Thursday, April 24, 2008

Declaration of War!

UPDATE: 2:45 PM
So yeah, you sagacious types may have noticed the hilarious political cartoon of the Boss Hogg town manager suddenly disappeared for three and a half hours.

Creative artist Kevin Joy received a call on his cell phone with a threatening message suggesting liability because the town manager is “appointed” rather than “elected”.

My attorney just confirmed Shaffer is a “public official” PERIOD—and it doesn’t matter if he’s elected or appointed.

Of course now we’re trying to figure out how this mysterious person got Kevin’s cell phone number. He did call the Town Manager a lot these past few days. Hmmm…
Conservative Canadian Web page picks up the story
Gazette Front Page Article (above the fold no less)
One Town Official's Take

Town of Amherst To Organize And Conduct July 4’th Parade In 2009


A group of local volunteers created the Amherst July Fourth Parade Committee. Since 2002, the private group has done a remarkable job in organizing and conducting a parade to celebrate July 4’th in Amherst. However, there has been controversy over the Committee’s refusal to allow potential parade participants from displaying signs protesting various actions by government. With that in mind, I have repeatedly urged the Parade Committee not to exclude organizations and individuals who wish to use the July 4’th parade as a means to protest certain government action or to advocate for a particular position. I have met frequently with parade organizers to promote the concept that July 4’th is a time that all Americans should celebrate the birth of this nation and the principles of freedom inherent in the Declaration of Independence and the Bill or Rights. In particular, the First Amendment of the Bill or Fights, generally considered to be the most important Article in the Constitution, guarantees freedom of speech with remarkable clarity. How is it that on the nation’s birthday, in Amherst, any American can be denied their constitutional right to freedom of speech on town owned streets during a celebration ostensible devoted to that freedom so denied? I am sorry to report that I have not been able to successfully communicate that irony to the July Fourth Parade Committee.

The Town of Amherst cannot and should not obstruct or prevent a private parade from occurring in Amherst. Consequently, I will not attempt, in any fashion, to prevented the Parade Committee from conduction the July 4’th Parade in 2008. I will continue to encourage communications with the July 4’th Parade Committee in order to achiever the changes that I believer are correctly sought. However, moving forward, I believe the proposed change will correct the problem excluding certain forms of free speech during the July 4’th Parade.

As a result, the Town of Amherst shall sponsor a parade in celebration of Fourth of July, 2009. All groups will be invited to participate, and with the exception of obscenities and hate crimes, freedom of speech will be allowed. The LSSE Department, which is responsible for the fireworks and community events on July 4’th, will be asked to organize and manage the July 4’th Parade, also. A July 4’th Parade Committee shall be formed by the town to assist in managing the many details associated with such an event.

For Questions:
Shafferl@amherstma.gov
413-259-3002

9 comments:

maryd said...

I liked todays inamherst post:

http://www.inamherst.com/2008/04/when_a_parade_becomes_a_circus.html

LarryK4 said...

Yeah, I just now returned from an "emergency meeting" of the 7/4 Parade Committee and we too liked it...a lot!

O'Reilly said...

Shaffer and Weiss’ solution will make a circus of the celebration. Their standard is unenforceable because the government cannot limit free speech. While private groups like the Parade Committee have the freedom of association, government organized events do not and cannot discriminate, nor abridge freedom of speech including making decisions about what is and isn't acceptable.

Shaffer and Weiss want to tell people what is acceptable form of protest is. Now that's a slippery slope for government agnets. And what if the neo-nazi skinheads arrive and demand to march, you know the ones who hate blacks and LGBTs? You think the town of Amherst has the legal authority to tell them they can’t march? It doesn’t. A private parade committee does.

The limited free speech Larry Shaffer offers as a condition for participation in the 2009 July 4 Parade differs EXACTLY HOW from the standard the 2008 Parade Committee offers as a condition for participation?

The Parade Committee wanted all marchers to celebrate Independence, not to protest their favorite cause. That works for me.

The Parade Committee’s standard was consistent with its mission, prudent, justifiable, constitutional and victim to the kind of misguided uber-liberal “high-minded” thinking that is the hallmark of self-righteous do-gooders.

The Parade Committee has it right and Shaffer and Weiss have it wrong.

The irony is that Shaffer and Weiss and maybe others decided on this new policy in private and without input from O'Keefe and Brewer. Shaffer does not get a vote in Select Board policy decisions. The decision was a bag job. The press release was written before the Select Board meeting. Weiss and Shaffer pulled a fast one and disenfranchised Amherst residents who elected O’Keefe and Brewer. As such, the policy is arguably illegitimate.

You'd think reasonable people could agree that this family day parade could be left apolitical. You’d think that even if they could not agree, they’d give the issue a fair hearing. Those squawking the loudest about freedom of speech are the ones subverting the democratic process by meeting in advance and separately from the select board and deciding the policy without input of elected Select Board members.

LarryK4 said...

Boss Hogg doesn’t even reread his own press release! What I find fascinating about this drunk-with-power, egotistical Town Manager edict is that he’s too omnipotent to ask a subordinate to proof read it for possible glitches.

Like the first sentence of the second paragraph: “The Town of Amherst cannot and should not obstruct or prevent a private parade from occurring in Amherst.”

But he will kill a “private parade” on 7/4/09 because our Big Brother, Bloated GOVERNMENT can do it better. Hmmm…

Greg Saulmon said...

Of all the typos in that release, I think my favorite was: "Bill or Fights."

LarryK4 said...

That could have been my Freudian slip. Yesterday my War Room was in full battle mode. I had my business partner sitting on my left with his laptop talking to tech support trying to get Photoshop working so he could scan the cartoon.

I had Kevin Joy sitting on my right feverishly sketching the cartoon.

And I was feverishly typing Boss Hogg’s Press Release on my main computer to post it (wanted to scoop the Crusty Gazette) with my daughter sitting in my lap complaining about not getting to use the computer for playing on PBS Kids.

Greg Saulmon said...

Ah ha -- well, that's understandable.

LarryK4 said...

As I'm sure you know Greg, it's called "hot copy".

O'Reilly said...

Did the person who called Joy and incorrectly claim Joy's cartoon was libelous

1. call from a number recorded by Joy's cell phone

2. realize that his threat to using civil procedure to obtain an injunction or damages is nothing less than an attempt to curtail Joy's free speech. Ironic isn't it?