Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Taking on Richmond's "axis of evil"

This past Friday, I had a particularly disturbing encounter with officer Sarah Messier. She approached me outside of the market with a list of names Isaac Cowan had given her to site with trespassing. Coincidentally, each name on the list appeared in the Seven Days article published two weeks ago about the market. I was immediately struck with the realization that Isaac had never met any of these individuals, so there was clearly an agenda being worked.

For context, it is important to note that Sarah Messier was the same officer who cited me with trespassing three weeks ago on behalf of selectboard member Mary Houle. The trespass notice was issued based on a fictional blogpost, in which I describe a rebel stronghold on an undisclosed island in the Winooski River. Conveniently, officer Messier issued this notice while the Chief was away.

When officer Messier told me that I needed to give her the contact information for the three individuals on her list, I was a bit floored. Could her impetus come from the Burlington Free Press article that came out earlier in the day pertaining to the Chief's announced resignation? She is after all, Houle's handpicked, heir apparent for interim chief. No conflict of interest there, right? Or could it have been the fact that as a police officer, Messier rarely comes face to face with a citizen determined to stand up for his rights and refuse to answer her politically driven orders. My response, in true LTCM fashion, was to flash a snarky grin, shake my head, and utter three little words: "not my job."

Not surprisingly, Messier let me get a good distance out before making sure she got the last word in; a huge tactical on her part, and one which outed the true nature of her visit. "Dan, you were given the opportunity to clear things up with Mary [Houle]." All the pieces quickly came together. This visit wasn't about Cowan at all, but the nature of her political alliance with Houle:

Earlier in the week, I had posted a scathing Front Porch Forum Post regarding Mary Houle's three-month blitz on the town's administration, in which she adeptly felled the town administrator and chair of the selectboard, and was now clawing for the chief of police (Messier's direct supervisor). If Cowan had actually intended to cite my three compatriots with trespass notices, he would have done so immediately when the article came out. Coming down the pipeline two weeks late was uncharacteristic given his impetuous nature, and the timing was too much of a coincidence. If you recall, Houle showed up with Cowan to intimidate me late on a Saturday night three weeks ago. This was just him returning the favor.

The link between Mary Houle and Isaac Cowan is obvious. Houle regularly acts on behalf of Cowan's interests during selectboard meetings, like voting "no" on the beer/wine license for my store and the aforementioned intimidation session outside my house (à la KKK, save for the sheets). Houle intends to use the police advisory board (of which Cowan is a member, along with another Cowan cohort) to effectively weaken the role of police chief through oversight and prime the position for Messier's arrival. Houle also used her position as police liaison to write an unfavorable performance review of the chief as retaliation for placing officer Messier on administrative leave. Clearly unqualified, but she has a bias, given her regular, public and vocal support for officer Messier.

Messier's role is this deranged triumvirate, is a bit…well…messier. She has a very public axe to grind with chief for placing her on administrative leave. Messier then follows up by attempting to cite trespass notice after trespass notice on behalf two corrupt individuals who have no legitimate or actionable response. Messier regularly uses her badge to convey Cowan and Houle's will, victimizing their political adversaries and perceived social threats through the simple, effective, and subtle art of police presence and intimidation. Messier is an officer far afield from the caliber of a chief.

Bottom line is this: Houle and Cowan are in favor of small government, lower taxes and disbanding Richmond's police force-yet together, they represent the most considerable drain on town resources, likely to inflict the administrative atrophy they seek. Together with officer Sarah Messier and a host of other fiendish followers, they have effectively calved an already fractured town. Get rid of Mary and Messier, Isaac looses his two insiders. With the three of them effectively pacified, the administration can start to rebuild trust within the community.

With that sentiment in mind, I again call for Mary Houle to resign her position on the selectboard immediately. I also believe that Messier should be again suspended, pending a full investigation. Finally, Cowan has no business being part of the police advisory committee and should step down. End of story.


  1. What I don't get is how she can even think she can cite someone for trespassing especially if she did not see them do it. I would have to agree that Messier seems to think she is above the law by harassing you. But as the saying goes, the bigger they (think) they are, the harder they fall. This little group's agenda is becoming exposed and hopefully will be squashed very soon. See you on the 8th.

  2. ^^ the person above me is right. I dont see how Messier could have even TRIED to cite them for trespassing UNLESS she saw them do it, or had proof of it. I agree with you though- messier certainly has an agenda and definitely needs to be suspended pending a full investigation. not to mention the corruption of houle and cowan.

  3. She is a liability to the town and the people of the community. It's downright scary that she is able to carry a weapon. What will the community do when they have a large lawsuit to contend with because of her irrational behavior unbecoming of an officer?

  4. Here is the most concerning aspect of this: When law enforcement becomes subject to politics, democracy is diminished. There needs to be a "firewall" between the selectboard and the police officers. The Chief is the only appropriate contact point for elected officials to "supervise" the police department. No individual selecboard member should be supervising any town employees. The selectboard must act as a whole since it's authority comes only as a group, or by the weight of the groups decisions.

    The selectboard town department "liason" concept has gone too far, especially with the loss of the town administrator (and no interim administrator appointed), selectboard members are now individually directing town employees. This is not good.

    So, once again, the "Houligans" have scored another point in the "ruin the credibility of the Richmond Police" game/effort to disband our police department...

  5. Disturbing, especially her parting comment. I'll be keeping it under the posted speed limit. Yikes.

  6. We all need to show up at Tuesday's selectboard meeting and put a stop to this nonsense. (Why are folks "anonymous"? If we are to deal with this, we can't hide.)
    Thanks everyone who cares about our community!

  7. Just some food for thought...
    1. Name calling brings this cause down to a level that in the end only lessens its credibility and marginalizes many who would otherwise be supportive. As frustrating as all of this is, I suggest we take the high road in our verbage.
    2. In response to the inquiry as to why people post anonymously, I think there is a great amount of fear of retribution. Look at what has happened to Dan, with the harrassment he has had to deal with. Who would willingly invite that into their lives? We have homes and families here. None of us should have to feel this way, and be afraid to speak our minds outright - but it is true the Ms. Houle has generated this climate with her actions. Many of us simply dont trust her reactions to be sensible and controlled.

  8. Hi

    I had the chance to ask if Sarah Messier read this blog and what her thoughts were of it. Besides a little chuckle, she said it was brought to her attention and she has read it. She said that 'it appears as though the author has written it slanted in his favor but thats to be expected'. She said she cant talk about the particulars as that would be 'unprofessional'. She did explain the vast difference between a 'citation (cite)' and 'trespass notice'. She said that a trespass notice is generally issued upon the request of a citizen for a certain person or persons not to enter unto a specific persons land or dwellings. She also said that asking a person for an address is different than 'ordering' a person to give such information, to which she fully understands does nto have to be given if the person doesnt want to speak.She ended our conversation saying " I was just doing my job, if he wants to surround this as some 'conspiracy theory' so be it".

    On an end note it is terribly unfortunate that people are capitalizing on someone else's issues that have absolutely nothing to do with them. Everyone appears to be an authority on the scoop between Richmond Police, the SB, and Sara and her Cheif. Bottom line is none of us know and a few ignorant one's dont get it...

  9. Sarah Messier has been a great officer to this town. She is good at her job and usually as a cop, you know your doing your job well when people dont like you. Crooks dont like to get caught, speeders dont like tickets, domestic abusers dont like being arrested and so forth. Its a thankless job and then you throw this type of one sided crap in...Really?

  10. It appears to me that personal agendas are at work here. Police are called upon to deal with simple quality of life complaints to serious crimes, accidents, and now much more complex things like identity fraud and cyber bullying. A good cop is one who can sift through the debris and do there job impartially. In the name of justice you cant make everyone happy. Im sorry Officer Sara that doing your job is newsworthy for this blog.

    I find it interesting that you want to open your store but yet you shy away from the real issues behind it with this smoke screen blog site. Can you inform the residents of Richmond as to what is stalling your grand opening? I hear alot about your misinformed political statements but nothing about your store.

  11. Danny boy...I think you should give up your entrepeneur venture and perhaps start writing fiction novels. maybe that'll be your big break and your off to a fantastic start my man!!!

  12. Like Sands thru the Hourglass ( you know the rest )


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