I was delighted to learn that the statewide anti-forced annexation political action committee (PAC) is at last being formed.
While forced annexation has been a hot topic here in Hamilton County as Carmel tries to forcibly annex Southwest Clay and Home Place, and Fishers does likewise with Geist, it is not isolated to this part of the state. It is in fact a statewide issue, with actions and remonstrances also happening in the Muncie, Fort Wayne, Jeffersonville areas, just to name a few.
Geist resident Rachel Quade has been a driving force in opposing Fishers' largely unwanted advances, and in forming the PAC. From the Indy Star report:
Working with like-minded residents across Indiana, Quade plans to form a political action committee to push for annexation reform. Though Quade has no way of knowing how many will join the PAC, she figures it will represent the interests of more than 5,000 property owners."
I started calling these people saying, 'Would you guys want to work together in getting the law changed?' " Quade said.
Vanessa Smith, who heads an anti-annexation group from Southern Indiana, agreed. Her group is trying to avoid annexation into Jeffersonville.
"We are working on our own legal strategies and we hope that we can delay the Jeffersonville annexation long enough to get the laws changed," Smith said.
Geist resident and PAC member Pete Peterson was quoted in the Noblesville Ledger story, hitting just the right philosophical notes, so foreign to our local Republicans:
Peterson said it is unfair for a municipality to annex an unincorporated area populated by residents who do not have the power to vote for that city's or town's government. He likened the scenario to early American colonists' cries of "No taxation without representation."
"Put this to the citizens. Let them have a say in this," Peterson said. "It really doesn't go along with the way this country was founded to not give people a say."
Libertarians have been strong in their opposition to forced annexations from the beginning. We believe a forced action, one that denies the right to self-determination, is not merely wrong, it is anti-American.
A voluntary annexation is perfectly acceptable. I believe that the laws regarding annexation should be changed thusly:
- Municipalities should no longer be permitted to initiate an annexation.
- Only citizen petitions voluntarily brought forth should be permitted to initiate an annexation.
- The citizens of the receiving municipality, not merely their city or town council, should then have a vote on whether or not to accept the petition.
Democratic Rep. David Orentlicher is offering legislation that would change the laws, as is Republican Senator Beverly Gard. Both are to be commended for their willingness to be responsive.
This stands in contrast to the tax & spend Hamilton County Republicans, who have been initiating these forced annexations as mayors or town councils, and ducking from taking a conservative position against them. The Hamilton County GOP had a laughable non-position posted on its website earlier this year.
I look forward to this PAC taking part in the process of endorsing and financially supporting anti-annexation candidates in the 2007 municipal election cycle.