Hopefully. I also hope that the suburbs of the City of Houston experience a MASSIVE building boom as hundreds of businesses close up shop in this pitiful perversion of a government. Especially in Texas.
Why? Apparently (according to this ABC news story) the City Council of this urban monster voted 15-1 to mandate a large number of businesses (including establishments that serve alcohol AND convenience stores) to install surveillance cameras at their own expense AND to provide the recordings to the police on demand, within 72 hours without a warrant. And if they don’t? The business will be fined $500 per day.
As I understand it, this tyrannical enactment (to go into effect in 90 days) supposedly does not violate privacy rights because it is only the outside of buildings (to the property line) that will have to have cameras. The recordings must be 24-7 and must be kept by the business for 30 days.
When it comes to violating rights guaranteed by the Texan and federal Constitution, this conspiracy of fifteen pieces of trash politicians seems to hit them all. Yes, including the no-quartering article (Section 25 of the Texan Bill of Rights; the Federal 3rd Amendment) – because these cameras in essence have created a virtual occupation of these properties by armed troops – even if we call them cops and not soldiers.
Just ONE of the sixteen members of this tyrannical entity, a man named Mike Knox, voted against this, stating (rightly) that it was unconstitutional. He cited the Federal 4th Article (Sections 9 and 27 of the Texan Bill of Rights), against unreasonable search and seizure and requiring warrants. Which this edict explicitly excludes.
I think there are many more. The stated intent is to intimidate bad guys who are supposed to congregate outside bars, nightclubs, convenience stores, gaming businesses and such. So it is a violation of the 8th Section (equivalent to the Federal First Amendment) protections of free speech and assembly.
It also violates Section 17 (taking of private property). First in requisitioning the airspace/building parts to install the cameras and the wiring and recording equipment. Secondly, taking the recordings themselves. And third, the money these things cost (yes, I believe that money is “private property”).
Take your pick: is Houston just playing 1984? Or Brave New World? Or just what? They claim, like Hitler and others before them, that the “people” demand it. And some activists are demanding even more.
Which is why I suggest and hope that as many of these businesses move OUT of Houston and vote with their feet and pocketbooks. The city council needs to be punished, and this will be part of that: Houston’s 1% sales tax accounts for 25% of the city’s total revenue (property taxes are another 45% – so 70% is pure theft!). That is about 700 MILLION dollars a year. If these businesses only account for 5% of Houston business, that would be 35 million bucks a year. Would that be enough? Probably not by itself.
But thousands of empty properties also means a drop in property valuation – and therefore a big drop in those property taxes. And lots of secondary impacts.
Protests? Forget about it. For one thing, the people that own and run most of these businesses have no time to go down to City Hall to stand around and chant slogans and wave signs. They are trying to make a living and provide for customers. Calling and complaining to the counsel thugs? Really? People who diss the First Amendment could care less about petitions for redress of grievances. But the good business owners of Houston do not have to immediately resort to violent opposition. Or even civil disobedience and getting tickets (or hauled into jail) for refusing to obey this tyrannical enactment.
Even if the businesses cannot immediately move out of the city limits, there are other weapons (peaceful ones) that can be used to fight the city. One is to deny sales and services to ANY city employee: not just no more free donuts for cops and firemen, but NO goods sold to ANY city employee. Enlist other businesses to join in the refusal of sales and services. Even the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) states: “A firm’s refusal to deal with any other person or company is lawful so long as the refusal is not the product of an anticompetitive agreement with other firms…”
There are no doubt other weapons to be used: refusing city vehicles from coming onto property, for one. Demanding proof of liability insurance for city inspectors, cops, and others. And even asking customers and suppliers to call and complain – frequently – to city hall.
Let your imagination run wild! Houston needs to be choked to a well-deserved death. It is a blot on the Republic.