View From a Height
Commentary from the Mile High City
Wednesday, January 15, 2003
Fairfax County Police, it seems, have been dragging patrons out of bars, and administering breathalyzer tests, and then arrest those who would be too drunk to drive. Bob Barr, more libertarian than many thought, had a Washington Times column denouncing this last week. I'm as upset about this as he is. Moreso.

Why do I care, other than the general issue of civil rights in America? Well, I used to live in Fairfax County, and I still own a rental property there. The condo is near a number of major highways and a number of nice bars. What Fairfax County hopes to accomplish with these raids, other than make the county an unappealing place to live, and drive down my property values, is beyond me. While I pay taxes to support this nonsense, I have no recourse within the political process. If someone filed a lawsuit, I might contribute to their attorneys, but so might anyone with similar concerns. And, as a good conservative, I'd rather see these things handled first by the political process and only as a last recourse by the courts.

So, a radical proposal: individuals should be allowed to vote in any jurisdiction in which they pay taxes in their own name. I would be able to vote for county supervisors, but not for state or federal offices, in this case. If, somehow, I ended up paying income taxes to Virginia, I'd be able to vote for statewide office, but not federal office. In no case would I get to vote for federal office in more than one jurisdiction, since I'm already represented there. (In fact, one could argue that having more that one representative in Congress would prove detrimental, allowing each to tell me to go to the other one with any problems.)

Back when property was a qualification for voting, this was the law in many places, and people could vote in more than one jurisdiction. This was before the franchise was extended, and residency replaced property as the main qualification for voting. Note that I'm not proposing that we allow multiple representation in the same body, more than one vote per person per jurisdiction, or any other sort of inequality in represenation. The system would remain egalitarian. But now, when Fairfax took their slice of my rental income, they'd know they'd have to respect my interests as well.

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