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For all the taxpayers of Winnebago County
Posted By Brandon Reid On October 9, 2009 @ 5:36 pm In Happening Now | No Comments
Editor’s note: The following is the text of remarks made by The Rock River Times’ Editor and Publisher Frank Schier at the Winnebago County Board Meeting Thursday, Oct. 8.
Hello, I’m Frank “WINNEBAGO TAXPAYER” Schier.
I do not do this with great pleasure.
I have a complaint to make. It is my opinion that my, my fellow taxpayers and all public employees are having our right of free speech violated.
First, as Forest Preserve District Commissioners, let me tell you a little story. I know you love stories, but I have to abbreviate this because I only have three minutes to speak for everybody.
Last night, I went to the Forest Preserve meeting, hoping to speak about a certain topic. I have spoken at the annual public comment meeting before, and I know others have been allowed to speak, with a board vote at a regular meeting. I was very polite, and waited until it seemed the meeting was going to end, and raised my hand and asked to address the board. Chairman [Bob] Kinnison [R-10] kindly recognized me and informed me a motion, a second and a vote would be required. I understood, and said that the three minutes would be fine. Ms. Kay Mullins [R-8] was kind enough to make the motion, Mr. Kinnison seconded it after an awkward silence. The vote was called. Ms. Mullins and Mr. Kinnison voted Yea, and [Doug] Aurand [D-3], Hastings and [Tom] Owens [R-1] very loudly voted NAY! I stress I was not asked, nor did I say what I wanted to speak about.
I have never heard of that happening to any would-be speaker before our wonderful Forest Preserve District.
It was rude. Purposeful. Personally insulting. A low-blow snub. A cheap shot, poorly executed. I don’t take poor manners from any elected official, nor should any taxpayer, unless we’re both laughing about it and it’s an even shouting match.
I happen to have a job you all know about. Aurand called me this morning and said essentially: “I’d thought I call you to take my beating verbally instead of just in print. We all knew what you wanted to speak about. I had another meeting I had to go to.”
I’m so sorry the three minutes would have delayed arrival at Janyce Fadden’s party. As to what I was going to speak about, you’ll never really know, could have been about more campsites for eco-tourism, or taking a leadership role also being considered by the League of Women Voters on implementing the Kishwaukee River Strategic Plan, or about how many vital interests of the Forest Preserve affected by the wind ordinance.
Secondly, but you see, I can’t talk about laying over a certain ordinance for more environmental consideration because it is a zoning issue. The public can only speak about zoning issues at one, maybe two, Zoning Board of Appeals meetings. This gag rule, where any taxpayer is VERBOTEN from giving his, or opinion about a zoning issue to the full county board is a violation of our free speech.
I don’t underestimate your intelligence. I know you can still consider opinion and rightful public input and differentiate that from evidence as a basis for a vote. You can tell the difference between an editorial and a news story and when those lines cross. Give us back our voice before all of you, where a potentially special, petty and monied interests of a small group can be overruled by your wisdom and balance. Give us back our right of free speech to talk to you about our land we all live on—public hearings are civil democracy!
Thank you for listening.
Editor’s note: Doug Aurand apologized Friday, Oct. 9. His apology was accepted and appreciated.
Article printed from The Rock River Times: http://rockrivertimes.com
URL to article: http://rockrivertimes.com/2009/10/09/for-all-the-taxpayers-of-winnebago-county/
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