Thursday, December 20, 2007

Sparta's "No Garbage" Activists Are True American Heroes

After Sparta, New Jersey’s Town Council voted unilaterally (without any public referendum and over the objections of the vast majority of those citizens who attended the public hearings on the matter) by a 3 to 2 margin, to sign onto a mandatory trash collection contract with a private carting service, a number of Sparta citizens organized a petition drive to force a voter referendum on the issue.
For that, those grassroots activists are true American heroes. One Sparta resident said, “On Friday morning, I thought I was waking up in the USA, but by Saturday night, I felt as if I were living in another country,”He noted that he felt many Sparta residents weren’t aware that people who refuse or neglect to pay this added “utility charge” could lose their homes through Municipal leins.
“What I’m doing is creating a precedent. Never has a petition knocked down an ordinance. If I can do it, everyone else can do it too. What I’m trying to do is to show the town that we can put the town back in the people’s hands.”
These citizen activists face an uphill fight. They have only twenty days to get the required 15% of the 3,850 who voted in November. The deadline for the signatures is December 26th, and the required 578 signatures are due by that date.
A victory for this citizen's movement is a victory for the people of Sparta, and the people of America as well, for his actions are a beacon to all who’d seek to return government to an indentured servitude to the people and that can only be done via more widespread use of petition and referendum!
Here’s wishing all the independent minded citizens of Sparta success in their current endeavor, as well as a very Merry Christmas. It’s fitting that this petition drive is happening during the Christmas season, as it seeks a rebirth of individual Liberty and more local/popular control.
Pictured above is the boardwalk at Lake Mohawk in Sparta, NJ.


Dan O. said...

I wish them luck!

Here in LaGrange, Ohio a few years ago a few people got involved in the same way and got an annexation issue on the ballot that the council had approved.

The annexation got voted down at the ballot box.

The next year the annexation was reapplied for and approved.

So much for government of, for and by the people.

The arrogant SOB's believe they know better than the electorate and that's that.

I've had numerous letter's to the editor published chastising their ways and was informed in a rebuttal that I was uneducated on the matter.

Who ever said you can't fight city hall was wrong. You can fight 'em, but any victory is short lived!

Unknown said...

Heh. Those enlightened town planners must just hate it when the residents get all "uppity" like that.

JMK said...

That sucks Dan O!

Initiative and referendum is something that should be used a lot more often, especially on local (state, city and township) levels.

I hope the people of Sparta can turn back the mandated garbage contract. Sure, it might not be "for good," but the town council will almost certainly think twice before trying to pass something like that without first going to the people...especially if a current contract is scuttled like that.

JMK said...

I'm certain they do Barry!

The qutes from the town council members in their local paper are extremely arrogant, like claiming that "This petition drive is costing the people of Sparta some $15,000," and implying that any costs of getting out of the contract would be the fault of the voters, if the contract were to be turned down.

In fact, the town council members who arranged and voted FOR that contract could very easily be considered guilty of malfeasance should that happen!

Peter V. Bella said...

It is time to put the politicans in their place. If one thing fails, hey, put them out of office in the next election. They are supposed to represent us.

JMK said...

"It is time to put the politicans in their place. If one thing fails, hey, put them out of office in the next election. They are supposed to represent us." (Middleclass Guy)

ABsolutely, regardless of whether this petition overturns the contract, all those who voted for it (3 of the town's 5 council members) MUST be voted out of office.

raytoy said...

I along with many other Spartans commend the Town Council for what they did by approving the Garbage Utility for improving and saving money for the silent majority of Spartans. We are senior citizens who take our own garbage to the local dump to save money. But we know tht there are many young families in town struggling and this would save them about $175. annually. I would have enjoyed those saving when my children were young.

The Town Council men and women were elected to serve the citizens of Sparta and that is what they did.

JMK said...

"The Town Council men and women were elected to serve the citizens of Sparta and that is what they did." (Raytoy)
That most certainly is NOT what the Sparta Town Council did.

To "serve" means to humble oneself before, or to prostrate oneself before...NOT to lord over.

In America, we have a weird system of government in which the politicians and political "leaders" ARE indeed "servants of the people," they are considered BENEATH those they serve, NOT rulers of them.

Since so many people in Sparta have second homes there, a large number of the homeowners there take their garbage to the SCMUA in neighboring Lafayette.

The entire episode was badly mishandled by an apprently inept local government. They could've avoided this mess by simply putting the garbage contract before the people of Sparta on a referendum.

It would appear that with THREE times the 15% of the registered voters of Sparta signing the petition, the recall referendum would probably be expected to pass - defeating that contract.

One of the problems in America on both a local and a national level is government officials who see themselves as "rulers," rather than as what they really are "humble servants."

Anonymous said...

Personally I don't give a crap about these well off people with second homes. If they could afford a second home, then they sure can afford a few hundred extra bucks a year for garbage pickup.I live here full time and find it hard to pay 97.00 dollars every 3 months for trash to be picked up once a's too much money for garbage pickup! But no one ever cares about the middle class...always about the rich. American heroes my a$$. Just another thing for people to complain about

JMK said...

Again, anonymous, you understand the facts but come to the wrong conclusion.

Let's focus on where we agree; government in America is subservient to the people.

That makes government (ESPECIALLY local government) doing things that disproportionately impact its citizens unilaterally, against the Founding principles of this Republic.

For that reason, the current recall votes for the Mayor and the two Councilmen who unilaterally voted to impose this contract WITHOUT a public referendum, is right and just, no matter which way that turns out.

This is a case of the people taking more control of and demanding accountability by their government.

That's a good thing, as I'm sure you'd agree.

Anonymous said...

I think the town council did the right thing. There was a lot of misleading information used to manipulate the senior population to fight the referendum. It was a sad example of senior exploitation. I know some seniors who spent over $1000 of their own money and lots of time to fight the referendum. In the end, they represented about 5% of the town population (my guess) who would actually experience a small added annual cost. If the petition read "Would you agree to provide Waste Management Inc a continued $300,000 annual bonus paid by you and your fellow citizens in waste collection fees if it results in an extra $50 annual cost to as many as 200 or our seniors?" I think even those 200 seniors would say no to that. I also think the petition was typical of anything that is positioned as a detriment to our honored seniors. Most people will sign the petition if you tell them "this will HURT our seniors". I think the bottom line is that is not true and I think the seniors were exploited by this group and the supporting pitch from (of course) Waste Management. The town council did the right thing. If you disagree - they can indeed be voted out if you work hard enough to put somebody else in office.

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