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It Occurs to Me

1st Amendment: Endangered Species in Millinocket
By Michelle Anderson
May 14, 2006 - 10:40:00 AM

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On Monday, May 1, 2006, the Millinocket Town Council held what they called an "Economic Development Workshop." And at that meeting, they listed what they perceived as the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to the town.

Councilor Matthew Polstein listed the Magic City Morning Star as a threat to the community.

Polstein has long objected to the Magic City Morning Star, complaining that by printing the local news and opinion, MCMS has caused businesses to refuse to move to Millinocket.

Taking advantage of what can only be described as a lynch mob mentality, the Millinocket Town Council invited the public to discuss the Magic City Morning Star and how to "drive it out of town."

Below are my comments to the Millinocket Town Council at their May 11, 2006, meeting:

I understand that last week, at an official town council "economic development workshop", our online newspaper, the Magic City Morning Star, was declared by members of this council to be a "threat to the community."

The Magic City Morning Star is our business. It puts bread on our table and pays our mortgage and taxes.

The fact that an alleged economic development workshop is now looking into ways to "shut down" our business, coupled with our local government officially attempting to abridge the right not only to free speech, but the right to freedom of the press is almost too ironic to mention.

And it should scare the citizens of this town as much as it scares me.

I understand that our newspaper has taken unpopular stands, and that my family has taken positions which were counter to those of the sitting council.

But that is our right as Americans.

Our country was built on the very freedoms that some members this council seek, using their official offices, to squelch.

The First Amendment -- the very first of the Bill of Rights -- says that the government cannot make laws about the establishment of religion or abridge the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. So far, 80% of that Amendment has been systematically abolished in this town.

And the fact that members of this council have publicly stated, while seated in their official government seats, that the Magic City News is a threat and needs to be shut down is distinctly unAmerican and should frighten everyone in this town.

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