Haywood County Government Actually Listens to Libertarians

We went through stuff like this in Asheville about a decade ago when I was paying closer attention, when I actually thought a difference could be made. It is not unusual for government documents to say things that can be interpreted by a reasonable person to allow somebody with evil intent to get away with lots of bad stuff. The first time I saw it was in a stormwater ordinance that granted the entity the Asheville Tribune referred to as a “stormwater czar” the power to do anything. It was the habit at the time to dismiss the “lone wolves” complaining about literal interpretations at the time by telling them the document didn’t mean what it said, but was boilerplate used all over the place.

Things are different for the better in Haywood County. Saith the Smoky Mountain News:

It’s been a year since the Haywood County commissioners agreed to make changes to the county’s emergency management ordinance to tone down some overbearing language that didn’t sit well with an adamant group of civil liberty watchdogs. . . .

Opponents of the ordinance picked it apart, claimed it gave too much power to the county manager during emergency situations, including the ability to dismiss public officials for failure to obey an order, control all resources (food, materials, services, fuel and wages), and force people off their property.

Language particularly worrisome to the critics was a section that stated that the county manager had the authority to “perform and exercise such other functions, powers and duties as are necessary to promote and secure safety and protection of the civilian population.”

While that language is broad, critics interpreted that to mean the county manager or anyone he delegates the duty to could confiscate guns from civilians. . . .

The former ordinance stated that the county could purchase, condemn or seize materials and facilities for emergency management “without regard to the limitation of any existing law.”