The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, through the entity formerly known as THE PUBLIC ACCESS BOARD, acting WITHOUT LEGISLATIVE APPROVAL, has created a "rule" that bans PUBLIC ACCESS TO THE WATER by means of duck boats. This ban affects over 250 Public Access locations in Massachusetts (except Boston).
We challenged the States right to do this. Not surprisingly, a freshman State Judge, who was a former career State employee, has ruled that this State Agency has the power to ban this type of State public access, over State property.
HOW CAN NON-ELECTED BUREAUCRATS TAKE AWAY ANYBODY'S RIGHTS?
DUCK boats are a new and very popular way for citizens and taxpayers to exercise their right of PUBLIC ACCESS TO THE WATER. Over a million people use DUCKS to get out on the water in the United States every year.
The Salem PUBLIC ACCESS facility was paid for with 100% State funds. All taxpayers paid for the ramp, but the Commonwealth of Massachusetts says that only those wealthy enough to own boats can use it.
Consider an average working family in Massachusetts. He works third shift at the General Electric plant and she works days at Dunkin Donuts, so that they can alternate taking care of the children. They obviously cannot afford to own a boat! But they could afford tickets on our boat to take their children out onto the waters of historic Salem Harbor. Why won't the state let them? This isn't a private yacht club! This is a PUBLIC ACCESS facility that every Massachusetts family paid for.
THE STATE IS DISCRIMINATING AGAINST POOR CITIZENS IN FAVOR OF AFFLUENT CITIZENS.
SHAMEFULLY, Massachusetts is the only state in the country to enact this discriminatory ban.
Many other states not only allow duck tours on public boat ramps, they encourage it because it is a unique way to expand public access opportunities to people who do not own boats.
Although the State Public Access Board tried to imply that ducks were damaging the ramps, this notion was clearly dispelled when their own Director, Mr. John Sheppard, repeatedly testified under oath that our DUCKS never damaged the Salem ramp.
To bolster their intent to exclude the general public, the State entity in charge of operating these State properties (except Boston) has changed its name from The PUBLIC Access Board to the Division of FISHING AND BOATING ACCESS.
IN MASSACHUSETTS, THERE IS NO "PUBLIC" IN "ACCESS"!!
Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Lord Acton 1887