This is an effort to intimidate and silence anIn the remainder of the tersely written release (which was ironically drafted on Smiling Hill Farm letterhead accentuated with jolly bubble letters promising "We'll put a smile on your face!"), Knight declares Smiling Hill Farm's lack of interest in selling its land to Pike ("Smiling Hill Farm is not interested in exploiting our land to the detriment of our neighbors, our loyal customers, or our community. We will resist every effort by Pike to drive us out of business and seize our small farm."), accuses some citizens of receiving a stipend to testify at public hearings on Pike's behalf ("I know that times are tough, but accepting money to speak on behalf of Pike perverts our system of participatory local government. Both tactics: using the legal system to intimidate citizens with opposing views and giving money to citizens to speak on their behalf makes a mockery of our long-standing Maine tradition of open town meetings."), and reiterates the farm's opposition to Pike's proposal to expand its Spring Street quarry ("If we were a confinement feedlot operation the constant blasting wouldn't be as big a problem. But our cows are free-range, grazing loose in pastures. The cows panic and can stampede from the blasting. We are unwilling to lock our animals indoors and feed them processed food in order to accommodate Pike's blasting.")
abutting landowner attempting to exercise their right to speak honestly and
openly concerning local land-use decisions. I have never been subjected to this
level of harassment. It is difficult enough for private citizens to stand up in
public and speak. It is shameful to make it more difficult by exploiting the
legal system to intimidate us from exercising this basic right.
(Update: According to the PPH, Pike has also issued subpoenas to Artel Inc., Idexx, and New Age Media. For their part, Pike's lawyers at Preti Flaherty Beliveau and Pachios LLP say such subpoenas are standard legal practice, not a tool of harassment or intimidation.)
- John C.L. Morgan
Full disclosure: My wife works for Idexx.
Related: More on the Rock 'N Road Tour '09 (April 28, 2009)
Related: On the Rock 'N Road Tour '09 (April 24, 2009)
Related: Pike v. Idexx et al Goes Viral (April 23, 2009)