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A Tale of Two Cities, as Told by Paul Harvey

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There’s a city Down South, Nelson, Georgia, to be specific, that is considering an ordinance that, if enacted, would be the first of its kind in America. But before I describe the ordinance itself, I should introduce the town of Nelson. Nelson is the classic small town in rural America: it’s a bit over forty miles from Atlanta, just over 90 percent white, mean income slightly below average, a little under 70 percent of adults 25 or over have a high school education or above, and much of this blue-collar city’s income comes from contruction.

On March 5th town leaders told a reporter from an Atlanta television station, “In order to provide for the emergency management of the city, and further in order to provide for and protect the safety, security and general welfare of the city and its inhabitants, every head of household residing in city limits is required to maintain a firearm, together with ammunition.”

Yes, that’s right. Under this proposed legislation, every head of household within city limits would be required to maintain a firearm, together with ammunition. Now, one might wonder just why the town leaders would consider such an ordinance. According to the second reference above, they had drafted the ordinance because they only have one police officer on duty for eight hours a day. And they worry that sheriff deputies cannot provide enough protection during the 16 hours each night that no officer is patrolling.

I’m sure that many will find this reasonable, and many will not, but please remember that this is not yet law. We’ll keep you updated.

There’s a city out west, Lancaster, California, which is about the same distance northwest of Los Angeles, and many of the residents make a living driving down Highway 14 through the gap between the San Gabriel and San Bernadino mountain ranges to get to the City of Angels. Lancaster is also a mostly blue-collar town. Lancaster has a little over 150,000 residents, a plurality of whom are Hispanic, a little under 80 percent of whom have a high school education or above, and the average home there sells for just less than half the average price of a home in California. The city of Lancaster is now deciding whether to implement a new first-in-the-nation ordinance of its own.

Mayor R. Rex Parris recently announced a pioneering update to the city’s residential building code: Starting on Jan. 1, 2014, all newly constructed single-family homes must include a 1.0 kW solar system at bare minimum.

As with the proposed ordinance in Nelson, Georgia, I’m sure that many will find this reasonable and that many will not, but please remember that this is not yet law. Again, we’ll keep you updated.

What is the most interesting thing that connects the two cities? It’s not so much that they’re both trying to implement sweeping ordinances of possibly questionable constitutionality. Read on to find the rest of the story!

Now when we look at Nelson and Lancaster, we see that the former is in a heavily red state and the population is quite stereotypical of the South: 90 percent white. Lancaster, as most of us immediately noticed, is a majority minority city in that liberal mecca on the Left coast, California, so one might expect the obvious difference between the two ordinances, the city leaders in Georgia wanted more guns, while the mayor of the city in California wanted solar panels for all. That fits the narrative of the polarized political parties of today, doesn’t it? Doesn’t it?

Not so fast.

You see, according to the last reference above, the city of Lancaster is “a heavily conservative town led by a no-nonsense Republican mayor”. The narrative becomes less, then, of conservatives wanting one thing and liberals wanting another thing, but of Republican leaders in two very different locations both trying to do what they think is best for their constituents within the limits of what those constituents would allow.

“And now you know the rest of the story.”

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About Glenn Contrarian

White. Male. Raised in the deepest of the Deep South. Retired Navy. Strong Christian. Proud Liberal. Thus, Contrarian!
  • Dr Dreadful

    Interesting, although I don’t know that there’s anything fundamentally questionable about either ordnance. Posse comitatus is a well-established legal concept and in fact is specifically authorized by Georgia state law, which is presumably what the city fathers of Nelson have in mind. There’s also nothing constitutionally to prevent local governments from requiring homes to be soundly constructed to modern standards, or to have access to utilities. Lancaster’s proposed solar energy law isn’t really any different than ordnances requiring new homes to have proper insulation, or to be connected to the city water supply.

    (As a side note, it is a possibly uninteresting coincidence that both municipalities share their names with towns in Lancashire, England.)

  • G l e n n C o n t r a r i a n

    Doc –

    Maybe you’re right that it’s might not be so questionable – what got my attention (and made me want to write the article) was the sheer contrast between what the Republican leadership of the two cities support. And I hope that the BC conservatives see that for once in my time on BC, there’s little or nothing in the article that could be seen as putting conservatives in a bad light.

    And I just now saw that last note in your comment – that’s not at all uninteresting to me, since it’s my pet theory (backed up by absolutely nothing other than personal experience) that people with ADD tend to notice connections and coincidences that others might not see (much less care about).

  • Dr Dreadful

    I resent your implication that I have ADD. Everyone who knows me can testify to my powers of concentr

  • Glenn Contrarian

    I honestly wasn’t meaning to imply that. BTW (in case you didn’t read it when I posted it before) my son (whose ADD is more profound than my own) came home from school one day and said “Dad, I don’t have ADD!”

    I replied, “Is that so?”

    He said “Yeah, I’ve got ADHLAS.”

    “Huh?”

    “It’s Attention-Deficit-Hey-Look-A-Squirrel!”

    And he’s told me several times that he wouldn’t want to be any other way, that he hopes his own kids have ADD like he does.