THERE WILL BE NO POOR IN BOULDER
In 1992, Colorado enacted a constitutional amendment to the state Constitution labeled the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, also known as the Bruce amendment. It was part of a movement by the tea party, to cut spending on government and encourage business-government partnerships and privatization of a government function. It was sold to the voters as an amendment or method to restrict government waste and promote efficiency. This was in conjunction with a campaign in the Southern states, labeled a contract for America, referred to by some as Contract on America.
In any event, the outcome was pretty much a disaster. The bill provided, among other things, that any monies not spent by an agency had to be returned to the taxpayer in any given year. It also provided that any taxes or increase in revenues were subject to a vote by the public. So slowly but surely state revenues declined as expenses increased. At the same time. This insidious group of neo-liberals started campaigning for the privatization of anything and everything they could possibly think of. So, for instance, if somebody wanted to look at a public record such as a court file, a clerk would charge a fee to retrieve the file. If the defense attorney wanted copies of documentation or evidence that a district attorney based prosecution or policy decision on, the defendant, typically a lower-class worker, was charged a fee for photocopying, although police records were publicly funded, investigators were publicly funded as were district attorneys and judges. Although they were funded, because of this amendment revenue was collected in the manner favorable to the wealthy and detrimental to the poor. Agencies became merchants selling items to the public that they had already paid for.
Likewise, the bond concept. A system was changed so that it took 10 times longer to make bond than previously, bonding was more expensive unless one waited a day in jail for a judge to set Bond. Jails became more crowded, holding unconvicted citizens awaiting trial, necessitating contracting to private enterprise to build more jails. The privateers sold the politicians on the fact that privatized managers were more efficient because they can open and shut as supply and demand required. However, being profiteers, they soon demanded that the State give them guaranteed contracts, allowing them to extort profit from the taxpayer’s in a monopolistic manner. It’s ironic, the taxpayers restrict raising funds through taxes to support their government and, in the same breath, attacked the poor by charging them for the cost of government and reward stockholders and executives of corporations.
One of the biggest crimes against the public or the people, and particularly against the poor is the privatization of the jail telephone system. In the system, every phone call made by any inmate or detainee of a jail facility has to pay a fee per call. At the time that payphone call for $0.10 a call, the privatized phone companies operating monopolistic franchises in the penal institutions were charging $2 a call. The rationale was that jails needed to be secure and phone calls should be monitored and even recorded, and by the exploitation of labor, the service could be done more cheaply. Ever since I first watched police programs on TV in 1954, I was inculcated with the notion that upon arrest a person was entitled to a phone call. I was also taught that everyone was entitled to a lawyer, whether or not he could afford one. Also, I was told that communications between lawyer and client were sacrosanct and could not be intercepted or other ways read or heard. Of course, I was told that since Magna Carta all accused were innocent until proven guilty, and that of bonds’ sole purpose was to ensure a defendant’s presence in court. Anything else, was contrary to common law, and only existed under the Roman code law, such as used in Nazi Germany and Communist Russia. It’s ironic, that the anti-Communist super-patriots were the ones pushing for preventive detention, and all these restrictions under the guise of safety. Apparently constitutional rights don’t apply to the poor and disadvantaged as long as the ruling Elite can subjugate them.
Meanwhile, judges. hand-picked from the ruling class, ignore the problems of constitutional violations, because they are minor, don’t apply to their class, and the public wanted safety over liberty. They are indoctrinated with the idea that government is bad, commerce is good, businesses good, and poor people must be controlled, especially ones that belong to an ethnic or racial minority. I suppose that makes sense, because if I were in their position might be nervous about members of the mass also. The ones that live in gated communities have less to worry about than those that live in Fancy neighborhoods. It’s not that judges don’t care; they just have never been arrested or jailed. They don’t know how humiliating it is for someone in custody to call a potential employer, while seeking a job and having the potential employer here “this is a collect call from a correctional institution.” The poor just have their pride, but the privilege to have more; or money; or clothes; or status; more toys; more education; and more opportunity. They can’t understand the problem. Hopefully, they don’t push the people to the point where they find out. The hard way.
Thus, it came as no surprise that the elitist city of Boulder, Colorado announced that it would lower their speed limits to 20 miles an hour. The city has been essentially closed because of the virus scare or plague and revenue were dropped. Most municipal revenue is dependent upon sales tax, and when you have distancing orders, stay-at-home health regulations, or orders, and other instruments of regulation that close establishments that generate income tax, the municipalities are going to hurt. In a democratic society, the taxpayers could raise taxes later in payback emergency funds if necessary and keep the Government’s operating at the same capacity. Or they can design other methods of raising revenue other than targeting the citizenry. Having had the experience as a municipal judge ruling on traffic cases and being discharged because I did not collect enough revenue for the city, I have had reason to study the functions of municipal courts over 5 decades. But that is for democracies, not plutocracies. From my perspective, this is nothing but a revenue generator. However, most of the residents of Boulder are Young, physically fit, wealthy, self-centered, and have tunnel vision. They have no empathy for working people that must get from point a to point b with time constraints and who are paid by the hour, rather than by the dividend clippings. Many of them ride bicycles because they are physically able. In Boulder, a mortgage payment, the loan without taxes and insurance for the typical house starts $3000 a month. However, the majority of the houses in Boulder cost twice that. So, what do these people know about having to pay $2 a phone call, not being able to leisurely stroll or ride a bicycle between 2 points are getting a disproportionate amount of traffic tickets. For them, is a minor annoyance for the non-Elite, it may mean missing a meal or to a house payment, insurance payment, dental expense, or some other semi-necessity.
But raising taxes is unacceptable and unnecessary as long as the poor can be whacked without recourse. It’s not callousness by these people, it is downright ignorance. Although commonly thought of as being self-centered or egotistical, these people are genuinely nice. They care about others but limit themselves to the thinking of people like them not “others”. In the meantime, the beautiful residents of “liberal” Boulder can go about their business and their beautiful perfect city devoid of old, crippled, workers, or minorities, believing this is the way. Other people live.
- Posted in: 2d Amendment