To the Editor:
After reading the Gazette last week, I can only say that the paper and the letter writer have missed the point, and decided to simply attack the messenger. The Board of Selectmen meeting did not go any differently, and makes me wonder if the Board gets the point: Do what you like, but do it lawfully.
1. The Town plows 15 of more than 100 private ways, using tax money to do so.
2. Unless and until the citizens vote to adopt 6C, the Town cannot spend public money for private benefit.
3. Middleborough has never adopted 6C.
4. Town counsel has told the Town that plowing 15 of more than 100 private roads at the expense of the taxpayers violates the law.
5. At the November 16 Selectmen’s meeting, the DPW Head said he would continue the practice anyway.
Of the now 21 taxpayers on the suit (based on a consented to amendment), only two are from Oak Point. The “taxpayer” issue was made irrelevant by the addition of the 12 Plaintiffs, before the Monday night meeting—which the Chair failed to disclose.
The argument seems to go that if the Town does not keep plowing the 15 of more than 100 private ways, those people will bet put in harms way. No one cares about the other more than 100 private ways. They should be left in harms way. They pay taxes like the people on the 15 private ways do. So what makes the 15 more special than the 100? Why do the 15 use our tax dollars for plowing, while the other 100 either pay for their own plowing, or don’t get plowed.
People have wagged their fingers at the suit claiming this is a “safety” issue. On the 100 private ways there also are people that are disabled, sickly, of compromised health, etc., but none of the people on the 15 being plowed has ever argued that the other 100 should be plowed. Apparently, the 15 private ways are special, and deserve to keep getting the benefit of the taxpayer money, while the other 100 can simply fend for themselves. What is the “safety” difference between the 15, as compared to the other 100—nothing! But no one has argued that the other 100 should be plowed.
Treating people this discriminatory way is a violation of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which guarantees EQUAL protection to all citizens. It doesn’t look like the 100 are being as equally protected as the 15, and no one has given a rational reason why.
In order to be able to plow those private ways with public access, the Town is required to have a vote on whether to adopt 6C. Without 6C, the Town can’t use our money to plow any private ways. However, to continue the process anyway, steals your vote. In other words, without letting you vote on the issue, that the Legislature has said you have a right to vote on, the Town has decided the issue without letting you vote—a violation of your 1st Amendment rights under the Constitution.
As a retiree teacher, does Mr. Denise believe that the lawsuit against the Town to get more money for retirees is wrong? Maybe he believes that that lawsuit is not the Middleborough way either—but he has sure been silent on that point, and has not questioned the motives of the teacher retirees.
Although some people predictably question my motives, it should be clear that the suit challenges an unfair and unlawful situation, and illegal spending. As to my oath of office as an attorney (which Mr. Denise questioned), I swore to uphold the U.S. Constitution and the Constitution of the State of Massachusetts. I think this suit accomplishes that, and therefore, I support it.
Adam M. Bond