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Gardiner Town Hall – the Black Hole of Justice

April 6, 2013

bhlens_riazuelo_bigI’ve come to the conclusion that those at the heart of the Gardiner Town Hall, the supervisor and town clerk, serve a purpose other than their elected duties.  They hold the key to the door of justice, and determine who gets served, and who gets shoved down the “black hole of justice”.

Case in point,  in 2012 I filed an official complaint with the town clerk receipt of which was acknowledged by the supervisor as well.  In opposition to town law, that complaint has not been forwarded to the proper public body to this day by either of these officials.  Instead it was filed down the Black Hole of Justice.

More recently the town board voted to sell the old library/firehouse property on Station Square in the town hamlet, subject to permissive referendum.  Since a number of citizens were interested in keeping the property for future use by the town, for a number of reasons, I emailed the town clerk, to request the information needed on the petition in order to put it to the vote of the people.   The reply I received answered some of the specific questions I asked and essentially stated that the town did not know what their own requirements were.

So, armed with the information I got from town hall, I created a petition template, and with other citizens, collected more than enough signatures from registered Gardiner voters within the designated time frame, and submitted them to the town clerk.

At the next town hall meeting, the clerk informed me that the town lawyer had been consulted to review the petitions and that they had been deemed officially invalid.  I was handed the official document, signed by her, ticking off all of the reasons as to why the petitions were rejected.  One hundred and fifty-three citizens of Gardiner had been shot down the Black Hole of Justice, and the entire town had been disenfranchised.  Even worse, the signers of the petitions were, for the most part, personal friends, neighbors or acquaintances of the town officials, who knew them by sight and name and where they lived.

Time and energy were spent at town hall after the petitions were submitted to contact the lawyer for validation.  The question is why this was not done immediately after I made a request in writing for the information?  At best, the actions of the town supervisor and clerk were unhelpful, and at worst obstructionist and negligent.

I suppose I could complain officially, but that opens the question as to whom and where I would complain without having it go spiraling down the Black Hole of Justice again.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. April 6, 2013 4:01 pm

    Did you see the letter from the lawyer stating why it was an invalid petition? Or was it just the Town Clerk’s interpretation of it?

    • April 6, 2013 4:33 pm

      I was handed her “Findings and Determination”, signed by her. She told me she had just spoken with the lawyer, and it was worded in some legalese, and they mention “case law” but they don’t specify which case law. I imagine it was a bit of both. However, I sent the “findings” over to the Election board to look at, and they were in agreement for the most part that the petition did not have the required info. However, they also said that since its a town referendum, the town should be able to provide me with the specifics.

  2. Truth Will Prevail permalink
    April 7, 2013 6:56 am

    The town is not your friend. The election board is not the decision maker either. (they are political too.) A judge needs to determine if the petition is valid. Technicalities, when working with a people’s petition, are generally ruled against, to allow the people’s petition – INTENT of the petition – to proceed. That is supposed to happen with “permissive referendums” – a clear disagreement of the municipal board vote to proceed with a people’s ballot vote. The people signed and demanded to vote referendum, that is all that is necessary. [with the proper judgement, of course.] It can be appealed to county court, and even appealed to a higher court outside of county. Cost should be minimal, if nothing, but your municipality will fight with your tax paid lawyer.

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