalienable rights of the people are not subject to opinion polls.

“This case involves a cancer in our body politic.  It is a measure of the disease which afflicts us. . . .  Those who already walk submissively will say there is no cause for alarm.  But submissiveness is not our heritage.  The first amendment was designed to allow rebellion to be our heritage.  The Constitution was designed to keep government off the backs of the people. . . .  The aim was to allow men to be free and independent and to assert their rights against government. . . .  The America once extolled as the voice of liberty heard around the world no longer is cast in the image which Jefferson and Madison designed, but more in the Russian image.”  Supreme Court Justice Douglas, Laird v. Tatum.

Alexis de Tocqueville, from his essay, Democracy in America [1835], makes some serious observations on the conditions we are faced with today.

“I seek to trace the novel features under which despotism may appear in the world.

“The first thing that strikes the observation is an innumerable multitude of men, all equal and alike, incessantly endeavoring to procure the petty and paltry pleasures with which they glut their lives.  Each of them, living apart, is as a stranger to the fate of all the rest, — his children and his private friends constitute to him the whole of mankind; as for the rest of his fellow-citizens, he is close to them, but he sees them not; he touches them, but he feels them not; he exists but in himself alone; and if his kindred still remain to him, he may be said at any rate to have lost his country.

Above this race of men stand an immense and tutelary power, which takes upon itself alone to secure their gratifications, and to watch over their fate.  That power is absolute, minute, regular, provident, and mild.  It would be like the authority of a parent, if, like that authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks, on the contrary, to keep them in perpetual childhood.  It is well that people should rejoice, provided they think of nothing but rejoicing.

For their happiness such a government willingly labors, but it chooses to be the sole agent and the only arbiter of that happiness; it provides for their security, [b] foresees and supplies their necessities, facilitates their pleasures,  manages their principle concerns, [e] directs their industry,  regulates the descent of property, and subdivides their inheritances; what remains, but to spare them all the care of thinking and all the trouble of living?

Thus, it every day renders the exercise of the free agency of man less useful and less frequent; it circumscribes the will within a narrower range, and gradually robs a man of all the uses of himself.  The principle of equality has prepared men for these things; it has predisposed men to endure them, and often times to look on them as benefits.

After having thus successively taken each member of the community in its powerful grasp, and fashioned him at will, the supreme power then extends its arm over the whole community.  It covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform through which the most thorough minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd.  The will of man is not shattered, but they are constantly restrained from acting; such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence, it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to be nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.

. . .Our contemporaries are constantly excited by two conflicting passions; they want to be led, and they wish to remain free; as they cannot destroy either the one or the other of these contrary propensities, they strive to satisfy them both at once, they devise a sole, tutelary, and all-powerful form of government, but elected by the people.  They combine the principles of centralization and that of popular sovereignty; thus gives them a respite; they console themselves for being in tutelage by the reflection that they have chosen there own guardians.  Every man allows himself to be put in leading-strings, because he sees that it is not a person or a class of persons but the people at large, who hold the end of his chain.

By this system, the people shake off their state of dependence just long enough to select their master, and then relapse into it again.  A great many persons at the present day are quite contented with this sort of compromise between administrative despotism and sovereignty of the people; and they think they have done enough for the protection of individual freedom when they have surrendered it to the power of the nation at large.”

Socialism raises its ugly face in Sandy, Utah.

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