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The Ban on Freedom of Choice

Original post made by Jim Neal, Old Mountain View, on Apr 25, 2012

I got involved with city politics just a few short months ago because of the ban on smoking. Little did I know just how significantly the change would be in my life and how I view our great small town.

Like many of you, I was happily living my life, working, and enjoying time as often as I could with family and friends. I would occasionally read the Mountain View Voice or the Mountain View Patch, but I really didn't keep up with what was happening.

With the smoking ban, I realized that I had been making a huge mistake by not doing so! I came to the game very late in the smoking ban due to the passing of my grandmother in December and my mother-in-law being diagnosed with cancer a few days later. But the ban made me realize that things were changing and not for the better!

It disturbs me greatly that people today are willing to fritter away their freedom (or someone else's) because somehow, they think that government is supposed to take care of them and solve all their problems. They are all too willing to use government as a club to beat their neighbors into submission for what they believe is a good cause even if it violates the neighbor's rights to life, liberty or the pursuit of happiness.

The framers of our great Constitution intended that government be limited in its scope and power. They knew that government grows over time, and with that growth, accumulates power. We did not have an income tax until 1913 via the 16th Amendment because our founders knew that a government that has the power to take money from one person to give it to another would unlimited power to dictate the terms by which the ordinary man or woman lives his or her life. Also, when the government hands out "free" money or benefits to people, it makes them dependent upon the government and weakens the person.

I said in the city council meetings regarding the smoking ban that I feared that many more bans would soon follow; and unfortunately I was right! Shortly afterward, I found out that the council was considering a ban on drive-throughs on El Camino Real, and now it is plastic bags! While these things may all seem reasonable to some, I am sure that it will only be a matter of time until they want to ban to something that those people care about, but by then it will be too late. The precedent will have been set in stone and there will be no way to stop it.

These bans are being put in place without a vote by the people and are being driven by an agenda at the county and state level in concert with special interest groups. Basically, they are stripping our rights away and we get no say so.

Am I for polluting the environment? Of course not! I frequently go to CVS and take my "one use" plastic bags with me and they pay me $1 for every four trips. This year alone I have reused my bags over 30 times!

My point is that we are talking about the BAY AREA here. Most people are very environmentally conscious and we don't need the government to tell us what to do! We are all fully capable of making these decisions for ourselves.

I see other problems with the way this is being done besides that fact that we don't get to vote on this:

1) The council decided that paper bags must be issued instead and that the stores must charge a 10 cent per bag fee that will rise to 25 cents in a couple of years. They say the money is not a tax because they are generously allowing the stores to keep the money. Which brings me to my next problem.

2) How can the city or government at any level tell any business or person how much money to charge for any product? Do you think it will stop at paper bags? What if they decide that they don't like people driving? Can they tell gas stations to charge $2 more for every gallon of gas they sell? What about fast food? Will they tell restaurants they have to add $1 for every hamburger and fries they sell? They already banned smoking on most private property. Will they tell stores that sell cigarettes that they have to sell them for $20 per pack? Why can't they? What is the difference between all those products and paper bags that they can't set the prices for them too?

3) Suppose that on their own, the businesses got together and decided to fix the price for paper bags at 10 cents each; this would be called collusion and price fixing and is illegal! How can the government do it for a product or service that they have nothing to do with manufacturing or providing?

In my opinion these are all very serious questions and go to the very heart of the matter. In the end, we are being told that we are too stupid to care for and make decisions for ourselves, so the government has to step in and do everything for us. I urge you to let your voice be heard and give a resounding "NO" to the nanny state! Enjoy your freedom now, because the way things are moving, it looks like you won't have it for long.


Jim Neal
1057 West Dana St
Old Mountain View

Comments (1)

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Posted by Steve
a resident of Sylvan Park
on May 1, 2012 at 3:04 pm

Well said! Many of the comments here are short sighted, in that they only address the immediate controversy. A roof deck, for example, or plastic bags, or the drive through. People are missing the larger issue here in Mountain View. Who exactly is making these rules? How has our representative system been so thoroughly subverted? Somewhere along the line, our elected city council has become a figurehead, subservient to the goals of the city manager and staff. Replacing our old powerless, ineffective council members with new powerless, ineffective ones won't help us. We need to restore the leadership to the elected, and 'employee' status to those the city employs.


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