Recently I shared a couple of news articles describing the contentious scene at this year’s Grafton deliberative session. I had wondered what the activists would have to say about the scene there and now Bob “Weeda Claus” Constantine has weighed in:
I am one of the unfortunate people that the town of Grafton, NH sends a demand note to, often euphemistically and oxymoronically referred to as a property tax bill by government apologists. Therefore I attended the annual Town Meeting or Deliberative session on Feb. 7th 2015, in an attempt to reduce the theft and rattle my chains, well aware of my forced subservient position within the coercive government food chain. Plus I know they’ll steal my home if I don’t pay their ransom.
This year’s meeting was again run sloppily by Susan Frost, a serial bureaucrat and the same moderator who proclaimed her “fairness” in her 2014 Town meeting preamble by quoting Voltaire. You know the quote, something like I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. Less than two hours later, she had Brian Fellers, a friend and a forthright long time Grafton resident, arrested for asking the deliberative body to “examine his right of free speech”, that is, if you still believe in that kind of stuff. Or “being disruptive”, if you think Voltaire quotes sound good, but weren’t meant to actually be followed. No, I’m not making that up. Brian has stated the real reason he was arrested in 2014, was that he told the Police Chief prior to his arrest that he was there to cut his budget which had bloated enormously in recent years. Brian does not mince words. The cop has a gun. Guns, sadly trump words. Apparently Voltaire is an electrical term to the double dipping salaried and hourly overtime paid Police Chief.
The meeting in 2015 was held in the Mill Brook Church in Grafton. The Selectmen (keepers of the rules) did not “properly” publicly notice the town serfs as their laws proscribed they must, when they failed to post a timely public notice there, but the meeting went forth anyway. Okay I’m probably nitpicking. But, but, the law!!
The 2015 meeting opened with a motion by Neal Alexander to remove the moderator. It was not “heard” by the moderator, but was a portent of things to come from people that think liberty and peace aren’t dirty words and can be used in the same context. Some of us even think a feudal based tax system is something that should be sent back to the middle ages from whence it came. I missed that part of the meeting, but arrived shortly after.
Glancing around the room I noticed an immense brown shirted Sheriff’s Deputy keeping a porcine eye on the liberty folk, some of whom were openly exercising their 2nd amendment right and some who came like I did to establish / broker peaceful alliances and try to avoid choking on the cognitive dissonant hot air. Later I learned that several liberty type folk independently, myself included, had approached the brown shirt and asked why he was there and who was paying him. No definitive response was given. A rumor of a rumor was that the extra security was there to quell any stampeding of the frightened sheep should a busload of crazed Keeniacs arrive to register to vote and crash the Grafton party. I opined it might have been hungry brown shirt guy had caught scent of the cupcakes on sale in the foyer. (Alas we don’t have a donut shop in Grafton.) I commend the people running that operation, the food was good and I’d heard the proceeds were donated to a charitable cause. Thank you for your voluntary service.
Onto the meeting.
In all of the warm and fuzzy Norman Rockwelly town meeting depictions I’ve seen a deliberative session is ostensibly a meeting where the myriad of town folk come to “deliberate” on the budget. Not in unfree Grafton though, despite attempts by many people to examine the budget line by line, demockracy overruled. No soup for you said the Soup Nazis. The failure to examine the budget, was justified by a “just trust us with your money” or something like that which was uttered by former State Representative Catherine Mullholland, now a member of the Grafton Budget committee. Some people really appeared not to like that. A deliberative session without deliberating on the budget? Damn, I wanted to be able to witness both sides of the collective mouth moving at once.
There were however some 20 plus warrant articles that “by law” had to be read and examined. This process took the bulk of the remaining time as the non-deliberating deliberative session droned into the late afternoon hours. Those dastardly liberty people used “tricks and delay tactics” like lawful requests for secret ballots and things like that. Hitting bureaucrats over the head with their own rule book passes for fun in unfree Grafton among the liberty folk. Hey it’s a small town, but access to the internet can make your run of the mill liberty activist a bona-fide legal smarty pants.
Some of those warrant articles I had signed or had a hand in crafting. However, I am well aware that the selectmen who claim to represent the majority will ignore them even if they were to pass in the upcoming election in March. I am also aware that in some instances, the selectmen are powerless to affect or implement the sentiments expressed, caught as they are in a top down coercive system and also being obedient, sychophantic minions of their overlords. Did you like how I worked overlords into this piece?
So why even have these warrant articles you ask? Good question. I believe that the message of peaceful and consensual interactions can be carried in many ways. Also, they are a good tool for exposing governments “officials” hypocrisy and double speak to the slumbering town folk that haven’t yet caught onto liberty concepts.
Several of the warrants were intended to expose Federal or State Government hypocrisy and some focused more on local hypocrisy. Among them were warrants decrying the NSA, (hi guys, how’s the coffee?) Civil Forfeiture and keeping military weapons out of the hands of the local cops. Oh yeah, we hope to decriminalize a medicinal plant too.
One warrant focused on local fraud and was presented as the F.R.O.S.T. or Fraud Remediation Ordinance for Small Towns. Coincidentally one of the selectmen, Sean Frost and his wife had been sanctioned by a State of New Hampshire agency for fibbing on the required EMT training hours they had submitted when renewing their EMT licenses. There’s a website detailing those shenanigans here ‘gva.wallnet.com’. This article was later amended to cleanse the F.R.O.S.T. part out of it, by Pinnochio nosed people who thought telling the truth should take a back seat to airing the towns dirty laundry.
So, if you don’t like the way your town or municipal budget is concocted, get involved, deliberate and help to change it! No wait that didn’t work either. What 2016 will bring is anybody’s guess.