Continue Building Trust in Local Government
Last week we were presented with the first step at restoring a semblance of respect for democratic principles by summarily firing the city manager. With a legacy of obfuscation, conspiracy, cover-ups and a despicable antagonism towards many citizens, the inherited putrefaction of hometown democracy was jettisoned.
But we have a bigger problem.
Bigger than the asbestos dumping and conspiracy cover-up, far more lethal than pumping millions of gallons of effluent into the waterways and then lying to federal law enforcement about having a permit, and much more insidious than naming a public building after the rustic Attila the Hun, was a singular act where one of the five enumerated rights in the First Amendment to the US Constitution was summarily stripped from all of us.
Robert Glaub's right to free speech was violated by both the then Chairman Popoff and Police Chief Carr. While the former has repeatedly proven to be ignorant of the rights and protections afforded to citizens by the constitution, the latter followed an unlawful order. Ignorance effectuated illegal force, in this case via brutish intimidation as evidenced by the comment "I'd be happy to" when ordered to escort Mr. Glaub back to his seat.
So exactly what pleasure did a police chief have in escorting a disabled veteran away from being able to continue his right to speak? What part of "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech …" is unclear?
Any honest soldier would have rejected the request, realizing that protecting one man's right to free speech is by far more important than protecting a job. It takes no courage to intimidate an old veteran with disabilities into sitting down. It does take courage to say "No sir, what you are asking violates our most fundamental right."
How sad it is to watch the rights of freedom being washed away by the very people who purportedly have sworn an oath to protect those rights. Worse, they don't even realize that it is them that are destroying this country faster than all of the Obamas, Bin Ladens, Ahmadinejads, Kim Jon Ils and Pelosis combined. For those of us that have lived through this circus once before, it's like watching an avoidable tragedy: Shut up one man that dared to speak and you have shut up a nation.
There is still an opportunity to correct this travesty here at the local level – where it matters most. And by doing so the building of trust in the local government can continue.
To the four city councilors that daringly and expeditiously voted in the face of the insidious syndicate to start the process to open government, you are respectfully asked to immediately respect the right to speak our opinion by simply apologizing to Robert and Karen Glaub.
Please issue a motion and vote again to undo an egregious wrong by simply, on behalf of the City of Marco Island and all its citizens, apologizing to Robert and Karen Glaub. And by doing so you address a hideous wrong, you continue rebuilding the democratic principles in this local government and restore the most precious of rights to all of us.