Last week I was called by one of our members J.J.Valera of Windsor about some issues in his town. One that hit the papers March 7 was the story about an independent film crew who wanted to film the Windsor Town Meeting on March 14.
J.J was told in rather salty language by the town moderator that no ----ing way would a ----ing camera be allowed in the ----ing Windsor Town meeting.
So J.J called our pal at the AG's office “Bud” Fitch who gave this advice: Go get a court order. So off to Hillsborough Superior North we went Monday, at 10 am - with the film crew.
The 'pro se' petition was hand written in the courtroom hallway while my wife Debbie and I went and got cash for the petition filing fee, as the Valeras thought a check was sufficient and did not bring $145.00 cash.
All this was done with the film crew in tow. Talk about getting handed an issue!
As this was unfolding, down the court house hallway comes State Representative Jordan G. Ulery of Hudson on business of his own. I flagged him down and Rep. Ulery, looking quite the part of the NH State Rep. with a white sea captain's beard, business suit and all, gave us a brief but interesting history of the Right to Know Law in NH. If the film crew was looking to make a grass-roots film they had just hit the motherlode.
And then came the Manchester paper's reporter who was watching all this from a few feet away. She wanted to know what was going on and was given the whole story from J.J about the Windsor Town Moderator while being introduced to the film crew – a story in itself. That was Monday. Tuesday it hit the papers.
Also on Tuesday I found out that a Windsor Selectman has given Mr. Valera a letter stating there will be no opposition by Windsor officials to the Town Meeting being filmed.
So why did a long time Town Moderator not understand he was in a no win position trying to stop public access?
Why didn't the now Deputy AG Fitch just call the Town of Windsor and tell then get on with it?
Was it necessary to advise the Valeras' a court order was needed to enforce this clearly basic law?
When asked for a quick solution, why didn't a Superior Court judge just grant an order and skip holding a hearing? Don't they have serious business to attend to?
Will the Valeras' get their $145.00 back?
Film at 11:00PM.
Not this next 11:00PM or the one after that. But stay tuned!