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Effort to silence Boggs outrageous
Petitions have historically been utilized to address injustice or bring needed reform. However, imagine a petition designed to stifle the free speech of an elected official regarding policies affecting her constituents. Sounds absurd, doesn’t it? Who would use their First Amendment guaranteed right to petition to attack the First Amendment guaranteed right to free speech of another person? Is it a practical joke or the bizarre work of some crackpot foreign dictator and his cronies intent on stifling opposition? Sometimes the bizarre visits us in our own backyard.
In this case, the bizarre strategy/ practical joke is in the form of a petition launched by supporters of increased taxation efforts to support the Jefferson County Public School bureaucracy. This particular group has been at odds with Laura Boggs’ positions since she joined the board and has attempted prior measures to eliminate any dissent. Is it a coincidence that the language used closely mirrors that of JCEA teachers union president Kerrie Dallman at a prior school board meeting? At that meeting Dallman was allowed to make her public accusations but failed to support her charges with any reasonable data or information. It seems that the president of the teachers union and the sponsors of this petition share the same talking points and strategies in an effort to silence Boggs or anyone who attempts to dissent.
Unfortunately for Dallman and the others, we live in a representative republic. Boggs was duly elected to the school board to represent Jefferson County voters and taxpayers. The petitioners have not stood for election to represent the citizens of Jefferson County and have no right to censure free speech or limit discussion of the issues. The question should be put to them why they feel entitled to such outrageous behavior and why they feel free to attempt to usurp the rights and responsibilities of an elected official and deny the citizens their representation.
Properly utilized, petitions benefit constructive dialogue and reform.
Clearly, this is not the goal of Dallman and the petitioners. People confident in their position with nothing to hide do not feel threatened by debate or differing views. However, those who have weak positions or fear scrutiny may feel the need to employ the same tactics as those crackpot foreign dictators and their cronies.
Tim Neville