Grassroot Perspective – Aug. 22, 2003-Lawyers Push For Constitutional Amendment Subjecting Land Use Changes To a Vote; Grandma’s Kitchen Defies a State Ban on Smoking; Dean in Denial About His Big Spending; Take the Power of Ideas Seriously

article top

“Dick Rowland Image”

”Shoots (News, Views and Quotes)”


– Lawyers Push For Constitutional Amendment Subjecting Land Use Changes
To a Vote

The Fort Myers News-Press reported today that two environmental lawyers
are trying to get the Florida Constitution amended to put comprehensive
land-use plan changes on the ballot instead of in the hands of city
councils and county commissioners. The petitioners claim that
comprehensive plans are changed too often in favor of developers.

Land use planner Greg Stuart said the sheer complexity of land use
issues would end up with nearly all changes denied, good or bad. That’s
also the concern of Rob Andrys, an environmentalist and president of
ALVA Inc., a grass-roots group that tried to get an amendment to keep
the community rural.

“I could definitely say that because of everyone’s hectic life, there’s
no way they’re going to understand the complexities of the issues,”
Andrys told the News-Press. Andrys said he believes that’s why his own
amendment failed — it was a matter of which side did the better public
relations job, an expensive endeavor.

JMI Research Advisory Board Chairman Randall Holcombe had this to say
about the story:

“This idea that the way people use their property should be governed by
the will of the majority is completely antithetical to the principle of
liberty on which our nation was founded.

Do these attorneys really believe that some people should be able to
participate in decisions about how others use their property just
because they happen to live in the same political jurisdiction? James
Madison would be appalled.”

– Grandma’s Kitchen Defies a State Ban on Smoking

The Tampa Tribune reported Tuesday that one small restaurant is
challenging the Florida law that bans smoking in all indoor restaurants
and other workplaces.

Smoking is still allowed inside Grandma’s Kitchen, a restaurant at the
Citgo truck stop at 6503 U.S. 301. Cigarette packs and lighters share
space on the tables with the salt and pepper shakers and bottles of hot

Owners John and Wava Saunders said it was either comply with the law —
and lose the restaurant and truck wash they operate – or ignore it. “If
our customers can’t smoke, I’ll have to close down,” Wava Saunders said
to the Tribune.

They decided to disregard the law after monitoring 280 customers one
day. Only three sat in the restaurant’s nonsmoking section. “Big
corporations may make it enforcing the ban, but not us little guys,” she

They hope the law will be repealed like the one that required motorcycle
riders to wear helmets. Gov. Jeb Bush and the state Legislature
wiped that 31-year-old statute off the books in 2000.

“If the government passed a law telling everyone to shoot themselves in
the foot, would everyone shoot themselves in the foot? I doubt it,” John
Saunders said. “If more people stand up to this thing, we could do
something about it,” he said.

Soon after the article was published, Grandma’s Kitchen was slapped with
a warning from the Florida Department of Business and Professional
Regulation. To read “Citation Lands in Grandma’s Kitchen,” see

Above articles are quoted from The James Madison Institute, The Madison
Policy Digest 8/4/03

– Dean in Denial About His Big Spending

Howard Dean Says He Limited Vermont Budget Increases to Economic Growth-
But One Year He Signed a Budget Increase FOUR Times That Large!

WASHINGTON – Today’s Washington Times quotes presidential hopeful Howard
Dean (D) saying that, as Governor of Vermont, he limited state budget
increases to the rate of gross state product (GSP) growth. But four of
his annual budget increases exceeded GSP growth, including one whopping
23.7 percent increase, more than four times that year’s GSP rise. Overall,
Vermont state spending grew 83 percent under Dean from 1992 through 2001, 58 percent
faster than the state’s economy. Howard Dean Says: “[My fiscal policy as
president] will be to limit the federal budget’s rate of growth to the
rate of growth in the economy. … That’s what we did in Vermont. You
never let the budget grow faster than the economy.” But Under Howard

*”Year”–Vermont GSP Growth–State Spending Growth

*”1995”–1.7 percent–5.3 percent

*”1998”–5.1 percent–8.1 percent

*”1999”–5.3 percent–13.4 percent

*”2000”– 5.6 percent–23.7 percent

“Howard Dean likes to call himself a ‘fiscal conservative,’ and maybe he
would have been one in 1970s Sweden,” said Grover Norquist, President of
Americans for Tax Reform (ATR). “But here in America, growing your
state budget at 23.7 percent isn’t fiscally conservative — it’s fiscally insane. It’s no wonder Dean is so ashamed of his tax-and-spend record he has to
hide it — I wouldn’t want to admit it either.” Dean’s claim about the
Vermont budget isn’t the first tall tale he’s told on the campaign
trail. Today’s San Jose Mercury News reports that Dean claimed never to
have supported raising the Social Security retirement age to 70, even
though he endorsed such a move in 1995; he also said he opposed raising
the age to 68, despite saying he would consider doing so just two months
ago. “Can we believe anything Howard Dean says?” asked Norquist. “Maybe
next he’ll tell us that, during his service as Vermont Governor, he took
initiative in creating the Internet.”

Above article is quoted from Americans for Tax Reform Press Release

”Roots (Food for Thought)”

– Take the Power of Ideas Seriously

By John Hood

RALEIGH — A thought occurred to me earlier this week as I was traveling
in and around the Triad region of North Carolina. The notion didn’t have
to do with my location but was instead prompted by the audiotape I was
listening to on the way.

It was one of Knowledge Products’ excellent series of tapes on the
world’s political hot spots. Part history, part current affairs, these
productions are an excellent introduction to unfamiliar places and
people and a good refresher course on more familiar subject matter. On
this particular day, I was listening to a history of Germany, with a
script by the celebrated libertarian historian Ralph Raico.

What got me to thinking was the rise of totalitarianism in Germany. It
didn’t start with the Nazis in the 1920s. The seeds were planted decades
before, in London of all places. There, German expatriates Marx and
Engels gave the European socialist movements of the 19th Century a
harder and more revolutionary edge with their publication of The
Communist Manifesto and other works. The spread of Marxism prompted a
reaction from some threatened elites and intellectuals, such as those in
the German Historical School of the social sciences, who tried to
articulate a “Third Way” between communism and liberal capitalism. Their
efforts resulted in Bismarck’s welfare state and copycat quasi-socialist
legislation in France, Britain, Scandanavia, even South America.
(American populism and progressivism at the turn of the century were
relatively moderate reflections of this worldwide revolution in ideas;
it took war and depression to pave the way for true social-democrat
legislation in the U.S.)

Later, post-WWI socialists such as Mussolini and Hitler married their
totalitarian economics with national (Italy) or racial (Germany) appeals
to create fascism. Both Marxism and fascism were successfully exported
from Europe into the Third World, where regimes as disparate as Peron in
Argentina, the strong-man states of liberated Africa, the Red Chinese,
and the Khymer Rouge in Cambodia all adapted these ideologies to their
own countries and their own nefarious ends.

What’s my point? These regimes weren’t simply glorified kleptocracies.
They weren’t just new versions of the old-style despotisms of hereditary
kings and khans that had ruled over most of the globe for most of human
history. These were ideological states where millions of people were
persuaded to embrace and act on ideas that were, at their heart, evil.

The results were destitution, destruction, and death. Much death. Tens
of millions of deaths — of civilians by the instigation of their
leaders, not counting deaths of combatants in wartime.

I say all of this to make a point about ideas. Conservatives like to
quote Richard Weaver’s observation that “ideas have consequences.”
Modern-day liberals like to dismiss controversies about all sorts of
educational issues, such as the recent freshman-reading flaps at
UNC-Chapel Hill and other campuses, by asking what could be wrong with
exposing students to “new ideas.”

Ironically, this sentiment reflects a lack of respect for the power of
ideas. That power can be used for good or for evil, the latter too often
predominating. The problem with “exposing” students to new ideas is that
mere exposure is insufficient. It can even be dangerous. To take ideas
seriously in an academic context should be to examine them thoroughly,
to seek real understanding by considering alternative explanations and
competing points of view. Provocation is not the goal. Mere familiarity
is not the goal. During much of the 20th century, elites from around the
world sent their children to Paris to study at “universities” that
consisted of little more than indoctrination factories for the
fashionable socialist ideologies of the day. These students learned, all
right. They learned just enough of this rot to go home and try it out on
their subjects, many of whom suffered and starved and died.

By all means, students should study influential ideas. They should study
evil ideas. I would have welcomed a freshman-reading assignment at UNC,
for example, that consisted of reading The Communist Manifesto as well
as selections from Thomas Sowell’s masterful critique, Marxism. With
these relatively brief works under their belts, students would have had
an excellent basis for discussion.

This would have been a case of taking ideas seriously. And seriousness
is what they deserve. Never let anyone suggest that a book can’t be
dangerous. Millions of ghosts would beg to differ.

Hood is president of the John Locke Foundation and publisher of Carolina

Above article is quoted from The Carolina Journal, John Hood’s Daily
Journal 8/13/03

”Evergreen (Today’s Quote)”

“Despondency is not a state of humility. On the contrary, it is the
vexation and despair of a cowardly pride; nothing is worse. Whether we
stumble or whether we fall, we must only think of rising again and going
on in our course.” — Francois Fenelon

”’Edited by Richard O. Rowland, president of Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, 1314 S. King Street, Suite 1163, Honolulu, HI 96814. Phone/fax is 808-591-9193, cell phone is 808-864-1776. Send him an email at:”’ ”’See the Web site at:”’