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I was not 'flouting' rules; I was exercising my freedom of speech

  • Published in Letters

To The Daily Sun,

In reading Michael Kitch's recent article, contained in The Laconia Sun concerning my recent arrest on two counts of disorderly conduct and one count of resisting arrest detention/arrest during a recent public meeting of the Alton Board of Selectmen, I feel compelled to briefly respond to some of his comments.

Mr. Kitch incorrectly inferred that I appeared to "welcome the prospect of another round of litigation and handsome cash settlement." Not true. What I did do, however, was take a stand against the continued unwarranted censorship of my free speech rights by the Alton Board of Selectmen.

The facts of what actually took place, which was recorded on audiovisual equipment for all, show exactly the opposite is true. I repeatedly advised all of Alton's public officials in attendance at the meeting, not to violate my free speech rights again.

Mr. Kitch is also mistaken when he informs his readers that I was "openly flouting the rules of procedure." The definition of flouting, a verb, is open disregard. I was not flouting or disregarding any of the established rules or procedures of the meeting; I was simply exercising my freedom of speech rights.

Mr. Kitch claims they had me removed from the meeting because my comments were not related to agenda items. This excuse was a red herring; my comments were absolutely related to agenda items.

Just prior to being allotted three minutes to speak during public input, I had made the exact same statements of incompetence to the board, during the public hearing concerning the town's ambulance service.

Both the board and the police knew this item was on the agenda and I had every right to continue my rebuke of the board over this matter during public input; they just did not want to hear it.

As for Mr. Kitch's remarks concerning comment, I had made to Alton Police Chief, Ryan Heath, and attorney James Sessler, these comments were made while the public meeting was recessed. More importantly, my remarks to each were very appropriate.

Chief Heath has been sued during his tenure as chief; and attorney Sessler has been collecting money from Alton for more than 30 years, apparently without any written contract with the town; I find this quite objectionable.

Concerning these two individuals, I suggest Mr. Kitch might want to perform a public service by investigating and writing a story on the issues I described above rather than debasing a citizen for exercising their right to free speech.

Jeffrey Clay

Alton