A conspiracy of two

Fellow Portsmouth resident and Free State Project member Jared is in. We met last night to brainstorm some more ideas on what to do.

We were in agreement that the long-term goal should be to get people thinking differently. Outreach and education needs to be a critical part of whatever we do. To that end, Jared is checking on the details of getting a booth at Market Square Day in June.

However, the lesson I took from the taxpayers group is that if you aren’t doing anything, people won’t see a point in joining you. So we still need at least one project to work on.

And here is the problem with living in a place as lovely as Portsmouth: there just aren’t any huge, obvious problems. The tax burden is modest, and the services given with that money are fairly decent. The police aren’t rampantly abusive, so far as I know, there is a very small indigent population, and it’s fairly safe. The last place I lived, it was more a question of which huge problem to address first; here, it’s a matter of finding a problem that will engage people. This is what ultimately scuttled the spending cap attempt; it’s just not that bad.

To be sure, there is waste in the city budget. Many city employees are overpaid, and the pensions are going to come due at some point. Many things the city does could be done by volunteers and/or non-profit organizations. And the police does waste a fair bit of time on silly exercises; I am convinced they could get by with a smaller force.

But unfortunately, it looks like I’m going to have to begin with a review of the city budget to find out where the biggest opportunities are. Not really my idea of fun, but unless there’s something blatant I’m overlooking, that’s where I’ll have to start.

Next Monday, I’m going to a kick-off meeting of Seacoast Local’s Farm to Business program. My chief interest there is identifying ways in which the government gets in the way of sustainable efforts (e.g., the continuing ban on uninspected poultry at the farmers’ market) and then working with the farmers and local businesses to eliminate those barriers.

2 Responses

  1. Quote: “However, the lesson I took from the taxpayers group is that if you aren’t doing anything, people won’t see a point in joining you. So we still need at least one project to work on.”

    Petitioning is a great way to talk to lots of people and weed out and recruit people of similar opinion (see: http://www.rhofam.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=14). I personally suggest starting a petition to remove fluoride from the Portsmouth water supply. (Fluoride is even recognized by the Center for Disease Control as a poison, and is added to rat poison!) There is a law that says that a petition gathering 10% of the voters of a town can put the question of the fluoridation of the city water supply to a vote (see RSA 485:14-a: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2004/sb0449.html).

  2. Get a local-access TV show! Seriously, it’s only about an hour a week, and you get to put the libertarian message in front of people. You’d be amazed, but people actually watch those channels.

    By the way… I’d love to have my show broadcast in Portsmouth. Same deal for FreeMindsTV.com Usually all it takes is 1 member of the community to request a public-access show, for the station to air it. Ping me for details.

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