September 8th @ at 6:00pm location(s) in Richmond tbd
We invite friends, neighbors, and folks from around the region to join us in a show of community solidarity
Empower residents of all ages to be active in their community
Let the selectboard know that we deserve honest and ethical representation
Show our support for Chief Joe Miller
...In the meantime, we need help bringing this together on such short notice. If you would like to sponsor or volunteer for the event, please contact Dan @ 802.922.1307 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Mary Houle's continued path of destruction can be observed in the pages of today's issue of the Burlington Free Press. Staff writer Matt Ryan's benign article plays second string to the comment section:
On September 8th we will show her our resolve in the form of a peaceful protest. If you believe that our town deserves ethical and honest representation, I emplore you to join us in a show of community solidarity. Details will be forthcoming.
Today's Front Porch Forum post regarding selectboard member Mary Houle elicited a multitude of responses, unanimously in favor of her immediate resignation. Below is a letter addressed to the residents of Richmond concerning yet another resignation of a town official. This letter comes directly from Fran Thomas, former member and chair of the Richmond Selectboard:
Dear Richmond residents,
As you may have heard, Chief Miller has submitted his resignation as Chief of the Richmond Police Department effective the end of Dec of this year. The work of the Chief has been constantly undermined over the past year by Mary Houle of the Selectboard. The next Selectboard meeting has been scheduled for Sept 8 at 6:30 PM .. There is time set aside at the beginning of the meeting for public comment. Please come to this meeting to:
#1. show your support and gratitude for the many years of excellent service that the Chief has given to the Town of Richmond.
#2. To let the Selectboard know, and in particular Mary Houle and the chair Pete Parent, that the residents of Richmond are not going to tolerate any more this type of behavior from our elected officials. Such behavior has now cost us the resignation of a valuable Selectboard member in March, the Chief's resignation, is causing morale issues among our employees which may lead to more resignations and will effect the Town's ability to hire qualified professional individuals to fill vacant positions in the future.
If you can not make it to the September 8 meeting please let the members of the Selectboard know you feelings on the state of town government in Richmond by phone, email or in person. It is critical that we all act now. This current situation has gotten out of control and our Town's reputation is at stake.
Thank you in advance,
Former member and chair of the Richmond Selectboard
This is a post I recently submitted to Richmond East's Front Porch Forum:
Over the years, we have all seen Mary Houle transition from an independent, fiery advocate of self-determination and small government into someone who acts primarily in the interest of her private advisory-whose members have for years, set about the ruin of our local administration and sought to leave our community in a permanent state of atrophy.
To that end, Houle and her hooligan cohort have made great headway in recent months. The ouster of Ron Rodjenski represented a major coup for her group, demonstrating that with enough politicking and public humiliation, she can dispatch a town administrator and a fellow select board member in one evening. Long after Rodjenski's departure, Houle continues to beat her chest publicly and lay blame on his feet in press interviews. Clearly, she is not one to even recognize her own victory-instead she continues to tear a path of cold retribution and vendetta across our lawns.
Two weeks ago, select board member Mary Houle arrived at my home and business at 9:30 pm on a Saturday night with a group of disgruntled citizens. When a publicly elected official is allowed to subject a private citizen to mob intimidation there is an undeniable message being delivered. It speaks not only to her inability to accept diverse perspectives, but also her refusal to communicate. While her actions affected me directly, they also impact the entire town she claims to represent.
She has not only breached the public trust, but has demonstrated her inability to represent community ideals. Richmond needs local officials who are responsible in their actions and forward thinking in their approach. I call upon Mary Houle to offer her resignation and vacate her position on the Richmond select board immediately.
I spent part of my weekend down in Northfield, grilling up Backcountry Pizza for the Bonestock crew. It was a delightful escape from the wildly humorous sight of Isaac Cowan and his selectboard vassal, Mary Houle massing on my border, engaged in some North Korean-inspired brinkmanship.
Houle's response to my previous blogpost, in which I describe a fictitious rebel stronghold located on an island in the Winooski River, was to have police cite me with a trespass notice. Yes folks, in Richmond creative writing is grounds for getting served. Apparently, the town doesn't mind tossing out the constitutional protections of their citizenry when a selectboard member's ego is wounded. So, in true LTCM fashion, we have responded by turning the trespass notice into a t-shirt…in carbon copy pink of course! We are also preparing to help Ms. Houle out with her re-election campaign, with "Hooligans for Houle" as the campaign slogan.
To show our lenient nature, we are offering Isaac Cowan a fresh start in his relations with the Long Trail Community Market Quorum. Print out the declaration below; sign and date in front of a notary public and return with a self-addressed stamped envelope to: Long Trail Community Market 232 Jonesville, VT 05466 no later than the Twenty-first day of August, 2009.
We, acting by command of and on behalf of the Long Trail Community Market Quorum hereby offer the provisions of your surrender in this declaration.
We hereby command your forces wherever situated to cease hostilities forthwith and comply with all requirements which may be imposed by the LTCM.
We hereby command that you withdraw the trespass notice on file with the Richmond Police Department and hereby accept the longstanding right of way agreement between our two properties.
We hereby command that you liberate your taste buds and undertake in good faith the regular and copious tasting of Backcountry Pizza for the purpose of giving effect to new and glorious gastronomic experiences.
We hereby command that you establish a Facebook account and "friend" us.
Prompt compliance will allow the LTCM to take such steps as deemed proper to effectuate these terms of surrender.
Extended at THE ISLAND, VERMONT on the EIGHTEENTH day of AUGUST, 2009, for the Long Trail Community Market, and in the interests of the other community members in conflict with Isaac Cowan.
Daniel Giangreco Supreme Leader of the Long Trail Community Market
Ché Gnombre Militant Lawn Gnome Association Representative
"Calico" Jack Rebedeau Jonesville Underground Representative
Signed at RICHMOND TOWN OFFICES on the __________ day of AUGUST, ______
Isaac Cowan By Command and in behalf of Cowan Property Management, LLC
Friends & Neighbors, please make note of the following changes to official town policy:
As of August 8, 2009 a Richmond selectboard member will be on-call during weekend and evening hours to handle your civil complaints. If you observe neighbors participating in social gatherings of two or more, laughter lasting longer that 5 seconds, or lights on past 8pm, report these act of impropriety to Mary Houle between the hours of 8pm and 2am. She can be reached at 802-434-2666.
Mary darlin', you set a dangerous precedent coming down to the store with Isaac Cowan late in the evening. As a board member I expect a bit more prudence and tact on your part. Do you represent the town, or are you a bought and paid for politician?
…and Isaac hun, next time you decide to disrupt my weekend, you ought to brandish something a bit scarier than a selectboard member. Your continued acts of intimidation only embolden our rapidly increasing numbers, and your tantrums are providing us with sold gold material for the blog and our upcoming show.
The LTCM response to this most recent act of aggression and invasion of privacy was to gear up with mullet wigs, super soakers, kendo swords, wiffleball bats, and a guitar and march defiantly (to Spanish guitar riffs) over to our neighbor's house to deliver a freshly baked Backcountry Pizza. When Cowan and his selectboard vassal finally departed, we let loose an ewok battle cry and told ghost stories around the campfire.
In other news, the LTCM has annexed a small island in the Winooski River, on which the new Jonesville Underground complex will be located. We have acquired a radio transmitter, ferried over a small flotilla of livestock, created an interconnected series of zip lines, and dug several tiger pits loaded with punji sticks made from dried, sharpened Japanese knotweed (just doing our part to find creative uses for invasive species). On our island we will teach retrotopian values and make twig art to sell at local markets.
This year's Jonesfest was a resounding success-three days of celebration with friends and family to mark our recent victories on the road to opening. We've already started talking with folks about a greatly expanded event for next year, and in doing so; we have secured some funds via shameless corporate sponsorship. Love it!
Rachel Sherman of the Champlain Business Journal trekked out to Jonesville about a month ago to cover our little project, so it was great to see her article hit newsstands this week. We also have Ms. Sherman to thank for re-acquainting us with the Vermont youth diaspora. The issue is going to be resuscitated properly, and by the right people to assure that the discussion can sustain.
Also, grab a copy of Seven Days tomorrow...you might find a particularly illuminating read tucked in section A.