By N. Horton
Today is the day (not yesterday) that the A&P Tax lawsuit will be heard before Judge Tom Hughes in Searcy.
Many of the tax proponents see this as the defining day in their political careers–if they win the suit, they walk forward with their noses higher than ever. If Judge Hughes rules in favor of the Searcy Friends of Voters (SFV), the plaintiffs in favor of letting Searcy citizens vote on the tax, the tax proponents will still walk forward with their noses higher than ever. They think this is a win-win political situation for them. If they win, they win and if they lose, they will still declare themselves the noble victors. After all, they know best. They have never been wrong.
They can (and will) claim bias if the judge rules against them. If the judge rules in their favor, they will continue to lecture us with moral indignation about how “they know best” and how “they were elected to make these decisions for us.” It is all too predictable.
Today is an equally important day for those of us who stood with the people of Searcy and their desire to vote on this important issue.
No judge will determine what is right–only what is legal. We believe, no matter what any judge declares, that the people of Searcy should have been allowed to vote on this tax–in the middle of a major economic recession, that would have been the right thing for the city council to do.
We understand that the council had the legal authority to pass the tax. We also understand that the council only has as much power as We The People give them and We The People said we wanted to vote!
One thing that has become abundantly clear throughout this entire debacle is the arrogance of the current council. They have gone out and made outrageous claims about “knowing what is best for the voters” and having “the right to vote on this tax.” How insulting; how untrue!
First of all, the voters and only the voters know what is best for them. Secondly, government does not have rights! Government has powers and only the powers that The People choose to give them.
Guess what? The People spoke up. The People signed petitions and loudly proclaimed, to the tune of 1,200 signatures, that they wanted to vote on this tax. At that point, legally and morally, the council lost their “right” to maintain their pro-tax position. Instead, they held their shaky ground and are now wasting thousands of taxpayer dollars in this lawsuit.
Did the SFV follow every tiny legal detail to the letter? That is for Judge Hughes to decide. But no judge’s opinion can change the rightness of our position.
The facts and the law are on the side of the Searcy Friends of Voters. Judge Hughes will most likely rule in our favor and the people of Searcy will get their justice.
However, regardless of the outcome, today is not the end of this debate. Whichever side wins will be screaming “victory” all the way into next year’s elections. What the pro-tax liberals fail to realize is that this was never about “winning” and it was not a political stunt. This was about listening to The People–The People that this council allegedly “represents.” This entire struggle was and will continue to be about doing what is right.
1,200 Searcy voters will not let their voices be ignored. Regardless of the ruling today, it is clear that the voters wanted a chance to rule on this tax. If they do not get that chance, the pro-tax aldermen will pay a steep price next election cycle.
Nicholas Horton is the Editor of The Arkansas Patriot and a candidate for Searcy City Council in Ward 1. Contact Nicholas at firstname.lastname@example.org