Jan 27, 2011
Residents of Discovery Bay, California will be the first in the country to be officially denied the right to use cash to pay for public services, in a move that echoes the Department of Homeland Security’s drive to depict those who use physical money as potential terrorists.
As reported by the Contra Costa Times recently, from May onwards, residents will no long be allowed to pay water bills or purchase park permits after the Discovery Bay Community Services District board voted to ban cash transactions for all services.
Anyone paying for such public services must do so with a credit/debit card, a check or money order.
The declaration on all US money bills that “This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private” will no longer apply in Discovery Bay when it comes to paying the government.
One former director on the District Board told the Times that he believes the move has come in response to a small amount of anonymous requests for copies of public records, which were then paid for in cash, a perfectly legal right.
Residents of the town have been described as “uncommonly antagonistic toward local government”, and former director David Piepho believes some are attempting to use public records “to be like snipers and take shots.”
He believes that by banning cash payments, the local government will be able to identify who these individuals are or prevent them from requesting further public information.
However, district representatives have denied those claims, instead suggesting that the ban is being put in place because handling cash puts city officials under threat from potential thieves.
The ruling sets a dangerous precedent, not only in that it effectively limits access to public records, but also particularly in light of the fact that the federal government is pushing an agenda to identify those who exclusively use cash to pay for things and do not own credit cards as suspicious and potential terrorists.
As part of the Commercial Facilities Sector Training and Resources, the following PSA video titled DHS Video No Reservations – Extension of “See Something, Say Something” program was recently released by Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
The video suggests that “Terrorists and criminals do their best to cover their tracks. This may include paying by cash.” The hotel receptionist acts baffled and dumbfounded when a guest asks to pay in cash and says he does not use credit cards. Like a dutiful tattle tale she alerts her manager, concluding “I guess it’s not a problem, it’s just… WEIRD.” The narrator of the video then confirms “This is suspicious behaviour”.
Of course, what really is “WEIRD” is the fact that we’re expected to believe that US citizens will find it perfectly normal being asked to report on each other for a government that wishes your every purchase to be electronically traceable on the off chance that you might be an enemy of the state.