To the editor:
The position taken by the city of Gloucester concerning electronic signatures on the Petition to Enact the Protect Children Act is legally incorrect.
And the fact is those who are placing obstacles in the path of an important discussion concerning the safety of our children, I believe, know they are wrong on the law.
More importantly, they are placing form over substance while attempting to stifle and frustrate what we all should agree is a critical conversation.
We file our taxes with electronic signatures, the U.S. courts require electronic filings and signatures. Massachusetts has legislated the use of electronic signatures in commerce and has NOT exempted cities and towns from the laws requirements. It appears that the City Council and/or School Committee (either of which could schedule a public hearing at any time) are using the city clerk and the city’s law department to erect barriers, simply because they do not want to have the conversation and be forced to go on the record.
I am proud of the efforts of Amanda Orlando Kesterson. She has advanced an important discussion, met with our new police chief, sought input from the few City Councillors and School Committee members who have had the courage to speak to her, and all while being battered and abused by anonymous attacks and the indifference of our elected officials. Gloucester needs more citizens like Amanda Kesterson. This is our city and we have the right to be heard.
I am outraged by the conduct of the elected City Council and School Committee. You have a sacred responsibility to Gloucester’s children and in light of the repeated horrors which have occurred in too many communities, you do nothing. The idea that Sandy Hook cannot happen in Gloucester is ridiculous thinking.
Finally, I sit as a member of the Gloucester Planning Board. When we held a hearing on whether to approve a zoning overlay district to facilitate the building of a hotel there were five or six armed Gloucester police on site. Are the lives of City Councillors and Planning Board Members somehow more valuable than those of our children? This is the issue the mayor, City Council and School Committee are hoping to avoid. I believe it is the reason they have used the city clerk and city attorney to block the will of the people in their quest for a public hearing.
I call on every Gloucester citizen, whatever your views on the subject, to demand that our elected officials schedule a public hearing and listen to the will of the people.
JOSEPH M. ORLANDO, Esq.
Western Avenue, Gloucester