ARE WE GETTING TOO CLOSE?
In a desperate attempt to keep the truth from the resident of Lisbon, the town council has restricted what the people can bring out during Audience Participation. The people cannot longer raise issues of concern if it is not on the agenda. Since, the agenda has no section for New Business section, the ONLY way to bring this out is to contact a councilor who decides whether to put it on the next agenda or not.
Common sense will tell you that under no circumstance will a councilor ever put any issue on the agenda that will embarrass or expose corruption by the council. So the people will never hear about the misappropriation of town funds and the mismanagement going on in the town. This is a direct form of censorship and a violation of the people’s right to be hear by the 1st Amendment the United States Constitution. Free speech is guaranteed under the 1st Amendment everywhere in this country but in Lisbon.
The people have already asked several questions this council never answered. Questions like:
Why did we have a tax increase last year and then a carry forward of over a million dollars?
Why are purchases not charged to the department the purchases are for?
Why did it take six years to file a law suit to recover the misappropriated $32,500?
Why did the town find it necessary to transfer funds right after the beginning of the new fiscal year?
Why does the Chairman of the council NOT have to pay interest and penalties on back taxes owed like ALL of residents?
Why are the people not informed of the “precise nature of the business” being discussed in Executive Sessions in accordance with Maine law?
Why was the old high school sold to Brunswick Housing Authority for $1.00?
Why has there been no work done on the people voting on the municipal budget by departments?
Asking any councilor to put these items on the agenda so the people can discuss these issues will never happen.
It should be the concern of every resident of Lisbon that their 1st Amendment right has been taken away by this council. Instead of identifying problems areas and correcting them, this council has chosen to silence the people and conduct business as usual. The people of Lisbon should be outraged by this inexcusable behavior. It is time to force this council to take action to eliminate misappropriation of town funds and the mismanagement going on in Lisbon.
We the People
The Takeover of Lisbon Maine
The foundation for this takeover was laid several years ago when Lisbon Residents were persuaded to change Lisbon’s form of Government from the “Town Meeting Style” to the present “Town Council structure”. This change shifted power in Lisbon Government from the people to seven Councilors.
Gradually the Town Councilors came to realize the power that had fallen into their laps.
1. Most Lisbon Residents are too busy making a living to
closely watch Councilor actions.
2. They found they could propose and pass about anything
they wanted without constituent resistance.
3. They learned they could control most resident resistance by
using a few simple tactics.
* They scheduled meetings in a venue much too small for the audience expected. This made it physically uncomfortable for the participants to see and hear the proceedings and as a result many went home in frustration.
* Limiting free speech by:
a. Placing a time limit on each person speaking
b. Restrict scope of topic discussed
4. Councilors also found intimidation a useful tool in controlling taxpayer resistance. They discovered armed Police stationed behind the speaking podium intimidated residents.
5. They learned that the only time Lisbonites resist in mass is when the tax mil rate is raised. Experience taught them quickly that any mil increase needed to be blamed on some outside uncontrollable source.
These control measures worked well for a few years until a concerned group of residents started to recognize what the Councilors were doing. These citizens started attending meeting and pointing out the unfair double standards and conflicts of interest that the council supported. They even attempted unsuccessfully to recall two of the worst Councilors.
The Councilors, sensing their control slipping, decided to tighten the reigns and made changes to the charter that would strengthen their control and make it virtually impossible to remove them.
Councilors also felt resistance from the Budget Advisory Board who wouldn’t rubber stamp their tax and spend measures. The solution to this problem was to eliminate the Elected Board and replace it with a new committee of handpicked members that would be loyal to the Council.
Last week the Council completed their takeover of Lisbon by eliminating all unauthorized speech at Public Council Meetings. This shows the absolute disdain Lisbon Councilors have for the opinions of Lisbon Taxpayers. This move also silences all opposition and removes the embarrassment of taxpayers pointing out their injustices.
I urge the people of Lisbon to take the advice of Mr. Wile who suggested we return to the former “Town Meeting/Selectman Style of government.
This change will return power to the people.