Monday, February 25, 2008

Powder Mountain Update: The Aggrieved Citizens Form a Government in Exile

Added bonus: A live audio feed from this morning's House Political Subdivisions Committee hearing

The Standard-Examiner reports that the soon-to-be citizens of Weber County's newest town (affectionately dubbed "Powderville") have already gotten together to choose their own elected town officials. More from this morning's Marshall Thompson story:

EDEN — As the Powder Mountain developers’ petition to form a chunk of the Ogden Valley into a town moves forward, future residents are taking matters into their own hands.

A group of 40 voting-age residents met Friday to elect their own ad hoc council. Darla Van Zeben, Deja Mitchell, Jim Halay, Ryan Bushell, Layne Sheridan and Norman Belnap are the six people who will unofficially represent “Powderville,” which is a nickname for the residential neighborhoods that were drawn into Powder Mountain Town without a vote.

“We agreed to work together on tactics and plans and report back to our residents,” Halay said. “We elected a group to speak for us.”
In essence, these fine folks of Ogden Valley have formed their own duly-elected "government in exile," so to speak, in conformity with the best traditions of American grass-roots democracy.

What we can distill from this morning's story seems to be that this latest citizen action carefully adheres to these citizens' earlier disclosed battle plan, with an object of forcing (or shaming) the Powder Mountain developer to refrain from the appointment of town officials as authorized under provisions of HB-466, but rather to voluntarily permit the selection of Powderville's new Mayor and Council by public vote.

Once again we'll express our great admiration for the determination and resourcefulness of the folks in Ogden Valley, as they march forward proactively to take and occupy the moral highground.

Update 2/25/08 1:44 p.m. MT: As promised yesterday, we earlier put up a live audio link for this morning's House Political Subdivisions Committee hearing. Unfortunately, the committee adjourned about halfway through today's agenda, because committee members were required to get back to the floor by 9:30 a.m. for floor debates. So we have now removed the link. We just spoke a moment ago with Rep. Froerer however, who advises that the bill will be back on tomorrow's committee agenda, and that he's working hard with committee members to see that an HB-466 curative bill, containing retroactive provisions, is ultimately sent out to the House floor for debate.

And to reiterate, although the probability of the the legislature's enactment of a bill containing a retroactivity provision is low, we haven't yet reached the point where such a possibility can be entirely ruled out.


Curmudgeon said...

The "government in exile" which the SE reports is negotiating with Powder Mt. developers so the developers will grant them the right to elect town officials of the new developer-created town, in no way solves the constitutional problems created by HB466. Even if the developers choose to appoint town council members from a list provided by the "government in exile" or even if the developers decide to let residents vote for their first town council, the problems --- the constitutional problems --- will still remain. HB466 gave to private commercial developers the right to create towns without a vote of the prospective residents, and to name by fiat the town's officials. If the developers grant, as a favor [not a right], residents an election process designed and approved by the developers, it affects not at all the constitutional questions raised by HB466. In this country, the right --- right --- of electing governments is usually presumed to be a fundamental liberty, not something corporate boards can grant to people or not as they please.

HB466 is a prime example of the Utah legislature's penchant for spending endless time debating such meaningfull bills as the one currently pending requiring an American flag in every school classroom --- Have you ever visited a public school classroom that did not have a flag in it? I haven't. --- while letting developer-approved bills that can have huge consequences slide through virtually unexamined in the closing days of sessions.

And the Powderville residents, going hat in hand, tugging forelocks like good little peasants and serfs, to their Corporate Masters, begging -- "Sir, please sir? May we be permitted to vote for our town's officials?" --- solves none of the problems with HB466. If anything, it highlights the problems even more.

The Founders said...

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

cought you red handed said...

when is bobby Geiger's court date? I would like to be there when he squilles like a pig.

ozboy said...

Dear Founders

Now that is a quaint bit of Americana if I ever read any! Too bad that sort of thing doesn't gain any traction here in the NeoCon, Republican, Fascist state of Utah.

If Curtis (speaker of the house and noted gas thief), Valentine, Bramble, Clark, et al, read this blog they will have to call a recess at the legislature until they can stifle their laughter.

And speaking of Curtis the gas thief, the SL Trib had a front page article today about the reformed use of SL County owned motor vehicles and gasoline. In it they rehashed the crimes committed in 2004 by Curtis and other public trough slopers who got caught with their greedy hands in the till and their pursed little self righteous lips symbolically wrapped around the syphon hose.

Seems that our esteemed Speaker of the House was caught filing for and pocketing reimbursement from the State for car expenses he claimed as personal but which were really being paid for by SL County and involved a County owned vehicle. Now there is something my Jewish friends would call chutzpah and any self respecting Attorney General would call a felony! However, under our Republican controlled theocracy it was termed a slight oversight.

Read the whole article here:
Pigs caught at public trough

Dawg said...

Kudos to the citizens of Powderville for forming their own elected local leadership.

The possibilities are endless, as these smart and obviously well-educated people proceed to make monkeys of the Powder Mountain development clowns, who admittedly failed to even consider citizen votung rights, when they filed their vile incorporation petition.

Attention Weber County Commissioners! You took an oath to support the US constitution when you were sworn in as County Commissioners.

Perhaps you should talk to Weber County Attorney Mark Decaria before you rubber-stamp this County planning end-run.

Talk to him about the fundamental natural rights of citizens in a free society to self-govern. Mention the "Equal Protection Clause."

Dopes like Ken Bischoff might not be smart enough to "get it,' but we're sure the others (Commissioners Craig and Jan) will.

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