To The Daily Sun,

I would like to offer my comments on the discussion that took place at the Ashland Board of Selectmen meeting on Tuesday, Jan.16, regarding a petitioned warrant article for a Community Rights Based Ordinance (CRBO).

To start, I would like to say that I agree, every Ashland resident should read the CRBO in its entirety prior to the Ashland deliberative session on Saturday, Feb. 3. A full copy of the Community Rights Based Ordinance (CRBO) can be accessed online at: https://goo.gl/fpJnmv. Further, residents should be able to get a full copy of the CRBO from the Ashland Town Office. Ashland residents are also welcome to call me at 603-960-4127 for the purpose of respectfully requesting a printed copy of the CRBO, and to the best of my ability I will provide one printed copy of the CRBO. Additionally, a summary of the CRBO can be accessed online at: https://goo.gl/ZhPFb5.

Now, let's deal with a very concerning element of the dialogue that took place at this meeting. There was the use of imagery and ideas which I felt were alluding to socially and physically violent outcomes, and this made me uncomfortable. I am concerned about the use of the words "bloody," "weapon," the idea of "neighbor against neighbor," and reference to "seceding from the Union," obviously reminiscent of the Civil War. Were these meant to insinuate that the Community Rights Based Ordinance might be used for violent purposes? If so, they demonstrate misunderstanding. I support the adoption of the CRBO, and as a husband, father and a deeply religious man, I will assure you that I am firmly committed to nonviolence and peace. I believe any idea that the CRBO would incite violence is uninformed, at best. Yes, the CRBO mentions Article 10 of the New Hampshire Constitution, i.e. Right of Revolution, but I interpret the words “...the people may, and of right ought to reform the old...” as a Right of Evolution, or a peaceful revolution of mind! Page six and seven of the CRBO even gives the definition of direct action as the following “...shall mean any non-violent activities or actions...”.

There were so many rebuttals to the proposed Community Rights Based Ordinance that demonstrated firm opposition; it will be impossible for me to address them all in the remainder of this letter. However, my wife and I both submitted a citizen comment form to the Board of Selectmen to be read as public comments at the Jan. 16 meeting; which may have, if actually given due consideration, given a more well rounded picture of the CRBO.

I will offer a few points here. First, there will be an informational, educational, and discussion session for Ashland residents on the CRBO, held on Sunday, Jan. 28, at 2 p.m. at the Common Man Restaurant in Ashland. Please bring your concerns, and questions about the CRBO. Second, yes, the CRBO is, in my understanding, a claim that there is a harmful discrepancy between our inherent constitutional rights and our government's current statutory mandates and judicial interpretations. However, this happens from time to time. We, as a people, broaden our sense of the rights provided for us in our Constitution, which protect our human dignity and, as our understanding of our rights broaden, they come into contrast with the current legal limits. Every civil rights movement has had both people in the legislature working for change, as well as local people pushing the outer limits of the status quo. This is not irrational; this is the people being the sovereign power of this country.

Tejasinha Sivalingam

Ashland

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