Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Letter to the Village Trustees

I've attended every Village Board meeting since last September and continued to press for the passage of the resolution (posted below on 7/4/07). I never get any response, so, at the last meeting 4/29/08, I tried something new. I met with the Village Clerk, and found that 20 names had been missed, and we added them to the list of signatories to our petition, urging them to pass the resolution. I printed out a copy for each Trustee, of the 171 names, and handed them out. Then I told them that I was going to email each of them and post this email and their responses on this blog. You can listen to the audio of this meeting, and read a little more about it at my Ulysses Democrats Blog. I am respectfully requesting a response from each of them, which I will post here. 171 of us, would like to know, why they are not passing the resolution.

Mayor Petrovic and Trumansburg Village Trustees,

I'm writing you on behalf of the 171 residents that asked you to pass the resolution. It's been seven months since we had our meeting at the Fire Hall, and I have come to every Village Board meeting, and asked you to consider passing the resolution to encourage Congress to open an inquiry into impeachment of Bush and Cheney. I have been ignored at every meeting except the most recent one, when John Hrubos responded to my question about what it would take to get you to change your minds. He said, basically, that I would have to present a petition with the signatures of over half of the registered voters in the Village. This is progress - two way communication presents an opportunity to clear up misunderstandings.

The Tompkins County Legislature passed our resolution with a much smaller percentage of residents having signed their petition, than the percentage that we have collected in Trumansburg. Requiring over 50% on a petition, ignores the reality of collecting signatures. It is essentially impossible to find an opportunity to speak with every potential signatory. It is a clever way of avoiding one's responsibilities as an elected representative. Not since ancient Greece, have we required direct participation of this kind.
We elect representatives, and hope that they will make the right decisions on our behalf. This is the essence of our form of government. I proposed that a reasonable course of action if he feels that those who oppose passage of the resolution haven't been given enough of an opportunity to make their case to the board, would be to allow them a period of time, to collect signatures on a counter petition. John said "this is your argument to make" I think I have made the argument. Please go to http://trumansburgimpeachment.blogspot.com/ I have been making the argument since 7/26/07.

The latest outrage was reported by ABC news in early April. They reported that there was a meeting of the National Security Council in the White House shortly after 9/11/01. Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Gonzales, Tenet, Ashcroft, and others were present, and they approved the use of "enhanced interogation techniques" That's torture. Torture! We are paying for torture. Bush signed the memo. If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention.

If you are not totally convinced of the insanity of the war that Bush and Cheney lied us into, then you owe it to yourself to read this piece from the New York Times - HERE
which explains how the pentagon (probably at the direction of Bush and Cheney) disiminated propaganda to US citizens. If you watch television, then you have probably been exposed to this brainwashing. It is illegal to propagandize US citizens.

I've tried to bring it right home to Trumansburg for you,
(highlights from earlier posts follow)

Nobel prize winning economist and professor at Columbia, Joseph Stiglitz , has estimated that the cost of the war in Iraq, even if we start withdrawing troops tomorrow, will be at least 3 trillion dollars. That's 10,000 for every person in this country. My family of five in Trumansburg (and/or my descendants) will pay $50,000 for this, the biggest foreign policy blunder in US history. $50,000, That's my Village of Trumansburg taxes for 80 years. But it is the collective wisdom of this board, that it would be innapropriate to ask Congress to investigate what laws were broken in the process of incurring these huge debts on behalf of every resident of the Village.

Chris Thorpe graduated from Trumansburg High School in 2006, the same year as my daughter. He told my son that he was going to join the Army because he "wanted to kill ragheads" He is now in Iraq. If he survives, statistically, his chances of being wounded physically or mentally, to a degree that he will be given disability pay, are more than 4 in 10. But the Board continues to do nothing about it.

You say impeachment isn't the business of a village board. It seems to me that when we see our country in crisis because our young people are dying in foreign wars, because our fundamental constitutional rights are being revoked, because our economy is on the brink of disaster, because we are borrowing against future generations, when we witness all this, it is the business of all of us to do all that we can to return our country to the principles that it was founded upon. This is especially true of our leaders at every level of government.

We failed to pass the resolution on September 24th, but the meeting was not a failure, and not at all a waste of time for the board, and all who participated. No village board meeting has every been attended by so many members of the community. We talked about the most important issues of our time. Our village boards, and town councils, and county legislatures should be discussing the big picture, as well as the more narrowly focused issues that they deal with on a day to day basis. Our leaders ought to be helping to wake us up.

Chris Thomas signed the petition, but voted against the resolution, supposedly because he thinks it's not in the purview of the Village Board,

Impeachment is not within the purview of the village board? If the Chief of the Trumansburg Fire Department was driving through Ithaca, and saw a house on fire, would he just drive on by and say " It's not in my purview'' ? Of course not. He would call for help.

We are allowing our government to wage illegal wars of choice, to torture detainees, to shred our Constituion, to turn the world against us, and allow our infrastructure to crumble. We are way past the point of arguing about whose purview it is to consider impeachment. Impeachment is the tool we must use to return us to a place where we can once again be proud to be Americans.

About this excuse, that impeachment is not an issue for a village board. We are all complicit in the crimes of this administration, by our lack of action to stop it. You as Village Board members could speak more loudly to our state and federal representatives, because you represent the 1500 residents of Trumansburg. I think Arcuri is capable of doing the right thing, he just needs to be pushed. It was pressure from progressives that got him to change his position on the Military Commissions Act.

When we all witnessed the crimes of this administration for the first few years, we all blamed, with some degree of legitimacy, the executive branch. But it' been seven years now. As we continue to remain silent, and as you on this board, continue to say "it's not my job", we become more and more guilty. If we are not condoning their behavior, we are certainly acquiescing to it.

You consulted with our village attorney, and he told you to go ahead and vote your conscience. The city of Santa Rosa CA, and the county of Ulster NY, passed resolutions last week. It's the right thing to do. Please pass the resolution tonight.

Another member of this board, that voted against the resolution, is a former Marine. When we pointed out that every member of the board has taken an oath to protect and defend the Constitution, he said that he took a similar oath as a Marine, but that then as now, he felt that he was only obligated to honor the oath within the traditional limitations of the job. I'm sure he was a good Marine, and that he protected and defended the Constitution with the skills and tools of a Marine. Being a Village Board member, is a very different job. Different skills, different tools, different limitations. Two of your fellow board members, and hundreds of people in similar posts in a growing number of cities, towns, villages, and counties, feel that it is an appropriate action to take.

A US nuclear submarine just entered the Persian Gulf. Our commander in cheif has given "prepare to deploy orders" for the Eisenhower Strike Group to arrive in the Persian Gulf this October. Admiral Fallon who was the highest ranking military man to refuse to attack Iran recently resigned under pressure. General Patreaus just blamed the last attack on the Green Zone in Iraq . . . on the Iranians. Of course he has no proof, just a hunch. We would have to be deaf dumb and blind to fail to understand that the administration is preparing to attack Iran. The stage is being set for the election of John McSame, while Obama and Clinton continue to squabble. Impeachment proceedings, wether successful or not, would damage the chances of those who wish to ensure another 4 years of this insanity.

I collected over a hundred signatures on the petition. I represent a large portion of this village. In the 6 months that I have been speaking at these meetings, I haven't heard a word of response from the Board. Could you please give us an update on your thinking on these matters? We have a new board member tonight who didn't give her opinion on this at the September meeting. We would like to know where she stands on these issues.

I read this at the 4/14/08 Village Board Meeting. There was no response at all. They moved on to more important issues like "why can't we have the fire whistle back?"

It's so hard to keep you guys up to date on the new impeachable offenses, because they keep coming so fast. We just learned last week that the CIA destroyed tapes of the "enhanced interrogations" of detainees. That's obstruction of justice. Why did they destroy those tapes? They claim it's to protect the identity of their agents. That's absurd. You've all seen video where the faces are obscured by one means or another. The real reason, of course, is that if the tapes had been released, they would be evidence of torture. Torture is prohibited by the Geneva Accords. They figured it'd be better to be prosecuted for obstruction of justice than war crimes.

One member of this board abstained from voting on our resolution, explaining that he thought it was a waste of time. Apparently, many of the Democrats in the House of Representatives agree with him. 20 years ago, most of the Democrats in the House felt that it would be a waste of time when Congressman Henry B. Gonzales introduced articles of impeachment on the floor of the House, against Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, for the Iran Contra Scandal. There was plenty of evidence, but nobody joined Gonzales. His fellow Democrats felt that it would be imprudent and that Dukakis was going to win, and we would be rid of H.W. Bush. Gonzales said " If we don't impeach these men, then 20 years from now we will see another president behaving even more lawlessly, because of our failure."

Passing the resolution would not be a waste of time. We are witnessing crimes against humanity. As responsible citizens in a Democracy it is our duty to make every effort to correct the injustice.

A National Intelligence Estimate was made public last monday after being kept secret for over a year. This NIE was available before last year's general elections, to everyone in the Bush administration with sufficient security clearances. Apparently they didn't think it would be politically advantageous to allow voters to see it. It states that Iran had stopped trying to build nuclear weapons in 2003.

Last Tuesday, at the White House Press Conference, the president was asked a question by David Gregory of NBC News. "When you talked about Iraq, you and others from the administration talked about a mushroom cloud. Then there were no WMD in Iraq. When it came to Iran, you said on October 17th, you warned about the prospect of WWIII, when months before you made that statement, this intelligence about them suspending their weapons program back in '03 had already come to light to this administration. So, can't you be accused of hyping this threat, and don't you worry that this undermines US credibility?"

That's a pretty good question. In less polite terms, you could say - You lied us into a war with Iraq, and now you're trying to lie us into a war with Iran. Why the hell should we believe anything you say?

Bush answered, "Well David, I wouldn't want to contradict an august reporter such as yourself, but I was made aware of the NIE last week."

That's another lie. He's been hyping the threat from his axis of evil for years now. He's the president, the commander in chief, the head of the executive branch, the head of all of the intelligence agencies. He's got a pretty high security clearance, and so does his damn vice president. The report contradicts assertions that he's been making for years, and he wants us to believe that nobody told him that he might want to check the facts? How stupid does he think we are?

I realize that some of you think this is not a matter for a village board. You think the resolution would have no real effect so why risk alienating part of the community? I understand this point of view. If we were having this conversation a year and a half ago, when we had a Republican Congress, I might agree. But we now have Democratic majorities in both houses. The Democratic leadership has said that impeachment is off the table, for Machiavellian reasons, but they are facing great pressure from a growing impeachment movement. There is a very real chance that more pressure, including our resolution, will inspire Speaker Pelosi to put impeachment back on the table. Opening an impeachment inquiry now, might rein in an out of control executive, even if it doesn't remove him from office. Opening an impeachment inquiry now, might make an attack on Iran less likely. Our village, passing this resolution, at this critical time, could have more effect than any action it could take on anything. To quote David Filiberto, " This might be the most important vote I ever cast, as a member of this board."

Please pass the resolution tonight.

I don't have time in my 3 minutes to detail all of the ongoing high crimes and misdemeanors, but it is essential that you be made aware of one. The President vetoed a bill to expand the State Children's Health Insurance Program last month. We are the only industrialized nation on the planet that doesn't provide universal health care to all of it's citizens, children and adults. I wouldn't expect in my wildest dreams that Bush would allow us to be brought into the 21st century in terms of health care for all of us, but even I was surprised that he was so cold that he would veto a baby step in that direction and just cover some more kids. Funding the expansion of this program to provide health coverage to millions of uninsured american children would have cost a small fraction of what we are spending to fund Bush's illegal war in Iraq.

Rordan Hart accused me, at the meeting on September 24th, of accusing his soldier friend of being a baby killer. Everyone realized how absurd that accusation was, but Bush's veto of the SCHIP program provides further context. Bush and Cheney, who 3 members of this board are protecting from the resolution demanding accountability, have blocked funds to care for American children, while spending vastly more to destroy the lives, health, and families, of Iraqi children.

One last item for Trustees Thomas and Hrubos. You are Democrats. Here's an important memo if you want your party to succeed. Nine attempts have been made to impeach a president in US history. None of these attempts actually resulted in removal of a president from office. They were very important none the less. In all nine instances the party that attempted to impeach, either held or increased it's majority in Congress, and every time that an opposition party attempted to impeach, they took the presidency at the next election. If you don't believe that impeachment can possibly succeed in the time we have left, that is not a reason to ignore your oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution. Stand up for justice. The rewards are great for you and your party and the country.

At the second public comment period I read this;

When I ask myself why the impeachment resolution did not pass, I try to imagine the reasons for the no votes and the abstaining vote. One of the main reasons to vote against the resolution was the notion that impeachment can't possibly succeed in the 14 months remaining in Bush's term. There are several flaws with this reasoning. The main flaw is the assumption that we would need extensive investigations before impeachment proceedings could begin. There is ample evidence of impeachable offenses right now. No investigations are necessary.

This week, Representative Dennis Kucinich introduce a bill to impeach Vice President Dick Cheney. As expected, the Democratic leadership motioned to table this bill. The vote to table the bill failed, and it has been sent to the House Judiciary Committee. Pressure from the grassroots at this juncture, might encourage the chairman to consider acting on this bill and sending it to the floor for a vote. I called our representative, Mike Arcuri, today, but I am just one voice. The majority of Trumansburg, would approve, if you passed our resolution, thereby honoring your oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution.

Wether it succeeds or not, demanding impeachment is the right thing to do when we have witnessed the destruction of our constitutional form of government and wars of aggression.

Enormous damage to our country has been done by Bush and Cheney. Even more damage will be done in the next 14 months. Please act now on our behalf and pass the resolution.

Geoffrey Hart showed me last year, how effective it was to be a major pain in the neck at these village board meetings. He didn't want the board to locate a skate park near his house. He succeeded in blocking that and causing the departure of Mayor Levine and Trustee Mary Bouchard. I'm inspired by his tenacity, but I question his motives. I don't mind if you want to put a skateboard park near my house, but I do mind when some of the members of the board refuse to honor the wishes of the clear majority of the community. I do mind when some members refuse to uphold their oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America. I do mind when John Hrubos tells the majority of this village that they are wasting their time when they demand justice. I do mind when Chris Thomas tells the majority of the community to do more than scribble their signatures on a petition, when we have done much more than that. We have done nearly everything we can do to hold the criminals in the White House accountable. Now we must hold Chris Thomas, John Hrubos, and Rordan Hart accountable. We will not go away. When the history of this period is written, it most likely will not mention the skateboard park fiasco, but we will work to ensure that history records that the people of Trumansburg were opposed to the gross violations of the Constitution, and International Law perpetrated by Bush and Cheney. This is not over. You have held a public meeting, and the wishes of the majority were made very clear. Another meeting is not necessary. You have our resolution, and any member of the board that values the Constitution, can make a motion to pass it at any meeting of the board. I urge you to do so.

Well, that's only highlights from the most recent third of my blog. Please read the rest. The resolution itself is there. Please respond.

I will post this email at http://www.trumansburgimpeachment.blogspot.com/

and I will post your replies there also.

Please respond by email to whwoods@lightlink.com

No comments:

About Me

My photo
Trumansburg, NY, United States