To the Editor:
The Sedition Act was passed by the United States Congress and signed by President John Adams in 1798. This Act was used to convict journalists, publishers, and individual citizens for opposing Adams and his policies. This Act has never been repealed or formally declared unconstitutional.
Recent actions by Judge Tom Bonn indicate that not only does he believe in the Sedition Act, he is willing to use its principles to squelch opposition.
At the Oct. 17 meeting of the Commissioners Court, Bonn opened the public comments by declaring that the public would not be allowed to speak on individual agenda items. He overturned a long-standing policy of the Court to listen to the people during the meetings.
To prove his point that he would control the content of the meetings, on Oct. 24, Bonn singled out one person and had her removed from the meeting. She must been very disruptive or threatening to the Court, you might be thinking.
No. This lady, along with several other people, laughed at a comment made Commissioner Madrigal.
Now Commissioner Fred Buchholtz is furthering Bonn’s suppression of the citizens’ right to speak their grievances against the government. Buchholtz announced at the recent Court meeting that he is writing Court Rules that would only allow citizens to comment on agenda items by email prior to the meeting.
This proposed policy allows the Commissioners and the Judge to not respond to objections by the voters publicly and on the record. It also prevents the public from being informed as to what exactly each agenda items is. Effectively, Bonn and Buchholtz are silencing opposition.
Judge Bonn claims the people are disrupting Commissioners meetings. The citizens of Caldwell have become increasingly disruptive, as the majority of the Court has refused to listen to the people who elected them. Over strong objections, this Court – led by Judge Bonn – passed a Development Ordinance that tramples on private property rights, a bloated budget that does not give county employees adequate pay raise to meet the increasing cost of living, and hired Bonn’s friend Ron
Heggemeier to the new county position of County Administrator.
Commissioner Buchholtz claims that allowing the citizens to speak takes up too much time at the meetings. The meetings are lasting too long for him. This while he has no objection to organizations from outside the county being at the top of agenda and given as much time as they want.
If Bonn wants to stop disruptions during the meeting, he should allow the people to speak. If the majority of the Court would heed the voice of voters, citizens would be less inclined to revolt.
If Buchholtz thinks the citizens take up too much of his time, he should not be a Commissioner.
It would be no surprise if Bonn and Buchholtz think the men who threw tea in Boston Harbor were disruptive and took of too much of the government’s time. I think King George thought it an inconvenience as well.
This is really no laughing matter.
Susan K. Stewart
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