BoC Chair candidate asked to leave local post office
by Joshua Sharpe
June 05, 2014 04:00 AM | 3535 views | 10 10 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
CANTON — Following complaints to police and the United States Postal Service about the method a potential candidate was using to collect signatures, a candidate for the chairman’s seat on the board of commissioners was asked to leave a local post office, a sign the political back-and-forth is well underway in the race.

Carolyn Cosby was asked to leave the Canton Post Office on Tuesday, after complaints to police and the USPS said that she was illegally collecting signatures on her petition to be put on the ballot as an independent to run against the Republican incumbent in November.

USPS spokesman Michael Miles said Wednesday Cosby was asked to leave the post office on Riverstone Boulevard, after residents reported they had been harassed by Cosby’s group outside the entrance of the building.

“I don’t know that they went into a lot of detail, but I know the word ‘harassment’ was used in one of the calls that I received,” Miles said. He added petitioning on postal property is illegal, per federal regulations.

But Cosby is placing the blame squarely on the chairman and his supporters for the complaints.

Cosby, who is petitioning to run in the November election, sent out a press release responding to the incident Wednesday. She denied the reports and blamed Commission Chair Buzz Ahrens and his supporters in a local activist group, SCRAM!, for making complaints against her, allegedly in a political attack to stop her from getting signatures and getting on the ballot.

Ahrens, though, said Cosby’s accusations he had anything to do with the complaints was another example of her false claims against him.

“She ought to get her facts straight,” he said Wednesday. “I’m not playing her game. I had nothing to do with it at all.”

Cosby said she and her supporters were at the post office Monday and Tuesday, “with the full knowledge and permission of the Canton postmaster.”

The postal spokesman was surprised when told about that statement.

“If she is saying that, that is contrary to what I’ve been told,” Miles said. “He was pretty clear about what he told her. He told her she couldn’t be there.”

Told the postal service’s position, Cosby clarified in a phone interview she felt her group had the postmaster’s blessing, because he didn’t say they couldn’t be there.

“He didn’t give us permission; we were operating with his permission. He did not come out and ask us to remove ourselves,” Cosby said. “We had permission from him a year ago. We were out there for a couple of weeks. We came back in on Monday morning, and we said, ‘We’re going to be out again and please let the post master know,’ and he never came out and asked us to leave.”

The postmaster, Robert Eaton, couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday.

Cosby said she wasn’t sure if what she did was truly illegal.

“We don’t know that it’s illegal; they’re asserting it’s illegal and they haven’t been challenged on this,” she said. “My attorney is looking at their interpretation of this regulation. We didn’t go out there in defiance of the law.”

Miles, though, said, “Our policy has been upheld by a court.”

According to a police report from the Canton Police Department, the officer who was sent Monday to check on complaints made to the police department also wasn’t aware what Cosby was doing was illegal.

“I informed them that as far as I was concerned, they were exercising their First Amendment rights,” the officer wrote in the report. “I did not request for them to leave the area.”

One of those who complained to the post office was Debbie Proctor, who said she is a member of SCRAM! Despite her involvement in the group, which has many members against Cosby, she said seeing the candidate at the post office was bothersome because it is illegal.

“It was people standing out in front of a post office doing something illegally,” Proctor said Wednesday.

Proctor said she called the post office and spoke with a supervisor, who she said told her Cosby had permission from a district supervisor, above the postmaster’s head.

“She said, ‘Ma’am I’m not going to argue with you, and she hung up the phone,” Proctor said.

Proctor said she has now filed a complaint with the district manager of postal operations.

Comments
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I LUV CHEROKEE
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June 06, 2014
Cosby is a lunatic. Anyone who signs her petition, votes for her, or encourages her in any way needs to do some serious introspection on why they hate themselves and the world so much that they would wish her brand of hateful destruction on this county and the world.
1good2
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June 06, 2014
If she broke the law...then why was she not prosecuted? Who is "not" dong there job???
1good2
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June 06, 2014
If she broke the law...then why was she not facing the Court? Who is not doing their job?

doug thomas
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June 06, 2014
this is for "try." the supreme court has given us corrupt rulings for over 50 years. roe v wade & doe v bolton put this nation in the slime pits. they've also given us rulings "normalizing" other evils. the latest vote on fed health care with its forced-tax-payer-paid abortions and death- panels (administered by tax police) shows how blind unjust judges are. they have lifetime jobs.

americans should not condone corrupt officials in any of the three branches of federal government. the u.s. constitution is our only contract or covenant with fed gov't. ALL our laws are to be based rightfully upon that well made contract.

google searches are not enough. people need to read & know & understand the history of our nation, its founding, all that people suffered to give us a free land. yes that "contract" was sound, not like all the hype we get from current ideas of "progressivism" which have produced so much rot, fracture, and brokenness in our land.



there is no "progress" in a corrupt nation, full of lawlessness and meaninglessness, as lived out by so many. we need something stronger than the ideas of corrupt men, male & female, to build upon. if freedom of speech can be muzzled in front of the post office, it violates the law of the land. let the muzzlers go to countries where freedom of speech has been shut down. they have slave labor prison camps for political prisoners.
Try Googling that...
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June 07, 2014
Regarding your comments on American history and government: The Supreme Court does not directly create or pass any laws, they only rule on the constitutionality of laws presented to them. And Supreme Court rulings can be over ridden if Congress wishes to vote to do so. That is a key part of the "checks and balances" our Constitution has to prevent one branch of government from becoming too powerful. The Congress, our elected officials, has not been upset enough by any of the court rulings you cited to exercise that capability.

If you don't like the current laws you have the right to elect people who will change them. But that "right" does not give anyone the "right" to exercise their free speech in an illegal manner. When a candidate is so poorly informed that they violate the law, and then complain when it was enforced, that is an indicator of a problem waiting to happen if they are elected.

"americans should not condone corrupt officials in any of the three branches of federal government." Does this imply we should condone corrupt officials at the local level? I hope not! I want to see any and all corrupt elected officials, government employees, and their associates, at any government level removed and tried for their actions. Locally Marlow and her associates are a good example of what should be happening more often.

Going back to the original issue post office patrons have the right to use the Post Office without being harassed by any solicitors of any type. That is the law. Even if a postal employee gave their permission it is still illegal.

If your candidate truly represents what Cherokee County's voters want she not have any problem obtaining the required signatures legally...or winning the election.



Dee Osborne
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June 06, 2014
The last thing our BoC needs is someone who puts themselves above the law. Ms Cosby wants the law to apply to others; but believes herself exempt. Aren't there already ethics complaint proceedings against her?
Try Googling that...
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June 05, 2014
A little web research will show the US Supreme Court ruled against political campaigning at USPS facilities in 1990. The case was UNITED STATES v. KOKINDA, 497 U.S. 720 (1990).

Here is a quote from the FindLaw website that sums up the law the court upheld:

39 CFR 232.1(h)(1) (1989), which provides in relevant part:

"Soliciting alms and contributions, campaigning for election to any public office, collecting private debts, commercial soliciting and vending, and displaying or distributing commercial advertising on postal premises are prohibited."

Maybe the esteemed candidate and her supporters should do a little research before claiming their right to free speech is being violated. The actions taken, and the attitude and comments of her supporters, make me very unlikely to support Cosby.

If it will make anyone feel better it was Democrats who were ruled against in the Supreme Court case cited above. And it also appears no attempt was made by the Republican majority to change it in the 90's under President Bush. So it at least seems that most politicians realize it isn't a good idea to appear to be harassing voters.

The old phrase "storm in a teacup" fits this debacle quite nicely...
anonymous
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June 05, 2014
It is illegal because it is specifically prohibited by postal regulations. If the postmaster gave them permission, he did so in violation of those regulations. And Cosby is - no surprise - incorrect in that these regulations have never been challenged. They have been upheld by the Supreme Court, with Scalia affirming.
doug thomas
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June 05, 2014
scrammers are the book burners of this age. they would muzzle any they don't like. they scream their thoughtless views. hypocrites! let them identify themselves with names & addresses.

which of us "voted" for regs written by some unknown bureaucrat, which violates our freedom of speech (u.s. constitution) that is NOT to be abridged (by anyone)?! our county suffers greatly from people apathetic to corruption. those who oppose wrong are persecuted.

if cosby was reuquired by election officials to get 6,000 signatures, why was the libertarian running having to raise only 1700 signatures? and why should a few soreheads stop anyone from being outside the post office, asking peopled what they think, and where folks with courage can sign their names on a list.

corrupt officials are guilty of misuse & waste of billions of tax dollors. let the people speak, & vote against them. those who try to muzzle & intimidate at post offices should go live in Russia or North Korea or Cuba.
Cat Shoes
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June 05, 2014
While I am firmly against Carolyn Cosby and her tea tyrades, what does any of this have to do with local hate group SCRAM? Kelly Marlow has been convicted. Give it up already.
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