Thank you, KMOG and longtime Payson resident Mr. Don Engler for the opportunity to discuss the issues on the KMOG forum on August 2nd. If you were unable to listen, the entire broadcast is below. Many topics and issues were discussed.
One of the issues discussed was that of a fundamental question. Is government the authority in and of itself, or are the citizens? Placing the needs of the government before the needs of the people undermines democracy. We discussed that concept in this post.
While this question appears simple at first blush, the implications are far-reaching. Specific to the Propositions, we have an email exchange between a Town Councilor and a Constituent regarding leasing town property. That email is in response to Varxity vs. Town of Payson discussed here. It appears that the Council Member maintains, as does the Statement of Facts, that the Propositions “restricted, or PURPORTEDLY restricted the Town’s ability to lease it’s property.” The Constituent replied: “You believe that the town owns the property, and I feel the residents of Payson own all of Town property.” Again, a very fundamental question.
On the more significant issue of the validity of the Propositions, as we understand, the Town states that there is no authority under the law to enact them. We maintain it is not precluded, and the citizens granted the authority to the Town. The thought that government is the authority appears to be a classic example of the tail wagging the dog. Government is not the authority: Citizens are the authority.
To capture this point more succinctly, we can turn to Robert F. Kennedy and a speech in 1966 on the day of Affirmation. Mr. Kennedy eloquently spoke of liberty and freedom.
At the heart of that western freedom and democracy is the belief that the individual man, the child of God, is the touchstone of value, and all society, all groups, and states, exist for that person’s benefit.
Hand in hand with freedom of speech goes the power to be heard – to share in the decisions of government which shape men’s lives.
In a democracy, the tail does not wag the dog.
Curiously, Mr. Kennedy spoke of “the power to be heard” during the same address. The Town, authorized by Town Council, arguing against the validity of the vote, or the election, would not seem to embody “the power to be heard” in a democracy. During the Radio interview, finances were discussed. Transparent Payson has brought suit to defend the citizens’ vote against the Town’s purported repeal of the Propositions. The funding for the suit brought by Transparent Payson on behalf of voters comes from donors. We need your continued support. The funding for the defense against that voters’ rights suit comes from your tax dollars. The funding for the counterclaim comes from your tax dollars. Please reference the discussion that occurs at the 48:20 mark of the audio below beginning with a call-in question from Joe.
The Town is using your tax dollars to negate your vote.
We are hopeful we can recover fees. We suspect the Town has an obligation to defend the propositions. That obligation would not appear to include the repeal of voter-enacted legislation. The courts will resolve those issues.
One of the topics was the initial drafting of the Propositions. It appears that is an area of concern raised by several. As with any project or undertaking, there is always the tendency to think; we could have done that differently. The attempt to Monday morning quarterback the Propostions does not invalidate them. They were passed, and they were adopted. They are protected under the Arizona Constitution. That protection was further validated by Arizona Proposition 105 in 1998. That information can be found here. Proposition 105 states:
“Proposition 105 prohibited the Legislature from repealing citizen measures approved by voters and prohibited the governor from vetoing ballot measures. Technical amendments would be allowed if they further the initiative’s purpose and could be adopted only with a ¾ vote of the entire Legislature.
Please listen to the broadcast. We are hopeful it will answer questions. Again, thank you to KMOG and Mr. Engler, who candidly admitted he learned a lot from our conversation.
If the media player does not embed properly on your browser, the direct link is here.
Please support voters’ rights. Donate.