"All or Nothing" Petition Filed With Town Clerk by Bethel Action Committee

The petition has reached the required 600 signatures



The All or None petition that has been circulated by The Bethel Action Committee has reached the required 600 signatures and was filed with the Town Clerk, Lisa Bergh, on Friday afternoon.

 The petition calls for the following actions:

According to the Bethel Codes section C6-6, E, “Upon receipt of the certification by the Town Clerk of said petition, the Board of Selectmen shall call a Special Town Meeting to be held not less that ten or more than thirty days from the date of such certification; provided that said Selectmen may hold one or more public hearings on such proposal prior to its submission to a Special Town Meeting.”

 Section F explains that the the Town Meeting will state the proposal in full and call for a yes or no answer. If the majority votes yes, the proposal will take effect 10 days later.

 Billy Michael, the founder of the Bethel Action Committee, said that the petition will only effect a small window of time. “This restricts government speech during the 7-10 days when the town meeting decides to hold the referendum. Every group in town, the Democrats, Republicans, the Friends of the Library, the PTOs, can say what they want. But you can't use your neighbor's money to speak and reach a certain constituency.”

 Michaels said that the petition is a resulted in a letter stating that the school district could not advocate their position to a select audience of parents and school staff with public funds.

Michael, said, “The petition simply means that if you are sending information to a certain constituency then you have to send it to everybody.”

Bill Hillman March 31, 2012 at 06:46 PM
Though I did not sign the petition, I do agree with the premise. If a Town agency sends information advocating attendance or a position on a budget, it ought to go to all electors, and not just to those likely to vote in a particular way. This is especially relevant with respect to the school's email system which has now noted babysitting for parents to attend and lobby in favor of adding funds back to the education budget. What I understand Billy wants is simply a level playing field that does not play favorites when any Town agency issues a call for voter response. Either all electors get the notice, or none get it. It seems fair.
Bob Rogers March 31, 2012 at 10:10 PM
No politics at all, but the motto "All or None" seems like an un-Lenten season statement as we reflect that not even Jesus had unanimous support within his own disciples. To the petition, wouldn't logically this actually raise the tax burden with the likelihood the Education powers with their "majority" support and pursuit of "public goods" go for the "All" then? and further risking the "None" to seek additional tax burdening civil suits? Isn't this approach what Grover Norquist called the "pseudo-reform?" Gaining support in the community of tax fund waste is a battle victory, but go ahead in pursuit to force them into further spending would be a war defeat.
Bill Hillman March 31, 2012 at 10:22 PM
@Bob, all that's being requested is that communications originating from any Town governmental agency regarding the budget referendum either be sent to all electors or no electors. The belief is that the protected email list for the school system and use of that between the Town meeting and the referendum is use of town resources for a targeted special interest group, and unfair to those who do not receive similar information, I's also a fact that on more than one occasion, the SEEC has found that wording in such mailings violated the regulations against "advocacy". So perhaps it really is best for the school system to simply remain silent between the TM and the vote... or provide a way to reach all voters to remind them to get out to vote.
Thomas Peters April 01, 2012 at 06:10 PM
You did a great job Billy!!
Jimmy Pursey April 02, 2012 at 05:21 PM
Isn't a "committee" supposed to be more than one person?
johnqpublic April 02, 2012 at 07:07 PM
Thomas Peters April 03, 2012 at 01:27 AM
We are all committe members who fight for fairness in government.
Thomas Peters April 03, 2012 at 01:31 AM
It takes many battles to win a war. Your motto could be "all or the hell with it".
John April 03, 2012 at 10:06 AM
Bob, why would a government official contact only a certain segment of the population on a vote when that individual represents all of us?
John April 03, 2012 at 10:08 AM
Jimmy, they were all at the last Library meeting. Where were you?
Bob Rogers April 03, 2012 at 01:33 PM
The war is against wasted tax dollars. It's a great BAC win with the 600 signatures of support against tax waste, I just thought the "next step" is high risk of additional tax burdens (either by forcing a Bethel wide mailer blaming this new regulation or lawsuit). I would say it's "All or win the support of more voters by taking the high road and in the end win the war."
Barbara Nelson April 03, 2012 at 02:53 PM
it is.
Barbara Nelson April 03, 2012 at 03:10 PM
Mr. Bailey - you sound a bit confused on the concept of Free Speech, which was designed to allow the citizenry to give voice to their opinions without fear of losing their heads to an executioner or being shackled to a dark, cold stone jail cell, as was the case in their prior countries. There are various rules that elected officials must follow in order to comply with State and Municipal regulations. You see, sadly, that does not happen in Bethel. What happens in Bethel is that Town and School officials many times overstep the line and act as politicians, expressing a political point of view via publicly-funded media and resources. This is not their role, but rather the role of PRIVATELY-FUNDED political action committees. This ordinance will not cost one cent to the taxpayer UNLESS the elected officials decide to send emails to their mailing list reminding them to vote. If parents want to form their own political action committee and use private funds to alert people to vote, OR if they want to pick up the phone themselves, there would be NO restrictions whatsoever. Go crazy! Your idea about the newsletter being printed and handed out is a bit flawed, as that would not accomplish the idea of reaching all postal patrons. Unless, of course, the originator of the newsletter agreed to go door to door and hand them out individually. Get out your old American History textbooks and read the part about Free Speech. You'll feel a lot better about All or None.
Thomas Peters April 04, 2012 at 01:16 AM
Mr. B, this law is not to difficult to follow. If you have a meeting effecting the town tax or town monies everyone is notified, not just the yea or nay voters. Guilt would not be to hard to prove. If you use tax money notify all tax payers.


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