Ashland County voters have a choice this election: Vote for freedom or vote for the tyranny of the majority. I would hope that the voters in this county value freedom, which, in this case, means that we should all respect the wishes of the people who neither use the parks nor wish to be compelled to pay for them. We who support parks should not take away their freedom.
If the majority supports the levy, it means they support using the threat of government force to confiscate the property of those who voted “no”. That may be the way democracy works, but we are not supposed to be a democracy; we are supposed to be a Constitutional Republic, where the rights of the minority are respected. It is fundamentally immoral for anyone – even a majority – to threaten others with force. Might does not make right.
It is unlikely that any property owner would actually refuse to pay the small park tax. After all, what homeowner wants to face eviction, forced out of their own house they labored for years to buy so that the court can sell it to pay for your park? Do you really want to force someone to concede out of fear of foreclosure? Suppose someone did refuse on principle. Do you really want to put Sheriff Risner in the position of having to evict someone from their home with the threat of his gun in order to pay for parks that they do not use? Could you in good conscience enjoy the peace of the parks knowing that you brought this threat of violence upon your neighbor? There is a better way that does not involve the tyranny of the majority.
Those who use the parks or wish to support them could voluntarily purchase a “park membership” or hold fundraisers. This also involves the community in the support of the parks in a more organic, grassroots way. It also provides all-important feedback to the park management about how well they are managing the parks. If someone dislikes how the parks operate,they can withhold financial support. On the other hand, the better the parks, the more support the community will be willing to provide. This feedback is far quicker than waiting for a tax levy to fail, because with a tax levy, loss of revenue is not apparent until the majority of taxpayers have already decided not to support the parks.
If you think the Park District should seek a peaceful means of funding, please take action. Do not just vote “no” on the levy. Talk to people you know, your neighbors and friends, and explain why you are voting “no”. Contact: Ashland County Park District, 1763 St. Rt. 60, Ashland, Oh 44805,or e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org, and post on their Facebook page to express your viewpoint. Encourage them to refrain from using the threat of government violence to coerce the minority to pay for something they do use or want. Ask them to continue to develop the volunteer spirit that they have used so far to acquire, develop,and maintain the parks and most of all, if you support the parks, show it by donating your time and money so that in the future they are not tempted to use the force of government to rob others.