After Robert Vasseur wrote another one of his indiscernible rants in a letter to the editor where he resorts to his usual meandering and always irrelevant attacks on me, local Attorney Bob Conaway responded with a letter of his own.
Mr. Conaway poignantly defended my constitutional rights to free speech and the right to dissent. Just like any elected officials, attorneys take an oath to defend and uphold the U.S. Constitution.
Thank you Bob for taking that oath seriously and being counted on the side of Free Speech!
Letters to the editor,
November 29, 2007
Barstow residents entitled to criticism
Robert Vasseur’s letter to the editor (”City manager’s removal might be justified,” Nov. 19) highlights one of the current problems facing this country — a tendency to try and make dissension and or vigorous debate something which is partisan. That we have dissension at City Council meetings is patriotism in play.
I have met the city manager, Mr. Rodriguez, and I believe he has the qualifications to serve Barstow well based on a solid resume of prior experience. If there are other problems we aren’t being told about, I suppose the Brown Act can be blamed, but whether the blame is somewhere else or not, people like Larry Halstead have a right to voice that opinion.
As long as Larry lives in Barstow, he has a constitutional right in public comment periods to criticize government operations and leaders in Barstow. As a regional director for the California Democratic Party, I have sat in council chambers and have heard Larry make it clear that while he is a member and president of a local democratic club, he does not speak for the state party and as a California Democratic Party state officer, I can assure Mr. Vasseur the Democratic Party is not organizing nor supporting a recall in Barstow nor is there anything going on except for the usual voter education process and the get-out-the-vote drives for the upcoming elections.
Barstow, party affiliations aside, appears to suffer from less than full and honest disclosure of what government is doing or thinks it’s doing in the public interest, of insider dealing that dead-ends the city with nothing to show for it except busted tribal (and or Chinese business) deals and or financing agreements (and a fat bill for attorney fees, costs, spent staff time), a sewage spill that could have been avoided (along with the fat fines the city had to pay) ... and well I could go on.
I do respect the work and dedication of Barstow’s city employees and elected leaders. I only wish Larry Halstead’s first amendment right to criticize was similarly respected, not because he is a Democrat, but because he is a fellow American.
"Bob Conaway's letter to the editor here is really good and to the point. The establishment never likes a whistle blower and Larry Halstead is a whistle blower when it comes to the iniquities of the Barstow establishment. Of course there will be name callers who lack substance and couldn't argue their way out of a brown paper bag, but Larry will still be there doing his patriotic duty by blowing the whistle on this crooked city establishment. Dissent is the highest form of patriotism and Larry certainly is dissenting from our current political situation in Barstow. I see absolutely nothing wrong with that and all of Larry's critics can just sit and meditate on what it means to exercise one's constitutional freedoms in this country.
In response to someone hiding behind the pseudo name of Splixx, who left a stupid comment left on the Desert Dispatch website in regard to the above letter, Jeffrey Quillinan left the following comment:
"Larry is no joke and Larry is not just "out for himself" as Splixx alleges here. I vouch for Larry's honesty in his attempts to warn Barstow of the underhanded dealings of our present City Council with regards to Barwest. Larry is a good citizens and true patriot. Splixx doesn't know what he is talking about when he posts negative things about Larry Halstead. That much is truly evident by his vitriolic nonsense here."