Update: Latest Update on Lawsuit for 7/6/2011
Judge McHugh: It’s too late to reprint ballots
EXETER — Two amended citizen petition warrant articles pertaining to the creation of a municipal budget committee will remain on today’s ballot as amended and their legality will be argued another day.
Exeter resident James Knight and 10 other residents claim the amendments made at the Feb. 5 deliberative session were illegal and sought immediate injunctive relief to get the amended articles off the ballot.
Update: Soltani Will Appeal
Governor Lynch signed HB 77 into law but apparently the folks in Exeter just didn’t get it.
Yes, I Don’t Want To Vote Yes To Not Do Something
by Ed Naile
Let’s treat this article like a statute!
Intent of article is to show readers how sneaky public officials work hand in glove to the taxpayer’s detriment – if you let them.
1. SB2 – Ballot voting in municipality created to avoid intimidation of the non-aligned.
2. HB 77 – New 2011 bill passed to stop abuse of citizen petitions.
3. Superior Court – Place in NH where all reason goes to die.
4. Moderator – Often a bully in traditional meetings, likewise with SB2 to a lesser degree.
5. RSA 32 – Creates a real budget committee – not a castrated advisory finance committee. It is also enabling legislation a municipality can adopt or rescind.
6. D.S. – Deliberative Session, A preliminary deliberative meeting to review and destroy citizen involvement in creating a ballot for the annual meeting. Mostly packed with public employees.
Let it be known:
No sooner had HB 77, the bill to stop the “To see..” abuse of citizen petitioned warrant articles passed the Legislature and been signed by Governor Lynch, than a scheme to try to drag it back before another confused NH Superior Court judge began. This time Exeter was the location.
A citizen petition to adopt the provisions of RSA 32 was amended to – NOT adopt RSA 32.
RSA 32 is a very scary statute (be you a tax and spender) because it forms a Budget Committee with statutory powers to set the budget of a municipality. So long, elite minority running the place, new sheriffs have come to town.
Several years ago in Barrington some uppity taxpayers started becoming “informed” and put petitioned warrant articles up for a vote at the Deliberative Session of their SB2 town. The “spenders that be” had enough votes at the D.S. to render the petitioned warrant articles to say “To see…” and nothing else. Now the voters who come to Town Meeting get to vote on a ballot that says, Article 6. “To see…”
And a NH Superior Court judge thought that was just dandy, a real tribute to public involvement.
Enter the new Republican Legislature and HB 77 to keep that from happening again. The DRA has a rule that warrant articles can not be amended to change the INTENT of the article.
(So changing the petition taxpayers signed to adopt RSA 32 to NOT adopt RSA 32 was the INTENT of the citizen petition?)
Oh but at a D.S., tax and spenders in Exeter had to prevent ballot voters, who turn out in huge numbers, from even getting a chance to vote on RSA 32. Judges know that.
And how about all the people opposed to SB2 who claim voters are not informed enough to vote? This is fine with them – same crowd.
My suspicion in Exeter is that the lawyer/Moderator, who knew full well about HB 77 being law during his D.S., allowed this to happen to doom any chance of a Budget Committee being approved by voters. He might be looking for another shot at getting to court over the matter so we can have another judge limit citizen petitioned warrant articles again.
Enter, let’s call it, Citizens v. Exeter, with Epsom Attorney Tony Soltani for the Plaintiffs.
In short, some well seasoned Exeter residents who have been up against this burg before are asking the court for injunctive relief to put the original, legal, adoption of enabling legislation, citizen warrant article, BACK ON THE BALLOT as was intended by the petitioners, DRA policy, the law, and the Legislature (again).
Wish them luck.
Another new law to prevent any amendment of a citizen petition warrant article, as SB 2 intended back in 1995. Hey, we have the votes in the Legsislature.
And while we are at it, since Exeter and Barrington can not be trusted with them – eliminate Deliberative Sessions altogether from SB2, also known as RSA 40:13. We don’t need them. Just have a Budget Hearing like in traditional town meetings and be done with it.