In the traffic snarl of political ideas, the liberating concept behind America seems as straightforward as the freeway: The people are the boss, with rights above government, and “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
The people have a green light to pursue happiness, provided that in their liberty they don’t diminish someone else’s equal right. Conversely, government is limited, facing red lights, and flashing yellows, from the people.
Too often our judges and our “elected” representatives don’t get it. They shine red lights at the people. Just happened in Washington State on the issue of . . . well . . . red light cameras.
In dozens and dozens of public votes held across the country on the issue of red-light cameras, voters have a 100 percent track record of saying “No,” to those Orwellian contraptions. That’s what happened in Mukilteo, Washington, thanks to a referendum pushed by Tim Eyman. It’s happened in numerous other Washington cities and localities.
So American Traffic Solutions, the company providing this cash-creating “service,” formed a front group and sued to block local citizens from petitioning the issue to the ballot box.
In a narrow 5-4 decision, Justice Barbara Madsen wrote for the majority: “The legislature granted to local legislative bodies the exclusive power to legislate on the subject of the use and operation of automated traffic safety cameras. The legislature’s grant of authority does not extend to the electorate.”
Say, what? The very power granted by the legislature, and now denied the people in court, came from the people. The voters are the ultimate “legislative authority.”
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.