City Council Gaslighting –

You Are Asking Questions Because . . . You are Crazy

GRAVITAS . . . . Fair and Brutal Opinion (Trapped by Facts)

Headshot of Contributing Writer Scott J. Graves
 M the Media Project

About Contributing Journalist Scott J. Graves in his own words

Scott J. Graves, Esq., B.S. Biology, M.S. Pharmacology, J.D. Law – Father, Born-and-Bred Gardnerien-American, Gardner Native of Acadien Heritage, Gardner High School Class of 1982, Gardner Citizen-Voter, Gardner Homeowner/Taxpayer, 30-year Gardner Business Owner, 30-year Gardner Lawyer, former 16-year Gardner City Councillor, former Gardner City Council President, and former Gardner City Solicitor and Head of the City of Gardner Law Department.

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For those who have not seen Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer in the film “Gaslight,” you’ve probably heard the verb by now – “gaslighting.”  The movie gave us a great term for a government’s cruel exploitation of the Citizens’ trust.

In the film, Boyer’s character carries out a scheme to make Bergman’s character believe she is crazy – so that she will no longer trust the veracity of her own observations and beliefs. Boyer does this by hiding objects, moving things, and by leading Bergman into thinking she’s imagining things (like the gaslights flickering on and off when he’s not around).  Bergman then naturally begins to doubt her sanity – which is Boyer’s objective all along.

In actuality, Bergman wasn’t crazy at all.  Bergman believed that her husband (Boyer) was acting in her best interests.  She didn’t realize he was a corrupt and greedy psychopath taking advantage of his wife’s trust in order to satisfy his lust for money and power.  What Boyer was doing to his wife is now called “gaslighting.” 

Like corrupt husbands, corrupt governments do this to their Citizens for the purpose of making the Citizens entirely reliant upon, and dependent upon their Government.  This slowly shifts all power to a concentrated little collective within the Government – called the Ruling Class.  Orwell called them “Big Brother.”  Trust the Government.  Ignorance is Strength.  If you want the truth, you must trust the Government.  Most of all, do not question authority.

Just watch the Feb. 22nd City Council Meeting.

Agenda Item No. 10618 – the Mayor told the City Council they have to keep expending Citizens’ money to pay for outside lawyers despite the fact the City of Gardner has a Law Department.  This is regarding the public records case that former City Councillor Scott J. Graves was forced to file in order to get information from the City regarding the corrosive condition of the Citizens’ drinking water (the Coil Scandal).

None of this makes any sense, of course.

So, Councillor James Boone decided to ask questions.

Shilling for the Ruling Class herd, Councilor George Tyros decided to gaslight Boone – and, along with him, the Citizens. 

Perhaps Tyros was suggesting to the Citizens that asking questions is crazy?  Just trust the Mayor. Trust “The Packet.”  The Mayor, said Tyros, put all the answers to all these questions inside “The Packet.” You’ll see this in the video.

In the eyes of our Ruling Class, if you are questioning “The Packet,” you are questioning the Mayor – which means you are, well . . . crazy.

That was pure gaslighting. 

In reality, the lights were flickering – there were no answers in “The Packet” to these questions.

The only thing in “The Packet” was the Mayor’s little fairy tale that he’s been telling us for 8 months now – which is that the City Solicitor (John Flick) and the Assistant City Solicitor (Ethan Kolodny), both of them, can’t do their jobs as the Gardner Law Department in Councillor Graves’ public records case for one reason, and one reason only – because the position/office of Gardner City Solicitor was mentioned in that case.

That is not based on sound legal regulation or precedent– which is why Boone (and Councillor Nate Boudreau) were asking questions.

The Mayor’s fairy tale is that mentioning a city position (Office of the City Solicitor) in a public records case necessarily, as a matter of law, created a “conflict of interest.”  The fairy tale goes on to say that, as a matter of law, this prohibits the entire City of Gardner Law Department from doing their jobs in this case – which, in turn, means that the Citizens have to foot the bill ($82,075 according to the Mayor) to pay extra for outside lawyersto fill in for Flick & Kolondy, who have conveniently put themselves on the sidelines (with full pay, of course).

Where’s the coach?

There is no real “conflict of interest” in this case.  And, no one from the City will offer up an explanation otherwise.  They just keep gaslighting us – “there is a conflict of interest, you just can’t see it because you’ve lost your mind – it’s there, trust us.”

Councillor Boone doesn’t like being gaslit, so he began asking questions.  Councillor Boudreau doesn’t like being gaslit either, so he jumped in with his own questions.

We will give you some of the questions now.  We’ll give you the rest in a follow-up to this article.

  • Why was Boone telling the Citizens that the City has never provided the Citizens with any information about their corrosive drinking water, or about the Coil Scandal?
  • Why do we need outside lawyers to handle former Councillor Graves’ public records case (in which he is trying to get this information for the Citizens) when the Citizens are already paying for two full-time, on-the-Citizens’-payroll lawyers and a Gardner Law Department $125,000, plus benefits, every year to do it?
  • Isn’t the Law Department required to handle all legal matters for the city under City Law,
  • Why did Mayor Nicholson issue a legal opinion on this, and ignore that City Law in doing so?
  • Is the Mayor qualified to issue legal opinions? 
  • Isn’t that what we have a Law Department for?
  • Why didn’t the Law Department issue a legal opinion?
  • Why was the Law Department so happy to discuss this issue behind closed doors, in secret, with the City Council on August 2, 2021, behind the Citizens’ back – but refuses to tell the Citizens about it when the Citizens have to pay up?
  • If the City Solicitor’s perceived “conflict of interest” is confidential, why did he share it with the City Councillors on August 2, 2021?
  • If the City Solicitor’s perceived “conflict of interest” can be shared with the City Councillors, why can’t the City Councilors’ constituents (the Citizens, and owners of city government), the people that the Councilors are elected to represent, be told what is going on?
  • Does the Mass. Open Meeting Law allow the entire City Council to slam the door on the Citizens access to their own information, like they did on August 2, 2021, to talk about why the Law Department refuses to do its job in this case?
  • Does the Mass. Open Meeting Law allow the entire City Council to slam the door on the faces of the Citizens, like they did on August 2, 2021, to talk about whether it’s a good idea to spend the Citizens’ money – can they do that in secret?
  • Is there an Open Meeting Law action pending with the Mass. Attorney General’s Office about that secretive August 2, 2021 City Council Meeting with the City Solicitor and his client, the Mayor?
  • Regarding the Mayor’s legal opinion, what did it say about the reasoning for why the Citizens are being forced to hire outside lawyers to handle Councillor Graves public records case?
  • On what legal basis, legal analysis, and legal reasoning did the Mayor’s legal opinion conclude that the City of Gardner Law Department is legally prohibited from handling former Councilor Graves’ public records case about the decades-long corrosive condition of the Citizens’ drinking water (the “Coil Scandal”) merely because the City Solicitor’s municipal position was mentioned? 
  • Why did Councilor Graves (who was elected by the 21,000 Citizens who are forced to buy City water) ask the Gardner Executive Dept. for information about the corrosive condition of the Citizens’ drinking water (the Coil Scandal)?
  • Why did the City refuse to give Councillor Graves any information (zero) about the corrosive condition of the City drinking water and the Coil Scandal?
  • Under the law, didn’t Councillor Graves (and all Councillors) have a duty to the Citizens of Gardner to get this information?
  • When the City refused to give him one shred of information, wasn’t Councillor Graves forced to take his request to court under the Public Records Law if he ever wanted to get the information for his constituents, the Citizens of Gardner?
  • Isn’t part of Graves’ case that the Court confirm the democratic principle that an elected member of the City Legislative Branch has the same right to City government information as an unelected (appointed) city employee who works at John Flick’s private law office on Central Street?
  • Why was the City Council against Councillor Graves’ efforts to do that?
  • Why was the City Council against Councillor Graves’ efforts to obtain critical government information for the Citizens about their corrosive drinking water?  Why are they still against him?
  • Why didn’t one City Councillor support Councillor Graves’s request for government information about the Citizens’ corrosive drinking water?
  • When the Mayor’s fairy tale began, why did the entire City Council support Councillor Judy Mack’s successful campaign speech (on the Citizens’ dime) during the August 2, 2021 City Council Meeting – telling “the voters” that they “should be” disgusted by Councillor Graves’ efforts to obtain government information on behalf of the Citizens of Gardner?
  • Why was Mack directing her comments to “the voters” instead of to “the Citizens”?
  • Why did the Councillors agree with those statements?
  • Why did Councillor Graves have to pursue the corrosive drinking water information on his own?
  • Why did Councillor Graves, as a City Councillor, have to use his own money, resources, time, and effort – to get government information the Citizens need about their corrosive drinking water and the Coil Scandal – which cost the Gardner homeowners hundreds of thousands of dollars?
  • Why didn’t the City Council ever request its own legal opinion from its own legal counsel under City Law Ch. 45-3?
  • Does John Flick, or Ethan Kolodny, represent the City Council?
  • Does the Gardner City Law Department represent the City Council?
  • Why did both branches of City Government think it was a good idea to fight Councillor Graves’ efforts on behalf of the Citizens of Gardner to get information about their corrosive drinking water?
  • Did the City think that it’s not in the Citizens’ interests to be informed about the corrosive condition of their drinking water which the City forces them to buy from the City? 
  • Will the Homeowners ever get any relief, or compensation?
  • Does any elected person in City Hall care?
  • Why does the City Council refuse to obtain its own legal advice?
  • Why does the City Council refuse to get an explanation from the Mayor about how he believes that the entireGardner Law Department is prohibited from handling Councillor Graves’ public records case – even though it is comprised of two full-time, on-the-payroll lawyers (John Flick and Ethan Kolodny) who get $125,000, plus benefits, in yearly paychecks from the Citizens to handle “all” legal matters involving the City?
  • Why did the Mayor’s legal opinion say that those two Citizen-paid City lawyers have a “conflict of interest” in Councillor Graves’ case merely because the position/office of the City of Gardner City Solicitor was mentioned?
  • How can the Mayor issue that legal opinion when no person, no individual, not Flick and not Kolodny, is a party in Graves’ public records case?
  • How does mentioning an official municipal office/position in an “official capacity” public records case under the Public Records Law create a legal “conflict of interest” for the person holding that position?
  • How does that create the legal conclusion, as a matter of law, that the individual who holds the municipal position of the Office of the City Solicitor is prohibited from handling the case?
  • Since an official government position/office like that of the Gardner City Solicitor cannot have a conflict of interest, what is the  personal interest of the person holding that position/office that is conflicting with the interests of the City of Gardner?
  • Does the legal interests of the City of Gardner conflict with the legal interests of some other client of John Flick?
  • Does the legal interests of the City of Gardner conflict with John Flick’s own legal interests?
  • Who is it in this case that has a legal interest that conflicts with the interests of the City of Gardner?
  • Why or how does this unidentified person have a legal interest which conflicts with the interests of the Citizens of Gardner in this case?
  • What is the secret?
  • Why can’t the Government tell us this?
  • Why can’t the Citizens have the truth?
  • Why does the Ruling Class want to gaslight us about this case, and make us think we are crazy for asking questions?
  • Why do the Citizens, and the Automatic 6 on the City Council, fall for this gaslighting?

[Next article – more questions, more flickering lights . . . more being called crazy].

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