The Lima NewsBefore making any resolutions for the new year, as so many will do tonight, one has to look at what needs changed. So, before we make any resolutions about pushing even harder for human liberty and greater self-responsibility, let’s look back on 2007. Columnist Steve Chapman earlier this month gave a libertarian perspective on freedom’s flow in 2007 around the world. All we’d add is that last week’s assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto makes the concept of democracy in Pakistan about as believable as democracy in Russia under Vladimir Putin.The examples here at home aren’t as stark. With few notable exceptions — the Lima Police Department and the FBI combined for one — no one from government came kicking down doors stripping Ohioans or Americans overall of freedom. Call is shades of gray, then, because the encroachment continued in 2007. This list is by no means all inclusive, but some of the highlights and lowlights for liberty from the past year:• Lima resident Luther Ricks Sr. shot and killed one of two men who were breaking into his home. Lima police found a small amount of marijuana and more than $400,000 Ricks had in his home because, he said, he’s never opened a bank account. Ricks saw the Lima Police Department seize his money, only to see the FBI seize it from the city police. Police have cleared Ricks in the shooting death of the home invader, but the FBI refuses to return the money unless Ricks can prove it is legally his. So much for a man’s home being his castle.• Department of Health officials implemented — finally — rules for the smoking ban voters passed in November 2006. The “level playing field” public health advocates wanted never quite materialized. Some businesses continued allowing smoking, while some counties have decided they don’t have the manpower to enforce the rules.• Voters also took more liberty from those who provide jobs, passing a minimum wage increase. Service Employee International Union District 1199 is making similar arguments in its effort to mandate paid sick days off at any business with 25 or more employees. Such measures strip business owners of their right to property, at the same time as they kill jobs and drive up prices, making life no better for low-income workers. SEIU is saving that ballot proposal for 2008, hoping heavy turnout in the presidential election helps pass it.• Lima City Council members decided property owners need government permission to construct any new billboards in the city. That was a lowlight, in a vain effort to improve the appearance of the Bellefontaine Avenue corridor. The futility became all the more apparent when the Leo and Arlene Hawks’ Ar-Hale Foundation announced it would donate 19 parcels of land around Lima Stadium it has purchased since 2004 for a city park.• Gov. Ted Strickland wrote out of his first two-year budget Ohio’s successful voucher program. The program allowed parents whose children attend continuously underperforming public schools to take the state tax money from the public school and transfer it, along with their child, to a private school. Republicans put the EdChoice vouchers back in the budget. Their doing so allows parents greater ability to see that their children aren’t trapped in failing schools. • Seeing that natural market forces would skyrocket energy costs after a 10-year freeze on rates, Strickland began pushing to return to full regulation of electric in Ohio. The Republican-controlled Ohio Senate already has voted to re-regulate.• Ignoring that public education in Ohio relies too heavily on property taxes and despite the Ohio Constitution placing the burden on state government, legislators attacked the adult entertainment business. Doing the bidding of Cincinnati-based Christian group Citizens for Community Values, the Legislature passed laws prohibiting touching and limited the hours of operation at strip clubs and other adult businesses. It’s been a rough year for personal freedoms. Our resolution for the coming year, therefore, is what you expect: to keep arguing for greater human liberty.