Monday, March 26, 2012

You Can’t Fight Southbridge Town Hall: They Have Your Tax Dollars For Ammunition

Ken O’Brien

William Gladstone famously observed that, “Justice delayed, is justice denied.”

Back in February The O’Zone carried an article titled, “If You Can’t Beat’em, Bleed’em”.

At that time I was addressing the tactics being employed by attorneys for the town of Southbridge to delay a decision in a case mounted by citizens of this community to challenge the obviously absurd position that a town bylaw can take precedence over the town’s Home Rule Charter.

In the time since then, attorneys for the town have slapped us with a variety of motions designed to further delay action by the court in this case.

First they demanded the right to depose all of the citizens who signed on to this suit.

Those depositions won’t even begin until sometime in April. In addition, the court ordered the plaintiffs (the private citizens) to bear the cost of a portion of this delay. That burden amounts to almost $1,500.

Now, the attorneys for the town have filed additional delaying motions challenging the standing of citizens to bring this suit.

All of this has occurred despite the motion by Southbridge citizens to ask for a summary judgment in this case. Such a motion would require the judge to decide the case on its merits purely and simply as a matter of law.

But the town doesn’t want this, because they know full well that, as a matter of law, they would lose.

Rather, they are using every tactic and legal maneuver at their disposal to delay any decision until after the June election. It is their hope that the Charter amendments crafted by the town council after two clandestine subcommittee meetings, in total disregard for a year’s work by a Charter Review Committee which held open and televised public hearings, will be passed by an apathetic public.

In the process the citizens of Southbridge who have challenged this distortion of our basic Charter are being doubly taxed. Not only are we paying for the legal challenge but our taxes are being used to pay those who are fighting us.

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall observed in the 1819 case of McCulloch v. Maryland that,” The power to tax involves the power to destroy”.

Never has it been clearer that taxation can be used to deprive average citizens of a voice in their government than in this case. Never has it been clearer that the power to tax involves the power to destroy. How can citizens oppose a monolithic government, regardless of their disregard for the law, if they can be taxed as much as is necessary to defeat them in a legal system that has devolved into a guarantee that “He who has the gold makes the rules”?

As the lead plaintiff in this case I have advised our attorney that it is wisest to withdraw our case, provided that it can be done without prejudice. Such a temporary conclusion would allow the plaintiffs to re-file after the June election if the proposed Charter amendment is defeated.

At this point I can only hope that enough voters will recognize the fascist tactics that are being employed to silence citizens who have the courage to speak up in opposition to a town government that has not merely become oppressive (look at how they attempted to silence the right of citizens to speak at council meetings,), but has been a total failure in managing the town’s affairs. We have the highest tax rate locally, rampant crime despite a large and growing police force, the disregard of citizens victimized by last year’s tornado, yet we have enormous salaries for the incompetents who run this version of “Idiocracy”.

Having had to face the fact that we cannot match the spending power of the town that we are compelled to finance, I have to urge all thinking people to vote down in June the Charter amendments that would make this situation even worse.

If you do that, then I hope we can raise this challenge again.

In addition, the time has come to defeat the incumbents for town council who have been complicit in this oppressive cabal to subject and exploit the rest of us to the will of a self-empowered elite.

1 comment:

  1. aka Jester

    Living off the Taxpayer appears to be Morally Superior then actually working at a job.


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