[The Whole Video]
At the recent GBPOA meeting George Broadhead, president of the GBPOA, brought up that certain people object to cameramen being present at the meeting. He described about what their board feels would be a good solution to address this concern: Splitting their meeting into a public session, where elected officials and the public can speak and the press may be present, then, after a brief intermission, a members-only meeting where a camera may not be present, and only members may speak.
This is where things got fun. John Walsh, a board member of the GBPOA, who successfully led the charge to allow 18-year olds to be voting members of the GBPOA, is apparently leading the charge specifically against GerritsenBeach.net. At first, he takes issue with the anonymous comments that the site allows stating “If you don’t have the balls to put your name to something, what do you got? You got nothing.” He goes on to to say that it is effecting the community by hurting GBCares, because “the camera’s presence” it is making people think twice about speaking openly at the meeting. He went on to explain that he and he and other members of the board will resign if something isn’t “resolved”.
“In my opinion it comes down to the right to freedom of the press, and your right as a commenter to comment without fear of retaliation. I have heard numerous times, from different people, some are heads of local organizations, that would love to know who some of you are so they can beat the hell out of you. Which is why I allow anonymous comments.”
He used my quote to suggest that there needs to be some anonymity at the GBPOA public meetings.
He went on to describe that he has hired a lawyer and a private detective, all pro-bono, to find a legal means “to shut down his camera and to shut it down for good!” He went on to say “I love the work you do, there is a lot of good stuff you do.” “There is going to be things I disagree with and that’s alright – my concern is for whats going on here.”
George Broadhead, who to his credit has stuck up for freedom of the press many times, stated – in an apparent tit-for-tat, countering Mr. Walsh’s point that people are not attending the meeting because of GB.net’s presence “It does not look like people are not coming to the meetings”, referring to the size of the crowd. Broadhead said he is also against the “Anonymous people”, but “the website has the sames rights as a newspaper and also the same rights as anyone in a public meeting.”
George then knocked Walsh’s statement of hiring a private detective “doesn’t that sound like an invasion of privacy? That’s doing the same thing as knocking the 1st amendment right.”
Jane Dewitt, who is a board member of both GBCares and the GBPOA, stated that her, her husband, GBCares, and many people have been “knocked on (GB.net)”. “It’s all negative”. “I don’t read rags…to me that’s a rag, I get calls. My last call was that GBCares dumped roof shingles back weeds”
Michael Taylor, Chairman of GBCares Board, chimed in: “Yes he said it’s our fault”
The pile on continued when Mr. Taylor, Chairman of GBCares Board, asked “Does (GB.net) have press credentials, is he press? or is he just some crazy stalker that’s putting out video clips to embarrass the community.”
For the record, according to the NYPD,:
“Working Press Cards are for those individuals who are full-time, news staff employees, whose routine duties require them to cross police and fire lines and are regularly involved in spot emergency news coverage, i.e.; shootings, fires, homicides, etc.
“Press Identification Cards are issued to full-time members of the press who do not hold the Working Press Cards but do have a need for an official Police Department identification card in order to fulfill their various assignments of crossing police lines at the scene of a “non-emergency” news event such as a parade, theatre premiere, etc.
Since no Gerritsen Beach meeting falls into any of this, you don’t need a credential to attend and report.)
Let’s cut through the crap – this is an outright attack on the 1st Amendment, on GerritsenBeach.net personally and an attack on Gerritsen Beach itself as a community. There are people in this community who want to be “community leaders” and do whatever the hell they want to do, and not be accountable to the community. They want to have their cake and eat it too, and without you knowing. Before blogging and citizen journalism, that was the norm. No more. You deserve to know what is happening in your community – the good and the bad – and you deserve leaders who understand what it means to truly lead. Leaders like George Broadhead, who deal openly and honestly, and don’t care who is in the room when he opens his mouth.
These fascist attacks must not be tolerated. Let’s see what lawyers I can contact pro-bono.