To: Carla Lootens, Chairman, and Budget Committee
Subject: Your false and defamatory draft minutes and utter lack of understanding of the Right to Know law
Dear Carla and the Budget Committee,
Your draft minutes for the January 2, 2018, meeting contained a false and defamatory statement about me: “It was agreed that the Selectmen would be the ones to decide whether to pursue Mr. Ledoux’s violation of RSA 91-A:5 further.”
You accused me in writing of violating state law. This was a serious accusation that I do not take lightly. If it had not been for Guy Pike, you would not have altered this libelous statement from “Mr. Ledoux’s violation” to “Mr. Ledoux’s possible violation.” However, adding the word “possible” in your approved minutes does not go far enough to correct the facts.
- The Right to Know law does not apply to me. I am not bound by it. I am not a government employee or an elected or appointed official. It’s literally impossible for me to violate 91-A.
- As I explained to you in my previous memo — in which I cited both the actual statutes and the New Hampshire Supreme Court precedents — the public has the Right to Know how much it spends on each individual employee. Withholding the information is a violation of 91-A. I understand that Carla disagrees with me and that she has a different opinion. But she has failed to cite any laws or court rulings, instead relying on a her “gut feeling” as well as a vague email from the anti-transparency New Hampshire Municipal Association.
- Furthermore, it was not “agreed” by the budget committee that the selectmen would be the ones “to decide whether to pursue Mr. Ledoux’s violation of RSA 91-A:5 further.” Gordon asked, “Does it behoove the Committee and/or the Selectmen to pursue this? Is it a legal issue?” Carla said, “I think that’s up to the Selectmen.” There was then a brief silence. “Is it a chargeable offense?” asked Gordon, followed by another silence. The budget committee members did not, in fact, vote or make any decision on the question.
By the way, Carla’s repeated insistence that Joe’s videos are the only “official” videos suggests technological naiveté. A video is a video, and it shows what it shows. There is no Ministry of Truth in Tuftonboro where residents must go to obtain “official” news. I always post the full video without any edits whatsoever. When I can, I also post timestamps to make it easier for people to skip to the part of the video that interests them. I also sometimes post shorter videos and my comments. All viewers are free to comment on the videos or to offer their own opinions; my site is an open forum.
Many of the videos on my website are actually Joe’s; the viewership of his videos has increased since I’ve started sharing them online. I have great respect for Joe and his work—would the selectmen have started posting his videos online if I hadn’t done so first? The selectmen didn’t begin uploading the meeting videos to YouTube until after I’d been doing so for more than a year. Even now, Karen Koch is posting them only in half-hour segments, sometimes over a period of several days, which is not viewer-friendly. I offered to show Karen how to combine multiple video files into one; she has not taken me up on that offer, which still stands.
Gordon said at your last meeting that he “questions [Max’s] motives every day,” to which Bob added, “every day.”
My motives are transparency, accountability, and fiscal responsibility. Whatever Carla’s motives, her actions have come down on the side of secrecy, unaccountability, and fiscal imprudence. It is good that she is not seeking re-election.