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It’s OK to lie to people

Since it’s for their own good anyway…

Another aspect of the liberal-progressive mindset is “it’s OK to say things that are not true, since the purpose of such things is for the people’s own good anyway.” A prime example of how the Hoback Ranches Service and improvement District Board does this is from the minutes of their 2017 Summer Meeting.

In pursuing the suit already mentioned, my lawyer Clark Stith, sent a letter to the board outlining the issues and the law.

These words then appear in the minutes:

“Chairman Conley then read a letter from Mr. Clark Stith, attorney for Bill and Louse Winney, objecting to any assessment greater than 8 mils. Chairman Conley explained State law changes that refuted the letter.”

 

The underlined statement about state law changes was not true and the essence of my efforts are to call them on that. There were no law changes in this vein. There was one change from the 2017 General Session of the Legislature. A bill, House Bill 186, provided the ability for a Special District to change its charter from what was set up when it was founded and requiring a balloted vote to do so. Prior to this legislation there was no method established in law for a Special District to make changes to their charter.

I feel kind of like this man in the Norman Rockwell painting of a New England Town Hall Meeting. In my mind he's standing up to say that "the Emperor has no clothes on."

Thus the Board Chairman put out nice sounding but untrue information. The larger issue here is that it enabled the board to continue to do the kind of things that began in 2013 when the board falsely put up a “Special Assessment” in order to get people beyond the idea that the district had a cap on the tax rate.

Remember: The first goal in the liberal-progressive mind is to get control of the money. Finding a way to escape the straightjacket of a cap on taxes was therefore their first act. But this board knew from the district’s earlier experiences in the 90's that if they put it to a balloted vote, it would likely fail. So they found a way to deceive people in 2013.

After all… it's for their own good…

 

 

 

Taking On Liberal-Progressivism

Putting my money where my mouth is…

I am currently taking on a small group of liberal progressives that have captured the board of the Hoback Ranches Service Improvement District in Bondurant. I believe they have illegally raised taxes in the district, read on.

The story begins in 2013 at the Summer Meeting. The Board proposed a 'Special Assessment' because they needed more funds than could be raised through the authorized mill levy for the district. Why was it limited? Because when the District was founded many years ago the people creating it put in place an 8 Mill cap on authority to tax.

But now the district was chafing at the limit. So they proposed a “Special Assessment.” But it was not just any old Special Assessment… since a true Special Assessment had to be put before the voters of the district in a balloted vote and as few as 30%+1 could prevent its passage, the board just wanted a “sort of special assessment.” This was to be passed on a voice vote of those attending.   

At that point in time my instincts from Washington duty kicked in. The stated purpose of the District is simply some 25 miles of dirt roads, perimeter fencing and prevention of hunting within the district. What harm could this “sort of special assessment” do?

But I raised my hand and said “Why don’t you put an entry in the minutes that it is a one time assessment to meet some current bills?" Then came my second indication of trouble: I was met with a deer-in-the-headlights response… they just refused to respond… silence. So I said that again: same response… and then a third time: same response. Finally a grand dame of the district gave me an “oh shut up hand wave” so I dropped it. But, such a refusal to respond tells a story, one that I've seen before.

…And it was passed on a voice vote in that Summer Meeting. What’s wrong with that? The statutes are specific as to what is required to meet a special assessment. This met none of the requirements. But I filed away the data point for next year.

Sure enough next year they simply proposed a budget greater than 8 mills without the subterfuge of a Special Assessment. So I raised that with board members and they then found a way to justify exceeding the cap. As always happens with liberal progressives there is a comfortable grain of truth to what they say… but always a great amount of heresy.

It was now clear to me that this board had intentionally deceived the district in order to get their thinking beyond the idea of an 8 mill cap. Now they were just going to say they could impose any mill rate they wanted. …And said exactly that in 2016. Statute had no method of changing the charter from initial founding until the 2017 General Session. In that session statute was changed to allow special districts to alter their initial charter by a mailed balloted election. The District Board has buried their collective heads in the sand by asserting that the district did vote when it is clear they did not.

Along the way I have been threatened, had petty vandalism done to my property, my wife was run off the road a few years ago, and following a public records request to inspect their records had a year and a half battle for them to open their records. It was only when a judge ordered records opened for inspection that they complied with the Public Records Act.

Since about 2015 the board has declared themselves a 'ruling body' subject to other parts of statute and not the Service and Improvement District Statutes. What bunk… but it gives them a veil of legitimacy.

Bottom line is the board has used deception and half truths to illegally manipulate the people of the district. Their assertion of governing body status is just bunk…. but very good sounding bunk. In my view this is a classic liberal-progressive methodology: get contol of the money then start passing rules that sound good but really are unlawful. I am currently in the process of litigation to force them to abide by the specific founding authorities and by statute.

My money is where my mouth is…

There is more to the story, so more to follow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In our Legislature a Private Citizen can get things Done.

 

This Tab & the other pull down Tabs show things I've gotten done

 

Some years ago I discovered that I could speak in front of our Legislative Committees and make a difference. Rep Allen Jaggi (R-Lyman) presented a bill to the House Ag Committee. It was titled Rangeland Monitoring. As I listened to him present his bill I realized it was about how Wyoming's ranchers went in front of Federal forums, BLM, Forrest Svc, etc and made their case. I concluded this bill was important to Wyoming's future. Rep Jaggi asked for 50% funding for the intended program.

 

When Public Comment was opened I stood and spoke from my experience in the federal arena of the Washington, DC, process. I said words to the effect of:

This bill is about Wyoming's future, it is about how Wyoming's Ranchers go in front of a federal forum and win their case against the scholarly presentations of various NGOs. In every legislature there are a few bills that should be fully funded precisely because they are about our future ten years out. This is one of those bills.

The House Ag Committee then proceeded to fully fund Rep Jaggi's bill even though he had requested only 50% intending to obtain the rest elsewhere. Of course in successive committees this funding was cut a bit, everyone gives at the office you know. But when you begin at 100% such cuts are more palatable.

Rep Jaggi was quite happy that day, he walked in looking for 50% funding and walked out with 100%! He had no idea I would speak up nor did I realize I would speak up until I heard Rep Jaggi present his bill and connected with its import for Wyoming's future and considered it in light of my experience with bureaucracies.

On that day I understood that a Private Citizen can truly affect things if they respect the process, speak clearly, keep to things that legislators can really do, and keep it short & sweet. I have since followed bills over the years I have attended the legislature and will add more bills I spoke on to this page.

This past budget session I spoke up on eleven bills. The painting by Norman Rockwell at right where a man stands up in a Town Meeting reminds me of what it feels like to stand up in our Legislature's Public Comment.

PS A while ago another person I've come to know in observing our legislature put it: Observe the three B's - Be specific, Be short, Be seated. His advice has served me well.

PPS Subsequently Governor Freudenthal vetoed this bill. Rep Jaggi brought it back in a modified form in the next session and it was passed.

 

 

 

 

 


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