Monday, December 6, 2010

Hannon Goes After Free Speech Again

“Every tyrant who has lived has believed in freedom - for himself” - Elbert Hubbard

In yesterday's Press & Sun Bulletin, reporter Steve Reilly reported on proposed changes to the Rules and Regulations of the Johnson City Fire Department.  To read the story, one might imagine that Hannon is routinely being yelled and cursed at by Village employees.  One can imagine that Hannon is frequently assaulted by vile language and threats of violence at Village Board meetings.  You can even imagine that poor Hannon is in fear for his safety because of unruly Village employees.  And you would be wrong.

Fire Starter reviewed the proposed regulations and the former regulations on the Press Connects web site.  What is apparent is that the proposed changes to regulations seeks to penalize fire fighters who CRITICIZE the mayor or the Village Board.  It is not abusive or insolent behavior that Hannon is trying to stop but rather mere CRITICISM.

Taken in isolation, this would be disturbing enough.  However, with Hannon's track record of attempting to squelch free speech, it is nothing short of shocking.  Let's now take a stroll down memory lane and revisit Hannon's repeated assaults on the first amendment:
  • In Late 2009, Hannon attemted to discipline Captain Marty Maney for speaking at village board meetings and being CRITICAL of reductions in the size of the department.  he ultimately had to surrender this assault as it was clearly violative of the Unted States Constitution.
  • In January of 2010, Hannon attempted to limit citizens ability to ask questions at board meetings during the "privilege of the floor".  Hannon again surrendered in the face a public outcry against this unconstitutional assault on Village citizens.
  • Several months ago, Hannon threatened Village firefighter and resident Marty Meaney when he asked questions regarding unaccounted for money in the police department.
  • Just a few weeks ago, former trustee Bruce King posted a piece on Press Connects that was critical of Mayor Hannon and set the record straight regarding Hannon's bald faced lies.
Which now brings us to Hannon's latest assault on the constitution.  At this point, Hannon has been brushed back enough times on this issue that he should have the understanding of a constitutional lawyer.  Most lay people understand that this sort of jack-thuggery is not permissible.  However, it seems that Hannon has again decided to roll the dice on another legal battle and let the Village residents bankroll him.  Yet everyone understands that snake-eyes are in his future. 

Which brings us to the press coverage of the issue.  Mr. Reilly is either incompetent or on the payroll; much like his fellow media hack, Scott Gallagher of WBNG.  How Mr. Reilly could look at a rule which makes it a punishable offense to CRITICIZE the Mayor or the board and allow the mayor to say he is not trying to squelch CRITICISM is beyond our comprehension.  Frankly, most grade school children would recognize the absurdity.  But apparently not Mr. Reilly.

Which is why the Fire Starter began posting seven months ago.  It became apparent that we could not rely on anyone else to tell the truth about local government.  And this is why we will continue to post regarding outrageous conduct by our local leaders.

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