Patty Bode's chilling diatribe
So my friend Mr. Morse accused me of "obsessing about the Open Meeting Law"--even though as a (grumpy) prosecutor he should appreciate that the state has agreed with me more often than not on both Open Meeting Law and Public Documents appeals after initial stonewalling from town officials.
But even a zealot like me has to question a guest column in today's crusty Bulletin, one of many attacking School Committee black sheep Sanderson and Rivkin's overly dramatic Column two weeks ago comparing the abuse they get for speaking their minds and questioning authority to the Bush administration questioning the patriotism of critics at a time when patriotism was considered a good thing.
Patty Bode, a former Amherst teacher naturally, worries that Sanderson's blog could violate Open Meeting and Public Documents because it discusses "school committee business" outside the arena of a school committee publicly posted meeting, and that her blog attracts a high number of Anons who could very well be other school committee members thus creating a quorum.
And she also worries about certain postings that have been "disrespectful and slanderous to school personnel," but fails to give any examples. Kind of ironic considering her slanderous charge that some fellow School Committee members could be masquerading as Cowardly, Anon, Nitwits in order to circumvent the Open Meeting Law.
And would that really be a violation anyway?
The purpose of the Open Meeting Law is to ensure that business is transpired in public. So what the Hell does Bode think a blog is? A private little antiquated listserve? A smoke filled backroom? Sanderson teaches aerobics so it's a safe bet she doesn't smoke. A blog is the public arena.
Bode closes with the question, "Why would a public official want to establish a forum that tolerates disrespectful communication?"
Well how about that most basic, fundamental, bed rock American value: the First Amendment!
Don't stray from the flock!