Letters

Letters 07-27-2015

Next For Brownfields In regard to your recent piece on brownfield redevelopment in TC, the Randolph Street project appears to be proceeding without receiving its requested $600k in brownfield funding from the county. In response to this, the mayor is quoted as saying that the developer bought the property prior to performing an environmental assessment and had little choice but to now build it...

Defending Our Freedom This is in response to Sally MacFarlane Neal’s recent letter, “War Machines for Family Entertainment.” Wake Up! Make no mistake about it, we are at war! Even though the idiot we have for a president won’t accept the fact because he believes we can negotiate with Iran, etc., ISIS and their like make it very clear they intend to destroy the free world as we know it. If you take notice of the way are constantly destroying their own people, is that living...

What Is Far Left? Columnist Steve Tuttle, who so many lambaste as a liberal, considers Sen. Sanders a far out liberal “nearly invisible from the middle.” Has the middle really shifted that far right? Sanders has opposed endless war and the Patriot Act. Does Mr. Tuttle believe most of our citizens praise our wars and the positive results we have achieved from them? Is supporting endless war or giving up our civil liberties middle of the road...

Parking Corrected Stephen Tuttle commented on parking in the July 13 Northern Express. As Director of the Traverse City Downtown Development Authority, I feel compelled to address a couple key issues. But first, I acknowledge that  there is some consternation about parking downtown. As more people come downtown served by less parking, the pressure on what parking we have increases. Downtown serves a county with a population of 90,000 and plays host to over three million visitors annually...

Home · Articles · News · Other Opinions · Lay off My Yard Sign...
. . . .

Lay off My Yard Sign...

Harley Sachs - August 19th, 2004
At first I thought it unlikely that after so many months of campaigning, the voices of electioneers could get even more strident. Unfortunately, it’s getting even more nasty and personal. A woman wrote to our local paper complaining that three of her yard signs for George Bush were stolen, which is against the law. I was given a yard sign, too, by a local party activist, and now it, too, has disappeared. Let’s analyze that action.
If the person who destroyed my political yard sign disagreed with my choice of candidate, he or she had an equal opportunity to put up a sign of his own. We all have a right to political speech, even over the top political speech as in “Hang the president!” That kind of excessive language is actually protected by a Supreme Court ruling (within limits -- you may be investigated by the Secret Service for threatening comments or death threats. - ed.).
To enter my yard with the intent to destroy my political sign piles offense upon offense. First, it’s trespassing. Second, it’s malicious destruction of property. The sign wasn’t simply stolen in its entirety, but destroyed, the wire frame being left behind in the grass where it might have been caught in my lawn mower, causing great bodily harm and a lengthy lawsuit, should the perpetrator have been caught. The first two acts are mere misdemeanors.
Third, by removing my political yard sign the trespasser was infringing on my constitutional First Amendment rights to free speech. If I want to erect a sign that says elect Nader or Osama bin Laden I have a perfect right to do so, as long as I don’t violate city ordinances about the size of the sign or illustrate it with prurient images.
Infringing on my constitutional First Amendment rights to political free speech is a serious matter, especially when it’s on my own property. It’s an act against the Constitution itself. The person who invaded my property and destroyed my sign is in effect claiming the authority to say I do not have the right to express my opinion publicly.
I don’t know if that person is a U.S. citizen or not. If a citizen, to take such an open act of defiance of our Constitution could be seen as an act of treason. This is no laughing matter. When my wife became a naturalized American citizen she had to swear to bear arms to “defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” Native born Americans don’t take that oath unless they join government service.

Though native born, as a veteran of the U.S. Army I had to take that oath.
Does this mean I am committed to shoot whoever trespasses on my property to deprive me of my constitutional rights to political speech? The NRA might say so, but we have a local ordinance against firing a gun inside the city limits. Should I miss the sign stealer vandal, I might hit my innocent neighbor, so shooting is out. I do not recommend that people act as armed guards defending their yard signs for any candidate.
However, I urge readers of all political persuasions to remember that the Constitution, which some enemies would undermine and destroy, guarantees your right to publicly support or oppose the political candidates and parties of your choice. For all I care, you can put up a sign that says “Alfred E. Neuman for President.” Just leave my sign alone.

 
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