The Firehouse, January 25, 2010
Last night the Planning Board held an informational meeting about the proposed firehouse. I was unable to attend, but apparently, instead of being able to ask questions or make public comments, the members of the planning board only allowed certain comments, and voted to strike some comments. I will be interested to see if the public meeting was videotaped or if that was also edited. I also heard that the backroom was too crowded for the public to attend. Illegal meetings, censorship, bullying. The police state starts at home.
Patty Villanova’s comments on the meeting:
Dear Friends: I attended the PB meeting last night along with Kate, Jan, Vic and others from the Canopus Country Club. After everything that went down, and after a brief discussion with Vic, I realized I was WRONG to tell people not to come. The battle has begun and the fire department thugs who were out in force last night, are going to take no hostages when it comes to ramming this project metaphorically down our collective throats. The bullying that is the hallmark of that bald headed freak Tendy, has spread to the other town officials as well, notably planning board chair Mike Raimondi who believes no doubt that he is “King of the World” as per his surname. Just before public comment, he announced his very strict parameters for our speech and he attempted to shout me down when I started to read my concerns about the economic impact of the new firehouse. I refused to stop reading, despite his demands that I basically shut up and sit down. It was thuggery and intimidation of the highest order and there is NO place for this kind of stormtrooper behavior at any level of town government, let alone a board that’s appointed by elected officials to do the will of the People. After King Mike couldn’t shut me up, he started loudly talking with his flunky Tom Patterson who also tried to get me to stop speaking. I refused and kept on reading. At that point, Mike turned to Maryann the camera woman and yelled to her “shut off that camera! stop the camera!”. I don’t know if she obeyed him. I hope not but expect that she did. When I finished and sat down (I handed a copy of my remarks to the clerk for inclusion in the record of the proceedings), King Mike made a motion to strike my remarks from the record. He called for a vote of the members and in an act of the most vile cowardice, they all voted Aye to strike the public comments of a taxpaying citizen from the record. The behavior of Tom Carano in this regard is especially despicable as I once considered him if not a friend at least an ally. I looked him straight in the eye and mouthed the word “coward” after he voted to deprive me of my Constitutional right to free speech. As far as I’m concerned, this firehouse issue has morphed into something much bigger and scarier- the sacred right of the people of our town to be heard on matters that gravely affect us is being disregarded and trampled by these craven thugs who nothing more than classic schoolyard bullies.
Last night proved that there is no limit to what the fire department will do to get their new country club, even if it includes violating the civil and human rights of the citizens of our town. They cannot be allowed to get away with it. All that it takes for evil to prevail is for good men and women to stand by and do nothing. If it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone in town.