Thursday, June 26, 2014


The Stark County Political Report is guessing that the Stark County commissioners will not be seeking out a Libertarian to serve on an advisory committee preliminary to and, of course, advise on the question of whether or not Stark County is going to regulate its citizens even more than we currently are.

But they should.

While the SCPR political/philosophical viewpoint is that there is certainly a case for government regulation; Libertarians are an important mix in our socio/political scheme of life in terms of weighing-in to ameliorate the influence of overzealous proponents of government regulation.

After all, the proposal for Stark County to adopt a county/township roadway "access management" regulatory scheme (see the Stark County Engineer Keith Bennett video below), if implemented, will take a measure of liberty away from Stark Countians.

While the enabling Ohio statute does provide the potential for non-government affiliated members of the Stark County public to serve on the committee (e.g. a surveyor, a realtor, a private sector engineer and a building industry representative), the overwhelming makeup of the advisory commissioner will be existing government employed persons, to wit:
  • a county commissioner,
  • three trustees,
    • Note:  Bennett recommends two from "urban" townships" and one from a "rural" township,
  • a regional planning employee,
  • a member of the Stark County Transportation Study,
  • "and any other person the board should chooses to appoint." (emphasis added)
Here is a SCPR extract from the enabling legislation (enacted in 2002).

(C) Upon adoption of a resolution under division (A) of this section, the board of county commissioners shall establish an advisory committee to review the county engineer's proposed regulations prepared under division (B) of this section. The board shall appoint to the committee the county engineer or the engineer's designee, a registered surveyor in private practice, a representative of the homebuilding industry, a licensed realtor, a representative of a county or regional planning commission with jurisdiction in the county, a professional engineer with expertise in traffic engineering, a representative of the metropolitan planning organization, where applicable, at least three township trustees from any townships located in the county selected by the local county association representing the township trustees and clerks in that county, a member of the board of county commissioners, and any other person the board chooses to appoint.
(emphasis added)
At yesterday's regular weekly commissioners' meeting, Stark County Engineer Keith Bennett presented the commissioners with an outline of proposal to regulate county and township roadways in terms of access.

There is no doubt that state officials since 1996 have been and are "well-intentioned" in regulating roadway access in Ohio in the furtherance of citizen safety.

From the Ohio Department of Transportation website:
In 1996, ODOT Executive Leadership identified Access Management as a strategic department initiative. Director Jerry Wray appointed an Access Policy Committee to carry out this initiative. Today, that initiative has culminated in the State Highway Access Management Manual, effective September 1, 1998 and the State Highway Access Management Policy, effective March 31, 2005. 
Reason given by ODOT as justifying government intrusion into our daily lives include:
  • Improves public safety by reducing accidents
  • Preserves the useful life of the highway system by maintaining highway capacity
  • Facilitates the movement of people and goods by reducing travel delay and congestion
  • Supports orderly economic development by providing appropriate access to property consistent with the operation and safety of the highway
  • Minimizes transportation costs by making highways more efficient
  • Encourages closer cooperation between state and local governments in land use and transportation decisions
Want an idea of what "new" regulations will be visited upon Stark Countians should the commissioners decide to implement Bennett's proposal?

Here is a link to Butler County's access management regulations which Butler which became effective in 2005.

Hopefully, the commissioners will insist that at least one person who is avowedly biased towards freedom from government regulation serve on the advisory committee.

The commissioners say that they are open, accessible, communicative, and transparent.

Including a Libertarian on the access management advisory board would be compelling evidence that the democratic values they espouse have a reality to them, no?

After all, to say it again, the proposal is designed to take away a measure of our existing liberty.

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