Letter: We owe a debt to the ‘Gloucester 40’
Quinton Sheppard’s article (Sept. 16, 2010) describes Patricia Cowan as a member of the "Gloucester 40" "a group of citizens who organized a petition drive to remove four county supervisors from office." The effort failed, but "the group was recognized statewide by Virginia lawmakers for their efforts." There was/is a lot more that happened. Not only was their petition dismissed by a substitute judge, Westbrook Parker, but each was sanctioned $2,000 for allegedly abusing the legal system.
The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States consists of five freedoms: religion, free speech, free press, assembly, and petition. The "Gloucester 40’s" right to petition the government was violated. Yes, their effort has been recognized by the Virginia General Assembly. Better yet is the fact that their case is under appeal to the Virginia Supreme Court.
We owe the "Gloucester 40" a debt for their courage to stand up for their and our right to present requests to the government without punishment or reprisal.
Port Haywood, Va.