When it is easier for those in power to violate the rights of citizens than for the citizens to seek redress for injustices, it's time for a change. Two things are necessary to save Dalton Township from the corruption and government overreach that has infected it: better people and better policies.
In a civilized society elections take the place of revolutions. They allow for the peaceful transfer of power, and the reformation of policies. We've had brave citizens step forward to run for office. Without them no progress can be made, with them we have the opportunity to restore rights that have been trampled underfoot by the current township officials. A just government secures the freedom and property of its citizens, rather than attacks it. Now, we must look at what changes are needed to secure those rights.
My mother has always extolled the virtue of balance, and it applies to government more than anything else. The United States was founded on the idea of individual rights protected by checks and balances. This is what the Marquis de Lafayette meant when after the American Revolutionary War he said, "Liberty now has a country." But that liberty must be fought for by every generation. The reason that the rights of citizens in Dalton Township can be violated by the government is that the balance of power has shifted. We must restore that balance. We must reclaim our rightful liberties.
Throughout history freedom has been gained when leaders who believe in liberty step forward and are then supported by the people. These liberties are sustained when those hard-won freedoms are made clear in documents. Freedom documents that restrain power, and protect people from its abuse.
Even King George III, the king that the Founding Fathers fought against for their independence, agreed when he stated, "A bad Prince may be restrained, and it is fit he should be so, by the British Constitution;" There is no excuse for Dalton Township not having its own freedom documents. Today, we will make a start.
Right to Speak Resolution
There are important points in the Michigan Open Meetings Act which help to make the government transparent so that it can be held accountable. Unfortunately, the OMA is not enforced. The government violates it at whim, as we have witnessed in Dalton Township. People have contacted me and said that Tony Barnes has even limited them to speaking for two minutes at township meetings. It explicitly states in the OMA that no one can be denied the right to speak, and that it cannot be limited to less than three minutes. We must go beyond this. I've also witnessed Tony Barnes tell people that they cannot speak to the citizens in attendance, but only to the township board. The township supervisor is no king, and citizens have the right to address the public in public meetings. We must have a Dalton Township resolution that protects these rights.
No person shall be denied the right to speak at any public meeting of the Dalton Township government. No person shall be limited to less than five minutes. No person shall be denied the right to address the township board or the public.
Right to Be Informed Resolution
Whether or not you are able to attend a public meeting of your government, you have the right to know what happened there. The township keeps minutes of the meetings and makes them available. They have to according to the Open Meetings Act. But, the notes kept of the meetings are often useless. You cannot tell what actually happened at the meeting. You have the right to know what happened, and the people that speak have the right to be heard. These meetings should be broadcast live, they should be recorded, and they should be publicly posted. That way, everyone can be informed. I can watch the proceedings of the British Parliament, but not my own township. That needs to change.
Public meetings of the Dalton Township government shall be broadcast live. Public meetings shall also be recorded and publicly posted.
Right to Garden Resolution
Sometimes people get into government positions that believe they can treat people like dolls to be played with, and their property like dollhouses, to be controlled by their will and manipulated by their whims. Maybe they don't like the aesthetic look of tomato plants, so they make an ordinance denying people the right to grow what they choose on their own land. This is unjust. In WW2 people had victory gardens in their yards. It helped people to feed and fend for themselves. It gives people the opportunity to be more independent and self-reliant. The right to grow want you want, in the ground that you own, is a basic right.
No person shall be denied the right to plant, grow, and cultivate vegetables, fruits, herbs, and other vegetation upon their property as they see fit.
Right to Farm Resolution
Farms are the foundation of civilization. Without an ever more abundant and healthy food supply there is no future for humanity. It cannot be denied that local food sources are healthier. It cannot be denied that local farms help to connect and tie communities together. It cannot be denied that local food sources make a community more independent, resilient, and self-reliant. That's why the Michigan Right to Farm Act exists, to protect one of the most important pillars of society. The Right to Farm Act includes the various ways that a farm can be in compliance with their recommendations to safeguard the rights of neighbors, which are laid out in the Generally Accepted Agricultural and Management Practices (GAAMPs). That idea of protecting property unless there is harm done to another is good government. The Right to Farm Act specifically protects local farms from legal harassments such as zoning ordinances and nuisance lawsuits designed to destroy them, and every just government should follow suit.
No person shall be denied the right to farm in any way that does not cause demonstrable harm to neighboring properties or individuals.
Every Home a Castle Resolution
Limitations upon power and the abuse of power are a prerequisite for liberty. There must be a place where you are able and willing to say, "You shall not pass!" If nothing else, this is your home. Do you know why the Third Amendment in the American Bill of Rights is that the government can't order you to let soldiers live in your house? Because it used to be done. The quartering of troops in civilian homes was a common tactic of the British Empire, and it's a huge violation of liberty and property. Your home becomes a prison, and you get the privilege of providing a bed and food for your own personal prison guard. Opposed to this is the idea that each person's home is their castle, where the right must always go to the owner in any situation in which it does not cause harm to another.
Every person has the right to be unharassed upon their own property and in their own home when their activities and property are not causing harm to another.
These five resolutions are not the end, they are the beginning. We must all question how we can best protect the rights and liberties of the citizens of Dalton Township. By protecting our neighbors we protect ourselves, and by protecting ourselves we protect the future of freedom. Dig through history and find the seeds of freedom that should be planted in Dalton Township. Read about the fight for liberty undertaken by the Founding Fathers of the United States and see what you want to be incorporated into your freedom documents. Search within your own soul and grasp the eternal truths of freedom and justice. Only when the people of Dalton are armed with this knowledge will they be able to secure their inherent liberties, and the just government that they deserve.
For more information on my campaign to fix Dalton Township go to FixDalton.com
And join Concerned Citizens of Dalton Township: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2275100969473041
For more information on some of these key concepts see my article "The Two Things Necessary for a Better Political System": http://www.jeffreyalexandermartin.com/2019/04/the-two-things-necessary-for-better.html
And "Five Key Documents in the History of Freedom": http://www.jeffreyalexandermartin.com/2020/02/five-documents-in-history-of-freedom.html
To read more from Jeff go to JeffThinks.com or JeffreyAlexanderMartin.com