Letter to the Editor
August 30, 2007
August 30, 2007
Citizen Oversight and Public Participation
If you read the Constitution, the Federalist Papers, or any of the writings of our founding fathers, the over-riding philosophy was about freedom. Their directive to all future generations of Americans was that freedom isn’t free and the price of freedom is eternal vigilance in protecting those freedoms. Freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, and all of those freedoms guaranteed under the Bill of Rights, must be preserved through public participation and oversight of their governments at all levels.
Thomas Jefferson said that: “Dissent is the highest form of patriotism!” Ben Franklin urged the people to be protective of your rights at all cost and added that: “Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security, deserve neither!” Our founding fathers even advocated a violent revolution to take back the government from tyrannical leaders, which is the motivation for the Second Amendment with the right to bear arms.
Public Participation is the friend of any politician that is trying to do the people’s business. However, when special interest groups like Barwest start buying up influence, politicians like Mayor Dale start viewing public participation as a nuisance and those that disagree with their agenda as the enemy. Thomas Jefferson addressed this issue when he said: "I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it."
I have had strong differences of opinions with Mayor Dale and his three vote coalition. Top of that list would be Indian Gaming as I am 100% convinced that the Barwest project will never ever succeed. And yet Barwest has bought influence and had some of our local leaders compromise the institutions in the process. They have corrupted our political process and violated our elections.
Whether the issue is economic development, community planning, green energy, youth activities, or environmental concerns such as the Hinkley human sludge threat, I do my research and speak the best educated truth that I can. But those who don’t like what I may have to say have chosen to make personal attacks on me and my family instead of sticking with the facts of the issues involved.
The BarWest Kool-Aid Club is now engaged in an all out campaign to smear me with lies, false accusations, and name calling. Tom Shields is actively involving his local groupies, to spread these lies at City Council meetings and in this forum. Space does not allow me to delve into my response to each and every one of their vicious attacks. But when you see the lies from Robert Vassuer, Charlie Moore, Julie Clemmer, and those that are certain to follow, please know that they are doing the bidding of this outside Detroit developer. You should also know that the truth will be revealed soon enough and the credibility of these attackers will be lost forever in the process.
My definition of treason definitely includes those that would suppress public participation and dissent with financially motivated smear attacks filled with lies. Martin Luther King used to say that: “The only thing necessary for evil to flourish is for good people to do nothing. I would encourage all citizens, Republican and Democrat alike, to become more involved in citizen oversight at all levels of government.
It is imperative that we heed the warning of Thomas Jefferson when he cautioned that: "Experience hath shown, that even under the best forms (of government) those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny."
Larry D. Halstead, Barstow
Note - Letters to the Editor are available on the paper's website starting the night before they appear in the paper. I have been reading them early there for awhile now. This piece did not show up the night before and as of this post is still not available online. Normally I might consider this a simple oversight but back during the campaign, the paper screwed up all of my advertising and my 'Candidate Responses' to their questions that they posed to all the candidates. The screw ups were so blatant and frequent that it was laughable. What makes this all highly suspect is that the paper has received tens of thousands of dollars from BarWest and their PAC not to mention a small fortune from the City of Barstow. Worse yet, Bea Lint, the Advertising Director for the paper, participated in the BarWest election of Tim Silva and Julie Hackbarth McIntire by secretly serving as their Media Adviser. When I confronted her on this, she claimed that she was dispatched by her editor to do so. The fact that this is a right wing oriented paper only reinforces their motives in always seeming to screw on on anything I submit.