Island Gazette

Thanks Bob

Dear Editor,
I would like to thank Bob Lewis for engaging and informing the public in the business of the town. Your fight for transparency is commendable. Please continue to bring town issues to this public forum and please make the motion at your next council meeting to make audio recordings and provide written minutes of all the closed sessions of the town.  Legislation requires that full and accurate minutes be kept as well as a general account of the closed session. Make the motion and see which elected official balks.
Closed session legislation is meant to keep the public out, not the truth in. You as an elected official do not serve the council, you serve the people.
In my four years of service many of the closed session agendas to discuss bar issues, fuel contracts or property purchases excluded the public view of the discussion between council members serving to rehearse a public face for the issue.  We discussed one issue where a councilman objected to offering a low price for a worthless property because it would offend the owner; the councilman was the contractor for the property owner and had no problem being involved in the debate.
At the same time another council member recommended lowering the offer and naming a park after the owners. Believe it or not even after their multimillion dollar bankruptcy one council member thought naming a park after them was warranted.  On another occasion in discussing a right of way property swap, a councilman slapped down a fuel contract on the table and said the property owner would not sign over the property until the town signed the exclusive gas contract with the property owner. 
I'm glad you remembered, Bob, that when you swore on the bible to carry out your duties you did not swear to keep secrets from the public. Thanks for including us.
The only thing confidential in a closed session is if confidentiality is mandated by state or federal law. 
In Carolina Beach most politicians may say it is bad form to write letters to the editor, but they have no problem charging one of their minions to write supporting their position or attacking someone who does not agree with them.
I also wanted to thank the editor and publisher for continuing to offer a public forum for the residents of Carolina Beach to offer their opinion no matter how satirical, ironical, sarcastic, caustic or sardonic. 
I know there are many folks out there who would like to white wash the issues of the town and exclude these types of expression from your forum.  So, for the folks that want to banish these types of speech please exercise your First Amendment Right and petition the government to amend the First Amendment to read  something like, Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech unless it is sarcastic, ironical, satirical, caustic or sardonic or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. 
Let freedom ring!
Alan Gilbert,
Carolina Beach, NC


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