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Letter: Statement From ‘Hope for Hempstead’ Director Derek Donnelly

A few hours before the town board meeting on Jan. 11 Hope For Hempstead Shelter (HHS) was notified that public comment would not be allowed due to weather. A short while after HHS arrived, the town released a statement saying that public comment would not be permitted due to a security risk.

Residents of the town came to speak publicly on behalf of animals that can’t speak for themselves and for taxpayer rights.

Town of Hempstead spokesman Mike Deery, a Town of Oyster Bay resident, said that public comment was canceled due to a security risk, which is under investigation by the police. The town also banned all signs from being brought into the meeting.

We are calling into question whether there was a legitimate threat or was the town trying to silence the voice of the people? One would think a security risk that involves public safety would prompt other security measures. There were no other apparent security measures in place at the meeting.

If there was a legitimate threat, the people have a right to know what the threat is and what is being done about it besides silencing free speech.

Has the public been denied its rights?

Derek Donnelly

Hope for Hempstead Director