Jim Hoffman
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Free Press Opinion Columnist

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March 28, 2013
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HOFFMAN: Sheriffs, county commissioners seize dictatorial powers; citizens applaud

We are heading down a road clearly marked "Anarchy" and the citizens are cheering.

Our Mesa County commissioners have passed a resolution indicating there will be no enforcement of "unconstitutional" laws within the boundaries of their jurisdiction. We cheer. This is the same group that, when questioned as to if a meeting meets minimum legal standards, had to defer to the county attorney. They cannot determine the legal standards for their own meetings and yet have the sufficient wisdom, background and training to determine what state and federal laws are constitutional? I think not.

As a precedent, this is clearly bad policy. The irony of the situation is that their declaration, if enacted, would be a violation of the Constitution they vow to embrace and uphold. Once a county body is empowered with such authority where would it stop? Now in addition to gun policy, would they next have the authority to cease honoring all federal laws? Could they then cease enforcing state law against anything of their choosing? The answer would appear to be "Yes." They would have usurped all authority of the state and federal government and we will have been reduced to tiny independent fiefdoms - what great pleasure some would find in that.

We applaud sheriffs and other sworn peace officers who vow to ignore their oath of office and refuse to uphold laws that, in their individual judgment, are unconstitutional. So now we have county commissioners and individual peace officers all with the authority to unilaterally declare laws unconstitutional, and we applaud them. We fail to remember the axiom that government once granted a power will never cede it and will only expand upon it. We applaud a sheriff who states that his oath will be violated and declares himself to be an arbiter as to if specific laws pass the test of constitutionality. Yeah, I am certain our local sheriffs have that level of training and expertise.

Because we are so certain that failure to enforce a specific law or set of laws we see as infringing on our rights will protect us, we are willing to allow an individual or small group of individuals to determine what is right for us. This has got to be the slipperiest slope ever. While we protest big government and government intrusion, we grant absolute rights to elected officials willing to violate their oaths of office and the Constitution to win our support on a single issue. What will we do when they broaden that authority and refuse to enforce laws we deem of benefit? Oh, that will never happen, we say. How rapidly we forget. We fear tyrants and dictators while simultaneously creating them.

In a March 21 press release, the GJ Results Tea Party claims to have retained legal counsel to force the organization previously known as the Western Slope Conservative Alliance from infringing upon the right of GJ Result's ownership to the name "Freedom Colorado."

An attachment to that press release was a "MEETING ROOM AND ASSEMBLY AREA RESERVATION FORM" requesting use of the City auditorium for meetings on March 14 and May 2. The name of the organization is identified as "Freedom Colorado - formerly Western Slope Conservative Alliance." The organization has a mailing address of "Jeff Leany at Starvin' Arvins, 3247 F Road, Clifton, CO 81520." The request is signed by Sandy Peeso. The application further states that the requesting organization is a nonprofit.

GJ Results alleges that the organization inappropriately using the name "Freedom Colorado" is "actively soliciting cash donations locally, advertising themselves as a not for profit organization."

Additionally, the release states they (GJ Results) is "in the process of addressing this issue," and is not soliciting or accepting donations of any kind in the name of "Freedom Colorado."

A brief visit to the Colorado Secretary of State's website verified that the name of "Freedom Colorado" is reserved by GJ Results Tea Party. Guess those Western Slope Conservatives need to find themselves yet another name.

Jim Hoffman is a local Realtor and investor who, when not working, loves skiing, camping and fishing (in season). He may be reached at freepressjim@gmail.com.


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The Post Independent Updated Mar 28, 2013 02:19PM Published Mar 28, 2013 02:18PM Copyright 2013 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.