Hiding In A Zoom Box - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1834205

Hiding In A Zoom Box

It is my personal opinion that the purpose of denying village residents admittance to the Village Board of Trustees meetings is denying citizens their constitutional right of assembly and their rights of petition. The reason given for this denial was the fear of the virus COVID-19.

Most local citizens have received the vaccination, they wear masks when necessary and are aware of preventive health measures such as washing hands, distancing and avoiding large crowds.

The village owns or has access to large suitable buildings capable of safely accommodating a trustee meeting with concerned citizens: the Cultural Center, Parrish Hall at the hospital, the old ambulance barn, court buildings, any of the three firehouses, the antique fire truck barn and the new ambulance building.

During the four years I was a trustee, I would sit in front of the picture of Lake Agawam and look into the faces of the taxpayers — they stared back at me. The speakers would express their concerns to the board — the board would listen. When walking through the village or shopping, concerned citizens would stop to express their concerns, thus fulfilling their rights under the First Amendment to the Constitution.

Benjamin Franklin wisely advised us when he wrote, “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.” The founding fathers did not hide in a Zoom box. They gave us the Constitution.

Joseph A. McLoughlin Sr.

Southampton Village