In honor of that great patriot Stephen Colbert, we are awarding Dave Burow the COWbert Alpha Dog award for his willingness to ignore the law and his belief that the Sheriff will do the Town COWncil’s bidding. Dave made his proposal during the COWncil’s debate at the July 8th COWncil meeting on the proposal to close Tripp Road to parking.
Part of this debate focused on the concern that the ‘No Parking’ signs would be ugly and disturb the beauty of Tripp Road. In other words, some residents and members of the COWncil wanted to have it both ways – having the road closed to parking but not having to have the large, obvious signs mandated by State law to warn drivers not to park in the restricted area. The Town is already going to use wooden poles instead of metal poles, but the actual ‘No Parking’ signs are mandated by law. Town Manager Susan George explained that if the signs are not the legal size and shape, or repeated within a certain distance of one another, there is no legal basis for the ticket and drivers can successfully challenge the $35 ticket in court on that basis.
No problem, COWncilman Dave Burow to the rescue with the solution so that residents on that Road wouldn’t have to look at ‘ugly’, lawful signs! He proposed that the Town could humiliate people who challenge the illegal ticket by somehow getting the Almanac – a purportedly independent newspaper – to publish the names of people who use that perfectly legitimate defense, in order to coerce people into paying an illegal fine.
Susan George told the COWncil that the Sheriff’s office wouldn’t even write such a ticket, because it was unenforceable. Dave Burow responded by saying the Town should see if it could get the Sheriff to write tickets anyway, KNOWING THAT THE TICKET WOULD BE UNENFORCEABLE.
Thus, Dave Burow suggested that the Town should put up signs that would legally have no weight in order to prevent parking on the road, and then try to humiliate people, by seeking the collusion of a newspaper to ‘out’ those people who used the perfectly legitimate defense of pointing out that such tickets are unenforceable under State law, and to urge law enforcement to violate citizens’ constitutional rights by writing tickets that have no legal basis. Council member Deborah Gordon thought this idea, should be looked into. Although not adopting the idea, no one on COWncil had the courage to speak up and tell him what a crazy and abuse of power that suggestion was. So clearly Dave has earned the COWbert’s Alpha Dog award.