Saturday, February 18, 2006

The good, the bad, and the ugly

Spent the day petitioning. Great results. There is much awareness in this community that a toxic cloud hangs over the Gray Town Council. In fact, a predictable trend played out: the closer someone followed the town scene, the more enthusiastic they were about recall. Foster & Co. seem utterly unaware of the depth of feeling their abusive behavior has induced among the citizens of Gray. This is what happens when a closeminded group talks only amongst itself.

There was one ugly incident: a petitioner was harassed at the Gray Public Library by Elizabeth Prata and her pack of flying monkeys. According to the petitioner and eyewitnesses, the petitioner was seated at a small table near the librarian's desk, obviously with permission. Fran and Jim Monroe arrived and began a grilling about petitioner's location, furniture, even if petitioner had gotten town council's permission to be there. Monroes clearly not interested in signing, and their badgering prevented library patrons from access to the petitioner during a busy time. Shortly afterward, Prata and Jeanne Adams arrived. Prata photographed petitioner, asked about permission to be there, challenged petitioner on merits of recall and became increasingly hostile and argumentative. The exchange took about ten minutes. Obviously, Prata also had no intention of signing the petition.

About a half hour later, Prata returned and copied the names of individual signers from the petitioner's petition, which contained 16 or 17 names at the time. Petitioner was unaware that Prata had no right to do this.

Note to petitioners:

You do not need to show a petition to anyone except the person signing the petition. You do not need the Gray Town Council's or Elizabeth Prata's permission to circulate a petition anywhere or anytime. You do not need to answer their questions, or anybody else's questions, or even talk to them, about anything. So long as you do not obstruct access or interfere with normal operations, you do not need to clear your petitioning efforts with anyone except the owner/manager of a private venue. If anyone tries to obtain the information on your petition without your permission, or attempts to intimidate you, or interferes with your ability to lawfully collect signatures in any way, that person is violating your civil rights and breaking several remarkably popular state and federal statutes. If you feel that your right to collect signatures anywhere or anytime in the town of Gray is being unlawfully restricted in any way, please remember three little numbers: 911.

Note to Elizabeth Prata and flying monkeys:

Your harassment has been duly noted. If you call the petition signers whose names you copied without permission and badger them about their decision to sign the Upham recall petition, or if you distribute those names for the same purpose, or if you attempt to de-legitimize a single one of these freely-given signatures in any way, your actions will be met with the strongest possible legal response.

OK then. You'll find me at the dump tomorrow.