Robin Hood Case Goes Redux


Considerable time has passed since the city of Keene first filed a lawsuit against the meddlesome youths known as Robin Hooders. Following three days of testimonial hearings in October of 2013, a reunion party was hosted by the court for all initially involved, with three of six activists returning. Fine-tuning their excess to scale down the event significantly, the city would only present two witnesses, countered by two representing the defense, enabling what originally cost three days to wrap up within one.

The complications keeping the Robin Hood of Keene legal saga alive are as convoluted as the civil court system itself, which would have otherwise been unnavigable by the activists on defense if it were not for the appreciated representation by civil rights advocate attorney Jon Meyer. As the city’s attorneys began their case, Meyer declined to offer an opening statement, but instead asked if the city could clarify the specific demands it is seeking for “injunctive relief”.

Robert Dietel outlined that the CoK now requests no more than a ten foot “buffer zone” to float around parking enforcement officers. The request seemed modest compared to prior demands for 50, 30, and 20 feet of bureaucrat safety buffers. The tone of the day, echoing a sentiment expressed at the supreme court, seemed to be that the city’s attorneys would accept whatever “injunctive relief” they could be granted, anything to declare a small victory in what must be a loss of staggering proportions, both financially and politically. (more…)

Cop Screws Up, Frees Shire Dude

A few weeks ago, I was strolling through the park with a friend.  Little did we know, there’s a city ordinance in Manchester, NH that sets a curfew for public parks.  We were each issued ridiculous $50 tickets by Officer Healey.  Fortunately for us, the young cop does not know how to write tickets properly.  I wrapped up this story with a Bambuser broadcast.

Don’t forget to subscribe to me on Bambuser to view LIVE activist happenings in Manchester, NH.

Free Shire Dude!
Coming next: Darryl Perry, Carlos Morales and Brett Veinotte will be on the Keenevention Media Panel, hosted by yours truly.  Buy your tickets now!

Responding to Vandalized Rainbow Benches, UCC Launches #onthebench Selfie Contest!

Jazzy Girl on the Rainbow Bench!

Jazzy Girl on the Rainbow Bench!

This morning, Christopher Cornell of the United Church of Christ at the head of Central Square in Downtown Keene announced a really cool selfie contest in response to  continued vandalization of their rainbow benches in Elsie Priest Park, just behind the UCC on Church St.

At least one unknown vandal in her sixties has been caught in the act of painting the rainbow bench in red.  She ran to her red compact car and took off.  The bench was subsequently painted rainbow by more volunteers, then attacked by the vandal(s) again, and so on.  The church has plenty of paint and volunteers.  Love will win over hate.

UCC administrator Mark C. Harris explained in a post to the church blog that the benches were painted rainbow this summer by volunteers and that they represent that, “We want everyone to feel welcome to use the park. This is in good keeping with our belief that all of God’s children are beloved, no matter who they are, or where they are on life’s journey. All are welcome, no matter their gender, age, race, ethnicity, economic status, sexual orientation, difference in abilities, religion or absence thereof.”

Renee Kate and Jazzy on the Rainbow Bench!

Renee Kate and Jazzy Showing Love > Hate

Today the benches are rainbow and people who side with love have been invited by the UCC to visit them and take a selfie, and post it on social media tagged with #onthebench.  there are prizes, and the contest for the best selfie ends Saturday September 5th, at 10pm, which coincides with the end of the Keene Music Festival.

Speculation abounds as to the motivation of the vandal(s) – it’s easy to jump to a conclusion and say it’s someone with an anti-gay sentiment, but longtime readers of this blog will also recall the controversy back in 2009 when local entrepreneur Dorrie O’Meara launched her Mexican restaurant Pedraza’s.  Some people around town were upset because O’Meara painted her building yellow!  Certain grumpy people in this area seem to hate colors besides brick red and gray.

Ian Freeman and Jazzy at the Rainbow Bench

Take this, vandals!

Cornell said in an interview for Free Keene that he thinks the first time the the vandal(s) struck, the benches were fully painted red, but that since then the vandal(s) have only painted over the yellow part.  He’s losing track of the amount of times the benches have been vandalized, but thinks it may have been at least six times, all since the beginning of August.

Smart move on the UCC’s part to make this into a hopefully-viral phenomenon.  The vandals, whatever the hate they carry in their hearts, probably weren’t expecting these benches to turn into a movement!

The Shire Free Church is joining in solidarity with the UCC and all those who support love over hate, so I went out with Renee Kate and Jazzy the Studio Dog for a photo shoot this afternoon.  Remember to tag your bench selfies with #onthebench on your social media posts.

Stay tuned to Free Keene for the latest on this controversy. Last year it was chalk causing controversy, this year it’s rainbows!

NJ Governor Chris Christie Confronted About Edward Snowden, Cannabis in Keene, NH

As the presidential campaign for 2016 heats up, more presidential candidates will make the mistake of visiting Keene. Last month it was Bernie Sanders. This month, it’s Chris Christie, the well-fed governor of New Jersey, one of the most corrupt and awful of all the fifty US states.

Christie sauntered into Keene today for a speaking event at local bar “Lab N Lager”. The place was at overflow capacity while liberty activists (and former state rep Steve Lindsey) waited outside for Christie’s arrival for a chance to ambush him with tough questions, as has become the tradition since 2012 here in Keene. Here’s what happened:

VIDEO – State Rep to Activist: You Have No Right to Record Me!

In a video recorded on Keene’s Main St. Sunday evening, State Rep Gladys Johnsen calls Keene Cop Block‘s JP Freeman “dumb” and tells him that he has no right to record video of her! This, after being pulled over by KPD’s officer Leslie Ainsworth – kudos to KPD for not giving the state rep special treatment. Here’s the video of Johnsen’s shocking behavior:

Johnsen  (contact info here) doesn’t appear to understand the NH Constitution’s Bill of Rights‘ Article 22 which protects the freedom of the press or Article 8 which says government agents will be open and accountable.

This is certainly not how a state representative should behave, especially in front of a camera. You’d think she’d know something about the freedom to record, considering she co-sponsored the bill to mandate police body cameras (currently retained in committee). However, her bill does not allow the public access to the police footage, which is a huge issue and goes to show that Johnsen is just an arch-statist to the core. Her NH Liberty Alliance report card for 2014 ranks her as a “D-“. In the yet-to-be released 2015 rankings, Johnsen scored as “Dereliction of Duty”, meaning she missed 70% or more of the NHLA’s scored votes. The NHLA recommends she step down from office as a result of missing so many important votes.

For the raw footage of the encounter, click here.

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