Wednesday, May 24, 2017

2nd Ballot-Petition Email from Jan Proctor and My Reply

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Dear Ms. Burke:

Please accept our apologies for any misunderstanding.  The attached guidelines were applied strictly, but it has now been clarified that there is room for flexibility.  If you plan to gather signatures on public property in the future, we would ask that you seek approval from the City Manager in accordance with the guidelines.  The process is easy and will help the City plan for any measures necessary to ensure the safety of all involved.  We understand if you cannot always meet the five day requirement for advance notice.

I will be happy to discuss this with you further if you would like to give me a call.

Jan L. Proctor
City Attorney

My reply:

Dear Jan,

Thank you. I prefer not to ask the City Manager for permission or a letter of understanding to enjoy the use my civil rights, now or in the future. Please rest assured I will not use attached signage, verbal abuse, etc. I will simply stand on the sidewalk with a clip board and talk to passersby who are willing to stop and talk to me. I will not enter the library except to use the public resources (restroom, drinking water) there. If there is a safety issue, I have a cell phone and will call 9-11.

If there are questions about my actions or words, a librarian is welcome to come verify that I am following the law. Anyone who signed the ballot petitions can verify (if need arises in court) that my actions are polite and legal. If anyone walks into the library and complains I *talked* to them, the librarian can inform him or her that I am acting within the law and constitution in a public space. Libraries are for educating the public, after all.

Librarians should also keep in mind that a complainant may belong to another party or support another candidate or may just dislike politics or talking to people. If so, complainers should not have an easy pass to interfere with our lawful activities.

As far as security measures, a simple handout on what is allowed/not allowed when ballot petitioning would suffice (no verbal abuse, attaching signage, etc.) 

I am not an uncooperative citizen. I am simply too busy to ask for permission or inform the City Manager, and the law is on my side.

Mary Lou Burke

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