Thursday, August 21, 2008

His Lordship Lies, and Libels

UPDATE: (7:00 PM) Hey they finally went cyber. Here's the link:
Weiss backs down
(9:45 AM) “Surprised to learn” that an educated community like Amherst believes in Free Speech? Just goes to show how clueless Mr. Weiss is with the First Amendment (and we know he has problems with the Open Meeting Law as well.)

“Some members of the press construed”? Hmmm. The Gazette or Bully did not editorially come to my First Amendment defense (as they should have.) . And indeed only two weeks later His Lordship was going after the Bulletin for an editorial about Planning Board slackers.

“Obsessive following”? One time is obsessive? And “contacting”. Again, I called their publicly published number once to see if it was still in service and when Hubley’s voice mail picked up, I hung up. Then Mr. Hubley called me back at my business and after losing his cool and slamming down his phone called me back an hour later at my home (with an unpublished number). So that is two phone calls to my one. Now who’s doing the stalking?

And yes the state does have laws already in place for stalking and harassment or threats of physical violence-- and we do know Ms Awad contacted the police. Since they never, in turn, contacted me in any shape manner of form it goes to show how laughable her case was.

And No Mr. Weiss there is no Chapter 256, Section 43-A you meant Chapter 265 (getting dyslectic in your old age?)

The Law (don’t mess with it!)


neil said...

Larry, Weiss continues, on the record, to call your behavior criminal. He cites the statute and he cites the behavior, as "obsessive following",
"observing", "contacting."

I don't know where he went to law school but I know atleast two of the three don't even approximate a crime and I don't think following someone is illegal. Private detectives do it all the time. so does the FBI.

You might consider asking the Select Board, in writing, to censure the chair for misusing his authority by making such proclamations about your behavior in public, broadcast to every home in town, that amount to defamation (also called libel, slander, and vilification.) Weiss finds your actions intolerable and he uses his authority to condemn them and to imply your actions are criminal.

Your behavior was and is within the law. Weiss' public claims to the contrary fail on two counts, he leaves the impression that what you did was illegal and he defames you. I wouldn't stand for it. Get alawyer to help with the letter.

Write the letter and insist that the Board does not pass jugment on the behavior or the criminality of it, especially given that the Board knows Amherst Town Police took no action based on Awad's complaint - knowing this makes Weiss' proclamation knowingly fraudulent.

LarryK4 said...

Yeah, actually I never "followed" her much less did it "obsessively".

The "observing" one is a little odd, because I sat in front of her at Town Meeting for nine or ten sessions and did after that attend two or three Select Board meetings when the July 4'th Parade was under discussion so I guess indeed I did "observe" her.

The problem with asking the SB anything now is they are, THANKFULLY, a board of four. Hard to get something to pass (another reason they should have had the election in September rather than November).

Obviously Weiss would vote against a resolution asking him to shut the Hell up. Stephanie and Alisa might support it if it were worded in a more namby-pamby way, but Stein is still in awe of His Lordship (as she was of Awad)--so she would vote No as well. And 2-2 means the motion fails.

Neil said...

no! not 'shut the hell up', refrain from using his position to make statements about allegedly criminal behavior of a town resident and allow the police and district attorney to prosecute such cases. Stay focused on policy. Address cases of residency on the merits not persersanl attacks on residents who raise the question.

Anonymous said...

Larry & Neil,
Weiss should refrain from commenting further, but he seems incapable of doing so. However, a defamation case concerning two public figures would be a tough case to prove based upon the public matter involved. Pasted below is the standard for a defemation action in the Commonwealth.

"Defamation is the publication, either orally or in writing, of a statement concerning the plaintiff which is false and causes damage to the plaintiff. McAvoy v. Shufrin, 401 Mass. 593, 587 (1988). To establish a claim of defamation, a plaintiff must satisfy the following elements. First, the defamatory statement must "hold the plaintiff up to contempt, hatred, scorn, or ridicule or tend to impair his standing in the community, at least to his discredit in the minds of a considerable and respectable class in the community." Tartaglia v. Townsend, 19 Mass. App. Ct. 693, 696 (1985) (quotation omitted). Second, the statement must have been to at least one other individual other than the one defamed. Brauer v. Globe Newspaper Company, 351 Mass. 53, 56 (1966). Third, where the speech is a matter of public concern, a defamation plaintiff must prove not only that the statements were defamatory, but also that they were false. (1) Dulgarian v. Stone, 420 Mass. 843, 847 (1995); see also Philadelphia Newspapers, Inc. v. Hepps, 475 U.S. 767, 776 (1986) (holding that where plaintiff is a private figure and newspaper articles are a matter of public concern, there is a "constitutional requirement that the plaintiff bear the burden of showing falsity, as well as fault, before recovering damages"). Finally, the plaintiff must show that he suffered special damages and must set forth these damages specifically. Lynch v. Lyons, 303 Mass. 116, 119 (1939)."

At the outset, it would appear that Weiss is stepping out of line, however because the matter concerns the actions of Larry, a public figure (elected to Town Meeting right?) and a public activist due to his frequent commentary at Town Meeting, AAC, the former column, etc., the threshold is even greater.

Take a look at the following link, it involves the case of "Easy" Ernie Murphy who successfully sued the Boston Herald for defamation.
Basically, Larry would have to demonstrate a host of elements that satisfy the 1st Am. Protection thresholds. Interestingly enough, the fact that Weiss is acting under the color of law may either protect him or expose him to an action.
As a general matter, when a gov't official acts outside the scope of their official duties, they are sued in their individual capacity, and the Town is off the hook.
If I was licensed to practice in MA, and the Town was my client, I would advise him to shut his pie hole at the meetings and write a letter to the editor in his own capacity if he feels so upset, on the other hand, keep running your mouth Gerry, soon the board may be down to 3.

- Ryan

Anonymous said...

I am neither a lawyer, or representative of the town, I just live here, but I would be honored to tell A--Hole Weiss to shut his "pie hole".

For a therapist, he sucks, not knowing when to abstain from passing judgement. I am not a shrink, but I had him pegged when this whole thing began about the 4th of July Parade began

Until later................

Anonymous said...

> No Mr. Weiss there is no
> Chapter 256, Section 43-A
> you meant Chapter 265 (getting
> dyslectic in your old age?)

Larry, this is NOT funny. First, dyslexia (like left handedness) is not a factor of the aging process. While it may be discovered as late as middle age, I am not aware of a single case where the diagnosis didn't explain things that the individual had been dealing with since childhood.

The evidence is that "learning differences" including dyslexia -- and like color blindness -- are from BIRTH, and to some extent may be inhereted.

Second, please do not think that there is a relationship between left wing stupidity and LD. While there are a lot of disability activists, there also are a lot of racial and gender activists -- and those activists don't speek for the majority of those groups either.

Third, a learning difference is, by definition, a difference between a person's general ability/intellegence and a specific task. (Think the exact opposite of "Rainman" and a unique skill without corresponding others.)

George Bush exhibits dyslexia -- Weiss exhibits being a bully and I suspect it is more that he doesn't care about the citations than anything else.

Ed Cutting, MEd, CAGS

Anonymous said...

> Larry, Weiss continues, on the
> record, to call your behavior
> criminal. He cites the statute
> and he cites the behavior,
> as "obsessive following",
> "observing", "contacting."

Larry, forget libel and state court. Weiss, ACTING UNDER COLOR OF LAW, called you a criminal. ACTING UNDER COLOR OF LAW he denied you various civil rights and arguably threatened to violate more. Remember that he controls (on paper, Charlie might have some ethical principles) the Amherst Police who can be ordered to arrest (or shoot) you.

No, it wouldn't come to that - no more than a Klan rally downtown would be a *realistic* threat to persons of color in Amherst - but the simple fact is that he did it.

You want to go talk to the US Attorney about a FEDERAL criminal prosecution at this point. You might want to consider a private Section 1983 federal civil suit but I think it is time to have a chat with the US Attorney in Spfd.

Bluntly, you (I, Vince O'Connor) have every legal right to do what you did, investative reporters do it all the time. (When Mayor Kevin White left office, he said "well at least I won't have that damn Howie Carr following me all the time"...)

I also suspect that the stalking statute (like much of the VAWA stuff) is unConstitutional and would either not apply here or would be struck down. Remember that other portions of the VAWA were struck down at the SCOTUS level a couple of years back.

And where is the Town Manager in this? He is PAID to know that Weiss can't be doing this stuff.


Anonymous said...

I am emailing a copy of the harassment statute to the UMass Republican Club. Seems they are wondering if what the Amherst Lefties are doing is legal - ironic isn't it - and if Larry is in the wrong, then the RSU is off the deep end into the donotdo...


Anonymous said...

Do we really know if she contacted the police or not? Did it make the police report? LOL

I'm thinking they would've given you a heads up. (courtesy call)

When my neighbor (with mental health issues) reports us for any (every) little thing (such as standing too close to the property line) the police stop by. I'm glad they do! I can report his behavior without being the one to call (as I'm sure a call to police would escalate his anger with us)

LarryK4 said...

Yeah, I’m sure she contacted police (in an off the record sort of way) and they probably told her she would need all these things she could not produce for them to officially get involved.

I actually value greatly my contacts at Amherst PD, so I have not even made a phone call (or email) over this situation because it is soooooo ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

I may have to sue the town over this.


As a UM Student, including things which (a) I am never convicted in court of having done and even (b) which aren't even technically criminal. This all is unConstitutional and I have already been asked (by two different organizations) to sue UMass over this sort of thing. My reply has been that I am too busy, and it really doesn't bother me personally.

This is now different.

The Larry Kelly Precedent is that the Amherst Selectboard could define my LEGAL AND CONSTITUTIONALLY PROTECTED activities as "criminal" and with a phone call, I get booted from UMass.

With a recent court ruling, albeit third circuit, I have the right of preemptive suit. See

So, bluntly, do I have to sue the Town of Amherst? Sure I would name UMass as a co-defendant but Amherst would have to hire lawyers and defend a suit in FEDERAL court which they would loose - and then have to pay for my lawyers too as it is a civil rights suit.

How many of the taxpayers of this town truly realize the consequences of what is going on here? The town only has $2M of insurance and then it is town assets being seized to satisfy judgments....


Anonymous said...

Correction, it should have read"
As a UM Student, I am held responsible for off campus activities, including things which (a) I am..."

UMass OIT also sucks. The lovely "free" wireless you have downtown, I not only am paying for it but have a worse connection that I am billed $30/month for...


Anonymous said...


I just downloaded Hiel Wiess's statement and my blood is boiling.

The First Amendment doesn't protect the right of a citizen to "observe" a public official's violation of law?

Good Lord -- who does this schmuck think he is?!?!?!?!?!?!?

Thomas Jefferson put it best: "no governmental official should be free of censors and where the press is free, none ever will be." (from memory, the actual may differ.)

If the Amherst Selectboard has nothing to hide, they should WELCOME citizens "observing" them (don't they broadcast on CATV?) and they should take the time to explain what they are doing and why.

I have always operated under the principle of "would you like a copy of this document? Ask me nicely and I will give you three copies, I have nothing to hide..." And if you (a) have nothing to hide and (b) are open with folk, the honest muckrakers will find better targets and the rest will appear as the nuts they are.

But Herr Weiss is saying that citizens have no right to "observe" their governmental officials in action. Perhaps there needs to be a bunch of citizens in blindfolds showing up at the next selectboard meeting....


Who is looking for a status beyond "political prisoner" to define his status within this town....

Anonymous said...

Boy, Ed, you really got your knickers in a bunch. I feel the same way about "Herr" Weiss. I think he needs to step down and hand the chair to Stephanie O"Keefe, as she does have a good head on her shoulders.

He sucks!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Until later.................

Neil said...

Ed, I have a great idea for a blog and its yours if you will take it. It's a blog to chronical all of the injustices done to Umass students and professors by the Town of Amherst. That is a different blog. This blog is about town of amherst and "What are you looking at?"

Anonymous said...

Neil, even though there is a move afoot to remove the word "Amherst" from UMass (seriously), issues involving the "Town of Amherst" include the specific one I raised.

As you may (or may not) know, the town and university officials have negotiated an arrangement wherein if a town official complains about a student, the university punishes him. It is questionably legal, UMass has settled every lawsuit about it out of court quickly and quiet.

But like an unelected town manager setting (rather than just implementing) policy, it is an is.

So the issue here - involving the TOWN OF AMHERST - is if I have the Constitutionally-protected right to "observe" and "follow" and criticize and condemn the elected officials of this town.

Now this may not be a town issue you wish to discuss, but it very much IS a town issue. And the question I think I need to ask Mr. Weiss is if he intends to attempt to exercise his authority as a town official to employ the University as his agent to deny me my civil rights.

It is that simple. And it very much is a town issue, I can't think of how something could be more of one.


Anonymous said...

A better section of Chapter 265...

Gotta wonder if Mr. Weiss wants the rest of the laws read to him...

Anonymous said...

Ed -
You know an awful lot about UMass. Are you a student? How long have you been there?

Anonymous said...

About twice as long as I would have needed to be here had I not come out of the closet as a conservative....


Anonymous said...

I get it. The ultra liberal faculty keep you from taking your courses, writing papers, etc. Like everything that seems to be written about on this blog, somebody else is responsible for the problem (in this case, it's the evil UMass empire and its ultra liberal faculty). Maybe you should have participated in some town boards and committees. I hear they give extra credit over there for that and they speed up the process for you.

Wait a minute.... Something seems illogical here. I would think they'd want to hold on to the people who agree with them, and get rid of the people that disagree with them. No?

Anonymous said...

you would think that they would want to get rid of the people who disagree with them -- and they do.

But some are too damn stubborn (or stupid) to throw in the towel and leave......