My actions on City Council disgust a small number of people in Woodland Park. It disgusts them so much, a small cadre of current and former government officials and a few others started a recall effort against me.
Let’s start with this. Every government action must by its very nature take some freedom away. Often, these actions are rooted in some selfish or evil intent. As talk show host Mark Levin would say, “That’s right! I said it!”
Feeling confused or offended by that? I get it. I used to feel differently about it, too. But our founding documents and basic economic principles assert it as fact.
Take, for example, taxes. Where do taxes come from? They come from individuals and businesses. Governments don’t create wealth. They take money out of private hands in the form of taxes. We vote the jerks in who impose those taxes. But we must recognize taxes take from the productive efforts of people even if we agree to the heist.
It’s the same with government spending. When politicians decide to spend your money, they demand you keep your end of the bargain and pay your taxes. But what if they refuse to keep their end of the bargain by restraining spending? Indeed, they have little incentive to restrain themselves.
President Calvin Coolidge said it best, “The men and women of this country who toil are the ones who bear the cost of the Government. Every dollar that we carelessly waste means that their life will be so much the more meager. Every dollar that we save means that their life will be so much the more abundant.”
Can you find fault with this wise statement? If we can agree with it, can we not therefore see that most government spending has a component of evil?
So, what should we do when government taxes us too greatly or spends too much while also adding exorbitant debt? Should we show respect and quietly express disagreement? I think not. And that is the reason for my firm efforts as a member of the City Council to move Woodland Park toward more fiscal responsibility.
This recall effort against me is being spearheaded by former City Manager David Buttery. He’s being helped by my fellow Council member Rusty Neal and those in his voting bloc.
David Buttery became City Manager of Woodland Park about 12 years ago. During his 10-year tenure, we added about $12 million of city debt — about $3 million to build Memorial Park and over $9 million to build the Woodland Aquatic Center. To build the WAC, he depleted our reserve funds by about $2 million. If that weren’t evil enough, he proposed a city Sales Tax increase of 1.09% as a transfer to the Woodland Park School District to help shore up their depleted budget. Now Woodland Park residents are paying more taxes and are subject to greater debt than about any time in our history. Yet those of us who live there are expected to be nice and not speak up?
I decided to speak up. And I will continue to do so. That seems offensive to the people who created the problems. But there are many others who are cheering me on because they are tired of how the City has been managed the last 12 years.
James Madison understood our problem with government is evil: “If Men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.”
What we need is a radical realignment from the failed policies of David Buttery, which Rusty Neal and his voting bloc refuse to change.
Jim Pfaff is a Woodland Park City Councilman.