Liberty or tyranny?

I've raised that question before in previous posts.

When you hear the term "home rule" is this what comes to mind?

The reality is quite different.  From contributor Henry Kramer:  

Home Rule is Undemocratic
“Home Rule.”  Sound good and close to the people?  But local governments, the beneficiaries of “home rule,” do not conform to basic American constitutional principles.
At all levels of a representative republic, representatives are elected, represent an appropriate majority, and are equally “legitimate.” But majorities vary at different levels and a local majority may be a state minority.  Local majorities often seek “home rule” simply because they cannot prevail otherwise.
Local governments lack the separation of powers and checks and balances that our founders wrote into our constitution to prevent abuse of power.  Local governments enjoy both executive and legislative power.  Once a local activist majority forms, there is no separation of powers to check and balance it, no diffusion of power from a two-house legislature or executive veto.  Certainly not the minority protection provided by U.S. Senate rules, including the super majority to limit debate.
Without checks and balances, activists who capture local governments can create a tyrannical power, including claiming a right to override state and federal law.  Faced with activist local governments that exceed their powers, our only recourses are litigation or relocation.  Neither pulling up roots nor justice comes free. Without the resources to litigate, rights end up trampled with impunity.
Activist local governments often lack expertise regarding subject matter on which they legislate. Ignorance in complex and highly technical areas is no sound basis for legislation.  Traditionally, local governments concerned themselves with purely local concerns and accepted their role as sub-divisions of state government, entirely subject to state supervision.  Reasonable zoning was acceptable but local action on state, national, and international matters, and rejection of state preemption, was not acceptable.  
Imagine trying to control the nation’s air traffic or airwaves at local level.  The U.S. constitutes a single national market.  Although states are sometimes granted concurrent jurisdiction to act on their concerns, the Supreme Court has protected national markets from local regulation.  “Home rule” simply does not work in economic matters.
Local interests are, by definition, local.  We elect state and federal officials to deal with matters whose scope exceeds traditional local issues such as roads and local public safety.
Today, local “progressives” shun progress and try to “preserve and protect” against growth and change. Local governments with “home rule” can be very undemocratic, allowing a group possessing a mere local majority to impose extreme values, rendering minorities powerless as they are stripped of rights and freedoms.
Americans are mobile and our country is wide and varied.  As Americans, we must remember to keep a national perspective.  Local “home rule” can undercut state, national, and international policies. Should local governments be able to use “home rule” to undermine goals important to the country as a whole?  That way leads to patchwork quilt regulation and chaos.
Lord Acton wrote, “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”  Local governments that ignore self-restraint on the limits of power are corrupt, undemocratic, and outside U.S. constitutional principles.


Activists have been elected in Town of Dryden who under the cloak of saving watersheds, aquifiers, steep slopes, rare fir trees(?) and rare orchids (?) will vote Thursday, 7:30 PM, Town Hall, to make 60+% of the Town of Dryden a Critical Environment Area. That means anyone owning land in that CEA and wants to do anything on it that requires a local building permit will be SUBJECT to NYS DEC review. So in addition to having local zoning and building codes apply, you now have to have New York State DEC rules and regulations to deal with. Show up on Thursday night and tell this town board to stop this land grab.