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Letter to The Editor

Discussion in 'Local Government and Groups' started by Bob Hudson, May 29, 2015.

  1. Bob Hudson

    Bob Hudson Beach Fanatic

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    This letter was submitted to all local papers for publication.

    Since Bill Imfeld assumed the role of Walton County BCC chair, he has undertaken an escalating assault on the First Amendment rights of the citizens. At public meetings, public comment has been routinely and arbitrarily limited to only what Mr. Imfeld deigns to allow, his practice being to abruptly cut off and rudely interrupt and gavel down citizens attempting to exercise their First Amendment rights when he disagrees with the content of their speech. I had never seen the court bailiff appear in any meetings prior to Mr. Imfeld’s reign. I now expect to see the bailiff come running and implicitly threatening citizens as has happened too much recently. And this is not to be critical of the bailiff; he is simply doing his job as his boss, Mr. Imfeld, commands. It is past time that Mr. Imfeld’s bosses—you and I—command him to respect our rights.

    At the latest BCC in DFS Tuesday, Mr. Imfeld not only refused to allow one citizen to speak to an important issue, he also gaveled down and effectively shouted down Commissioner Meadows when she tried to speak to an issue she had asked be placed on the agenda.

    Mr. Imfeld not only was incredibly arrogant and rudely overbearing toward her, he also abruptly recessed the meeting. For those who wish to view this on the video of the meeting, available on the County website, you’re out of luck. The tape was shut off and/or censored, it appears. That episode is not there for the public to see and hear the egregious conduct of Mr. Imfeld, according to friends who have attempted to see what transpired. I was present, and I saw and heard every word, every gesture, and it was appalling. Mr. Imfeld has a practice of ordering county staff to strike those items from the agenda which he does not wish to have brought to public attention and discussed in the sunshine, or so I’m informed by county employees in positions to know what is said and done in those meetings. This was assuredly the case in the assault Tuesday on Commissioner Meadows' rights as a Commissioner and as a citizen. This censorship must stop before the book burning starts.

    To add further insult to injury, Rep. Matt Gaetz was attempting to address the BCC that same day and was cut off by the County Attorney who told him he could not speak about the particular issue Matt was using as an illustration in discussion of a separate matter. Mr. Davis, County Attorney, recited what has been stated many times before at prior meetings, i.e., the BCC as a matter of policy will not hear any public comment pertaining in any fashion to matters currently part of any active litigation. That statement is further testimony to the blatant disregard for the rights of citizens to peacefully and legally address their government in seeking redress of wrong done them BY THEIR GOVERNMENT!

    I’ll leave it to each reader to consider the implications of that policy and the actions of the Chair. Both policy and Chair are wrong, and it’s time both change. It’s little wonder that Walton County government is held in such contempt by the Legislature and a growing number of citizens of the county. It’s hard to believe this kind of conduct is not only possible in an area so full of men and women who daily risk their lives to defend our First Amendment rights, but also that it is not being actively investigated by both law enforcement and most particularly the press.

    The media needs to be in the forefront, exposing and demanding an end to such hateful unconstitutional practices. If the First Amendment rights of citizens, Commissioners, and State Representatives can be so cavalierly disregarded and violated by one despot, will the rights of the press be next? More particularly, if the press does not lead this fight, why should it enjoy any rights at all, let alone those special rights historically accorded. Similarly, if we as citizens do not press this fight, we don’t deserve and will lose OUR rights to an even greater extent.

    The First Amendment specifically prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right ito peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances. Mr. Imfeld routinely ignores those prohibitions as respects the guaranteed freedoms of speech, press, peaceable assembly, and petitioning for governmental redress of grievances. Only Commissioner Meadows has not acquiesced in the BCC’s complicity in silently condoning, and thus being guilty of, this behavior. The other Commissioners need to speak up while they may. And so does the press and every citizen of this county.

    This cannot stand!

    Don Riley, M.D.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2015
  2. graytonbeachguy

    graytonbeachguy Beach Fanatic

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    Tilting at windmills again, Bob?
     
  3. Johnny Post

    Johnny Post Beach Lover

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    The author may have a point in there, but he certainly has some erroneous facts.

    Bailiffs have been at County meetings for years, but just make up that fact to sensationalize the point.

    Also, not sure how a commissioner not being allowed to present outside the rules of a meeting (parliamentary procedure) and a lawyer not getting to address opposing client seem very different than first amendment issues.

    Funny how no clear example of a citizen being denied was offered. I bet this guy could (he may have even) have stood up and said this without being told to sit down. I have seen the county let people stand and and rant and rave senselessly plenty of times.
     
  4. Garner

    Garner Beach Fanatic

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    I have seen the current chairman of the BCC act this way at many many meetings. Whether it's a first amendment issue or not is out of my league. However, I can absolutely say that he shows a remarkable lack of respect towards many who speak at the commission meetings (even during their allotted 3 minutes of time). I was not at the meeting described above so can't attest to that. However, at the recent special meeting regarding the Coastal Dune Lake Protection Zone, he cut off the spokesperson for the COUNTY COMMISSION APPOINTED Coastal Dune Lakes Advisory Board at exactly 180 seconds.
     
  5. kurt

    kurt Admin Staff Member

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    Meaning?
     
  6. graytonbeachguy

    graytonbeachguy Beach Fanatic

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    It is a literary allusion to the Spanish novel Don Qixote by Miguel de Cervantes. In the novel, Don Qixote "tilts" or "jousts" at windmills he imagines to be giants. It has therefore come to mean "one is attacking imaginary enemies."
     
  7. Andy A

    Andy A Beach Fanatic

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    A very nice explaination of the term. I may be wrong but I think Kurt was referring to the reason you thought Bob was projecting.
     
  8. graytonbeachguy

    graytonbeachguy Beach Fanatic

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    Ah. I guess I misunderstood. Let me try throwing that pitch again. It just seems that Hudson more often than not feels persecuted by some "enemy." Differences in style and opinion don't make someone your mortal foe.
     
  9. Bob Wells

    Bob Wells Beach Fanatic

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    Although Bob Hudson posted the letter, I believe it was Dr Don Riley who wrote it...
     
  10. Bob Hudson

    Bob Hudson Beach Fanatic

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    He's yet to get a pitch over the plate.
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2015
  11. graytonbeachguy

    graytonbeachguy Beach Fanatic

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    I don't know. I do throw a pretty mean Ronnie Faulk.
     
  12. Bob Hudson

    Bob Hudson Beach Fanatic

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    Thanks for verifying my point. Your $300.00 contribution to his "campaign" was interesting.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2015
  13. graytonbeachguy

    graytonbeachguy Beach Fanatic

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    Odd you should denigrate a "campaign" that defeated you.
     

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