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Old 05-23-2019, 10:03 PM   #81
vicsinad
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Originally Posted by Gocka View Post

Don't even get me started on local governments, FASCISTS, all of them. Your local government has full control of who can build what and where, and its totally subjective. You have ordinances that govern EVERYTHING.
I take that personally, Gocka!

I've worked for three different local governments and now serve as the City Manager of one. We don't have full control of who can build what and where, and the process and the regulations are not subjective in nature. Individuals disagree with what their neighbors are doing because, they say, it interferes with their reasonable use and enjoyment of their property -- as well as their constitutional rights. Ordinances are then enacted to solve these problems... and these problems are abundant. Balancing limited government while protecting individuals' rights isn't simple.

One example: a vendor goes door-to-door selling life insurance within the town. Neighbors by the hundreds complain to the local government that these life insurance salesmen are unwanted trespassers on their property. Local government passes an ordinance banning the solicitation and vending of products on private property. Company then threatens to sue the City for enacting a law that interferes with its right to conduct business. US common law is not settled law nor conclusive on the issue. So now the local government has to balance the two: individual's right to privacy and to control activity on his own property, with a corporation's (or individual's, per US law) right to engage in commerce. You could take away the ordinance, but then you'll have angry mobs coming after you and, worst case scenario, people on their porches, shotguns in hand, waiting for a vendor to walk up to their house (in a town I worked at in Vermont, some guy stayed on his porch with a shot gun for several days as a wind turbine was constructed on the property next to him and he threatened to shoot the workers if they accidentally trespassed on his land). If the ordinance remains in place, you might engage in a legal battle with a company that has a hundreds of times larger bank account than your small local municipal operating budget. Which right takes precedent? How do you balance them? Not an easy solution.

The reality is -- from my experience -- that local government is driven by issues facing residents. Now, local government doesn't get it right many times, but I'd say living in NJ has skewed your perception or you're more of a libertarian than you once thought Still, I believe in what I do and I believe in local power over state power. Fascists we are not...just trying to moderate and resolve problems that arise in our towns.
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Old 05-23-2019, 10:41 PM   #82
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Don't even get me started on local governments, FASCISTS, all of them. Your local government has full control of who can build what and where, and its totally subjective. You have ordinances that govern EVERYTHING.
Local government - I don't know what's going on there. They seem to write their own rules and aren't accountable to anyone.

RtG - I've always wondered how much people actually pay in taxes if you add up everything - income tax, GST on everything you buy, state taxes, rates etc (everything). What percentage of your income would you say goes in taxes?
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Old 05-23-2019, 10:45 PM   #83
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One example: a vendor goes door-to-door selling life insurance within the town. Neighbors by the hundreds complain to the local government that these life insurance salesmen are unwanted trespassers on their property. Local government passes an ordinance banning the solicitation and vending of products on private property. Company then threatens to sue the City for enacting a law that interferes with its right to conduct business. US common law is not settled law nor conclusive on the issue. So now the local government has to balance the two: individual's right to privacy and to control activity on his own property, with a corporation's (or individual's, per US law) right to engage in commerce. You could take away the ordinance, but then you'll have angry mobs coming after you and, worst case scenario, people on their porches, shotguns in hand, waiting for a vendor to walk up to their house (in a town I worked at in Vermont, some guy stayed on his porch with a shot gun for several days as a wind turbine was constructed on the property next to him and he threatened to shoot the workers if they accidentally trespassed on his land). If the ordinance remains in place, you might engage in a legal battle with a company that has a hundreds of times larger bank account than your small local municipal operating budget. Which right takes precedent? How do you balance them? Not an easy solution.
I think that's pretty simple. Private property is private property. Everyone can go about their business and conduct commerce but not on property that does not belong to them or where they do not have permission to be. Personally, I wouldn't complain to local government about that, I would simply call the police and keep talking to the salesman as if I was interested until the police arrive and then start screaming intruder
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Old 05-24-2019, 11:40 AM   #84
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I take that personally, Gocka!

I've worked for three different local governments and now serve as the City Manager of one. We don't have full control of who can build what and where, and the process and the regulations are not subjective in nature. Individuals disagree with what their neighbors are doing because, they say, it interferes with their reasonable use and enjoyment of their property -- as well as their constitutional rights. Ordinances are then enacted to solve these problems... and these problems are abundant. Balancing limited government while protecting individuals' rights isn't simple.

One example: a vendor goes door-to-door selling life insurance within the town. Neighbors by the hundreds complain to the local government that these life insurance salesmen are unwanted trespassers on their property. Local government passes an ordinance banning the solicitation and vending of products on private property. Company then threatens to sue the City for enacting a law that interferes with its right to conduct business. US common law is not settled law nor conclusive on the issue. So now the local government has to balance the two: individual's right to privacy and to control activity on his own property, with a corporation's (or individual's, per US law) right to engage in commerce. You could take away the ordinance, but then you'll have angry mobs coming after you and, worst case scenario, people on their porches, shotguns in hand, waiting for a vendor to walk up to their house (in a town I worked at in Vermont, some guy stayed on his porch with a shot gun for several days as a wind turbine was constructed on the property next to him and he threatened to shoot the workers if they accidentally trespassed on his land). If the ordinance remains in place, you might engage in a legal battle with a company that has a hundreds of times larger bank account than your small local municipal operating budget. Which right takes precedent? How do you balance them? Not an easy solution.

The reality is -- from my experience -- that local government is driven by issues facing residents. Now, local government doesn't get it right many times, but I'd say living in NJ has skewed your perception or you're more of a libertarian than you once thought Still, I believe in what I do and I believe in local power over state power. Fascists we are not...just trying to moderate and resolve problems that arise in our towns.
I forgot that you work in local government. I firmly believe you are the most considerate and honest local government NAZI there is

I don't know what local government is like outside of NJ but in NJ its pretty terrible. In the town I live the city council has voted a dozen times to try and push through a new 15 million dollar municipal building which the residents have voted down every time. They have tried every trick in the book. Holding the vote before and after major holidays, holding them during odd hours. My town has about 9000 residents and they want to take out massive loans to make a 15 mil $ building, for the 10 people who work there. The original bids were in excess of 20mil. I think the latest effort its down to 11mil.

I know from your perspective you see it as just trying to solve problems as they arise. But from my perspective, a lot of these problems are the complaints and ramblings of a minority in the community who are usually old and bored. The majority are not involved and only find out about the majority of ordinances when they break one. You could argue that this is their own fault for not being active in the process, but I would argue, why are laws and ordinances passing with the support of a clear majority? We complain all the time when the federal government pushes something through that we think is unpopular with the majority.

I pay very high property taxes in order to own private property. I should be able to do with it as I please. If I want to constantly be told what I can and can not do in my own home, I'll rent an apartment.

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Originally Posted by Vangelovski View Post
Local government - I don't know what's going on there. They seem to write their own rules and aren't accountable to anyone.
They are only accountable at the local level and most people don't pay attention to what happens at the local level. In this regard Vic is right, people are not involved enough. They only take notice when they want something or something really pisses them off. Because their decisions as a local government aren't all over the evening news, most of it goes by unnoticed, so its hard to garner broad support and awareness. A lot of the decisions are at the whims of the local officials. Technically you could do something about it, but who is going to go door by door to hold the local building inspector accountable for being a dick and not adhering to building code and making up his own laws?

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RtG - I've always wondered how much people actually pay in taxes if you add up everything - income tax, GST on everything you buy, state taxes, rates etc (everything). What percentage of your income would you say goes in taxes?
I wrote a paper in college about that. In my state its insane because there are many built in and hidden taxes that you don't realize are taxes. In NJ their are 5 different taxes on your phone bill, 911 tax, gas tax and diesel tax, property tax, state income tax, federal income tax, payroll tax, state payroll tax, some municipalities have other local taxes, sales tax. There was more I just can't remember them.

It ended up that those hidden taxes disproportionately impacted poorer people because they were fixed taxes instead of incremental. A poor person drives to work as much as a rich person, if they use the same amount of gas they paid the same amount of tax on vastly different incomes. Same with the phone taxes. A rich person has roughly the same phone bill as a poor person but the tax is the same.

I have to see if I still kept the paper, but if I remember, a person on minimum wage paid 50% or more in taxes all things considered despite having a marginal income tax rate of 10%. You also had to factor that a portion of your rent is the property owners property tax.
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Old 05-29-2019, 12:00 AM   #85
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RtG - I've always wondered how much people actually pay in taxes if you add up everything - income tax, GST on everything you buy, state taxes, rates etc (everything). What percentage of your income would you say goes in taxes?
I spent weeks on this. I will say 100% in my estimations.
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Old 05-29-2019, 06:26 AM   #86
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I don't know what local government is like outside of NJ but in NJ its pretty terrible. In the town I live the city council has voted a dozen times to try and push through a new 15 million dollar municipal building which the residents have voted down every time. They have tried every trick in the book. Holding the vote before and after major holidays, holding them during odd hours. My town has about 9000 residents and they want to take out massive loans to make a 15 mil $ building, for the 10 people who work there. The original bids were in excess of 20mil. I think the latest effort its down to 11mil.
That's irresponsible budgeting of taxpayers money, I'd say. But what's the problem if the people keep on voting it down? That's democracy. Local government usually doesn't have a voter percentage threshold. Next election all you have to do is vote out the councilmen who continue allowing this to be taken to vote, or who will hire new staff that stops proposing ridiculous projects. Problem solved. The people win.

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I know from your perspective you see it as just trying to solve problems as they arise. But from my perspective, a lot of these problems are the complaints and ramblings of a minority in the community who are usually old and bored. The majority are not involved and only find out about the majority of ordinances when they break one. You could argue that this is their own fault for not being active in the process, but I would argue, why are laws and ordinances passing with the support of a clear majority? We complain all the time when the federal government pushes something through that we think is unpopular with the majority.
Local governments can do a better job of reaching out, but I disagree with your conclusion. People have a duty to involve themselves in and understand what's going on. It's not like these ordinances are just passed out of thin air -- there are usually months of meetings, hearings and opportunities for public input. Ignorance of the law has never been a justification for breaking the law. Plus, if local government had a requirement that 50% of the people must participate in a vote in order for something to be valid, nothing would get done. On off-presidential elections, voter turnout in local government is usually 25% and on special issues it's even lower than than that. Since we can't compel residents to vote, we are stuck making decisions usually with a citizenry that only cares after-the-fact. (By the way, most ordinances are passed by the City Council at public meetings and not by direct vote. The majority of council members have to pass it, and because the residents voted them in, there ya go.)

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I pay very high property taxes in order to own private property. I should be able to do with it as I please. If I want to constantly be told what I can and can not do in my own home, I'll rent an apartment.
Okay, there are very few zoning regulations that can regulate what you do inside your home. Those are usually building codes related to electrical wiring, fire safety, etc. Zoning usually only regulates what you do on your property that can, in one way or another, impact your neighbors or community. I get it's annoying when you're told to cut your grass to a certain length or that your shutters have to be a certain color -- but guess what? a) zoning regulations are passed through an ordinance process in which the public has an opportunity to comment and potentially convince the Planning Commission and then Council to vote it down; b) property taxes are typically approved by public vote; c) property values tend to be higher in communities with more elaborate and consistently enforced zoning regulations; and d) a lot of the reasons you have high property taxes are to pay for things that the people keep on letting local officials know that they need, such as roads, sidewalks, sewer and water expansion, parks, police patrols, schools, etc.

You don't pay property taxes to enjoy your property; you pay property taxes to benefit from the services and infrastructure available in your community. If you want to enjoy a property with no restrictions, go to a community with little or no zoning and little or no property taxes. If you're like most people, you'd be out-of there pretty quick, or you'd be the one complaining why someone was allowed to build a strip club right next to the park where your children play every day; or better yet, why someone can rev their Harley Davidson right up to your property line all night long while you're trying to sleep. You'd also be constantly complaining about how your road is so bad that you have to park your car a mile from your house just to walk to your house. You have that choice to choose the community you want to be in, or change the community you're currently in.

But until Macedonians realize that they hold the power to their freedom, then....wait, that's not what we were talking about!

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Old 05-29-2019, 06:36 AM   #87
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Another thing I neglected to mention:

Before you moved to your community, you had an opportunity to read and understand the zoning regulations, as well as all ordinances, and understand the process for making decisions. That you chose to still move into a community when you should have known, or had substantial opportunity to know, the rules and processes and etc., means that you made a decision that living there was worth it.

People shouldn't sign contracts without reading them, but most do anyway. People shouldn't move into communities without understanding the laws and ordinances, but most do anyway. However, by signing a contract and moving into a community, you've agreed to everything that comes with it.
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Old 05-30-2019, 04:29 PM   #88
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That's irresponsible budgeting of taxpayers money, I'd say. But what's the problem if the people keep on voting it down? That's democracy. Local government usually doesn't have a voter percentage threshold. Next election all you have to do is vote out the councilmen who continue allowing this to be taken to vote, or who will hire new staff that stops proposing ridiculous projects. Problem solved. The people win.
The problem is that people have better things to do then go to town meetings every night. Voting on the same issue a dozen times is a clear attempt to wear people out until they can squeak it through. That is why less is more. If they had less authority we wouldn't need as much to watch them like hawks all the time.


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Local governments can do a better job of reaching out, but I disagree with your conclusion. People have a duty to involve themselves in and understand what's going on. It's not like these ordinances are just passed out of thin air -- there are usually months of meetings, hearings and opportunities for public input. Ignorance of the law has never been a justification for breaking the law. Plus, if local government had a requirement that 50% of the people must participate in a vote in order for something to be valid, nothing would get done. On off-presidential elections, voter turnout in local government is usually 25% and on special issues it's even lower than than that. Since we can't compel residents to vote, we are stuck making decisions usually with a citizenry that only cares after-the-fact. (By the way, most ordinances are passed by the City Council at public meetings and not by direct vote. The majority of council members have to pass it, and because the residents voted them in, there ya go.)
Maybe nothing should get done if the majority of the people don't care about it. Most people don't get home until around 6pm. They need to feed their families, take a shower, see their kids, and god forbid relax. Maybe public policy is a passion of yours, at a minimum its your job. To most people its a nuisance and they can probably do without the majority of it. What you end up with on the local level is a bunch of retired people and special interests that make up a small part of the community being the decision makers.

You are not wrong that there is a mechanism in place that solves all of this, but it doesn't mean that its effective.

In my opinion an easy way to solve it is vote thresholds above 50%. Maybe things will languish and not get passed, but if its important, campaign harder convince more people, and I'm sure it will get across the line eventually.

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Okay, there are very few zoning regulations that can regulate what you do inside your home. Those are usually building codes related to electrical wiring, fire safety, etc. Zoning usually only regulates what you do on your property that can, in one way or another, impact your neighbors or community. I get it's annoying when you're told to cut your grass to a certain length or that your shutters have to be a certain color -- but guess what? a) zoning regulations are passed through an ordinance process in which the public has an opportunity to comment and potentially convince the Planning Commission and then Council to vote it down; b) property taxes are typically approved by public vote; c) property values tend to be higher in communities with more elaborate and consistently enforced zoning regulations; and d) a lot of the reasons you have high property taxes are to pay for things that the people keep on letting local officials know that they need, such as roads, sidewalks, sewer and water expansion, parks, police patrols, schools, etc.
The entire building code dictates what you can and can not do to your home, inside and out.

Yes everything is done for a reason. It doesn't mean its a good reason. Yes maybe I do have a more libertarian view on these matters. Maybe that is the problem with communities, that everything is mandated and people don't just talk to each other like neighbors and work out their issues.

We had a job where we were demolishing a house. The dumpster companies truck broke down and didn't get the dumpster to us on time. Someone filed a complaint within hours. By the time the building inspector could even make it out the dumpster was there and it was cleaned up.

A two minute conversation would have cleared it all up. Now I have to find the loudest means possible of breaking up the foundation so I can get back at who ever that douche was.





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But until Macedonians realize that they hold the power to their freedom, then....wait, that's not what we were talking about!
That's not very nice Victor. I never said that as a citizen you can't do anything about it. Like I said earlier, there are mechanisms in place to deal with it. I am merely making a philosophical point about why I think less government is better. I can't nor do I want to devote countless hours chasing down local councilmen and organizing petitions. The less you fascists are in charge of the better.

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Originally Posted by vicsinad View Post
Another thing I neglected to mention:

Before you moved to your community, you had an opportunity to read and understand the zoning regulations, as well as all ordinances, and understand the process for making decisions. That you chose to still move into a community when you should have known, or had substantial opportunity to know, the rules and processes and etc., means that you made a decision that living there was worth it.

People shouldn't sign contracts without reading them, but most do anyway. People shouldn't move into communities without understanding the laws and ordinances, but most do anyway. However, by signing a contract and moving into a community, you've agreed to everything that comes with it.
Sigh

This is just not my idea of liberty. To each his own.
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