She says Charlotte deserves better
Published 3:09 pm Wednesday, January 11, 2017
The people of Charlotte County deserve better. Eight hundred and nineteen people signed a petition asking for three simple things of the board of supervisors. The supervisors have chosen to ignore the citizens and taxpayers.
Even though I gave them data from my research of Virginia counties, they chose to ignore that also. It was very obvious listening to the recording of the January reorganizational meeting that everything had been decided ahead of time. Did they meet prior to discuss their parts? Was there a violation of open meeting laws? Am I to believe it was Supervisor Royal Freeman’s own mindset to make the motion that meetings be held at 1:30 – a time when most citizens are at work and cannot attend? Supervisor Nancy Carwile seconded it. No discussion. Within 13 seconds, the motion was made, seconded and voted upon. Those seven supervisors totally dismissed the voice of 819 citizens and taxpayers, in 13 seconds flat. Shameful.
They also continue to refuse to put any mention of what citizens comment on in the minutes. Another form of censorship?
But, even that is not enough. Now, they even seem to want to dictate about which matters citizens can speak. Carwile spoke at length on this and suggested they “tighten down on the rules they have in place.”
I suggest they carefully review the many cases involving the First Amendment. They have operated as if they are above the law, but they are not. If they try to limit public comment to items on the agenda I believe it will be another attempt by this Board at censorship. It will be one that will be decided in a court of law. If they want to drag Charlotte County through a lawsuit and spend thousands of dollars trying to silence me, that’s their choice.
Any matters of the county should be open for public comment. In a public hearing, there may be an argument for limiting comments to the subject of that hearing but not valid in a regular Supervisor’s board meeting.
Carwile stated that public comments are “suppose to not mention any personal names.” Supervisors are public officials. Why would they think we can not mention their names in our comments? I quote the following from the website, “Find Law.”
Criticism of government is at the very center of the constitutionally protected area of free discussion. Criticism of those responsible for government operations must be free, lest criticism of government itself be penalized … Public officials are subject to public scrutiny and
(c)riticism of their official conduct does not lose its constitutional protection merely because it is effective criticism and hence diminishes their official reputation.
Are my comments rude? I will tell you what I think is rude — that supervisors have ignored the wrongdoing brought to their attention and ignored the will of 819 citizens.
Now they seem to want to censor my speech.
That will not happen.
Kay Pierantoni is a Wylliesburg resident. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.