Dis-invited from the Public Process

Today, I recieved an email from my elected State Representative:

Dear Ms. Joseph:
 
I have received your public records request dated May 16, 2011. You had requested:
  •  A list of the names of all constituents invited to the Business Roundtable on May 20, 2011.
The Business Roundtable on May 20, 2011 is an event organized by my campaign committee using campaign committee resources. No resources from my state office have been used in organizing this event. 
To be sure that I am accurate, I consulted with the Ohio House Republican Caucus’ legal counsel. They confirmed for me that you have made a request for a non-public record. Under Ohio Revised Code Section 149.011(G), which defines a record for purposes of the public records law, a record is “any document, device, or item, regardless of physical form or characteristic, including an electronic record as defined in section 1306.01 of the Revised Code, created or received by or coming under the jurisdiction of any public office of the state or its political subdivisions, which serves to document the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations, or other activities of the office.”
 
The list of the names of all constituents invited to the Business Roundtable on May 20, 2011 is not a record for purposes of the public records law as it does not document the functions of my public office. Your request is hereby denied.
 
Furthermore, I have been made aware that the emails you sent after my wife stated you were not to do so anymore could lead to a your being prosecuted for a misdemeanor harassment charge. All communication following my wife’s stating to you to cease communication with her, and any future communication to any of our private or campaign email accounts, phone numbers, addresses or other methods of communication, will be considered harassment. I reiterate – you are not to contact my wife or me through this email account or any other campaign or private account, or through any private phone, fax, address or other method. Should this continue, we will consider all avenues of our legal system.
Sincerely,

Andrew O. Brenner
State Representative (R-Delaware)
Brenner for Ohio

Campaign Office:
46 Village Pointe Drive, Powell, OH 43065
tel | 740.203.9273 * fax | 614.448.4486
www.Brenner4Ohio.com
follow me on Twitter @andrewbrenner
find me on Facebook at /BrennerForOhio

 
It’s a long story – and quite convoluted.  Early this week, I registered electronically for an event that State Representative Brenner advertised as “free for members of the business community.”  His wife, Sarah Marie Brenner, informed me via email that I was “dis-invited.
 
I asked her via email for a reasonable explanation, I asked him for a time to meet, and they responded that I was not invited.  Indeed, her final email to me said, in part,
 
These are private email accounts, and we are blocking you now from all of ours. Your future emails will go straight to the trash folder. Email Andy on his public email account where all of your emails are public record, if you wish. Even then, he doesn’t have to accept being harassed by someone with a track record of doing it to us and others. 
Someone who has done what you have done should not expect to be invited to or welcomed at a private event of Andy’s or mine. If you show up Friday, we’ll call the police. You will be made to leave, and we’ll consider it a personal threat to Andy’s and my safety.   You need to get some help, Charlotte. As hard as it will be, I will pray for you. “
 
Wow.  My meeting requests have been denied.  Funny thing – I never did attempt to communicate with the spouse of this politician.  Indeed, she was the one who reached out to me.  To dis-invite me.
 
In the grown-up world, liking or not liking someone is just a part of our everyday existence.  Not everyone is likeable.  Not everyone agrees with us.
 
Part of being in a civil society, however, is the ability to communicate with each other.  To engage in civil discourse.  Another cherished right of all Americans is to disagree – and to agree to disagree.  We have freedom of speech.  Even when we don’t like what’s being said — we are honor-bound to allow it to be said.
 
On Representative Brenner’s Ohio House website, it says, “A State Representative is an elected official whose job is to serve as a direct link between those Ohioans he or she was elected to represent and state government. In order to best fulfill this role, a representative responds to constituent concerns and works to provide solutions through legislative action. In order to best serve their constituents, a state representative attends meetings of their local civic, social and business groups in addition to responding to mail, email and telephone correspondence from constituents in their district.”
So now I have been barred.  State Representative Brenner does not, by his choice, represent me.  Under State Representative Brenner’s rules, it is politics of the GOP, by the GOP and for the GOP.
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