RUSSELL: Curbing overregulation aids communities
Our major cities in America are dying because of their public-policy choices. Look at San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and many others.
After decades of policies that enable homelessness and drug addicts, these cities are experiencing rampant homelessness, drug abuse, violence, sidewalks turning to sewers, and rats the size of small cats.
According to CNN, homelessness in Los Angeles has increased by 60,000 people since 2017. In Portland, Oregon, a fringe left-wing group known an Antifa has taken over parts of the city’s core, beating a driver and a journalist while police stood by and watched.
Also concerning is how these cities are over-regulating their productive citizens. New York City is running out of things to regulate. Its police have raided condo buildings to stop people from renting out their own places on Airbnb. Such policies are killing once-great cities and starting to drive people away to neighboring states.
In Virginia, we are very fortunate our cities have not been allowed to go completely crazy. We abide by a legal framework known as the Dillon Rule where the state mostly restrains local governments from passing burdensome regulations and enabling policies that create an atmosphere of chaos. Virginia’s adherence to this rule would greatly benefit other states trying to get control over crazy local policies.
Almost six years ago, I founded an organization called the American City County Exchange, where I serve as its full-time director. Its genesis was to give voice to local elected officials across the country who desire to see free-market strategies, liberty solutions, and promoting equal justice before the law to solve local problems. Our headquarters are in Arlington, where we share office space with the American Legislative Exchange Council.
ACCE has created great model ordinances and resolutions to address much of the overregulation and ineffective policy found in local governments.
ACCE-promoted policies include local-right-to-work laws, plain-language requests for proposals, a local taxpayers’ bill of rights, public-comment-time guidelines, open and fair competitive bidding on pipe materials, short-term housing rental guidelines, Rule of Law communities, and many others.
Many local elected officials have worked with us to create policies such as 24-hour residential and commercial permitting processes, identifying and eliminating government graft in grants where local governments steal tax money meant to help neighborhoods struggling with poverty, and addressing homelessness by using nonprofits to establish tiny-home villages to help get people off the streets.
Local governments can do a lot of good for their residents when they allow people and small businesses to flourish without the heavy hand of government trying to manipulate and control them. Personal liberty and equal justice before the law create stable communities and a predictable business environment.
Local governments are not laboratories of democracy. Rather, they were created to provide limited government services that would be inefficient for state government to administer. When local governments focus on local leadership instead of control, major issues can be avoided, and people can thrive in a community that values freedom and law.
Article can be found on the Culpeper Star Exponent.