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Dear Mr. Lambert, Dec. 27. 2010

by pete on December 31, 2010

December 27, 2010

Dear Mr. Lambert

     I have read in the papers the news that the commissioners are still intending to try to force their top-down zoning agenda on the citizens of Gallatin Count y.  The Chronicle indicated that you were considering standing idly on the sidelines while the GOMAG group contests the legally prescribed protest process that the southern valley group used successfully last spring; that protest process that you fought so hard against and then later stated that you were dedicated to defending under the US Constitution.

     Since the GOMAG group’s allegations involve a violation of the 14th amendment and you now, again seem to be pre-disposed NOT to defend the constitutionality of the protest process I wanted to take this opportunity to see if you would now answer my frequently asked question concerning this county’s open space debacle.

     To refresh your memory:  The second clause in the 14th amendment mandates:  “nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.  The principle of “due process of law” as understood by the framers of the 14th amendment and by Americans all the way back to James Madison, included some substantive limitations on government power.  For example, if a government passed a law that said, “All people with last names beginning with “A” or “B” must pay $500.00 each to the government, and the money will be redistributed to persons whose last names begin with “x”, “y” or “z” that law would be a violation of the DUE PROCESS  clause.  Even if the law had been passed with proper procedures – such as a recorded vote by the legislature following a public hearing – the law would be void because it would be beyond the legitimate powers of government.  Starting in 1895, the Supreme Court began to use the 14th amendment’s due process clause to make some provisions of the Bill of Rights enforceable against state governments.  Because local governments derive power from the states, a constitutional restriction on state governments automatically applies to local governments also.”

      You will remember that neither you  nor the commissioners have ever answered the question of how, as in this example, you can justify the “open space” debacle wherein all the people in the county are subjected to this tax which is then doled out to just a handpicked few of the largest landowners in the county.  As you and/or the commissioners have chosen NOT to answer this very legitimate question I look forward, should the GOMAG case go the Montana Supreme Court, to hearing the view of the court on this seemingly unjust and abusive policy on the part of Gallatin County bureaucrats in regard to the “open  space” debacle.

     Should you uncharacteristically, feel a belated sense of obligation to answer this very legitimate question I would welcome you to do it on my blog @


Peter Rothing

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