December 22, 2012
Supervisor of Public Records
Office of the State Secretary
One Ashburton Place, Room 1719
Boston MA 02108
Dear Supervisor of Public Records:
Word reached me this past summer that my good friend, G. Tod Slone, has been banned—for life!—from his local library in Barnstable, Massachusetts, by Lucy Loomis, the director of the Sturgis Library.
The banishment came more than a year after Slone publicly criticized Loomis and the library for declining to place a copy of The American Dissident in circulation. The journal, edited by Slone, deliberately and vociferously challenges American literary and academic elites and their individual protectors to confront the hypocrisy of their hegemony over cultural values in today’s society.
The refusal of the library to find space on the shelves for the Dissident, and Slone’s response to the decision on free speech grounds, caught the attention of the local newspaper, which published an article sympathetic to Slone’s side of the dispute in the spring of 2011.
The quarrel apparently simmered in Loomis’ mind for more than a year, until June of 2012. Then, seeing Slone in the library one Tuesday afternoon, Loomis without warning summoned the local gendarmes to give him the bum’s rush. Slone’s eviction was performed together with a No Trespassing for Life order conjured out of thin air by Loomis. No reason for the banishment is stated on the police report associated with the incident.
In short: No witnesses, no evidence, no facts, no due process, no right of appeal, just the opinion of Loomis, and poof, no more library for you, Mister Slone. That’s the cost of free speech at Loomis’ library, and how fast an individual’s civil rights gets revoked on her premises.
I am outraged. And I want to know how this can happen in the United States of America. I filed the enclosed Public Access Records request to find out, citing 950 CMR 32. I received the enclosed denial, claiming the library was not subject to the Regulation as it was not a Government Entity.
I appeal the denial.
Specifically, I appeal on the grounds of 950 CMR 32.03, which defines a Governmental Entity as “any authority established by the General Court to serve a public purpose..”
The argument that the Sturgis Library is not subject to the Regulation is specious. It is obvious that a town library serves a public purpose. The authority of the Town of Barnstable devolves upon an entity to which it contacts to serve a public purpose. The library cannot claim the rights of the public purpose and at the same time hide behind the skirts of its organizational structure to evade the responsibilities of the public purpose it undertakes.
This matter is not the subject of active litigation, administrative hearing, mediation or any other legal dispute that would subject the appeal to denial under the conditions described in 950 32.08(3).
My purpose in filing this request is to discover the truth of this thing, how an individual can be permanently banned from a public library for no reason, with no hearing, and with no recourse; and how the individuals who have protested this action also end up without a voice in the matter.
I thank you for your consideration of this matter. Please contact me at (414) 331-1495 if you have any questions or need further information.
Russell J. Streur
11190 Abbotts Station Drive
John’s Creek GA 30397