Add this Page to Facebook!   Submit to Twitter   Submit to Reddit   Submit to Stumble Upon   Pin It!   Fark It!   Tell A Friend  
Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite Save As Favorite View Article Stats
No comments

General News

Secret Government in Vermont is Bi-partisan

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 2 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; (more...) ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; , Add Tags  (less...) Add to My Group(s)

Well Said 1   Interesting 1   Valuable 1  
View Ratings | Rate It

Headlined to H2 6/18/13
Become a Fan
  (25 fans)

opednews.com

Burlington City Seeks Power to Banish People Based on Secret Memo   

By William Boardman 

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

 
Secret Government is All the Rage.... by [superiorsilkscreen.com]
 

"Secrecy, being an instrument of conspiracy, ought never to be the system of a regular government."  -- Jeremy Bentham

That's right, rather than explain why the law it passed is constitutional, the Burlington City Council is hiding behind lawyer-client privilege as if it--the council were some private corporation rather than a democratically-elected local government. 

The ordinance in question, the "Church Street Marketplace District Trespass Authority," passed the City Council unanimously in February 2013.  The council vote followed seven public hearings at which some concerns were raised and addressed, but no controversy arose.   The ordinance allows the immediate and arbitrary banishment of people from public streets with no due process of law and no effective appeal process. 

In part, councilors with doubts about this ordinance had them assuaged by an analysis of the proposed law written by Assistant City Attorney Greg Meyer in mid-2012, assuring the council that it was within its constitutional rights to ban people from public streets and without authority to do so from the state legislature.  That City Attorney's office analysis was, and is, secret from the public. 

"Every thing secret degenerates, even the administration of justice; nothing is safe that does not show it can bear discussion and publicity."  -- Lord Acton

Burlington City Attorney Eileen Blackwood argues, according to Seven Days, that her office's legal analysis is protected by attorney-client privilege, in a construct where both the attorney and the "client" work for the City of Burlington.   Protected by privilege, she has asserted, the legal analysis "must thus be treated as confidential." 

Since the law went onto effect in March, Progressive Party members of the city council began to have misgivings about its constitutionality.  They requested -- and received -- permission from the City Attorney to show the secret legal analysis to an outside counsel, John Franco, who served as a Burlington Assistant City Attorney from 1982 to 1989, when the Mayor was Bernie Sanders, now Vermont's junior U.S. Senator. 

Attorney Franco produced a five-page, single-spaced analysis dated June 4, in which he concluded that "this ordinance is neither lawful nor constitutional."  He has reinforced this conclusion with a three-page supplemental analysis

"Children love secret club houses. They love secrecy even when there's no need for secrecy. "  -- Donna Tartt  

Based on Franco's analysis of the ordinance, the five Progressive Party members introduced a resolution at the June 10 council meeting seeking to make the secret city attorney's office memo public. 

Democrats fought the motion fiercely.  Democrat Norm Blais, an attorney, made it personal, speculating irrelevantly that the resolution derived from "politicians' remorse."  Blais went on to argue that "this is not a question of transparency,"  [there are] sound reasons for having privileged communications with an attorney." 

While attorney-client privilege is widely recognized in law, Blais made no effort to explain how it applied to this governmental situation, where Democratic Mayer Miro Weinberger had made a campaign promise of greater governmental transparency. 

Next Page  1  |  2

 

Vermonter living in Woodstock: elected to five terms (served 20 years) as side judge (sitting in Superior, Family, and Small Claims Courts); public radio producer, "The Panther Program" -- nationally distributed, three albums (at CD Baby), some (more...)
 
Add this Page to Facebook!   Submit to Twitter   Submit to Reddit   Submit to Stumble Upon   Pin It!   Fark It!   Tell A Friend
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Nuclear Perceptions Fight Reality

Fukushima Spiking All of a Sudden

Vermont Asks: "What the Fukushima"?

Fukushima Meltdowns: Global Denial At Work

Military-Industrial Complex Owns Vermont

Accountability in Vermont?

Comments

The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
No comments