About Me

My photo
Nazareth, Pa., United States

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Nazareth Loses a Round in Sunshine Act Lawsuit

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingIn early August, I sued Nazareth over its practice of using borough council committees to make decisions behind closed doors. It's a blatant Sunshine Act violation. All this unnecessary secrecy has resulted in animosity whenever Nazareth tries to do something. That's what happened this summer when it met secretly to decide on a new location for its government center.

I had hoped I could persuade Nazareth and its solicitor to err on the side of public inclusion, not exclusion. But I was wrong. After filing suit, Nazareth answered with bizarre allegations of fraud, failure of consideration and contributory negligence. These defenses might help in an automobile accident or a bad real estate deal, but have nothing to do with the Sunshine Act. So I filed objections to Nazareth's answer, and the matter was argued in court on Halloween, of all days.

Tuesday, Judge Smith ruled against Nazareth, sustaining my objections. Nazareth has twenty days to file a proper answer.

Nazareth is beginning to learn it is not the sole arbiter of the Sunshine Act. It will ultimately have to answer to a judge. Having lost its first round, I really hope Nazareth comes to its senses and agrees that committee meetings must be public. News Over Coffee has made some constructive suggestions. No council member should participate in a council committee that violates the Sunshine Act.

Sounds like a plan, eh? Somebody needs to tell Nazareth. According to both Express Times and Morning Call, a new committee of three councilmen, the mayor, chief of police and the borough secretary meets every Friday to discuss plans to move the police station and borough offices. This committee, like so many others, is behind closed doors, where democracy dies.

22 comments:

Jim said...

I'm paraphasing here, but I think there's a line of scripture somewhere in the New Testament that goes something like, "What good has ever come out of Nazareth?" So I guess that secret society of power-tripppin' yahoos there in the borough is only keeping with the Good Book, Bernie.

LSTresidentPIA said...

Good for you Bernie!

Bernie O'Hare said...

Jim, "And Nathanael said unto him, Can any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see." John 1:46. The answer was a little more important than the question.

Good things can come from bad situations. If the town burgers relax a bit and realize we're all on the same side, we might actually get something accomplished.

Thanks for your comment. It was provocative.

Bernie O'Hare said...

LST, I'm keeping you in reserve. If I start to falter, I'm sending you in.

LSTresidentPIA said...

I can't deal with LST, so I don't know...

Anonymous said...

GET A LIFE!!!

Bernie O'Hare said...

To Anon 7:37, Wow! I'm totally floored by your forceful argument. I will dissolve my blog immediately, drop the Sunshine Act lawsuit, kiss your ass and then move to Antarctica and fornicate with penguins.

Greendogdem said...

So Bernie you enjoy talking to yourself

Jim said...

Leave it to an alkie to put his finger right on the right scripture...book, verse & chapter even! I've always admired high-functioning alcoholics, Bernie. You da man!

Bernie O'Hare said...

GreenDogDem, Actually, I am fully conversant in Penguinese and already waddle like one, too. And just last week, one of my froiends was kind enough to tell me he prefers written communication with me because I stink, too. I think I'd fit right in.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Jim, 12 yrs of catholic school, an uncle who was a nun, a few years of Catholic and other religious colleges, and a lot of altar wine! Glad to know we alkies are good for something! Yeah, I have a few bibles lying around, but I'm no "high functioning" alkie. If I were, I'd be tying one on with Rummy right now. I was pretty much a gutter drunk and now I've graduated to gutter snipe.

SPIKE_ROGAN said...

Anon 7:37 sounds like a Michael Savage fan.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 7:37 can say what he or she wants. I have pretty thick skin. Another reason to move in with the penguins!

LSTresidentPIA said...

I am not sure what all the Bernie bashin is about? So he was an alocoholic, we all have skeletons in our closets. I am glad that someone is taking these officals on. I wish someone other than myself would speak up in Lower Saucon.

Some of the comments made remind me of the idoits I encoutered yesterday as I mointored the story about patrolman David Petzold of USTPD a family friend. I was on the MC's online forum and there were some real a$$holes on the site. I asked that the watch thier comments becaue it was a senstive issue. And then they jumped allover me becuase they said that they had the right to say anything unde the first amendment. How sad. They couldn't even act decent to tohers who where sharing theri thoughts during a time of need.

Bernie O'Hare said...

LST, Thanks for the defense but I don't think Jim intended to bash me. He was just kidding around a bit. And I am an alkie. I don't hide that from anyone. I've talked about it here and elsewhere. It's part of who I am. And if truth be told, I like to be reminded. And if Jim is who I think he is, he's a pretty good guy.

Now if you'll excuse me, there's a sale at the liquor store and I want to get there before it closes.

Brad Moulton said...

I'm sure you're aware of this, but I'll post it anyways...

From Courtney Lomax of the Express Times:

A 2 o’clock meeting this afternoon to discuss plans for moving the Nazareth Borough police station and administrative offices into a South Main Street building is closed to the public.

Bower's is quoted as saying, "It’s not going to work out" (having the meeting at the bank open to the public).

Bowers said some discussions at the bank should not be divulged to the public yet. He said having an open meeting in a small space will be “too unwieldy.”

Bernie O'Hare said...

Brad, Thanks for this information. I wasn't aware that a decision had been made to continue a meeting without public participation. "Too unwieldy?" That's a Sunshine Act exception I haven't read. Of course, Bowers himself was not even elected. I'll post this.

Jim said...

Geez Louise LST @ 13:10 PM! No Bernie-bashin' here. Mr. O'hare's one of my online heroes...was just havin' a little bloggin' fun while downin' a few brews.

I'm pretty much a gutter owl myself, which is why I've always admired - envied, really - high functioning owls. Hence the comment, which was meant in jest.

I'll have to remember not to "drink & click" on Bernie's blogsite now that I know he's got such sensitive types out there.

Thanks for the "pretty good guy" remark, Bernie (with heavy emphasis on "pretty" - as in sorta-maybe-sometimes-kinda). And if you ever find out who I am, please let me know...I've been tryin' to figure that out now for over 40 years!

Bernie O'Hare said...

Jim, Online hero? Man, your standards must be pretty low! Don't let LST get to you. She is a very nice and sincere person and just missed the humor. Don't worry about it.

Listen, iff you don't want to blog in MC yourself but have an occasional piece you think should be published, just let me have it and I'll put it on.

Jim said...

That we all had allies & friends like LST who were quick to defend & protect us. You go, girl!

I'm pretty much a techno-moron. So how would I get that "occasional piece" to you, Bernie...send it via email as a Word document or what?

Bernie O'Hare said...

just drop me an email.

Jim said...

10-4...will do.