Tuesday, December 8, 2009

My Response Sent to the Gazette--Will it be published?

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.

The facts:

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


Anonymous said...

All they have to do like mimi said was call the dpw for the list of private contractors that plow,if you have 10 houses on your PRIVATE road you split it 10 ways simple. But no they want it for nothing at the expense of the taxpayer and the other 100 private ways.Now they want to meet and work out a deal till spring,i hope there is NO DEAL,take them to court.

Kathy said...

The illegally plowed and the BOS find themselves in this situation because of lazy implementation of loose policy and crony town politics. A series of poor decisions have left the BOS with their backs against the wall and seemingly unwilling to tell some residents that they simply cannot break the law for their benefit. Kudos to Ms. Duphily, Mr.McKinnon and our DPW Head for trying to take the stand.
The easiest, most just and frankly "no brainer" solution is for those affected to pay a private plow to do their streets for this season and work towards a better long term solution. Forget the waivers, the bills, the 70%... keep it simple.
Instead of being grateful that they benefited for years from the town's service, some of these residents instead want to blame the plaintiffs and their attorney for bringing on this mess. Do they not realize that the practice is illegal irregardless of a lawsuit? Illegal is illegal... Dropping a lawsuit does not change the law!
I'm amazed by our BOS's refusal to heed the advice of counsel and town manager. Against all odds, they're willing to use valuable town funds to fight a fight where they are clearly wrong. Mr. Rogers needs to be more professional and hide his personal animosity. It colors his judgement.
As a side note, where are all these outraged citizens when the school budget is being slashed? Do they know that there are no sports in the middle school, no library at the elementary school, teaching positions being cut? Do they care beyond their own interests?

Anonymous said...

How about this scenario: I live on a public way. The Town plows my street and blocks the end of my driveway with a 2-foot snow bank. If the Town is in the business of plowing privately-owned ways, shouldn't I be entitled to have the Town plow out the end of my driveway? They buried it in, didn't they? It's a matter of my safety if I had an emergency & needed to get out of my driveway, isn't it?
If I were to call the DPW with such a request, you'd hear the laughter all the way to SEMASS.
Why have any Town Rules and/or Bylaws if they are not being followed? How about no one pays their property taxes? How about everyone dump their trash 2 streets over instead of paying the fees? Where does it stop?

Anonymous said...

Adam was you under oath when you were the chairman of the BOS? Why did you do nothing about this then? Some of these roads have been plowed for more than thirty yrs. but this year we are going to say to bad? Lets use a little common sense,use past practices clean the streets for this year. Then vote on it in the spring. Post the a list of streets that will not be plowed at least by the end of July to allow budgeting for these people.

Anonymous said...

Adam, I have to agree with anonymous. Having left the board you are suddenly the voice of reform. You chastise the board for the same transgressions that were committed under your chairmanship. You had the opportunity to show leadership and promote change from within. I support the positions that you have recently taken, but I question your motives.
You must have taken note of these issues while on the Board. Why did you wait until now to bring the these issues to light?

AMB said...

I don't recall ever having an opinion from Town Counsel saying something was illegal and then voting to do it anyway.

Anonymous said...

However,you must have known it was illegal.

Anonymous said...

The selectmen know this is illegal,BUT still wants town council to negociate something that is illegal until spring.Whats wrong with this picture?Shut it down.And if the town gets in the business of plowing PRIVATE roads,can you imagine how much more man power and trucks that would have to be hired or bought,lousy idea Brunell.

AMB said...

"However,you must have known it was illegal."

How do you come to that conclusion? I surely don't know everything; never claimed to; never will. But I can sure tell you that once TC comes before the BoS and opines that its illegal, then the BoS has a duty to stop the illegal act.

I am no expert on the Municipal Finance Law, and many other subjects, and I have never purported to be. But it would be my opinion that Jack probably knew it was not supposed to be done. Maybe that got discovered when LA and Jack were put in charge of coming up with a policy in March of 2005--but never did. That is why more than 4 years later the problem still exists, even when it was raised this last May 2009 before this same Board--but simply ignored.

Imagine that. It was raised in the Spring, with more than enough notice to do something about it before winter, but nobody took action. Now everyone is saying there was no notice and its too late to do anything now. Curiouser and curiouser.

Anonymous said...

These residents are getting their private ways plowed in the winter. All I want to know is, when is the DPW going to start mowing my lawn in the summer?

Anonymous said...

What I did not know is that they discussed this back in the spring.My view is, you can't tell someone in Nov-Dec that you are going to stop plowing when it has been going on for thirty years. Did the BOS tell these people at that time it was an issue? Because if the residence knew back in the spring and chose to do nothing, then they are on their own I thought this came about from our new DPW head.

Anonymous said...

Yes, it was brought up in the spring and also a few years ago.
The bos knew then that it was illegal.
People do not have the right to be spending the taxpayers money on illegal matters, this way. you want the law changed than you present it to legislature to change it.
has the BOS always read the lawsuit plaintiffs by name and address in the past?
how many town employees live on the roads that JH had DB plow and now has set a precedent?
How many more perks do the town employees get at the expense of the town tax payers?
I would love to have seen the full disclosure of every unaccepted road that has been and still being plowed illegally. Then I would love to see the list of those not plowed and reason why they are not plowed and others are.
I suggest that people start looking into the reasons why these are unaccepted roads before another can of worms is open by voting to accept them

Anonymous said...

We can spend all this money on legal bills for something that is illegal,but we can't spend money to audit the IT dept.That web site is awful,guess who they are protecting.

Webny said...

Sounds like a brilliant opportunity to use 42 USC 1988(b).

Mary said...

Speaking of Massachusetts, how about that Massachusetts Martial Law bill that passed in October? Seems that upholding the U.S. Constitution AND the laws in the State of Massachusetts could be in conflict w/ each other. The Martial Law Bill provides for interning citizens in FEMA centers for such "offenses" as refusing to submit to H1N1 vaccines should an "emergency" be called. That bill seems to run afoul of the "inallienable rights" people in the U.S.A. think they have. Do you know if other states have enacted Martial Law bills providing to put Americans in FEMA centers? Sometimes the news doesn't report such things. FOX reported the Mass. bill and has/had a video about it at YouTube.

Mary Neal