As a Libertarian, I go on record frequently opposing taxation as legalized theft. Now we have both a regional and state agency dictating to a relatively small community such that homeowners are at risk of losing their homes entirely. This really is untenable. Regardless of my Libertarian position on taxes, I have to speak to the issue of unfunded and unjustified mandates from quasi-government agencies.
It appears that the water board members think they are Mom or Dad keeping a 3-year-old from running out into the street. In that case, anything goes because the life of the 3-year-old is at stake. This is not the case in Los Osos. The lives of no one not even the fishes in the bay are at stake here, and we all know that is the case.
What we have is a group of individuals who have said, "Do this." Objections by individual homeowners and the community as a whole in truly democratic style have only served to change the "Do this," to "Do this, or else." What part of "this is not an affordable solution" don't the members of either water board understand?
This will surprise some who think Libertarians are universally against government edicts and passing costs on to those who neither cause the problem needing a solution or who benefit directly from the solution. But, when a state or other government agency has the power to demand a solution, it is incumbent on them to find the funding, simple as that. Yes, taxing the nation for a local project sounds wrong at first glance. But the nation benefits when every community is able to reduce its impact on the environment, which is what is behind this entire issue.
My position here is simply this: Let the agency find the funding. In fact, any agency should not be able to mandate action by others without providing funding. We don't need more agencies telling us what to do if those same agencies do not have the power to provide the funding. The Libertarian position here is not to have the agencies. Libertarians would prefer education and gradual public awareness of problems leading to voluntary solutions. Communities could be advised of the dangers of the excess of septic tanks permitted, I might add, by the county and individual homeowners could be allowed to find solutions suitable to their unique situation. It might be a small tertiary system for a mobile home park or even two or three that are in proximity, or it might be individual electric composting toilets for individuals or additions to existing septic systems to provide less pollution entering the groundwater. No one is being given any of these options.
Winston Churchill said, "A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject." Do you think that might just describe all the members of the water boards?
Lord Acton said, "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." I cannot help but think the power given to the water boards has corrupted their members.
Gail Lightfoot is the SLO Libertarian Party chair and host of Why Liberty Matters, showing on Charter Cable Channel 2 at 8 a.m. Fridays and 12:30 p.m. Mondays. Send comments to her at email@example.com, or to the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.