Since we have a Cadillac of Web sites why don’t we put a way for people to write the town and the Council so that everyone can see their their and other people’s post. The statements could be attributable or allowed to be anonymous. That way we could have truly transparent government and everyone could see what the story is about the alleged corruption. It would give everyone a voice PLUS it would give all citizens the opportunity to redress their government for grievances. It could be sorta like a Town Blog for the Citizens to TALK to the town management and leadership. Joe Griffin
Please Stop By the Griffins at Mill Street on Hallows Eve
We have treats for your precious trick or Treat-ers as
well as Punch, Brownies and Chocolate Chip Cookies
We hope to see you!
Three months ago I did ask to have a copy of each and every citizen complaint filed by me since January 1, 2000, some 14 and a half years ago. Initially Pam came back and said that some of the Citizen Complaints had been lawfully destroyed in 2009 and produced the paperwork to prove that fact.
All well and good. I knew however that the Citizen complaints were in the Minutes Books and had not been destroyed. I tried to explain that simple fact to both Pam and to Bill Lawrence, Town Manager, for two full months, all to no avail. They still contended that there were no more citizen complaints.
Then I asked for the minutes and all documents in the April 2008 Minutes folder. Remember the town said that all of them prior to 2009 had been destroyed. After three weeks that set of documents was finally turned over and low and behold, there was a citizen complaint that was handled in the April 2008 Council meeting.
This means two things. #1 I was lied to by Bill and Pam. #2 there must be more complaints in the months preceding April 2008 and in the months following 2008. I again asked for all of the complaints.
No having any luck with the complaints I asked for a copy of any minutes where the town “handled” a citizen complaint, an agenda item or a legal action by me since 1 January 2000 since I know that the town has not destroyed the minutes. So far, after 1 1/2 months this too has been not forthcoming.
Now you may ask why these sets of documents are so important to me. While not required to be stated, the reason for my asking, I will tell you. I want them to prove that in 15 plus years that of the 100 or so citizen complaints I have filed that not a single one of them has been deemed to have any validity at all. Said another way, there is no Redress of Grievances allowed for the last 15 years and apparently none available now since two citizen complaints filed so far this year have not been deemed to have any value either.
For fifteen years, you have heard the town complain about Joe Griffin’s requests for public records; asking that the Town do business in the Sunshine and provide transparency to its citizens and that the Town Charter be adhered to. The Town’s friends the Camel Club who Walter McKenzie knows well, decided after Ed Miller’s letter offering a reward of up to $10,000 to have Joe arrested, to harass Joe. Hate Mail mainly calling Joe names went back and forth on the internet until I moved here and Joe started his blog. It was a way to redress grievances to the Town, while the Camel Club called him names and me names on the Town’s behalf. After all, the Town received copies of all the Camel Club News as did the Police Chief and no one wanted to stop the harassment. It was Joe’s fault for asking for 119’s, 280.11’s and the like. They tried lying about him assaulting people and he would never hurt anyone. They said he is a racist and he has helped others no matter what their skin color or nationality. But what both Joe and I despise is a corrupt town where certain people are favored while the others are harassed and treated poorly while using their positions of authority to go after those that do not concur.
Civil Rights are the rights of a citizen and include the right to vote, equality under the law, the right to go to school, to have a driver’s license, to use bridges and other public infrastructure and facilities. You have the right to police and fire protection although we were told we may have to wait and wait for help, you can understand why being told that violates our civil rights.
You have the right to be left alone in your house without being harassed by having police cars park in front watching your every move. You have the right to apply for any job and get it if you are the best applicant without being arrested for an employment application or in my case being ignored and not interviewed while the Mayor called everyone else that she wished the administrative assistant she has not because of the usual reasons like qualifications but because she favored her.
You have the right to not be hassled because of your gender, religion, accent, sexuality and national origin. Joe and I have been called names. They have besmirched both our names. They have made remarks about his disability when the Town was the proximate cause by having him fired from the firm he worked. I have been criticized as an author, that I am fat and ugly and both Joe and I are idiots. And what you have read about him lying about his schools you found out, he does have all his diplomas and what the paper said was wrong. But you have heard enough about what the Town has done to us. We understand you have had problems also but have had a fear to vocalize. For instance, some are picked up by the police but are not charged because they can do special things for the authorities, while others are arrested or hassled on the streets because they are black and not from a family the Authorities approve of. We understand your pain because they have even laughed at me because I came from the mid-west and the Camels love to do these things to me because I believe in Joe.
If you are accused of a crime you have the right to refuse to incriminate yourself; the right to refuse warrantless searches; the right of a speedy public fair trial; the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty etc. You know that is not what happens in White Springs and I was told by two bail bondsmen that White Springs is the most corrupt of all towns and if one gets arrested once, they will be arrested again.
And here we have two attorneys; The Town Attorney Koberlein and Councilman Bullard. There was no problem making Joe Guilty immediately because he had to lose an election and they did not want him anywhere near town hall. No instead, like many of you, he was guilty before presumed innocent and no one even tried to get a statement from him to find out that I put the application together myself; not Joe. In fact they must have known or presumed to have known that the second criminal complaint made against Joe and I (The reason was to have another criminal charge to take away his PTI agreement) were essentially our Civil Rights.
In fact Koberlein stated in the meeting and it was in the Jasper News that we would have more criminal charges against us and placed it in the paper again. More than one of you know that this has happened to you. One should not be treated in this manner. If one doesn’t like you in the town they will make certain bad things happen to you and if you do not have thousands of dollars to spend on attorneys, you will spend your time in Jail and it appears they are happy to oblige.
This is the reason we are still fighting for our civil rights in the Town of White Springs. We want a town where there is transparency; where a citizen’s complaint is taken under consideration or discussed rather than dismissed as “frivolous”. We wish a town where it does not matter what type of job one has or if you are retired or disabled but a town where everyone is able to live a peaceful and wonderful life as they wish as Citizens.
It is time we had officials who stood up for the rights of citizens and I cannot see where this has transpired in the last three plus years I have lived here. Instead they act like deity, giving their friends only benefits, doing what they wish with money knowing no one will show up at meetings to complain and if anyone acts as a town activist to attempt to change things, one can expect anything including criminal charges for using our civil rights.
The US was founded as an expressly -democratic- country. That means we don’t have classes of citizenship. ALL citizens have exactly the same rights, the rights of citizenship.
A government or set of rules that are not prejudice nor favor any type of race, religion, creed, gender, social class, and sexuality.
WHY THE TOWN IS IN TROUBLE AND WILL BE SUED AGAIN…
Florida Statute 119 is Florida’s Public Records Law. It allows any citizen to get access to any public document he or she desires to get access to. It is a Right outlined in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the right of Redress of the Government for Grievances. Screw with 119 and you are screwing with the Rights of Citizens. It is that simple.
I am a Citizen Activist. I like to know a lot about the workings of our town. I especially want to know why I have been LIED to by our Government Officials. Since I can’t go to Council Meetings for fear the town will carry through with its threats to arrest me if I show up, I must, if I desire information from the town, file 119 requests.
As many of you know, I was arrested for FIVE counts of fraud and was threatened with arrest for stalking by the Town officials. Now that the actual investigations to my knowledge are concluded with the second dead for lack of sufficient probable cause I asked to see all of the paperwork that the town sent in to either the State’s Attorney or the Hamilton County Sheriff’s office. Such is my right under the Federal and State Constitutions and the Florida Statute 119.
When a Government entity, like White Springs, denies a public records request they are required by law to state the reason for such denial in the form of a State Statute. As an example, the town could say “Florida Statute xxx.x exempts this material from disclosure.” They must say something like this statement listing the exact Florida Statute that makes the information one is seeking exempt from disclosure. Such is outlined in the Statute itself and in the Government in the Sunshine Manual. I gave to Bill Lawrence his own copy of the 2014 Edition of the GISM and have quoted him the exact page where such a statement about denying public records is found in the Book.
But White Springs, in the person of Bill Lawrence, says he “Respectfully Disagrees” (his exact words, not mine) with the Statute and the Manual. Let’s see. Bill thinks he knows more than the Attorney General of the State of Florida, who authored the Sunshine Manual. He thinks he knows more than the Legislature, the Governor, more than multiple Courts of Appeal in the State and more than the Supreme Court of the State of Florida. And most important he thinks he knows more than the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The town has already admitted that a citizen has virtually unfettered access to public records in its response to the first Federal Civil Rights suit’s response.
Bill is either the smartest man in the State of Florida or completely not following the law. I vote for the latter. He has let his ego get in the way of his obligations. And I am going to call him on it,
Joe E. Griffin
Things to be Thankful For:
* Be thankful for the clothes that fit a little too snug because it means you have enough to eat. Many in White Springs do not and we are thankful for the Churches who assist with a food bank.
*Be thankful for the mess you clean up after a party because it means you have been surrounded by friends.
* Be thankful for the taxes you pay because it means you are employed. And although taxes may seem insurmountable in this economy we can be thankful Florida does not have a State income Tax.
* Be thankful that your lawn needs mowing and your windows need fixing because it means you have a home. Many in White Springs have not had opportunities for a good job and some are older and disabled. Thus there has not been the money for ownership.
* Be thankful for your heating and air conditioning bills because it means you are comfortable. Because of the high sewer and water rates in white springs, many will need wood burning barrels in the winter and have suffered this summer with merely fans. There is not enough money to go around and your Town does not assist you at a time when the National Economy is at its worse.
*Be thankful for the laundry because it means you have clothes to wear. Be thankful for Bud’s Suds because many of you are unable to wash your clothing at home because it costs more because of the sewer and water rate. Be thankful that the owner of Bud’s Suds is breaking even in spite of her high water and sewer rates so that she has not yet raised the rates.
*Be thankful for the space you find at the far end of the parking lot because it means you can walk. So many of the elderly including the disabled like Joe are unable to walk for a distance.
*Be thankful for the lady who sings off-key behind you in church because it means you can hear.
Be thankful people complain about government because it means we have freedom of speech at least on the National Level. It is realized that the Town Officials do not believe in one’s right of free speech nor allowing grievances against the government in the form of complaints. We know many of you are afraid of speaking your mind, or making a complaint, or an official or the police will be at your door telling you why you should not complain (like poor Ms. Hardwick). That is why we dare not attend council meetings. Joe has been threatened with arrest multiple times with police officers sitting next to him or I and the last time I was at a meeting alone, an officer stood in my path to leave. I assumed it was to intimidate me. We are still fighting for a better White Springs for not only Joe and I but for all of you. None of us have had a voice and if we have, we could be arrested or worse.
Be thankful for the alarm that goes off in the early morning because it means you are alive. We have our friends our families and we care about each other in spite of what the Town may do to us.
A recent breach has affected an unclassified Executive Office of the President network at the White House, according to a White House official.
The unclassified network that was breached is set up for use by President Obama’s senior staff and is known as the Executive Office of the President network. The network is currently being reinforced by officials, and the FBI, NSA, and Secret Service are all part of the investigation at this point.
Although a breach has taken place, the official says it hasn’t done any damage to computers or systems. “Any such activity is something we take very seriously. In this case, we took immediate measures to evaluate and mitigate the activity,” said the official in a statement, and confirmation of temporary outages and lost connections for users was also revealed. “The temporary outages and loss of connectivity for our users is solely the result of measures we have taken to defend our networks.”
Who Did This?
While Russian hackers are suspected by some because of their top tier status for cyber capabilities, the Washington Post reports that White House officials are not commenting in regards to who was behind this breach, or how much data (if any) was stolen. However, sources have said that this attack is consistent with state-sponsored campaigns.
Another White House official said that “On a regular basis, there are bad actors out there who are attempting to achieve intrusions into our system. This is a constant battle for the government and our sensitive government computer systems, so it’s always a concern for us that individuals are trying to compromise systems and get access to our networks.”
What Is The Purpose Of This Attack?
A report in the New York Times mentions that because this attack didn’t appear to be of a destructive nature, this suggests that the intention of hackers might have been to explore the unclassified network in order to seek out connections to other systems.
Note to those of you who disagree with my posting about nurse Kaci Hickox (two posts ago) —
BLAME PRESIDENT OBAMA (and to a lesser degree Gov Christie) — NOT NURSE HICKOX
President Obama has known about or should have known about ebola since March when WHO [World Health Organization] warned everyone. If he had acted THEN…or even THIS PAST SUMMER…maybe Governor Christie would not have panicked and quarantined the nurse as he did. I suspect if she had not been treated like the shoe bomber when she landed at Newark (she was probably sleep deprived having flown all night) and treated with respect for her willingness to put herself on the line and help others, including us by stopping the spread of ebola), she might have been more receptive to responding to the nation’s panic. Yes, ebola is dangerous — life threatening – and contagious….but DO NOT BLAME THE NURSE. BLAME PRESIDENT OBAMA FOR NOTE DOING HIS JOB AND PROTECTING THE NATION BY PUTTING IN SMART PROTOCOLS FOR EVERYONE TO KNOW AND FOLLOW.
PS – it was stupid of Governor Christie, who is neither a doctor nor has ever met nurse Hickox to say that she is “obviously ill.” Actually…she is not. I have no idea if she will get sick within the 21 day period, but right now …Gov Christie is dead wrong and in a panic. We need order, not panic.