Residents of Grafton, NH had their deliberative budget session on Saturday the 7th, in preparation for their annual town meeting on March 10.
As most readers know, Grafton is home to a number of members of the Free State Project, the band of armed miscreants moving to NH with the stated intent of taking over the NH government, dismantling it, and threatening secession. Grafton was ground zero - the town that the FSP intended to take over and turn into a model community at the beginning of their invasion. It hasn't gone well. Free Staters (then and now) don't seem able to grasp that not everyone shares their vision of a glibertarian utopia - and that many of those who don't share their vision were here before the FSP arrived to liberate them.
I found two stories covering the Grafton deliberative session. They couldn't be more different. I suggest you read them both and reach your own conclusions.
In the Union Leader, news correspondent John Koziol is desperate to portray the town moderator as a weepy woman. It's mentioned twice in his story, and once in the headline:
Effort to constrain Free State backfires, confusion brings Grafton moderator to verge of tears
In the story, she goes from "weeping" to "seemingly weeping." Hmmm....sounds like weepful thinking on the part of the writer.
Koziol casts Free Stater Brian Fellers as something of a budget watchdog; asking for each department to review the budget, and making a variety of motions to cut the budget. He never mentions Fellers problem with impulse control. Last year he was found guilty of disorderly conduct after his arrest for disrupting the deliberative session.
For an entirely different look at the Grafton deliberative session, we turn to the Valley News:
By the end of a 10 -hour deliberative session yesterday, no substantive changes had been made to the 36 articles on the warrant that Grafton residents will vote on next month.
In some ways, the meeting resembled last year’s — an 11-hour slog that, despite Free Staters’ efforts, resulted in no cuts to the operating budget. This year, attempts to slash the budget were once again rebuffed.
I'm just not seeing the "backfire" here.
Many see Free Staters’ focus on procedure as a ploy to drag out the meetings so other residents will become frustrated and leave, allowing those remaining to vote in changes to their liking.
The delay, disrupt, and obstruct tactics that the residents of Grafton see at their deliberative session are the same tactics that the Free Staters and their libertea allies use in the NH legislature. In Grafton it shows contempt and disrespect for the other residents of the town. In the NH House, it shows contempt and disrespect for their colleagues in the House - and even more contempt for the people of New Hampshire.
Two stories about the same event - yet they couldn't be more different.
The Valley News appears to engage in a quaint, yet time honored practice known as "reporting."
The Union Leader has long served as a stenographer for the far right. In recent years they've embraced the Free State Project, and attempted to cast them in a flattering light whenever possible. This tear-stained story is just another of those attempts.