LETTER: John DiMascio Responds to Councilor Woodland's Citizens United Letter

DiMascio denies any libel or wrongdoing in asserting that Woodland backed the measure to ask the Town Council to reverse the Citizens United ruling.


To the editor,


I, implies that someone has committed libel and slander when commenting on his involvement vis-a-vis the Citizens United Resolution which the Town Council wisely rejected. [Editor's Note: the Town Council did not vote on the resolution.] He accuses people promoting conspiracy theories about backroom arm-twisting. And then he threatens to prove his “legal skills.”

These are the facts. I wrote a letter to the editor in which I said a group of people encouraged by Kenneth Woodland used a charter provision to bring this matter before the Council. The fact is; encouragement can take many forms. The Councilor supported the measure. Therefore to proponents of the initiative petition could take solace and encouragement knowing of his prestigious support. Hence, my assertion is factual. Further, the statement is neither malicious nor does it purport any wrongdoing on anyone’s part.

I also commented on various blog posts that the Councilor had previously attempted to get this item on the agenda unsuccessfully by using the existing Council rules. He failed because the Council didn’t believe it was their purview. There is no accusation of a conspiracy here. I alleged no illegality, no arm-twisting, and no impropriety. I simply stated well-known facts, which he and other councilors would be questioned about under oath in any demonstration of his “legal skills.”

The law student took offense because (again on a blog) I criticized his introduction of British Common Law during a Council discussion of a Town contract. The Town Attorney had to remind the Honorable Councilor, that Massachusetts General law, not British Common Law, was the relevant code that governed the parties to a contract in the Commonwealth. Perhaps he should have added that the National Anthem is the Star Spangled Banner and not God Save the Queen! This is not libel. I stated a fact -- a fact that should concern voters! A Council meeting is no place to discuss the Socratic method used in law schools. We don’t elect Councilors to employ the ancient Code of Hammurabi or the 12 Tablets of Roman Law to decide whether or not to expand recycling pick-ups.

Libel and slander, needs to be some kind of false statement about some kind of impropriety, used maliciously, to attack someone’s character. Not one of the criteria for libel or slander has been met, let alone all. Moreover, the standard is even higher, when dealing with such a well-known, important, and highly esteemed, public figure.

This issue here is political speech. Therefore, it should be of serious concern to District D voters that Councilor Woodland wants to stifle it! Even more disturbing, he’s seeking to intimidate, his constituent critics, by threatening to demonstrate his “legal skills.”

The young law student needs to hit the books and learn the definition of libel and slander. And if he wants a career in politics, the Honorable Young Councilor needs to grow some thicker skin.


John DiMascio
Copeland St.

John DiMascio December 22, 2012 at 07:55 PM
Steve, Personal note first... I know a Steve Cavaretta from Waltham. He's piano player, a very good one to. Is that you? As it relates to Woodland's attendance record to both Council and sub-committee meetings.That's something that will be looked in to. But contrary to what you may think, I'm not fighting a war against Woodland. If someone runs against them, it's up to them to bring up these issues. And if someone runs against him, I'll look at their resume, views, and qualifications and compare them to Mr. Woodland's before I vote.
John DiMascio December 22, 2012 at 08:18 PM
For the record: I don't think Mr. Woodland is not a bad person. In fact I think it's admirable that someone his age decided to run for Council. I don't agree with many of his positions. That's policy not personal. As it relates to this issue, no one declared war on the man. As I stated in my letter, Woodland tried to get this on agenda, it was rejected the first time. Then he tried a second time using the Council rules. He couldn't even get two other councilors to agree to it in order to force the issue on the agenda. The only other Councilor that went along with him was Tony Palomba. So for Woodland to imply that he was defamed in any way is absurd. Where did I ever imply malfeasance? He's the one that's actually saying there's something wrong with what I've stated he's done. Otherwise where is the libel, the slander, the defamation? And by the way I have my information from several reliable sources. They divulged nothing that was privileged information, confidential, or otherwise private. However, I don't think Mr. Woodland's stock with his fellow Councilors will rise should he attempt to bring litigation and they are handed subpoenas to appear in court as witnesses. Councilor Woodland has already made one huge political mistake by submitting the letter to editor that included his implied threat to bring legal action. A letter which high ranking town officials advised him not to submit.
John DiMascio December 22, 2012 at 09:19 PM
MPD? Not sure what you're referring to. As for the No Place For Hate, tell that to the thousands of Armenians who live in Watertown. The genocide survivors and their families they should have to be lectured about tolerance by an organization who was colluding with Turkish government to deny the Armenian Genocide. That's another clear case where the Council unwittingly stepped in to unnecessary drivel. They passed a resolution, not understanding the implications and without investigating who was sponsoring it. They simply thought it was feel good measure and they wound up with egg on their face. Moreover, I didn't initiate that controversy. It was another person who objected on the grounds that the resolution contained language that infringed on his 1st Amendment rights as an American citizen. It was followed up by a gentleman from Newton of Armenian dissent who wrote a letter to the editor informing Watertown of the ADL's association and lobbying efforts on behalf of the Turkish Government and the ADL's own refusal to call the Armenian Genocide exactly what it was an intentional genocide. For my part I wrote researched an wrote some articles on the subject, that facts contained therein I will challenge anyone to dispute. As a result the ADL was forced to re-evaluate its position. And exactly how is this a bad thing Steve? Perhaps you focus on the substance.
Ugotta B. Kidding December 22, 2012 at 10:31 PM
You have got to be kidding me! Kenny Woodland is some kind of a joke, right? He is wasting people's time and the city's money on a matter that DiMascio has correctly pointed out belongs in DC, not in Massachusetts, let alone Watertown. Woodland does not belong on the Council. His complaint does not belong in court. He should stop wasting peoples time and find a new home.
John DiMascio December 23, 2012 at 12:47 AM
I certainly spoke out on several occasions about Marilyn Petito Devaney and her constant grandstanding, introduction proclamations etc, etc, etc. Again Steve, you need to get you facts straight.


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