The Whitehall Ledger - Serving Southern Jefferson County in the Great State of Montana

By Dawn Welch

Letter to the Editor: Response to Cross Letter


October 5, 2016

Before people get too excited about waiving their flags and being all patriotic about democracy, here is some food for thought concerning the article written by Chad Cross.

Let me start with our Bill of Rights; Articles V and XIV. Article V tells us that in our great nation we cannot be held to a crime without the right to a jury of our peers, double jeopardy is unlawful, nor can we be deprived without Due Process of law. Article XIV also states that if we are born in these United States that we are American, but also, importantly, “nor can any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without Due Process of law; nor deny any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” Basically, “We, The People” are free from mistaken or unjustified deprivation of life, liberty or property. This allows people to contest the foundation of those who propose to deny us of our protected interests. The town’s Aldermen and the Mayor found that it is in their best interest to defend themselves against false accusations through a truth-finding process and to have their opportunity to not only dispute, but to present their objections. Parties whose rights are to be affected are entitled to be heard. The town’s Aldermen and Mayor have the right to show untruths on the rights of confrontation and cross-examination. Litigation is time-consuming and costly. Maybe someone should have pointed out to this ‘group’ that anybody can do a recall; if it were simple, more people would be doing it. Should these men give up their rights for the good of the community? How un-American.

What Mr. Cross read at the town council meeting and put in the paper, was very disheartening, especially since he represents our local law enforcement. Yes, he should be entitled to his First Amendment rights, but to what extent? To come before the people, in a respected position of leadership with our community, and tell the town’s Aldermen and Mayor that they should be denied their rights to Due Process represents a biased and prejudiced ethics. Maybe this was unintentional, but when you have people acting in the name of government who violate ethics, they break trust with “We, The People.” This unchecked power is the basis of tyranny. The very thing that our Declaration of Independence says is wrong and we are to take safeguards against.

Only “qualified electors entitled to vote for the successor of the elective officer” can recall an elective office. Ms. Nemeth petitioned to recall five; she should have only been able to do two, and that is only if she changed her voting registration from her out of town address to her in town address. The meeting in question had the agenda properly displayed for notice and the meeting was not held in executive session. There was no open meeting violation. The decision for the Aldermen to vote did not need to happen because it was already established in city ordinance for the city ambulance to go with the fire department on calls; making the vote a moot point and not an open point for discussion. As for the charge of “Official Misconduct,” since there was no open meeting violation and no laws were broken, this cannot apply. It is my opinion that the petition should fail because it was unsupported by fact.

In order to have democracy, there must be truth and fact and the process must be free of any manipulation by those who think they have power. Democracy is not in the private interests of those in government; influencing political outcomes. For the most part, democracy has been dormant for quite awhile. Until “We, The People” stand up united, and dust it off, it will remain that way. When was the last time you took part in a ‘fair’ election process?

Dawn Welch



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