Sign The Petition
This started out because I became frustrated by all the lies and deceptions the Village was using our money to send to we residents. The threat-letter of August 11th and the cover-up letter of early September were the main culprits. What I was trying to do was to get the truth out to those who actually believed Ellington and Menz when they told these big, huge, monumental, enormous, monstrous, terrible, deceitful, mean, sickening, dishonorable and filthy lies to all of us.
So I created a flyer, (click here to view) to post on the public posting places. I had done this many years ago and I was still thinking in the past when I thought that public posting meant the public, meaning me and you, could also post information and important notices in the "public posting places".
However, public does not mean public to the Village authorities! Let me show you what I mean. Just below are the posting places published in the Village ordinances for 2007 and 2008. I didn't go back any farther than the last two years.
Let me start this by saying that I did not see any detail on the Village postings from any of the bulletin boards I went to on this day. I went to post my little flyer on September 29th, 2008.
So... I take my little flyer and make 5 copies of it to post in the some-public-some-not-public posting areas and I head out to post what I consider a way to get the TRUTH OUT! But the first stop I make, Chase Bank, tells me that they have no public posting and have never heard of it!
WHOA! What do I do now? Well the Municipal Building is on the list so I just wait till I get there and ask them.
Key Bank next, very public posting area with all sorts of folks making their messages, job requests, business cards, etc, available for all to read. So I put my little flyer on the PUBLIC bulletin board and headed for the Post Office.
The Post Office PUBLIC bulletin board was no where near as crowded as Key was but it still had stuff on it like people advertising for work, selling items, etc. So I posted my little flyer and headed for the Library.
When I got to the Library there were no ordinances posted on the PUBLIC bulletin board. Now I know that there is a book inside where they put most, not all, but most, ordinances but my problem was and is that the ordinance defining the posting places clearly states "The Lobby of Amelia Branch Library" and there was nothing posted here. Rather deceiving don't you think? Anyhow I posted my little flyer and headed for the Municipal building. By the way the Library also had a very "busy" PUBLIC bulletin board crammed with so much stuff I could hardly find room to put my flyer. Back to the Municipal building.
The bulletin board inside the Muni building seemed public to me. There were some miscellaneous "stuff" posted. So I put my little flyer right up there with all the other "stuff" and then went to the window to ask them about Chase Bank.
I didn't get the ladies name who came to the window. I simply asked her about the fifth PUBLIC posting place and she seemed rather confused. I showed her a copy of the ordinance defining these places and she went away for a minute or two and when she came back she said "it's the bank across the street from Chase". She didn't know the name of the bank and I found that rather odd but I just wanted to get out of the place so I thanked her and left. No big deal because I live just down the street and I knew it was Park Bank. So off to Park I went with my last flyer!
Well when I got to Park Bank I found out immediately that they had no PUBLIC bulletin board! I asked them if they posted ordinances for the Village and they said yes and pointed to some kind of wooden door to their right and a bit down the little hallway leading to the teller's gate. Not exactly in the lobby if you ask me. Anyhow I could see what looked like an ordinance taped to this door so I then asked them if I could post my flyer. The answer was no. I asked for the manager and he was out so I left my little flyer with one of the tellers, asked her to give it to the manager and see if he would post it. I asked her to have him call me and let me know. Done for the day and headed home.
I have been told by council that the "fact that they have been designated by council does not compel the posting of other things" so I guess that means that they can post to anywhere the public can view these things but as far as the public is concerned they may or may not be able to post replies.
OK. But shouldn't they have to post them where they tell you they are going to post them? They sure haven't been doing that!
There appear to be some other possible legal issues involved. The key is using a government location -- the library would be the best example (post office second best). Because the library allows the posting of the ordinances, it probably has to allow the posting of items with a viewpoint opposite that which has been posted -- you can post something critical of the ordinance passed by council, but not something unrelated. It may raise a First Amendment issue -- the issue being that by allowing the posting of village ordinances, etc., a forum has been created in which speech/flyers on the same subject must be allowed to be posted.
But then this doesn’t apply since the Library and the Post Office allow real public postings.
So it appears that you can disagree with them but only in government locations! Hmmmmmm!
Not done yet. If you look at ORC 731.25 (click here to view), it allows publication be either posting or publishing in a newspaper. Amelia does it by posting (more or less). One key obligation in ORC 731.25 is that "where such publication is by posting, the clerk shall make a certificate as to such posting, and as to the times when and the places where such posting is done." It does not appear that the clerk actual certifies the "times" when the posting is done. (Timing is critical because it has to be posted for at least 15 days prior to its effective date. Not sure how the emergency ordinances play into this -- they are effective immediately.)
We at least know some of the ground rules that they play by. It just is confusing to use the words 'public posting" when the public can't actually post things, to say the Lobby is the place where things will be posted yet they can post them in a book somewhere in the building itself and not on the public bulletin board and to essentially put them in places where no one is going to look! It does not seem right!
By now your probably bored and tired of reading this but there is one final chapter to my story.
Whilst I was out gathering petition signatures to put the dissolution of the Village on the ballot I was coming back by Park Bank and thought I would stop in and see why the manager didn't call me and if my little flyer was posted. When I went inside I asked the teller that I had left my flyer with if it was posted and she said no but the manager was in and I could speak to him about the issue. His answer was no they did not post public information.
Well I was of course disappointed but what could I do? Nothing, so I left. I stewed about it most of the day and decided that I would test the "public" access part of the situation at Park Bank by just walking in, going back to the door that the ordinances were taped to and see how they reacted. When I walked in most of the tellers looked at me and as I headed toward the little door several of them said "can I help you?". They may well have said this anyway but they were all looking at me as I reached the little door. I think there is something unnerving to them when someone starts to walk back toward the tellers gate. Anyhow I pointed to the ordinances and told them I was going to check them out.
This time there was a whole bunch of them, not just one. The problem this time was that I couldn't read any of them because they were stapled together on both sides! I asked them if they always stapled them together so noone could read them and they told me that the Village delivered them this way and they had nothing to do with it!
Let me make this perfectly clear. In order to read any of the ordinances except for the first page you would have to take them down and remove all the staples and tape. Then I suppose you would have to staple them back together, tape them, and put them back the way they were! I ask you now, is anyone going to do this? NO!
It is obvious that the Village did not want people to actually read them! It's just a co-incidence that the passing of the Income Tax, O-2008-61, was the very first one and you couldn't even read the title! All the others were stapled over it! This stinks to high heaven! This needs to be investigated. My blood pressure was on the rise!
I immediately went to the other locations, except the Municipal building where I cannot tolerate the stench, and I found that they were also stapled together so you couldn't read them! I went home, got my camera and went back to one of the locations, and took the picture below so you can see for yourself their dishonorable methods at work! Just click on the picture to see full size, click Back when you are finished looking at the full size picture.
Look at the staples on the left and the right. They insure that no one can read these ordinances without removing them. Try to read the title of the first one, #61. That is the Income Tax ordinance. Does anyone think that this is a coincidence? If you do then be very careful when you pull your head out of the sand not to get it in your eyes and ears!