See the Press release below from our friends in Lnacaster County, PA, about a most outrageous (but sadly, not surprising) event that happened Tuesday evening, April 28, in Conestoga Township, during an “informational meeting” about an upcoming vote on home rule called by the town supervisors.
Members of the public “were admonished and some were told to leave after attempting to clarify and present information . . . ” And one was arrested for the same. This kind of fascistic activity by local legislatures against their own constituents has got to stop. All Conestoga residents should have stood with and insisted on being arrested along with fellow resident Kim Kann, who was simply trying to clarify a point but instead was taken into custody by police at the behest of these “supervisors” — all while resisting enforced servility by officials of whom she is the boss! They are, after all, supposedly working for the people of the community.
But just as in NYS and elsewhere, the “public” officers who are supposed to represent We the People are instead passing “rules” such as this, from Conestoga Township’s website: “Please check the legal section of Lancaster Newspapers for meeting cancellations or meeting date changes. Please notify the township secretary seven days prior to a meeting if you have an issue you would like to bring before the board. If you have documents, plans, etc. that you wish to present during a supervisors meeting, you must deliver those items to the township office no later than one week prior to the meeting. There will be no exceptions to this procedure.”
The Public is not welcome to speak at Public meetings? B.S. We still have some constitutional rights. We have to demand them, or they will not be honored.
Unfortunately, the press release below does not name names. But we do. Please call these “legislators” and tell them what you think of their using such violent tactics on peaceful citizens exercising their rights.
The main office number for the Town of Conestoga is 717-872-4301.
TOWN SUPERVISOR CHAIRPERSON: CRAIG ESLHLEMAN, 717-201-4410
VICE CHAIR: JOHN BERRY, 717-715- [number mispublished as 715-98970]
MEMBER: REBECCA MILES, 717- 872-1620
SECRETARY/TREASURER: KELLY REAM, 717- 872-4301
SOLICITOR: Blakinger, Byler & Thomas 717-299-1100
POLICE CHIEF: JOHN FIORILL 717-872-0352
Pro-Home Rule Conestoga Resident arrested for speaking during public meeting
Conestoga Township supervisors ordered police officers to arrest Conestoga resident Kim Kann during a public meeting Tuesday evening at the Conestoga Fire Hall. Kann was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct after speaking in response to the Supervisors’ presentation on Home Rule.
The supervisors ordered police to detain Kann for not following their meeting format, which limited Conestoga residents to only asking questions. Statements or clarifications from township residents were banned by the supervisors, as were questions or comments about the proposed pipeline. Kann says she was attempting to clarify misinformation presented by the supervisors regarding Home Rule – which she supports.
Lawrence M. Otter, an election and constitutional lawyer, said, “This appalling behavior by the elected officials shows a complete disregard for fundamental American values and rights. The police were equally complicit is suppressing an American citizen’s right to speak at a public meeting. The charges of disorderly conduct will be vigorously contested at the magistrate level and beyond.”
Said Kann, “I stated my intention to ask a question after the misinformation was corrected, and repeatedly stated that it is my first amendment right to speak briefly at a public meeting without limitations, as per my first amendment protections.
The Conestoga Township supervisors organized the public meeting for Tuesday to present information on Home Rule. About 200 people were in attendance. Conestoga residents who make up the Conestoga Community Group (CCG) attended the meeting, and were admonished and some were told to leave after attempting to clarify and present information about Home Rule and the proposed Atlantic Sunrise pipeline.
Said Leslie Bunting, a Conestoga resident who attended the meeting, “This meeting was a perfect example of why Conestoga needs home rule. It’s absurd that residents can’t speak their mind at a public meeting without the supervisors ordering police to arrest them. That is not democracy.”
Kann wished to clarify several statements made by presenters during the meeting.
“Expert presenters mischaracterized the May 19 election as being “for home rule.” It is specifically to vote yes or no to the question of seating a government study commission and selecting government study commissioners. This is a very important point that deserved clarity.
“Another point was the Chairman Eshelman’s comment regarding Conestoga Community Group participation. The group replied we would participate, but were denied the opportunity. The final point that was unable to be stated was the misrepresentation by a panel expert that we could expect a government study commission to spend $10,000.00 to $15,000.00 or more. The PA home rule handbook published by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development states for municipalities with 5,000 or fewer residents the average cost was $976.76.”