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Old 03-06-2015, 04:50 PM   #101
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At that time there wasn't any time limit...However now because of Clay, the BoS put a 5 min time limit on the rest of us...thank you very much Mr. Clay!!
Also because of Clay, they won't be showing the BoS meeting live anymore. We have to wait a few days to view it and they can cut out some of the video depending on what took place. Thanks again Mr. Clay.

Talk about out rights being taken away from us...thanks Mr. Clay.
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It wasn't Mr. Clay stopping the live video of the meetings it was the BOS who terminated it as they no longer want to be part of the info channel, meaning I do not believe meetings will be shown. They say it was the cost and they weren't getting their monies worth, but one wonders if it was because they didn't want the public to see what was going on.
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Old 03-06-2015, 05:13 PM   #102
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At that time there wasn't any time limit...However now because of Clay, the BoS put a 5 min time limit on the rest of us...thank you very much Mr. Clay!!
Also because of Clay, they won't be showing the BoS meeting live anymore. We have to wait a few days to view it and they can cut out some of the video depending on what took place. Thanks again Mr. Clay.

Talk about out rights being taken away from us...thanks Mr. Clay.
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It wasn't Mr. Clay stopping the live video of the meetings it was the BOS who terminated it as they no longer want to be part of the info channel, meaning I do not believe meetings will be shown. They say it was the cost and they weren't getting their monies worth, but one wonders if it was because they didn't want the public to see what was going on.
But back where I come from, part of the price of doing business in a community for cable providers was providing free access for the local governments... Guess we're not in Kansas any more.. (No, I'm not from Kansas)
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Old 03-06-2015, 05:20 PM   #103
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Default Then you have NO right to complain!!

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I have no problem with what the Alton BoS did. They were the most patient group of elected public servants that I have ever seen.
Then you have no right to complain that our rights are being taken away. You have no problem with the Government curtailing our rights then stop complaining about it and saying that Mr. Clay caused it. It wasn't Mr. Clay that took the actions on how the meeting would be run or televised it was the BOS.

As I said in past post Mr. Clay might be a "pain in the Butt" and I might not agree with what he says or how he says it but he didn't take any ones rights away or curtail them.

Oh and because the BOS took the unconstitutional actions against Mr. Clay and therefore you and I, I will defend him to the end.

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Old 03-06-2015, 05:50 PM   #104
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Quote:

It wasn't Mr. Clay stopping the live video of the meetings it was the BOS who terminated it as they no longer want to be part of the info channel, meaning I do not believe meetings will be shown. They say it was the cost and they weren't getting their monies worth, but one wonders if it was because they didn't want the public to see what was going on.

My mistake, the BoS did stop funding for live streaming from Lakes Region Public Access (LRPA) before the issue with Clay.
Thank you for the correction.
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Old 03-06-2015, 05:52 PM   #105
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Originally Posted by Rusty View Post
At that time there wasn't any time limit...However now because of Clay, the BoS put a 5 min time limit on the rest of us...thank you very much Mr. Clay!!
Also because of Clay, they won't be showing the BoS meeting live anymore. We have to wait a few days to view it and they can cut out some of the video depending on what took place. Thanks again Mr. Clay.

Talk about out rights being taken away from us...thanks Mr. Clay.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
It wasn't Mr. Clay stopping the live video of the meetings it was the BOS who terminated it as they no longer want to be part of the info channel, meaning I do not believe meetings will be shown. They say it was the cost and they weren't getting their monies worth, but one wonders if it was because they didn't want the public to see what was going on.
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Old 03-08-2015, 03:17 PM   #106
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The selectmen didn't have the citizen arrested, they asked the police chief to remove him. The citizen was told by the chief many times to stop talking and leave the room. The citizen refused to leave and kept talking. The chief had no choice but to arrest him. He would not have been arrested if he would have followed the chiefs instructions.

Why do some citizens have to harass public servants with comments like that gentleman made? I know, free speech...but gee whiz.
The Selectmen were the ones who did not even give him 15 seconds before one of them stood up and declared what was being spoken was defamatory and left to get the police. What a huge, pompous, over reaction.
The Selectmen could have waited 5 minutes, the Chair could have directed that, and his time would have expired, end of story. Instead they caused to elevate it to what I guess will be a law suit and more money to pay Alton's attorney and then pay out yet another settlement. Not the sharpest knives in the drawer.
The citizens of Alton do have the right to both attend, and address, the Selectmen during meetings. I also believe, as do many, that the Selectmen over use, and miss use the option of going in "private session" to conduct public business. The Right to Know Laws are in place for good reason and if allowed to circumvent those rules it seems that is what some Selectmen would prefer.
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Old 03-08-2015, 04:50 PM   #107
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Default So now the State of NH may Limit our Right to Know!

This is in part the same story as Mr. Clay being limited in his right to speak to the Alton Selectmen. Now the State may allow charges to be applied to acquire information to those who request that as part of Right to Know, and the legal process. This is very scary and will begin to freeze those who are legitimately using this information. Towns and municipalities will surely use this as a tool to further squelch the public's right to know.

Right to know could get costly
By PAUL FEELY
New Hampshire Union Leader
A bill allowing government officials to charge the public for time spent responding to right-to-know requests received an "Ought to Pass" recommendation from legislators last week, despite strong opposition from civil advocates, local officials and media members.

House Bill 646 would charge anyone making a right-to-know request an upfront fee - in theory covering the cost of retrieving and preparing the records - before they are turned over. It also allows cities and towns to charge for employee labor after the first hour of work associated with a right-to-know request.

The bill has generated strong opposition from open government advocates and members of the media, but even some municipal officials have spoken out against it. Its major backers include lobbying groups representing cities, towns and school boards. Manchester Alderman and Rep. Pat Long, D-Manchester, the bill's prime sponsor, told members of the House Judiciary Committee right-to-know requests are becoming more broad in scope.

"There is a substantial cost to taxpayers to implement these requests," Long told the House Judiciary Committee.

Support for the bill

The New Hampshire Municipal Association (NHMA) and the NH School Boards Association support the bill, saying it will force parties to think before making right-to-know requests requiring a lot of time to answer.

"We don't want to discourage people from making legitimate records requests, even those that will take a lot of time," said NHMA Executive Director Judy Silva. "This would dissuade those people who might use records requests to harass officials with voluminous requests. We do hear about those situations."

Cordell Johnston, NHMA's Government Affairs Counsel, said his group has heard from local officials who report receiving right-to-know requests that generate thousands of pages of documents, requiring hours of staff time to fulfill, only to have the requester fail to claim any of the paperwork.

"The question is often raised is there a way to distinguish the legitimate document requests from the frivolous ones," said Johnston. "The answer is there's no way to make that distinction. The idea is to avoid discouraging anyone from requesting these documents, while recognizing there is a cost associated with the process of fulfilling those requests. We feel this bill strikes that balance."

Opposition to the bill

But several groups, including the New Hampshire Press Association, Coalition of New Hampshire Taxpayers, American Civil Liberties Union, and some members of the NHMA, are against the bill.

"This is the most shameless attempt by Concord lobbyists to hide government waste and corruption from the public we've seen in years," said Trent Spiner, Executive Editor of the New Hampshire Union Leader and president of the New Hampshire Press Association.

Durham Town Administrator Todd Selig said providing documents to the public is a critical part of good governance.

"If you start with the premise that we in government are undertaking the people's business and that public records belong to them, then it's easy to see that providing helping to provide them with access to those records is part of the job, just like putting out fires or paving roads," Selig said. "They shouldn't have to pay for what's already theirs. It's part of the cost of doing business on behalf of the people."

"This is a bad bill," said former state Rep. Harriet Cady, a member of Right-to-Know New Hampshire. "It's a bad bill because it might be enough to prevent someone from keeping an eye on elected officials. Not everyone has the money to spend on being a watchdog. I can't impress on you how opposed I am to this. The cost is enough to scare some people away from making a right-to-know request."

Should be available

Spiner said towns and cities should be using technology to make documents available at less cost for everyone involved.

"Rather than trying to hide information from the public, the municipal association should be showing its members how to use the Internet and technology to be more responsive to the public," said Spiner.

Last week one of the bill's co-sponsors, Rep. David Hess, R-Hooksett, made an amendment to the bill allowing officials to charge at the minimum wage hourly rate for time spent on right-to-know requests, with the first hour spent on the request free of charge.

Last Thursday, an additional amendment was made to the bill, adding the line, "No charge shall be imposed for allowing a person to inspect a record that is immediately available."

The bill, as amended, was voted out of the House Judiciary Committee on a 14-4 vote with a recommendation of 'Ought to Pass.'

"I can see why it passed, because I think the members of the committee feel so pressured by officials to relieve them from the so-called 'burden' or right to know requests," said Selig. "But what if the record isn't immediately available? There never was a charge for looking at records standing at the counter. Under that language, residents could be charged for access to records they used to access for free."

"This legislation rewards cities and towns for sloppy recordkeeping, rather than encouraging them to develop systems more open and accessible to the public," said Spiner.

"If this passes, there would be no safeguard against a municipality throwing all of their unsorted records in a box because they'd know you'd have to come up with thousands of dollars upfront to look inside. It eliminates any impetus for cities or towns to keep records in an easily accessible manner."

Serves as incentive

"While compliance with 91-A carries a cost to public bodies, these costs serve as an incentive to streamline records management to control costs," wrote Rep. Michael Sylvia, R-Belmont, in the minority report on the bill. "In the balance, we have a constitutional duty to maintain transparency in government; this bill would be a step in the wrong direction."

"This bill threads the needle between an individual's right to free and full access to public records and the taxpayer's right to be free from bearing the substantial costs of unreasonable or abusive document retrievals," writes Rep. David Woodbury, D-New Boston, in the bill's majority report.

HB 646 also contains language that government officials can waive any charges for individuals who demonstrate an inability to pay.

"That language itself can create a disincentive to request records," said Selig. "People in New Hampshire are proud. They shouldn't have to demonstrate an inability to pay for records that are theirs in the first place."

HB 646 is scheduled to go before the full House for a vote this Wednesday.

pfeely@unionleader.com

- See more at: http://www.unionleader.com/article/2....QJHlxt26.dpuf

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Old 03-08-2015, 06:07 PM   #108
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The Selectmen were the ones who did not even give him 15 seconds before one of them stood up and declared what was being spoken was defamatory and left to get the police. What a huge, pompous, over reaction.
The Selectmen could have waited 5 minutes, the Chair could have directed that, and his time would have expired, end of story. Instead they caused to elevate it to what I guess will be a law suit and more money to pay Alton's attorney and then pay out yet another settlement. Not the sharpest knives in the drawer.
The citizens of Alton do have the right to both attend, and address, the Selectmen during meetings. I also believe, as do many, that the Selectmen over use, and miss use the option of going in "private session" to conduct public business. The Right to Know Laws are in place for good reason and if allowed to circumvent those rules it seems that is what some Selectmen would prefer.
Clay talked for 45 seconds and made statements which I assume one selectman thought was character assassination and left the room. When he left the room the video does not show what he did so we can't assume that he called the chief or anyone else. From what I can get out of the video the chief was already in the room from the start of the meeting.

Below is what I get out of the video that Clay said that the selectmen thought were defamatory statements:

1. Poor decisions and actions for selectmen and resign.
2. Continued violations of citizens rights and resign.

Between the remarks Clay made about the selectmen he kept saying for selectmen to step-up and resign.

Then 1 minute and 35 sec’s into Clay’s presentation the chair made a motion to shut down public discussion because of defamatory statements made by Clay.
Clay continued to talk and the chair gave him 3 warnings to stop. When Clay didn’t stop, the chair asked the chief to remove him. Clay refused to move after the chief asked him many times, so he was then escorted out of the room and arrested.

Now the court/s will have to decide whether “poor decisions” and "violations of citizens rights” is defamatory and whether the chief was wrong in arresting him.
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Old 03-08-2015, 07:05 PM   #109
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[I][B]
A bill allowing government officials to charge the public for time spent responding to right-to-know requests received an "Ought to Pass" recommendation from legislators last week, despite strong opposition from civil advocates, local officials and media members.

House Bill 646 would charge anyone making a right-to-know request an upfront fee - in theory covering the cost of retrieving and preparing the records - before they are turned over. It also allows cities and towns to charge for employee labor after the first hour of work associated with a right-to-know request.
Just to make it a little clearer as to what the Bill wants to Amend in RSA 91-A:4, IV , here is what it says:

"If the time required to retrieve the requested records is estimated to exceed one hour, the public body or agency may charge for the cost of labor after the first hour, at a rate not exceeding the applicable minimum wage, and may require payment of the estimated cost before retrieving the records. No charge shall be made for the cost of searching for or retrieving minutes of any public body meeting that occurred less than one year before the date of the request. Any labor charges may be waived for any individual who demonstrates an inability to pay."
https://legiscan.com/NH/text/HB646/2015
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Old 03-08-2015, 10:45 PM   #110
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Just to make it a little clearer as to what the Bill wants to Amend in RSA 91-A:4, IV , here is what it says:

"If the time required to retrieve the requested records is estimated to exceed one hour, the public body or agency may charge for the cost of labor after the first hour, at a rate not exceeding the applicable minimum wage, and may require payment of the estimated cost before retrieving the records. No charge shall be made for the cost of searching for or retrieving minutes of any public body meeting that occurred less than one year before the date of the request. Any labor charges may be waived for any individual who demonstrates an inability to pay."
https://legiscan.com/NH/text/HB646/2015
Rusty is correct but lets consider this; if a citizen decided to sue a municipality over any issue or the municipality was named as a party to a law suit they could easily create a situation where they charge that party so much they can't proceed with their due diligence and use that as a weapon, (which they already do by delay and costs to petitioners.) This is a dangerous and slippery slope that has the effect of creating just the opposite of "the right to know law".
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Old 03-09-2015, 04:57 AM   #111
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Its just another example of a state with no sales or income taxes that is trying to balance the budget, IMHO. I don't believe this is the right way to do it for all the reasons stated in this thread.

I also don't believe we need more taxes to supplement growing government bloat. Sort of a rock and a hard place, perhaps they should find some other project to cut back on....
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Old 03-09-2015, 08:25 AM   #112
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Default this bill is similar to other practices in our society...

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Just to make it a little clearer as to what the Bill wants to Amend in RSA 91-A:4, IV , here is what it says:

"If the time required to retrieve the requested records is estimated to exceed one hour, the public body or agency may charge for the cost of labor after the first hour, at a rate not exceeding the applicable minimum wage, and may require payment of the estimated cost before retrieving the records. No charge shall be made for the cost of searching for or retrieving minutes of any public body meeting that occurred less than one year before the date of the request. Any labor charges may be waived for any individual who demonstrates an inability to pay."
https://legiscan.com/NH/text/HB646/2015
In the medical field, if a patient wants to have a copy of their medical file (the file belongs to the medical practice, not the patient), the practice can charge a reasonable rate to cover the cost of copying the records. The cost involves the time for someone to physically disassemble the file folder, and then copy each individual page, plus the actual cost of the machine use and supplies. The cost usually breaks down to a few cents per page (maybe 10 cents). This cost is normally waived if the patient is transferring coverage to a new doctor / facility, and that request comes from the new provider. Today, with electronic medical records, this request can normally be accomplished much cheaper and easier due to just printing out the record from the electronic file.

The tie to medical vs RTK law is that when an individual wants the copy of their medical records, it usually involves a lawsuit, and it is usually the patient's lawyer who makes the request with a patient release to obtain the records. The cost of the copying becomes part of the lawyer's fee, which oftentimes is recouped if the lawsuit is successful. The copying of material for a RTK request is often the precursor to litigation, and involves a lawyer.

Personally, I see no problem for RTK requests to be paid for with a reasonable small cost per request.

JMHO.
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Old 03-09-2015, 12:28 PM   #113
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The trick word is "reasonable". They already can charge a fee to copy any materials you request in a law suit, at least that is my experience. The fee is substantial, .25 per page and the cost of the employees time. In many small towns the records are in such a bad state of affairs it can take weeks or months to find materials if they ever do.

No one that is sensible brings a frivolous law suit for many reasons. The fact that you can be charged what is currently a "reasonable fee" is a huge uncharted area by any definition and is a very effective weapon used by town attorneys to thwart suits. The documents to thoroughly research any suit can be into hundreds if not thousands of pages, scary and expensive.
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Old 03-11-2015, 08:49 AM   #114
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Default Article in todays issue of the LDS

ACLU joins defense of man arrested at Alton meeting

By Gail Ober
THE LACONIA DAILY SUN

ALTON — The American Civil Liberties Union of New Hampshire is joining the battle against this town and its Police department for having Jeffrey Clay arrested for two counts of disorderly conduct at a February 3 selectman’s meeting.

In a letter sent to Alton Town Prosecutor Anthony Estee, ACLU Attorney and Legal Director Gilles Bissonnette said Clay’s First Amendment right to free speech as well as his right to the same under the N.H. Constitution Article Part I, Article 22 was violated.

Clay is also being represented by Chichester attorney Mark Sisti and his associate Jared Bedrick.

The first charge against him is one count of disorderly conduct for refusing to comply with a lawful order given by Chief Ryan Heath to move from a public place — Alton Town Hall.

The second charge is disorderly conduct for purposing causing a breach of the peace by disrupting an Alton Board of Selectmen meeting by continuing to speak after being informed repetitively by the board that public input was closed.

ACLU joins defense of man arrested at Alton meeting Video tape of meeting shows Clay sitting at the table during the public comment section of the meeting and using a timer to ensure he didn’t go over his five-minute allotted time to speak.

He told the selectmen they should resign for their “poor actions as selectmen” “poor decisions” and “continued violations of the citizens’ rights here in Alton.”

Heath arrested clay about four minutes into his prepared statement.

Bissonnette claims that his arrest not only violated both the U.S. and the N.H. Constitution but that the town engaged in “content-base and viewpoint discrimination” in suppressing Clay’s protected political speech. He also said the town violated it own policies by having him taken from the room and arrested.

Bissonnette also said Clay’s speech was not disruptive because his speech didn’t prevent selectmen from continuing with their meeting.

He urged Estee to review the precedents he outlined in his argument and dismiss all of the charges against Clay. He gave Estee until Monday to provide
Clay’s legal team an answer.
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Old 03-11-2015, 09:15 AM   #115
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ACLU joins defense of man arrested at Alton meeting

By Gail Ober
THE LACONIA DAILY SUN

ALTON — The American Civil Liberties Union of New Hampshire is joining the battle against this town and its Police department for having Jeffrey Clay arrested for two counts of disorderly conduct at a February 3 selectman’s meeting.

ACLU joins defense of man arrested at Alton meeting Video tape of meeting shows Clay sitting at the table during the public comment section of the meeting and using a timer to ensure he didn’t go over his five-minute allotted time to speak.

.
Well Rusty,

Looks like it's going to be fun to watch to see how this turns out and if the BOS acted in a reasonable and lawful way. If they only had not messes around with a citizens rights this would not be an issue.


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Old 03-11-2015, 10:51 AM   #116
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All this turmoil and expense

VS

Listening to an annoying citezen for five minutes

A bad choice was made. Too bad for the taxpayers.
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Old 03-11-2015, 11:09 AM   #117
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I am pretty sure that the criminal charge will be dismissed: it would likely be "legal suicide" to not do so.

Which leaves the real issue: a civil lawsuit seeking financial damages for false arrest.

It might be best for those involved to fall on their sword and resign.
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Old 03-11-2015, 11:51 AM   #118
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Default Well, I guess it's a good thing..

Well, I guess it's a good thing that we have that line item in the budget for legal representation....
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Old 03-11-2015, 04:24 PM   #119
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I am pretty sure that the criminal charge will be dismissed: it would likely be "legal suicide" to not do so.

Which leaves the real issue: a civil lawsuit seeking financial damages for false arrest.

It might be best for those involved to fall on their sword and resign.
I'm not sure about fall on their sword and resign, but an apology would probably go a long way and certainly be appropriate........
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Old 03-11-2015, 04:48 PM   #120
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All this turmoil and expense

VS

Listening to an annoying citezen for five minutes

A bad choice was made. Too bad for the taxpayers.
Disagree.....

For the first time Rusty and I seem to agree on this, which is new, because I almost never agree with Rusty.... nothing personal, we just seem to view things differently most times....

1. I believe there is more to this story then has been published in the press... lets seem some information flow from the BOS before we condemn them for being wrong here.

2. We have accounts that this 5 min limit is a direct result of Mr. Clay's actions in early meetings...

3. The police chief, requested that Mr. Clay step down.. several times in fact... if Mr. Clay gets away with disobeying a law officer at a BOS meeting, then guess what, why does anyone have to listen to police officers if they feel they are just exercising their right to free speach....

At the end of the day Mr. Clay, could have handled things differently himself. So could of the BOS.... The problem in this country is that we file to many law suits... Why??? SO THE DAM LAWYERS CAN MAKE MONEY

I would be behind Mr. Clay in an instant if he had just listened to the Police Chief.... I agree the BOS jumped the gun... and that would have been a lawsuit I could have gotten behind... but suing the police dept... I can't and will not get behind that... because the only ones that will win are the lawyers, who probably don't given a darn about Mr. Clay... the just see the potential money making lawsuit....
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Old 03-11-2015, 05:22 PM   #121
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I want to hear more about what Clay had previously done regarding personal attacks on one of the BOS members' families. It was alluded to in only one of the newspaper articles.
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Old 03-11-2015, 05:30 PM   #122
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Disagree.....

For the first time Rusty and I seem to agree on this, which is new, because I almost never agree with Rusty.... nothing personal, we just seem to view things differently most times....

1. I believe there is more to this story then has been published in the press... lets seem some information flow from the BOS before we condemn them for being wrong here.

2. We have accounts that this 5 min limit is a direct result of Mr. Clay's actions in early meetings...

3. The police chief, requested that Mr. Clay step down.. several times in fact... if Mr. Clay gets away with disobeying a law officer at a BOS meeting, then guess what, why does anyone have to listen to police officers if they feel they are just exercising their right to free speach....

At the end of the day Mr. Clay, could have handled things differently himself. So could of the BOS.... The problem in this country is that we file to many law suits... Why??? SO THE DAM LAWYERS CAN MAKE MONEY

I would be behind Mr. Clay in an instant if he had just listened to the Police Chief.... I agree the BOS jumped the gun... and that would have been a lawsuit I could have gotten behind... but suing the police dept... I can't and will not get behind that... because the only ones that will win are the lawyers, who probably don't given a darn about Mr. Clay... the just see the potential money making lawsuit....

I can't find fault in any of your points.

I do believe that the BOS could have just waited for five minutes. At the end of the five minutes, there is no gray area, no debate over the type of comments made, time's up. After that, continued intereference in the meeting could bring a legal ejection and possible arrest if there is no compliance with LEO demands.
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Old 03-11-2015, 06:19 PM   #123
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Cross referencing this to the Belknap Commissioners thread, If the chief had the....errr.. "intestinal fortitude" to say what the deputy said in the county meeting this would be a non issue.
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Old 03-11-2015, 11:35 PM   #124
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Well, I read all of the comments and viewed the video.

Some are in support of the selectmen and some are more geared toward free speech.

Woven through the comments is the perception of a "nut". In a context of someone with some sort of mental illness or on the fringes of such.

But does someone who may or may not have a medical diagnosis of mental illness still have the right to speak?

From what I have viewed, this guy brought in a timer. The citizen in question was prepared to speak for 5 minutes. He was timing himself.

So from what I have read and viewed - why not just let him rant for 5 minutes? If done peaceably.

After that, then if he doesn't stop - call in the police.

My take is that the selectmen jumped too early on this one. And that take away all of the emotions of the moment - and enter the court room - what will a judge say?

So far, from what I have read and viewed, if this guy does continue to remain rational - he will win. But it is a greater question if this guy does remain rational.

Irrational people tend to remain irrational. To their down fall.

Time will tell.
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Old 03-12-2015, 08:30 AM   #125
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Default Related but separate problems

While I agree with all who say the citizen deserved his five minutes, he still has a problem stemming from his choice to ignore instructions from a police officer. The video makes it clear he was refusing to obey the request to leave. He was told he would be arrested if he did not leave and he chose that route. Either way (arrested or leave on request), he has a case against the select board, but risks charges of disobeying a police officer. That might end up being a bargaining chip for both parties to drop the whole thing, go into their corners for a five minute time out and start over. Both sides acted foolishly.
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Old 03-12-2015, 08:34 AM   #126
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Default And the drama goes on!

Mr. Clay is going full force against the Alton School board, I guess he wants to shut down more than just the Board of Selectmen.

This article is in todays edition of the Baysider:

The Alton School Board is a spineless public body; a body without integrity; and as a consequence, has rendered itself quite irrelevant and useless. The board has clearly abdicated its lawful authority to school district administrators and to the special interest teacher's union.

The biggest losers as a result of this abdication is of course the public, those who elected the board to exercise its lawful duties and represent the community with honesty and integrity. The events occurring over the past year in the dis*trict stand as a testament justifying my harsh criticism of the board.

On Jan. 31, the school board entered non-public session for just 10 minutes. However, what took place during those 10 minutes, I contend, was unethical and illegal and cannot be swept under the rug because some in the public want to protect the town's reputation, or because those involved “had good intentions.”

Without any prior public or non-public meeting discussions having taken place and without any documents in hand for review, the board entered into negotiations during those 10 minutes with YET Consulting, an LLC apparently created and owned by current superintendent of schools, Mr. William Lander. During this brief 10-minute meeting, the board also voted to obligate $125,000 of taxpayers’ money for the services of YET Consulting beginning on July 1.

Intensifying the odor of malfeasance and unethical behavior surrounding this debacle, is the recent revelations that several of the members of the board had met privately, individually, with superintendent Lander/YET Consulting outside of any public or non-public meetings for the purpose of discuss*ing and deliberating the matter of hiring YET.

As outrageous as the actions of the board and superintendent have been regarding all of the above, the most outrageous aspect of this entire episode would follow their having been caught.

Despite repeated calls for an independent in*vestigation into what appears to have been unethical and illegal behavior, the board and superintendent have refused to take any action in this regard.

The good people of Alton should not have to call for an independent investigation. The publicly elected and appointed officials should have already done so, so as to assure the public that no wrongdoing had taken place. Why? Because its the right thing to do and is necessary in order for this community to move forward. This is called having integrity. The people must have faith in the system.

The second biggest failure of the board during the past year involved manner in which Linda Wilman became the associate principal of Alton Central School. The entire process appears to have been a shameful deception and fraud.

An advertisement to fill the vacancy of departing principal Leggett asked for applicants who were certified principals with administrative experience. It is reported 22 applicants fitting this bill submitted their applications for the position. Yet, the school board never reviewed or interviewed any of the applications or applicants.

However, we have been informed that a “principal search committee” did review applications and conducted interviews, but, that they could not find a candidate who “was the right fit.” And, that not having found a suitable fit, the committee, without school board involvement, went to superintendent Lander with their dilemma. Enter Mrs. Wilman.

First, it is important to note that I have not been able to find any record of the Alton School Board ever nominating or appointing anyone to a principal search committee. Moreover, I have not been able to find any public or non-public meeting minutes of any meetings of any principal search committee. Consequently, it is impossible to know who served on the committee, or when they ever met, or if they ever inter*viewed anyone.

In the past I have asked pertinent questions regarding how Mrs. Wilman became the associate principal, such as: did she ever actually apply for the job? Did the school board or search committee ever interview her? Why, if she was not certified and had no experience, was she chosen above 22 other applicants who were? The board has yet to an*swer these questions, choosing silence instead of transparency.

The school board meeting of March 2 helped shed light, at least for me, on what actually took place regarding the hiring of Mrs. Wilman, and what is now being seen by many as her inevitable ascension to becoming the new principal of Alton Central School.

A small group of individuals, consisting predominantly of teacher union members, unilaerally dismissed all of the qualified applicants and sought to have one of their own, Mrs. Wilman, appointed. This of course, at least in part, explains all of the accolades bestowed upon Mrs. Wilman during a recent school board meeting whereby members of the teachers union extolled her excellence as a principal and other virtues to the point of believing her the seconded coming. All of this despite the fact she is still not a certified principal and has only been an associate principal for approximately eight months.

It is easy for me to conclude, based upon the facts, that the teachers’ union unilaterally sought out and advocate for one of their fellow educators to become the next principal. Someone perhaps, whom they believed, would be easy on them. Someone who, because of their close ties, would never hold them accountable. These are justifiable assumptions given the facts.

In closing, the Alton School Board has irrevocably lost my confidence, faith and trust to effectively lead the Alton School District. I find them all to be without integrity. Because when it came time to stand tall and admit their mistakes and take responsibility for their actions, there response was silence.

A complete and independent investigation is justified. Let the chips fall where they may. Guilt or innocence, the public has a right to know.

As for who the next principal will be, I don't much care. All I care about is integrity in the process.
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Old 03-12-2015, 09:15 AM   #127
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Default Small town Big politics.

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Mr. Clay is going full force against the Alton School board, I guess he wants to shut down more than just the Board of Selectmen.

This article is in todays edition of the Baysider:

The Alton School Board is a spineless public body; a body without integrity; and as a consequence, has rendered itself quite irrelevant and useless. The board has clearly abdicated its lawful authority to school district administrators and to the special interest teacher's union.
(snip)

Wow again,

If what he wrote is true, yet to be seen, then he might have a point.

Small town politics can be very questionable at times. We have had the same problems here in my home town. However the difference is there are enough watch dogs to keep it to a dull roar. The last town employee to bite the dust was our fire chief.

He went bye-bye when he was fired for wrongfully hiring his son to do contractor work which never was done but was paid for. And back when we had the October snow storm nocking power out for a week he took the backup generator from the FD and powered his home with it on the towns dime.

The watch dogs barked and he was bit in the,,, well you know where.

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Old 03-12-2015, 09:22 AM   #128
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Mr. Clay is not a stupid man. This case stinks to high Heaven!

Interestingly enough, there's a similar case down here in Collier County, Florida:

http://www.nbc-2.com/story/28086694/...t#.VQGSdmc5Akl
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Old 03-12-2015, 09:48 AM   #129
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I hope Mr Clay's injuries from the arrest are healing.
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Old 03-12-2015, 08:58 PM   #130
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Wow.

The people of Alton need to assemble with pitchforks and firebrands.
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Old 03-13-2015, 01:36 PM   #131
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The people of Alton need to assemble with pitchforks and firebrands.
Will anyone volunteer to file for the necessary permits?
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Old 03-13-2015, 02:40 PM   #132
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While I agree with all who say the citizen deserved his five minutes, he still has a problem stemming from his choice to ignore instructions from a police officer. The video makes it clear he was refusing to obey the request to leave. He was told he would be arrested if he did not leave and he chose that route. Either way (arrested or leave on request), he has a case against the select board, but risks charges of disobeying a police officer. That might end up being a bargaining chip for both parties to drop the whole thing, go into their corners for a five minute time out and start over. Both sides acted foolishly.
Several people have posted mentioning that Mr. Clay failed to obey the orders of a police officer. There is no law I am aware of that requires you to obey every order from a police officer. And if you think about it that would be the definition of a Police State, and none of us want that.

Obviously there are circumstances where the law requires you to obey police orders but I'm not convinced any of them apply to Mr. Clay. It may be possible he was trespassing because the board did suspend his time to speak and he was ordered from the room.
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Old 03-13-2015, 04:39 PM   #133
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Question Fruits of the poisonous tree?

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Several people have posted mentioning that Mr. Clay failed to obey the orders of a police officer. There is no law I am aware of that requires you to obey every order from a police officer. And if you think about it that would be the definition of a Police State, and none of us want that.

Obviously there are circumstances where the law requires you to obey police orders but I'm not convinced any of them apply to Mr. Clay. It may be possible he was trespassing because the board did suspend his time to speak and he was ordered from the room.
Very good point BI. The order must be a "lawful" order. If it is determined that the Selectmen violated Clay's right to free speech, then any subsequent action to silence and remove (arrest) him can also be determined to be unlawful. In legal parlance it is sometimes referred to as the "fruits of the poisonous tree" defense.

It will be very interesting to see who prevails in this issue!
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Old 03-13-2015, 05:53 PM   #134
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According to a statement made in a News Article by Alton Police Chief Ryan Heath, Mr. Clay is being charged with the below section of the criminal code:

TITLE LXII
CRIMINAL CODE
CHAPTER 644 BREACHES OF THE PEACE AND RELATED OFFENSES
Section 644:2 III. (b) Disrupting the orderly conduct of business in any public or governmental facility.

http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/...44/644-mrg.htm
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Old 03-13-2015, 06:43 PM   #135
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I didn't see his speaking as disrupting the meeting. The selectmen seemed to be the ones who disrupted the meeting when they didn't want to give him his 5 minutes- even if it was a rant.
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Old 03-13-2015, 07:03 PM   #136
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I didn't see his speaking as disrupting the meeting. The selectmen seemed to be the ones who disrupted the meeting when they didn't want to give him his 5 minutes- even if it was a rant.
It's not the rant, it's when the board asked the chief to remove Clay and Clay refused to get up and leave and he continued to talk.
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Old 03-13-2015, 08:28 PM   #137
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It's not the rant, it's when the board asked the chief to remove Clay and Clay refused to get up and leave and he continued to talk.
By virtue of the fact that the BOS acknowledged him and granted him his 5 min to speak, nothing that Mr. Clay did was out of order!! His presence and the action of speaking were allowed by the BOS and therefore must be considered "lawful" .He committed no "breach of the peace" because of those actions and I think the BOS and the Alton PD will have a hard time justifying both the arrest and the decision to call the police and ask for his removal or arrest based upon Mr. Clay's actions that evening prior to his arrest.
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Old 03-13-2015, 08:56 PM   #138
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By virtue of the fact that the BOS acknowledged him and granted him his 5 min to speak, nothing that Mr. Clay did was out of order!! His presence and the action of speaking were allowed by the BOS and therefore must be considered "lawful" .He committed no "breach of the peace" because of those actions and I think the BOS and the Alton PD will have a hard time justifying both the arrest and the decision to call the police and ask for his removal or arrest based upon Mr. Clay's actions that evening prior to his arrest.
By virtue of the fact that the BOS acknowledged him and granted him his 5 min to speak, nothing that Mr. Clay did was out of order!!
That’s true.

His presence and the action of speaking were allowed by the BOS and therefore must be considered "lawful" .
That’s true also.

He committed no "breach of the peace" because of those actions.
By virtue of the fact that the BOS acknowledged him and granted him his 5 min to speak, nothing that Mr. Clay did was out of order!!
That’s true also.


His presence and the action of speaking were allowed by the BOS and therefore must be considered "lawful" .
That’s true also.


He committed no "breach of the peace" because of those actions.
You’re right again, there was no unlawful “breach of peace” with his rant.

and I think the BOS and the Alton PD will have a hard time justifying both the arrest and the decision to call the police and ask for his removal or arrest based upon Mr. Clay's actions that evening prior to his arrest.

I disagree with that statement. The Alton BOS have all the right in the world to get the police to remove someone who is disrupting there meeting. Therefore when the police chief asked Clay multiple times to leave and he refused, than the chief had no other option but to arrest him.
Whether you believe that Clay’s rant was against the Alton policy has nothing to do with his arrest. Clay didn’t get arrested because of his 2 minute rant, he got arrested after the board voted to shut down public input and continued to talk and disobey the police.
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Old 03-13-2015, 09:46 PM   #139
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Originally Posted by Rusty View Post
By virtue of the fact that the BOS acknowledged him and granted him his 5 min to speak, nothing that Mr. Clay did was out of order!!
That’s true.

His presence and the action of speaking were allowed by the BOS and therefore must be considered "lawful" .
That’s true also.

He committed no "breach of the peace" because of those actions.
By virtue of the fact that the BOS acknowledged him and granted him his 5 min to speak, nothing that Mr. Clay did was out of order!!
That’s true also.


His presence and the action of speaking were allowed by the BOS and therefore must be considered "lawful" .
That’s true also.


He committed no "breach of the peace" because of those actions.
You’re right again, there was no unlawful “breach of peace” with his rant.

and I think the BOS and the Alton PD will have a hard time justifying both the arrest and the decision to call the police and ask for his removal or arrest based upon Mr. Clay's actions that evening prior to his arrest.

I disagree with that statement. The Alton BOS have all the right in the world to get the police to remove someone who is disrupting there meeting. Therefore when the police chief asked Clay multiple times to leave and he refused, than the chief had no other option but to arrest him.
Whether you believe that Clay’s rant was against the Alton policy has nothing to do with his arrest. Clay didn’t get arrested because of his 2 minute rant, he got arrested after the board voted to shut down public input and continued to talk and disobey the police.
The problem I have with your argument Rusty is that Mr. Clay was granted 5 minutes and the BOS, after granting that decided to take it away because they didn't like and/ or agree with what he was saying or ranting. As someone else said this isn't a "police state". If the BOS had let him go on for the 5 minutes and then shut it down all would be fine. They didn't, and in my opinion they violated his rights and broke their own rules. The rules can't and shouldn't change depending on who they are being applied to. Isn't that what the entire Civil Rights movement in the United States was all about? The BOS are acting like a kid on a ball field who are saying "my ball, my rules" and then changing the rules in the middle of the game because they aren't winning.

For the record I don't necessarily agree with what Mr. Clay was saying, I'm just defending his, mine and your US Constitution given right to say it.

CT
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Old 03-13-2015, 10:13 PM   #140
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The BOS and other pols need to wise up and do what a smart wife does to placate and shut up her husband: "You just yes him to death then do as you please."
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Old 03-13-2015, 11:37 PM   #141
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The problem I have with your argument Rusty is that Mr. Clay was granted 5 minutes and the BOS, after granting that decided to take it away because they didn't like and/ or agree with what he was saying or ranting. As someone else said this isn't a "police state". If the BOS had let him go on for the 5 minutes and then shut it down all would be fine. They didn't, and in my opinion they violated his rights and broke their own rules. The rules can't and shouldn't change depending on who they are being applied to. Isn't that what the entire Civil Rights movement in the United States was all about? The BOS are acting like a kid on a ball field who are saying "my ball, my rules" and then changing the rules in the middle of the game because they aren't winning.

For the record I don't necessarily agree with what Mr. Clay was saying, I'm just defending his, mine and your US Constitution given right to say it.

CT
I don't disagree with you "Charlie T" and the court/s might take that into consideration.
However the second issue where the police got involved is separate from the BOS not allowing Clay to complete his allowed 5 minutes. Clay probably should have been allowed to finish beating up the selectmen but that will have to be worked out separate from the arrest.
Once the Board Chair turned Clay over to the police chief, the selectmen are (IMO) absolved from what happend after that.
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Old 03-14-2015, 06:27 AM   #142
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.....Once the Board Chair turned Clay over to the police chief, the selectmen are (IMO) absolved from what happend after that.
By state law, the BOS cannot command the police department to arrest someone. They can ask, and its up to the police department to evaluate the situation and be solely responsible for their action of arrest. So you are right that the PD will have to defend their actions.

Refer to the Belknap Commissioners meeting, where the deputy spoke up and disagreed that there was any disorder and (legally) refused the orders from the chair. This, IMHO, is what should have happened in Alton. In a non life threatening situation, arresting first and figuring it out later is lame.
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Old 03-14-2015, 08:24 AM   #143
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I agree the police should be able to decide what to do. However, I imagine the Selectmen are the policeman's boss and do the hiring and firing. That puts him in a tough spot.
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Old 03-14-2015, 09:39 AM   #144
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For the record I don't necessarily agree with what Mr. Clay was saying, I'm just defending his, mine and your US Constitution given right to say it.

CT
NO, No, No the constitution does not give you ANY rights. It protects our rights!! You are born with these rights and the constitution was written so the Government couldn't take them away from us.

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Old 03-14-2015, 09:56 AM   #145
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I don't disagree with you "Charlie T" and the court/s might take that into consideration.

(snip)

Once the Board Chair turned Clay over to the police chief, the selectmen are (IMO) absolved from what happend after that.
One illegal action that brings on another illegal action does not absolve anyone.

For instance: You go down and swear out a complaint against me, cause you don't like me, and the complaint is that I trespassed with a gun on your property. You bring a couple buddies that say the same. (We call you and your buddies the BOS)

The police take the complaint and arrest me for felony trespass.

Later it's found that you filed a false police report and are arrested under perjury.

I sue you and the police for false arrest. Think I'd win only from the police or would you also be held accountable.

This I what is going on here with this case.


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Old 03-14-2015, 10:17 AM   #146
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One illegal action that brings on another illegal action does not absolve anyone.


This I what is going on here with this case.


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As far as I know there hasn't been any determined illegal action by the BoS or the Police Dept.
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Old 03-14-2015, 01:27 PM   #147
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As far as I know there hasn't been any determined illegal action by the BoS or the Police Dept.
Never said there was a determined illegal action. I was referring to this statement you made:

"Once the Board Chair turned Clay over to the police chief, the selectmen are (IMO) absolved from what happend after that."

You said in your Humble opinion the BOS is absolved from what happened after they turned the issue over to the police.

The police chief acted on the BOS word without stopping to review what was actually going on and inserted himself into the issue by arresting Clay.

Therefore "if", to be determined, the BOS violated his rights then they will not be absolved of the police action they initiated. They will be complicit to the action.


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Old 03-14-2015, 01:49 PM   #148
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The police chief acted on the BOS word without stopping to review what was actually going on and inserted himself into the issue by arresting Clay.

Therefore "if", to be determined, the BOS violated his rights then they will not be absolved of the police action they initiated. They will be complicit to the action.
We'll find out soon enough when Clay's lawyer files suit: the heading of the complaint will name the defendants.

Out West where I live we have some real bozos in county positions, whose idiotic actions have literally cost the taxpayers millions of dollars, only some of which is covered by insurance.

A sad state of affairs: JFK called out for "the best and the brightest," and in the end we get the whack jobs.

Ah, politics.
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Old 03-14-2015, 02:44 PM   #149
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The police chief acted on the BOS word without stopping to review what was actually going on and inserted himself into the issue by arresting Clay.



ToW
Maybe you didn't know it but the Chief was in the audience when this all took place. This is one of the complaints from Clay that there are police present at the BoS meetings.
The chief witnessed the whole thing and from what I see he had no intention of arresting Clay until he refused to stop talking and either sit in the audience or leave the meeting; Clay had those two options that were given by the board chair.

I've seen where some forum member/s have said that Hussey went for the police, however the fact of the matter is that the police were there all the time.
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Old 03-15-2015, 10:54 AM   #150
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I have no problem with what the Alton BoS did. They were the most patient group of elected public servants that I have ever seen.
I would beg to differ. I have found them to be impatient, not knowledgeable and arrogant time after time. There are undoubtedly good members but in general there are a few controlling members who are not willing to listen to concerned citizens and who think they know everything.
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Old 03-15-2015, 11:32 AM   #151
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I would beg to differ. I have found them to be impatient, not knowledgeable and arrogant time after time. There are undoubtedly good members but in general there are a few controlling members who are not willing to listen to concerned citizens and who think they know everything.
Three people ran for two selectman positions this year in Alton. One incumbent and two new candidates. The two new candidates won.

Why is that people are so unhappy with local government officials but no one wants to do the job. Also very few people even vote and the majority of them do very little research about who or what they are voting for. IMO we get exactly what we ask for by not taking our voting rights seriously.

Maybe they should do away with elections and have a drawing like they do for jury duty. That way every legal voter of the town gets a chance to run the town for a certain period of time.

It's just to bad that local, state, and federal government officials are looked at as being rotten to core, yet very few people run for office.
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Old 03-21-2015, 04:47 PM   #152
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Three people ran for two selectman positions this year in Alton. One incumbent and two new candidates. The two new candidates won.

Why is that people are so unhappy with local government officials but no one wants to do the job. Also very few people even vote and the majority of them do very little research about who or what they are voting for. IMO we get exactly what we ask for by not taking our voting rights seriously.

Maybe they should do away with elections and have a drawing like they do for jury duty. That way every legal voter of the town gets a chance to run the town for a certain period of time.

It's just to bad that local, state, and federal government officials are looked at as being rotten to core, yet very few people run for office.
You are correct I believe more folks should care and get involved. On the good side at least we have two new faces!
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Old 03-22-2015, 01:16 PM   #153
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...all on the tax payers tab. They should all be embarrassed and ashamed for their lack of professionalism and lack of concern for the tax dollars this will consume. What a circus.
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Old 03-22-2015, 01:56 PM   #154
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I don't think there are too many selectmen in too many towns that are concerned about the taxpayer's dollars any more.
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Old 03-23-2015, 11:15 AM   #155
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Default Its a thankless job...

You cannot please everyone.... and when it comes to spending peoples tax money you cannot please anyone!

Its not a job I would want. Serving on a condo board was enough for me!

I think the local politicians do a darn good job of balancing the needs of their respective communities while trying to keep the tax rate as low as possible.

Truly a thankless unenviable position... I wish Washington spent our money with 1/2 of the thought and consideration that our local town government does.

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Old 03-24-2015, 07:43 AM   #156
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Default Written by the GSN editorial board

Another low turnout: why?
Opinion
SECTION A, PAGE 12 THE GRANITE STATE NEWS THURSDAY, MARCH 19, 2015

As we were gathering the vote totals to do our election report last week, we saw the same pattern emerge that we saw in March 2014: the total votes cast was less than the year before. In some cases the winners this year won by total votes that would have made them losers last year.
Add to that the fact that there were very few contested positions, and it would be hard not to see a growing disconnection between town residents and their government.
As we have observed before, this is not a local phenomenon. Nationally the vote last November had the worst turnout in 72 years and on average, our national representatives were elected by just 20 percent of voters.
On the national level one can begin to understand why so many people have lost faith in the democratic process. Congress has approval levels in the single digits, political campaigns are driven by private money interests and cynically focus on demeaning the character of opponents and questioning their motives, and, in the end, we have a national government being weakened by thousands of small cuts and a Congress incapable of passing any legislation, let alone trying to solve any of the obvious problems the nation is facing.
We also have a national media, particularly cable news, that is driven to view every piece of news in a sordid light to make it more dramatic and entertaining. Politicians saying foolish things produce the best ratings.
So there are reasons for a national apathy, even if those reasons are not good ones (in the sense that voting all incumbents out and voting money out of political campaigns would solve the problem), but why do so few voters show up at the polls in local elections?
There is the benign view that local voters are, for the most part, satisfied with how their towns and schools are running and assume that things will continue to hum along without them bothering to vote. The rationale here is that people lead busy lives – many of them working multiple jobs to make ends meet – and free time is so limited that it can’t be spared to pay attention to politics or to vote.
Then there is the less charitable view that people are too self-absorbed to care what is going on in their world outside of their immediate circle of work and family.
We think that while these views are valid, they do not take into account the impact of state and national politics on how people view local government and those involved with it.
Last week we wrote about how in some towns (notably Tuftonboro) some people are actively promoting distrust of local government and disrespecting local elected officials. In the case of Tuftonboro we know that the person in the forefront of the distrust and disrespect movement has more than one personal grudge against the town in general and two of the three selectmen in particular. The puzzle is why others listen to this person and allow his anger and conspiracy theories to drive their actions.
Some of those others were opposed to spending money on building a new Tuftonboro library, and for them the third defeat of that proposal at Town Meeting last week should settle things. The two new members elected to the budget committee will hopefully improve the atmosphere on that board, which has had a particularly testy relationship with selectmen over the past year or so.
In any event, we all need to commit ourselves to positive choices, to persuading the best and brightest among us to run for office and help us govern ourselves fairly and openly. We also need to respect those we elect for their dedication and service.
The simple fact is that local politics is not national politics. No one makes a living running for local office: in most towns the few officials who are paid a stipend make less than the minimum wage. There are few favors to sell and the openness of government makes it very difficult to do so.
The rewards of being an elected official are the pleasures of making sure government is responsive to residents and efficient as possible and earning the respect, trust and gratitude of your fellow townspeople. We can’t let a few unhappy people put those rewards at risk: don’t tolerate disrespect and distrust by your silence. Speak up.
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Old 03-24-2015, 08:01 AM   #157
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Originally Posted by Rusty View Post
Another low turnout: why?
Opinion
SECTION A, PAGE 12 THE GRANITE STATE NEWS THURSDAY, MARCH 19, 2015

As we were gathering the vote totals to do our election report last week, we saw the same pattern emerge that we saw in March 2014: the total votes cast was less than the year before. In some cases the winners this year won by total votes that would have made them losers last year.
Add to that the fact that there were very few contested positions, and it would be hard not to see a growing disconnection between town residents and their government.
As we have observed before, this is not a local phenomenon. Nationally the vote last November had the worst turnout in 72 years and on average, our national representatives were elected by just 20 percent of voters.
On the national level one can begin to understand why so many people have lost faith in the democratic process. Congress has approval levels in the single digits, political campaigns are driven by private money interests and cynically focus on demeaning the character of opponents and questioning their motives, and, in the end, we have a national government being weakened by thousands of small cuts and a Congress incapable of passing any legislation, let alone trying to solve any of the obvious problems the nation is facing.
We also have a national media, particularly cable news, that is driven to view every piece of news in a sordid light to make it more dramatic and entertaining. Politicians saying foolish things produce the best ratings.
So there are reasons for a national apathy, even if those reasons are not good ones (in the sense that voting all incumbents out and voting money out of political campaigns would solve the problem), but why do so few voters show up at the polls in local elections?
There is the benign view that local voters are, for the most part, satisfied with how their towns and schools are running and assume that things will continue to hum along without them bothering to vote. The rationale here is that people lead busy lives – many of them working multiple jobs to make ends meet – and free time is so limited that it can’t be spared to pay attention to politics or to vote.
Then there is the less charitable view that people are too self-absorbed to care what is going on in their world outside of their immediate circle of work and family.
We think that while these views are valid, they do not take into account the impact of state and national politics on how people view local government and those involved with it.
Last week we wrote about how in some towns (notably Tuftonboro) some people are actively promoting distrust of local government and disrespecting local elected officials. In the case of Tuftonboro we know that the person in the forefront of the distrust and disrespect movement has more than one personal grudge against the town in general and two of the three selectmen in particular. The puzzle is why others listen to this person and allow his anger and conspiracy theories to drive their actions.
Some of those others were opposed to spending money on building a new Tuftonboro library, and for them the third defeat of that proposal at Town Meeting last week should settle things. The two new members elected to the budget committee will hopefully improve the atmosphere on that board, which has had a particularly testy relationship with selectmen over the past year or so.
In any event, we all need to commit ourselves to positive choices, to persuading the best and brightest among us to run for office and help us govern ourselves fairly and openly. We also need to respect those we elect for their dedication and service.
The simple fact is that local politics is not national politics. No one makes a living running for local office: in most towns the few officials who are paid a stipend make less than the minimum wage. There are few favors to sell and the openness of government makes it very difficult to do so.
The rewards of being an elected official are the pleasures of making sure government is responsive to residents and efficient as possible and earning the respect, trust and gratitude of your fellow townspeople. We can’t let a few unhappy people put those rewards at risk: don’t tolerate disrespect and distrust by your silence. Speak up.
Look at the last two words in this article: "Speak Up". In Alton, if one "speaks up", one gets "ARRESTED".
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Old 03-24-2015, 08:25 AM   #158
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Look at the last two words in this article: "Speak Up". In Alton, if one "speaks up", one gets "ARRESTED".
He didn't get arrested for speaking up.
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Old 03-24-2015, 09:30 AM   #159
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He didn't get arrested for speaking up.
In my opinion, he most certainly did.
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Old 03-25-2015, 09:47 AM   #160
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Default This should make a certain person happy.

Here is a comment made in todays "LETTERS" section of the LDS:

Alton Selectboard is now further restricting who can say what

After seeing what happened at the March 16 Alton selectmen’s meeting, I feel compelled to write this letter.
Loring Carr put a motion to restrict all public input to subjects that are on the agenda for that meeting. The vote was 4 to 1 to pass the motion, with Mr. Wittmann the only “no” vote. When I questioned this rule change I was told that public input was a privilege, not a right, and could be taken away at any time.
Starting immediately, we, the citizens of Alton, must write a letter to the town administrator to get permission to speak on subjects other than what is on the agenda.
“Public participation in the board’s regular meetings is a privilege that the board has adopted in order to assure that persons who wish to appear before the Board and bring matters to its attention may be heard.”
This statement is written in the rules governing selectmen’s meetings from the town website. I feel it is our right and duty to speak. It should not be a privilege given by the people we elect to represent us. If we do not have the right to free speech, what do we have left?
I feel it is time for the citizens of Alton to call for a public meeting of Selectboard to change this statement from privilege to speak, to right to speak on any subject.

Donald Kleeberg
Alton
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Old 03-25-2015, 11:47 AM   #161
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Here is a comment made in todays "LETTERS" section of the LDS:

Alton Selectboard is now further restricting who can say what

After seeing what happened at the March 16 Alton selectmen’s meeting, I feel compelled to write this letter.
Loring Carr put a motion to restrict all public input to subjects that are on the agenda for that meeting. The vote was 4 to 1 to pass the motion, with Mr. Wittmann the only “no” vote. When I questioned this rule change I was told that public input was a privilege, not a right, and could be taken away at any time.
Starting immediately, we, the citizens of Alton, must write a letter to the town administrator to get permission to speak on subjects other than what is on the agenda.
“Public participation in the board’s regular meetings is a privilege that the board has adopted in order to assure that persons who wish to appear before the Board and bring matters to its attention may be heard.”
This statement is written in the rules governing selectmen’s meetings from the town website. I feel it is our right and duty to speak. It should not be a privilege given by the people we elect to represent us. If we do not have the right to free speech, what do we have left?
I feel it is time for the citizens of Alton to call for a public meeting of Selectboard to change this statement from privilege to speak, to right to speak on any subject.

Donald Kleeberg
Alton
It seems like four of the five Alton selectmen have not learned one of the preeminent rules of politics. When you find yourself in a hole.... Stop Digging!

We can argue all day about exactly what "Free Speech" is and how it applies to this situation. However what is clear to me is that the selectmens actions have opened up the town to expensive litigation. It will cost the taxpayers even if they win. And will cost a lot more if they lose.

All the selectmen had to do was sit there and let the citizen ramble on for his five minutes. If he had kept talking at the end of that time, and had then been arrested, nobody would be saying his arrest was improper.
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Old 03-25-2015, 12:48 PM   #162
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Default He had a point?

Based on the actions of the selectmen after this incident, it appears to me that Mr Clay may have had a point and the selectment are out to prove he was right.
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Old 03-25-2015, 01:07 PM   #163
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Default Waking up??

With that letter it sounds like the folks are starting to wake up and see the light. The BOS keeps digging and digging and sooner or latter they will hit the fires of H@## well you know of where I speak. And they are going to get burnt badly.

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Old 03-25-2015, 01:18 PM   #164
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This was a good move by the Alton BoS and IMO they got some advice from the Town attorney to do what they did.
The board needs time to get things organized and find out how they want to handle public input so that it will be fair to the public and the board.

In the end I believe that the 5 minute public input time will allow anyone to say what they want as long as there isn't any violation of the BoS policy. The policy needs to be revised also because it was done in a hurry to put out a fire that was getting out of control.

Good job Alton BoS.
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Old 03-25-2015, 01:21 PM   #165
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Alton needs new selectmen, elections have consequences, I'm glad I don't live there.
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Old 03-25-2015, 01:25 PM   #166
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The BOS are acting like a kid on a ball field who are saying "my ball, my rules" and then changing the rules in the middle of the game because they aren't winning.
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Old 03-25-2015, 03:25 PM   #167
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If the Selectmen of any town don't want to listen to the people, they shouldn't run for office. They are elected to work FOR the people, not dictate TO them.
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Old 03-25-2015, 03:42 PM   #168
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If the Selectmen of any town don't want to listen to the people, they shouldn't run for office. They are elected to work FOR the people, not dictate TO them.
I agree with this, but the time to weed these people out is election time, problem is most don't pay attention.
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Old 03-25-2015, 03:56 PM   #169
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I agree with this, but the time to weed these people out is election time, problem is most don't pay attention.

A truer statement was never made, ITD. Most people don't pay attention. But it is very hard to know how somebody is going to be and what they will do even if you pay attention. I have heard many over the years complain about the way the town is run and they get elected and go right along with the existing people. It is very easy to say they are going to this and that but doing it is something else. When some have run for reelection, I have read or heard what somebody SAYS they are going to do and if you look at their back history, they haven't done that at all. People most often have no idea what they are voting for.
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Old 03-25-2015, 04:25 PM   #170
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This was a good move by the Alton BoS and IMO they got some advice from the Town attorney to do what they did.
The board needs time to get things organized and find out how they want to handle public input so that it will be fair to the public and the board.

In the end I believe that the 5 minute public input time will allow anyone to say what they want as long as there isn't any violation of the BoS policy. The policy needs to be revised also because it was done in a hurry to put out a fire that was getting out of control.

Good job Alton BoS.
Rusty had me wondering just how badly this fire is out of control. So I went back and checked the Alton BOS Minutes. I went back to last June. There are two "Public Input" sessions per meeting. At no time did anyone speak at the second Public Input opportunity.

6/23/14 . 0 speakers
07/7/14 . 0 speakers
7/21/14 . 0 speakers
8/18/14 . 0 speakers
9/22/14 . 0 speakers
10/6/14 . 1 speaker
10/20/14 . 0 speakers
11/17/14 . 0 speakers
12/1/14 . 2 speakers
12/15/14 . 3 speakers
1/14/15 . 1 speaker

That is a total of 7 speakers in 8 months. Times are not listed but with a 5 minute limit that equates to a maximum of 35 minutes that the BOS have had to listen to "Public Input" over an 8 month period. Is the the FIRE that Rusty wants the BOS to put out?
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Old 03-25-2015, 04:31 PM   #171
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Default That must be the one.

Looks like a real barn burner to me.

Some one actually spoke at one of their meetings. Oh the horror of it all.


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Old 03-25-2015, 04:31 PM   #172
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Default Animal Farm?

Wish George Orwell were around to comment.

"All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."

Of course Lord Acton would be a welcome guest, also.

"Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely."
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Old 03-25-2015, 04:52 PM   #173
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Rusty had me wondering just how badly this fire is out of control. So I went back and checked the Alton BOS Minutes. I went back to last June. There are two "Public Input" sessions per meeting. At no time did anyone speak at the second Public Input opportunity.

6/23/14 . 0 speakers
07/7/14 . 0 speakers
7/21/14 . 0 speakers
8/18/14 . 0 speakers
9/22/14 . 0 speakers
10/6/14 . 1 speaker
10/20/14 . 0 speakers
11/17/14 . 0 speakers
12/1/14 . 2 speakers
12/15/14 . 3 speakers
1/14/15 . 1 speaker

That is a total of 7 speakers in 8 months. Times are not listed but with a 5 minute limit that equates to a maximum of 35 minutes that the BOS have had to listen to "Public Input" over an 8 month period. Is the the FIRE that Rusty wants the BOS to put out?
Nice job with the research.
At all of those meetings there wasn't a 5 minute limit for public speaking. That got added to the policy after Mr. Clay spoke for over twenty minutes and wouldn't stop because the policy didn't have a time limit. He had to be escorted out of a few meetings because he wouldn't stop talking.
Anyway, what I meant by "FIRE" is when the trouble started with Mr.CLay sometime in the beginning of this year. He kept testing the board about time so they had to set a 5 minute time limit after that and as we all know got arrested.
This is unfortunate and I dislike it as much as anyone here. However, something had to be done and the BoS chose a route to take, that route might not of been the best one and it will probably cost the tax payers money to get a resolution.
I hope that it can be resolved without litigation and the Alton BoS can get back to the business of getting things done for all the citizens.

BTW, there are two new members on the board and a new chair was selected at the first meeting after the Town elections. I say this because someone said there needs to be new members on the board.
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Old 03-26-2015, 12:10 AM   #174
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Nice job with the research.
At all of those meetings there wasn't a 5 minute limit for public speaking. That got added to the policy after Mr. Clay spoke for over twenty minutes and wouldn't stop because the policy didn't have a time limit. He had to be escorted out of a few meetings because he wouldn't stop talking.
Anyway, what I meant by "FIRE" is when the trouble started with Mr.CLay sometime in the beginning of this year. He kept testing the board about time so they had to set a 5 minute time limit after that and as we all know got arrested.
This is unfortunate and I dislike it as much as anyone here. However, something had to be done and the BoS chose a route to take, that route might not of been the best one and it will probably cost the tax payers money to get a resolution.
I hope that it can be resolved without litigation and the Alton BoS can get back to the business of getting things done for all the citizens.

BTW, there are two new members on the board and a new chair was selected at the first meeting after the Town elections. I say this because someone said there needs to be new members on the board.
I can understand that the BOS wanted to do something about Mr. Clay talking for 20 minutes. They came up with a good solution, limit the "Public Input" to 5 minutes per person. However instead of allowing Mr. Clay his 5 minutes the had him arrested. And, yes, I saw the video, in my opinion "they had him arrested" is the proper wording.

I understand there have been at least 2 BOS meetings since his arrest. Does anybody know why the minutes of those meetings have not been posted?
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Old 03-27-2015, 08:58 AM   #175
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"A charge of disorderly conduct lodged against Jeffrey T. Clay that alleges he purposely caused a breach of the peace by disrupting the meeting by
continuing to speak after being informed “repetitively” by the board that public input was closed was dropped on March 23.
A second charge against him for knowingly refusing to comply with a lawful order given by Police Chief Ryan Heath to move from the Alton Town Hall is still pending and is scheduled for trial on April 6."
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Old 03-27-2015, 10:25 AM   #176
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Default A little

Back peddling going on here.

Also the article may be wrong but brings up the part of whether the police chief was present during the meeting or was called in. One of the last paragraphs states that the selectmen left the room and brought back the chief.

This is what I always thought happened but some here have said that was not the case.

No I'm not going to watch the film again cause I feel it's a moot point to the case.

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Old 03-28-2015, 05:22 PM   #177
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It's not the rant, it's when the board asked the chief to remove Clay and Clay refused to get up and leave and he continued to talk.
It is the BOS who are wrong without much deep thought here. They granted Mr. Clay his 5 minutes, their choice, he spoke and was quickly interrupted, and the police ordered him to get up and subsequently arrested him. The BOS are clearly at fault and they need have followed thier own rules and waited 5 minutes and then, moved on.

It is as if they have patience for what they want to hear but discredit with actions like this, those issues and folks they do not want to listen to. Government does not work that way nor is it supposed to under the right to know laws in place today.

Also check on the legal bills Alton has had to pay out in the last 5-6 years, its online and its staggering. Alton and its legal representatives have taken on one losing campaign after another and one wonders why? Its right there on the website, money, big money, and the trend has been sharply upward all but a year or two. And who oversees the legal representatives of Alton, take a guess.
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Old 05-15-2015, 02:01 PM   #178
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Default He's BBAAAAACCCKKKK!!!!

this time at the School Committee meeting....
(from the Baysider may 14th)
Quote:
ALTON — The Alton Central School Board met for its regular monthly meeting on Monday, May 11, in the school’s media center.
ACS Administrative assistant Janna Mellon spoke during public input regarding her concerns over cuts being made to support staff and the turnover of administrators.
Alton resident Jeffrey Clay also spoke during public input stating he was not fond of the five-minute limit imposed on the public during public input.
Clay touched on a few subjects including questioning how ethics violations are handled within the school board itself. He also stated the board should not have an ethics policy without a protocol for consequences related to violations.
Additionally, Clay requested the board update the community on the progress of hiring a new superintendent and a new principal.
School board Chairperson Krista Argiropolis* was poised to answer Clay’s questions when Vice-Chairperson Steve Miller called for a point of order.
Miller reminded Argiropolis and the rest of the board they were under no obligation to give information out in response to Clay’s questions at this time as it was public input.
Board member Terri Noyes agreed it was not appropriate to have a "back and forth" dialogue in public input, but she did not see a problem with giving out numbers.
*Argie's Wife on the forum
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Old 05-15-2015, 03:25 PM   #179
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Default That went over very well.

See how it could go in the BOS meeting. Just let the fellow have his say and move on. Next.

Seems they handled it the right way. Maybe they learned from the BOS.


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Old 06-09-2015, 06:05 PM   #180
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ALTON, N.H. —Charges have been dismissed against an Alton man who refused to stop talking during a town board of selectmen meeting.

Jeffrey Clay said he was robbed of his right to free speech when the council cut him off, and a judge agreed.

The court called the board's actions censorship and said in the ruling that Clay did nothing wrong and arresting him violated his First Amendment rights.


There is more on the WMUR site if you want to read it all.
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Old 06-09-2015, 07:45 PM   #181
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Default Got it right

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ALTON, N.H. —Charges have been dismissed against an Alton man who refused to stop talking during a town board of selectmen meeting.

Jeffrey Clay said he was robbed of his right to free speech when the council cut him off, and a judge agreed.

The court called the board's actions censorship and said in the ruling that Clay did nothing wrong and arresting him violated his First Amendment rights.


There is more on the WMUR site if you want to read it all.
I don't necessarily agree with what this guy had to say but I"m damn glad the court system worked and defended his right to say it. A small battle but a win for our country and the beliefs it was founded on!
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Old 06-10-2015, 07:51 AM   #182
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Default Like I said

Stand up for your rights!! Now maybe the BOS will act like they should and the police state in Alton will relax a bit.

http://www.wmur.com/news/charges-dis...-case/33488002


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Old 07-15-2015, 12:11 PM   #183
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Default ACLU sues Alton

I guess this isn't done yet.

http://www.wmur.com/news/aclu-sues-a...eting/34179060
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Old 07-15-2015, 02:05 PM   #184
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Of course the ACLU is suing the town... it is what is wrong with this country, there has to be a lawsuit with everything.... The BOS did what they did, the court decided that it was in appropriate, the charges where dropped... And Life should move on....Instead there is now a law suit by the ACLU, and soon to be we another I am sure by Mr. Clay Personally...

Did the BOS act rather hastily... Yep probably... the court thinks so
Did the BOS learn their lesson about the abuse of power??? who knows time will tell.....
Does Mr. Clay have a reputation that may have inspired the BOS to act the way they did.... Yep Probably, I know my research should he has an interesting past
Who will pay for the monetary gain of the ACLU lawsuit... The tax payers...

There was a mistake... let it go and move on.... PEOPLE ARENT PERFECT... lawsuits will not fix society!!!!!
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Old 07-15-2015, 08:36 PM   #185
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Default Toss off the 1st amendment?

There is a lot to be said for moving on but, a court has found that first amendment rights were violated by the government. Enforcing accountability for that is not trivial. I would feel a greater injustice if nothing were done about it. Rock on ACLU!
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Old 07-15-2015, 09:33 PM   #186
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There is a lot to be said for moving on but, a court has found that first amendment rights were violated by the government. Enforcing accountability for that is not trivial. I would feel a greater injustice if nothing were done about it. Rock on ACLU!
Something was done about it. Clay is a semi-professional muckraker.

As noted, the taxpayers are "the government" who pays.
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Old 07-15-2015, 10:53 PM   #187
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Something was done about it. Clay is a semi-professional muckraker.

As noted, the taxpayers are "the government" who pays.
Saving a few dollars per taxpayer are more important than the govt using police power to silence a citizens constitutional rights under the 1st amendment? Really? REALLY?
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Old 07-16-2015, 07:02 AM   #188
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Saving a few dollars per taxpayer are more important than the govt using police power to silence a citizens constitutional rights under the 1st amendment? Really? REALLY?
I prefer to see our local town's limited dollars spent on educating students, repairing roads and policing the streets rather than paying the costs of defense and potential payout of a lawsuit. If that makes my priorities "weird" so be it!
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Old 07-16-2015, 08:01 AM   #189
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Agree 110% with Vitabene. A mistake was made, challenged, judicated and resolved. We don't need the town (and ultimately the tax payers) wasting money on legal fees when there are other more important issues in the town.
Get over it and move on
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Old 07-16-2015, 10:12 AM   #190
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I prefer to see our local town's limited dollars spent on educating students, repairing roads and policing the streets rather than paying the costs of defense and potential payout of a lawsuit. If that makes my priorities "weird" so be it!
I agree with you. I would not want my tax dollars used to defend a stupid lawsuit. That is why I want my towns elected officials to respect the rights of it's citizens, and not get the town in situations like this.

I can agree that there is to much litigation in our society. However if I am ever arrested in similar circumstances, and the judge later says I was being censored, I will file a lawsuit - guaranteed!

Perhaps the people posting that he should "just move on" have never been arrested, cuffed and booked when what they were doing was perfectly legal.
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Old 07-16-2015, 10:52 AM   #191
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One can only hope the lawsuit will act to deter others from discharging their public duties in a ham-fisted, tyrannical manner.

I suspect the end-cost of litigation will be borne by the insurance carrier (assuming this is a covered risk) as opposed to the tax payers, but no doubt future insurance premiums will increase.
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Old 07-16-2015, 11:52 AM   #192
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I used to believe that if there was no malice and no gross neglect, suing is not who I am. However, several years ago I fell on some ice at my sportsman's club that had not been cleared the day before and was now covered with a fine coat of snow. Ended up rupturing my quads. Insurance paid for the operation, short term disability paid my salary, and all I was out was the co-pay for rehab. I didn't sue even though it was negligent to not have removed the ice, particularly since the surface was directly behind the pistol ports and was on an incline. If I sued, I would only be "taxing" my own club and club members.

The next year I observed the same situation with ice not being removed. The officers of the club didn't learn their lesson. If I had sued, perhaps they would have. Who knows?
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