When Should Government Not Protect Citizens and The Great Sherwood Hills Landslide Debate

by Robert John Stevens, July 22, 2015

This afternoon I spent an hour meeting with David Graves who is the City Engineer/Deputy Public Works Director for Provo, Utah. We spoke about a variety of topics including why Provo won’t grant building permits in Sherwood Hills, the moving Sherwood Hills land mass and what may be happening there geologically.

I asked David, “What would happen to the entire Sherwood Hills land mass if a home were removed?” He said the effects would be negligible. I then asked if removing a home was negligible then why was Provo concerned about adding a home?

Considering all the things that could happen in Sherwood Hills via earthquake, landslide and the moving land mass, isn’t it amazing nobody has died?

Perhaps then the proper role of government is not to protect us against all things.

Most if not all of Provo’s concerns, rules and moratoriums just destroy free agency, or the right to choose. Suppose we learn at Judgment Day that this earth life is a big test to see if we would infringe on anyone’s free agency?

During tumultuous moments of frustration, we could then find relief knowing most lawmakers are going to hell.

If you’re a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, consider these scriptures regarding the U.S. Constitution:

And that law of the land which is constitutional, supporting that principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges, belongs to all mankind, and is justifiable before me. And as pertaining to law of man, whatsoever is more or less than this, cometh of evil. — D&C 98:5-6

All unconstitutional laws, especially those that deny us of our free agency are therefore evil.

David told me Provo’s lawyer said they can’t deny citizens the right to build in Sherwood Hills, but instead he was told to say they’d have to solve the moving land mass problem for all of Sherwood Hills! I replied that was impossible and cunning.

Property rights were never delegated to government. Quoting Article 1, Section 1 of Utah’s Constitution, “All men have the inherent and inalienable right to enjoy and defend their lives and liberties; to acquire, possess and protect property.”

When did you delegate to government the right to deny you to build on your own property?

Inalienable rights are rights given by God to men. Life itself is an inalienable right. If we delegate to government the right to grant life then we also give government the right to take life away.

The Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution are based upon inalienable rights. Without inalienable rights both are invalid.

David said I may buy any existing home in Sherwood Hills and remodel it. So if a remodel suggests I may tear down an existing home and rebuild, then why can’t I build a new home on a formally approved building lot? When Provo City approved the Sherwood Hills Subdivision in 1978, wasn’t that a valid, legal contract?

These inconsistent policies use the force of government to protect existing lot owners with structures while discriminating against neighbors who haven’t yet built. Such discrimination is unconstitutional and unenforceable.

Now that I know many of the issues and risks, shouldn’t Provo allow me to attach to the Provo City utilities via flexible pipes or conduits, bond for breakage, build and just attach a legal disclosure to the lot for future buyers?

It is time for government to return to their original mandate—to protect property rights.