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In 2009, the Ravena News Herald Reported that Michael Biscone Attempted to Limit Free Speech in Ravena
Yes, you read correctly. In an article by Laurie Lynn printed on the front page of the Ravena News Herald in its May 7, 2009, edition: “Ravena attorney limits free speech.” But that shouldn’t surprise anyone who has eyes to see and ears to hear.
The article describes Michael Biscone as “a lawyer for the village of Ravena” and describes the village’s and Biscone’s attempts to “illegally restrict public comments at its meetings.” According to a letter from “village attorney Michael Biscone, ” persons wanting to comment publicly “must give the board…an outline of what they plan to say” before the meeting!”
It shouldn’t be surprising that the Coeymans town attorney at the time, David Wukitsch, tells the News Herald that Biscone’s letter applies “two different rules to public participation.” Now that’s something really new for Ravena and RCS, isn’t it? Double standards? Two different rules?
The article goes on to quote Robert Freeman, executive director of the New York Committee on Open Government, “It is against the law to discriminate between who may speak at public meetings and who may not.”
Here’s another suprise for you: The reporter writes that the policy outlined in the letter was neither discussed nor brought to a vote during an open public meeting. Of course, Michael Biscone tries to wiggle his way out of that one, too. According to Biscone he wrote the letter based on a “request” made by the “board.”
Here’s where we have a problem with Biscone’s silly excuse. First of all, it sounds like the one about “the devil made me do it!” Biscone is an attorney licensed to practice law in New York. As far as we know, New York is located in the United States of America, and in the good ol’ USA the Constitution and its Amendments are the highest law of the land. And don’t law schools teach constituional law? Aren’t attorneys expected to know about the Bill of Rights? Free speech, free assembly, all of that stuff? Apparently Biscone never heard of all that.
Here’s another one for you to toss about: Biscone at the time was village attorney. He was the official legal advisor to the village of Ravena on legal issues. Right? So if the village of Ravena wanted something done Biscone was supposed to advise them whether it would be legal or illegal. Right? Why didn’t Biscone tell the “board” who “requested” him to write up the gag policy, that it was illegal? Was it because Biscone was ignorant or just crooked and saw an opportunity to take advantage, as he normally does, of the Ravena village board, its mummy mayor, John Bruno, and the people of the district? No, Mikey, you can’t get off the hook so easily. If this blog were around then you’d probably be cleaning toilets instead of practicing your perverse form of law!
The law is clear: It is not legal for three or more board members to conduct government business in private (Freeman, New York Committee on Open Government). According to Freeman: “If indeed, a majority of the board discussed this issue…to comply with the law, the discussion should have occurred in public.”
Does this remind anyone of the secret meetings between Nancy Warner, John Bruno and Martin Case [?] (On information and belief, we believe Cathy Deluca was present, too.) when the Ravena Health and Fitness Center used equipment was purchased for more than $40,000 of taxpayer money from Robert “Bob” Fisk (a Persico), Rocco Persico’s (Ravena village trustee) cousin, and Jose Bruno handled the sale (and the property rental to the RC Teen Center). The meeting alone was an illegal meeting! And it’s also true of the way the Ravena Health and Fitness Center was created! No public meetings. No minutes. No public discussion. Citizens were told what was going to be done, not asked!
Now, here’s Ravena mayor John Bruno’s usual “I didn’t know” response (Bruno used the same claim of ignorance when the state found serious accounting errors in the village of Ravena bookkeeping):
“Village mayor John Bruno said…that he knew Biscone was sending a letter. He said he did not review the contents before it was mailed. He said he was not sure whether or not the other board members knew of the letter before it was sent.”
What started all of this? Funny you should ask. Well, as we’ve reported on a number of occasions Ravena’s mummy mayor John Bruno and his sockpuppets, the Ravena village trustees, has problems with the town of Coeymans. This time it was about sewer services and who pays what. So, Laverne “Larry” Conrad, building inspector and code enforcement officer for the town of Coeymans, got in a 35-minute “interchange” during a village board meeting with mayor Bruno.
According to Conrad:
“I got tired of hearing the information being improperly broadcast at village board meetings…I was just trying to clarify the numbers. They’ve been all over the place with numbers.”
According to the News Herald, “Biscone’s…letter” letter to Coeymans town supervisor at the time, R. Hotaling, “expressed some ‘significant concern’about Conrad’s appearance.”
Here’s how Biscone worded his illegal demand on behalf of the Ravena village board:
“Please understand that in the future, a representative of the town government will not be recognized to speak at a village public meeting unless that individual has prior approval from the board and an outline is presented to the board in advance of the contents of that individual’s concerns.” [our emphasis]
Biscone continues in that April 23, 2009, letter:
“I am advised by the village board that this rule will apply, not only to representatives of the town government, but to any individual who is not a village resident.” [our emphasis]
This is incredible. This is scandalous. It’s an outrage that Michael Biscone or any attorney licensed to practice law in New York state or anywhere in the United States could pen such illegal, unlawful, un-American rubbish and not find himself in front of a disciplinary board getting his license suspended! It’s even more scandalous and outrageous to have to admit that this shyster was Ravena village attorney at the time [and continues to work very closely with the village board], and at board meetings was constantly whispering something into Bruno’s hairy ears.
It’s even more idiotic that Ravena allows its mummy mayor to get away with his moronic excuse, “I didn’t know…” What in hell is he mayor for? The article by NH reporter Lynn and even the Biscone letter states that it was the “village board,” who requested him to write the rule, despite its obvious illegality. The board is made up of the trustees and the mayor! The exchange allegedly giving rise to the rule was between Larry Conrad and mayor John Bruno! Bruno’s either senile or a liar. More likely he’s a senile liar!
The article quotes Coeymans town board member Thomas Boehm as saying, “the village board members are ” just further isolating themselves’…’they hide behind their attorney.” Never were truer words spoken.
Boehm is further quoted as saying “The village is going against the democratic principles our country is based on…[t]hey’re limiting the ability of the public to communicate ideas and thoughts.”
And Larry Conrad, an official of the town of Coeymans:
“He’s [Biscone, Bruno] not stopping me from coming…What was his purpose–to censor my rights as a person and my rights to speak? If they remove me from a meeting for just being there, there will be a lawsuit, guaranteed. And Michael Biscone won’t be representing me.”
That’s really cute, Larry, because the article also notes that Michael Biscone was not only Ravena village attorney, he was [and isn’t he still?] your “personal lawyer”!
Special thanks go to Laurie Lynn, the reporter who wrote the 2009 article for the News Herald, and a very special friend who provided us with the entire print issue of the May 7, 2009, News Herald article quoted above.
This entire issue is very, very timely considering the fact that papers were recently served on the village of Ravena for violations of a citizen’s rights by Cathy Deluca, director of the illegal and unlawfully equipped and created Ravena Health and Fitness Center. The Coeymans Police Department is also investigating criminal charges of harassment filed by the abused citizen against Deluca.
There is also the issue of the Ravena Shop’n Save having prevented two local citizens from exercising their rights of free expressive activity and lawful political activity in the public space near the Shop’n Save. Shop’n Save management demanded that they stop their activity, an activity that is explicitly protected by the First Amendment, and asked them to leave. We have agreed to assist those two citizens in putting together their lawsuit.
It’s up to us to ensure that our Constitutional Rights are not violated by our local public officials and their lackeys. It’s time to wake up and shake things up!
You can read and download the minutes of the April 27, 2009, town of Coeymans board meeting at which the Biscone letter was read into the record and discussed by the Coeymans town board. The entire text of the Biscone letter is reproduced in those minutes. It’s an interesting read if you want to know how some of your Coeymans town board members feel about the relationship between the town of Coeymans and the village of Ravena. Click this link Minutes, then click the Download button. The minutes should appear on your screen for reading or downloading. The discussion of the Biscone letter starts on about page 22.
Bad news for Bruno, Deluca and Biscone and everyone associated with those criminals!
Must Reads in Connection with this Article:
Village of Ravena Served: Cathy Deluca and Ravena Health and Fitness Center under Fire, Click Here.
Update on Claim Filed Against Village of Ravena and Cathy Deluca, Click Here.
Big Disappointments & Civil Rights Violations: The Ravena Health and Fitness Center, Click Here.
Resident’s Report: Visits to Three New Operations in Ravena, Click Here.
“Qui tacet consentire videtur ubi loqui debuit ac potuit.”
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