Keene Activists Invited to ACLU of NH’s 2015 Bill of Rights Awards!

James Cleaveland, Free Speech Attorney Jon Meyer, Ian Freeman

James Cleaveland, Attorney Jon Meyer, Ian Freeman

What an honor to be invited by the ACLU of NH (aka the NHCLU) to this year’s Bill of Rights awards dinner! Free Keene bloggers Darryl W. Perry, James Cleaveland, and I had the pleasure of attending with some of New Hampshire’s most active from both the legal and activist worlds. Arnie Alpert of the American Friends Service Committee gave an entertaining speech in receipt of the 2015 Bill of Rights award and NHCLU partner attorney Bill Chapman also received an award. With speeches from NHCLU Executive Director Devon Chaffee, head NHCLU attorney Gilles Bissonnette, and longtime civil rights activist Lewis Feldstein as well as a record 240 tickets sold – the room was packed.

It was a great event, and I’m grateful that we were invited. James earned it for his amazing organizing of Robin Hood of Keene activism and Darryl heading up the lawsuit against the state of NH for their unfair treatment of third parties.

Record Attendance of 240!

Record Attendance of 240!

Free speech attorney Jon Meyer was in attendance, as were hundreds of other attorneys and activists from inside the system and out. There were far more people than I knew, but some noteworthy attendees that have previously been reported on by this blog included Keene Spiritual Retreat superintendent Rick Van Wickler (who is also now on the NHCLU board and is back on the board of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition), Will Hopkins of NH Peace Action, appeals lawyer Joshua Gordon, and in a pleasant surprise – Cheshire County Sheriff Eli Rivera was in attendance.

Free Keene Bloggers Darryl W. Perry, James Cleaveland, and Ian Freeman

Free Keene Bloggers Darryl W. Perry, James Cleaveland, and Ian Freeman

I’m so appreciative to be here in New Hampshire, where people who care about freedom can have a large impact and change things for the better. There’s no doubt we’re in the right place, surrounded by people who truly care for the future of freedom. Thanks to the NHCLU for continuing to stand for so many who can’t defend themselves against the predatory state. It’s truly an honor to play a small role in all this.

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…)

Full Video: Robin Hooders Return to Cheshire Superior Court for ROUND 2

After the NH supreme court ruled mostly in Robin Hooders’ favor, they sent the injunction request by the “City of Keene” gang back to the Cheshire superior court for it to be considered separately from their failed demand for financial damages.

Hence, we were back in court yesterday for round two of the “evidentiary hearing” (the original was three days long in 2013). The evidentiary hearing looks and feels like a trial, but actually isn’t. We’ve never even gotten to the trial, since the judge dismissed the city of Keene’s case before that could happen.

Once again, Robin Hooders were represented by top-tier free speech attorney Jon Meyer, and he did a spectacular job.

Thankfully, the hearing only lasted one day, and boy are there some amazing moments captured on video. Don’t miss when Jane claims Garret is “taunting” her no matter what words come out of his mouth, even if he were to talk to her about the weather! No kidding – she really says that.

The icing on the cake had to be both Jane and Linda expressing having “anxiety” (Jane even likens her experience to PTSD) due to not knowing when Robin Hooders were going to pop up. Hey Jane and Linda, how do you think the innocent people that park downtown feel? They never know when the parking enforcers will pop up and ruin their day with a ticket.

Now the case is again in the hands of judge John C Kissinger. He ruled correctly the first time around but this injunction portion of the case was remanded back to him by the NH supreme court on a technicality. Did the parking agents’ sob story convince him to issue an unconstitutional injunction against Robin Hooders? Stay tuned here to Free Keene for the latest in this ongoing saga!


Seacoast UBER Driver Openly Committing Civil Disobedience

uber-app[1]Recently, in the supposed live free or die state, Portsmouth basically outlawed ride-sharing service, UBER. Constantly embattled by city governments in nearly every city they expand to, UBER has heroically fought for its drivers, even to the point of covering legal costs for arrests, vehicle impounds, and other legal targeting of their contractors by the government gangs. See, the taxi companies, who are mostly obedient to their state masters, tend to go running to their regulators crying about UBER, whose business model is not the same as a cab company. UBER merely connects drivers to passengers and takes a small cut for making the connections. They aren’t a cab company as traditionally defined. Cab companies generally own and maintain a fleet – UBER has no cars. Its contractor-drivers provide their own vehicle and are responsible for maintaining them.

Despite having proved to the Porstmouth city gang that their cars are insured, UBER has objected to the “draconian” background check requirement and placard requirement in order to legally do business in Portsmouth.

Christopher David is an early mover for the Free State Project living in Dover. He’s been driving for UBER for a few months in Portsmouth and Boston. Today he publicly announced his intention to commit ongoing civil disobedience and continue illegally providing transportation to willing passengers in Portsmouth. He says UBER driving isn’t his primary occupation and until recently he hasn’t been doing it much at all, but that the, “ordinance crap has gotten me pissed off enough to do it anyway”.

Christopher David

Christopher David, Illegal UBER Driver

UBER’s app continues to work in Portsmouth and Christopher reports that his first illegal customer was an older gentleman who was elated to be participating in civil disobedience and had several not-so-nice things to say about Portsmouth city council. In an interview exclusive to Free Keene, Christopher said his user rating is 4.85, which puts him in the top 10% of drivers in the region. He says that because of his excellent rating, “the idea of Portsmouth police chasing me down because the city council thinks they need to protect residents from me is insane”.

Of course, the government does insane, stupid, counterproductive things all the time. This wouldn’t be the first. In fact, the city gang has its sycophants at the taxi companies assisting them as a snitch squad. The cabbies, in an act of slave-on-slave violence, will be monitoring the streets of Portsmouth and ratting out any of the fifty known UBER cars in town. In the Seacoast Online article announcing the snitch squad, Great Bay Taxi owner John Palreiro told the city gang, “All the taxi companies will be writing down license plates and we expect the Police Department to enforce”. Merle White, owner of Anchor Taxi, said in true criminal cartel fashion, “It’s time Uber does it our way, or they get out of the city.” Palreiro told Seacoast Online that all his drivers have the Uber app, so they can see where Uber drivers are located in real time. He said they’ll be taking pictures and calling the police. “We know who they are,” he said. “If the Police Department doesn’t enforce this, I’ll go ballistic.”

If targeted by police, Christopher says he won’t be pleaing out and will go to trial, “I’ll draw it out as long as I can…I don’t see myself admitting guilt to anything.”

It’s great to see civil disobedience spread to the Seacoast! Christopher is currently speaking this weekend at the 2nd annual Freecoast Festival.

Your first UBER ride is free (up to $20) if you click here and sign up.

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!

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