Tag Archives: neighborhoods

Neighborhood Meetings and Caucus Meetings

Provo recently reminded residents through its YouTube channel about its “neighborhood chair” program.  This program involves residents in each of Provo’s 34 neighborhoods regularly electing one of themselves to serve as a “chair,” who will then host periodic neighborhood meetings in which residents may discuss their various concerns and/or suggestions, while providing a regular line of communication about such issues between neighborhood residents and city councilors.

We urge you to participate in this program, along with your like-minded neighbors, to help champion the principles of a virtuous free society over the practices of centralized political command-and-control, as exemplified by Vision 2030 and/or Vision 2050 (see our previous blog entry).

In doing so, please remember that it’s better to save than to condemn, and to toss figurative life-preservers than to cast figurative stones—and that the best way to defeat our enemies is by humbly striving together with them to unite around objective truth-and-righteousness, thereby helping them to become our friends over time.  Our statist adversaries often have good intentions, but foolishly pursue those goals through bad methods—and, so, we need to help them to redirect their efforts from the wrong means to the right ones, instead.  Tools like persuasion, contract, volunteerism, philanthropy, entrepreneurship, economic activism, et cetera, are always better ways to accomplish anything than unilateral coercion, which is generally acceptable only as a last resort in defense against aggression.

Alongside trying to proselytize our neighbors to embrace freedom, these neighborhood meetings may also be good opportunities to actively seek out virtuous wise neighbors to encourage to run for city office.

Speaking of elections, we’d like to mention another very important political meeting to attend, although it’s not directly related to Provo…

Utah’s two major parties will hold their biennial precinct caucuses next Tuesday to elect both county and state delegates for the next two years.  This year, those delegates will scrutinize candidates for public office and then convene to narrow down their options to one candidate for each office as their party’s official nominee—or two candidates (in some cases) who will then face each other in a primary election so that voters may make the final decision.  Next year, those same delegates will follow a similar process to choose candidates for party offices.

Party officers, by the way, generally belong in one of two categories—one sort believes that the grassroots should govern the party through sound parliamentary procedures facilitated by respectful officers, while the other sort believes that the elites should rule the party, and should violate party rules as much as they can get away with in order to finagle the grassroots into doing whatever the elites want.  This dichotomy generally parallels the timeless universal spectrum between those who favor “bottom-upward” political systems that help citizens to defend their rights against others’ aggression, and those who favor “top-downward” political systems that reign over society.

This endless political struggle is currently manifesting itself in a raging conflict over Utah’s longstanding caucus system, as many liberty-lovin’ Utahns (represented by Keep My Voice) want to continue it, while certain statist politicians (represented by Count My Vote) want to destroy it in favor of primary elections alone, and are allegedly resorting to lies, harassment, threats, and bribes to accomplish this goal.  Primary elections alone were used from 1937 to 1947, and were shown to reduce voter participation; they also render votes more affected by both biased journalists and wealthy donors, and allow the “spoiler effect” in which candidates may win with only minority support, as we recently saw when “liberal” John Curtis defeated two “conservative” Republicans in a primary election to become the Republican nominee with only minority support.  These sorts of problems encouraged Utahns to adopt a hybrid caucus-convention-primary system in 1947 that has persisted until recently with only minor adjustments.

So, please encourage your like-minded Republican neighbors to participate in their respective caucus meetings to help preserve Utah’s caucus system, while upholding wise virtuous rights-defenders to both public and party office.  And please feel free to report any victories to us that we might want to share with others.


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Provo’s Mayor and Central Planning

Provo’s newest mayor, Michelle Kaufusi, is simultaneously serving as a columnist for the Provo Daily Herald, which is helping to extend the reach of her “bully pulpit” to expound her views.  It’ll be nice to know what she’s thinking and intending over time.

In her first column yesterday, she wrote about how to preserve Provo’s “unique, family-friendly, close-knit feel” as it grows, and proposed three solutions, about which we’d like to comment briefly.

Firstly, she proposed “a neighborhood-first city.”  The details of what this phrase means are not obvious but remain somewhat debatable—but, in any case, although it’s a fine thing to maintain distinct neighborhoods within a city, there’s one political unit that’s always even more important than any neighborhood.  And that unit is the family, which is the basic unit of any society, including of any church or state.  In fact, each individual household constitutes the Earthly source from which all political power is delegated to public officers.  And each political system should not only respect the equal God-given rights of its constituents, but it should also help defend those rights, even when doing so contradicts the special interests of certain groups.  Like neighborhood majorities.  So, it would be better to propose a family-first city.

Secondly, she proposed “smart urban planning.”  Although it’s alright for the city to plan some things like public streets, the rest is best planned by the many rather than the few.  No small oligarchy of central economic planners, now matter how expert, can plan a city better than its residents interacting contractually within a genuinely-free market.  The people should decide what gets built where, not their city councilors and definitely not their mayor.  The purpose of a city’s mayor should not be to direct his/her constituents’ efforts like a monarch, but rather to defend their rights as a servant, while allowing them to work out the rest amongst themselves as free people.  Free people, when guided by virtue, can accomplish amazing things—in fact, they always work best as free men and women rather than as slaves.

Thirdly, she proposed “an aggressive plan to increase economic development in our city.”  Again, it’s free people who should freely develop their economy, while their public officers should simply help defend their rights to do so, rather than dictate those efforts.  It shouldn’t be a mayor’s responsibility to make a “shopping list” of specific businesses to bring into town, and then devise strategies to finagle them into doing so via subsidies or tax-breaks or other special favors, all for the purpose of increasing the city’s tax revenue so that it can control everyone better.  Instead, public officers should simply help defend everyone’s equal God-given rights, and equally welcome ALL legitimate businesses into town by maintaining a genuine free market—a market in which entrepreneurs naturally thrive according to how well they serve residents (NOT how well they curry political favor), and in which they are equally free (including from burdensome regulations) to figure out how best to do this, as long as they don’t overstep their own God-given rights to violate the equal rights of others.  Economies always perform best when they’re kept free, not when they’re whooped into submission to serve political objectives.

Either we the people rule our public officers, or they rule us.  A controlling state makes a weak citizenry, but a strong populace makes a strong city.  And that’s the “Provo Strong” that we should want—a strong community in which residents fully respect each other’s equal rights, while learning to exercise their own rights well within their proper limits, and freely loving/serving each other to do likewise.  This characterizes the virtuous free society that will help Provo to remain a thriving place to live.  By contrast, our city will dwindle if we persist along our present collectivistic course toward well-funded central planning that will run our municipal economy and direct its growth.

So, let’s work together for a freer Provo, including by upholding more city officers who will respect our rights NOT reign over our lives.  Which includes preparing for our city’s next round of elections in 2019.  We invite you to please visit our Free Provo website for both ideas and resources, and we hope that you’ll encourage your fellow liberty-lovin’ Provoans to do likewise.


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