Letter to the Londonderry Times, from Jonathan Esposito, 3/16/2023
Allow me to be clear, Town Manager and Council Members;
This is a first amendment challenge to the town of Londonderry and not a matter of personal opinion in correspondence. Your refusal to append citizen correspondence to minutes that specifically request it, correspondence that is reasonable in scope and volume, and not otherwise profane prohibited or unlawful, I am arguing is a violation of taxpayers freedom of speech and our fundamental rights to a transparent and inclusive town council and municipality.
As you are aware, mental health is a big issue in our society, and written correspondence entered to the record is an easy accommodation for citizens who do not feel comfortable standing up in the citizen averse environment that you folks have created in the moose hill council chambers, with the town council sitting above and apart from us as if they are judge, with you and your assistant playing court recorder and bailiff. Therefore, I also make the contention that the towns refusal to include otherwise not prohibited correspondence with town council meeting minutes is declining to provide reasonable access and accommodation to other than abled citizens.
I will state for the record that you are factually incorrect in this statement that you have drafted. I will be more than glad to cite dates and times in which the town council and chairman have introduced correspondence favorable to them, but declined to introduce correspondence or attempted to disallow correspondence to be read from citizens during public comment, such as with the Laura Gandia matter at a February meeting of the council I attended.
I will also note that SAU12 the Londonderry School District makes a regular habit of appending parent correspondence, both positive and negative, to the school board meeting minutes, so while you may be correct in that there is no statute ordinance or policy requiring it,
It must be equally stated that there is no statute, ordinance, or policy against it. The public has a vested interest in being privy to correspondence that is shared with our elected officials and our public servants such as yourself, especially when the intent of such correspondence is to be introduced into public record, which is quite the opposite of attempting to interact with government from the shadows.
You need to relax your tone Mike. You are not the sole arbiter under the Town charter on whether or not the town will continue to reply to a matter. The correspondence of citizens, no matter how superfluous you may feel such correspondence to be, is inherently more important than your petty, un-asked for personal opinion.
I am not content with solely reintroducing the matter during public comment, although I will be glad to do so as an additional resolution step.
I would like to request a formal sit-down meeting with the next session of the Town council after election, to discuss this matter further.
I await your reply as to when such a meeting can be arranged
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