By Rosanna Cavanagh, executive director, New England First Amendment Coalition
I was born in 1975 so I don’t have memories of the Watergate era, but my parents do. My Dad was a professor at Princeton at the time and had recently been featured in Vogue magazine for his efforts to organize “Movement for a New Congress,” a reaction to the Cambodia invasion crisis. A quarter of the students at Princeton were taking part in this effort, an epicenter of the student movement to defeat supporters of this sudden expansion of the Vietnam War to another country. The Nixon Administration told colleges that they would risk their tax exempt status if they permitted any political activity on campus. My Dad was called into a meeting with Wall Street lawyers and told that the university was at risk and he could work for no pay if he wanted to stay. Well, that wasn’t really an option for him at the time with four mouths to feed. He told them that he was taking care of his academic responsibilities, that he had a family to support, that he would continue doing the ‘Movement’ and they had no right to ask him to do this and violate his First Amendment rights. My Mom, who stayed at home, had distinct memories of hearing constant clicking on the phones, as they were tapped. She also received a threatening phone call when William Rehnquist was up for confirmation to the Supreme Court demanding that my Dad report back immediately to the Justice Department if he would testify and what his sources were. Continue reading ‘NEFAC calls on Justice Department to return seized phone records to the AP’ »
By Rachel Healy, communications director, ACLU of Maine
In March, the ACLU of Maine testified before the Legislature’s Transportation Committee in favor of a bill to restore the public’s right to know about transportation projects that are proposed as public-private partnerships.
Under current law, materials used or submitted in connection with such a proposal are kept secret. LD 721, “An Act To Provide Transparency in Public-Private Partnerships for Transportation Projects,” would make those materials public.
Questions about the need for such secrecy are being debated now in relation to the proposed 220-mile east-west toll highway that would be built across rural Maine with an estimated $2 billion in private investments and become a link between southwestern New Brunswick and southern Quebec. Continue reading ‘Public has right to know about projects like East-West highway in Maine’ »
By David DesRoches, assistant editor, The Darien (Conn.) Times
DARIEN, Conn. – What started as a simple records request by a handful of parents has blossomed into an unprecedented legal matter that challenges the integrity of an entire school district, and perhaps even the state’s education department.
Parents of special needs children in Darien became concerned about their children’s legal right to a free and appropriate education, what’s known as FAPE, when a new special education director was hired in June of 2012.
The new director, Deidre Osypuk, came to one of the best performing districts in the state, if not the country, from Bloomfield, one of the worst performing districts. Continue reading ‘Parents of special needs students want more information on changes to Darien, Conn. program’ »