Letters

Letters 09-07-2015

DEJA VUE Traverse City faces the same question as faced by Ann Arbor Township several years ago. A builder wanted to construct a 250-student Montessori school on 7.78 acres. The land was zoned for suburban residential use. The proposed school building was permissible as a “conditional use.”

The Court Overreached Believe it or not, everyone who disagrees with the court’s ruling on gay marriage isn’t a hateful bigot. Some of us believe the Supreme Court simply usurped the rule of law by legislating from the bench...

Some Diversity, Huh? Either I’ve been misled or misinformed about the greater Traverse City area. I thought that everyone there was so ‘all inclusive’ and open to other peoples’ opinions and, though one may disagree with said person, that person was entitled to their opinion(s)...

Defending Good People I was deeply saddened to read Colleen Smith’s letter [in Aug. 24 issue] regarding her boycott of the State Theater. I know both Derek and Brandon personally and cannot begin to understand how someone could express such contempt for them...

Not Fascinating I really don’t understand how you can name Jada Johnson a fascinating person by being a hunter. There are thousands of hunters all over the world, shooting by gun and also by arrow; why is she so special? All the other people listed were amazing...

Back to Mayberry A phrase that is often used to describe the amiable qualities that make Traverse City a great place to live is “small-town charm,” conjuring images of life in 1940s small-town America. Where everyone in Mayberry greets each other by name, job descriptions are simple enough for Sarah Palin to understand, and milk is delivered to your door...

Don’t Be Threatened The August 31 issue had 10 letters(!) blasting a recent writer for her stance on gay marriage and the State Theatre. That is overkill. Ms. Smith has a right to her opinion, a right to comment in an open forum such as Northern Express...

Treat The Sickness Thank you to Grant Parsons for the editorial exposing the uglier residual of the criminalizing of drug use. Clean now, I struggled with addiction for a good portion of my adult life. I’ve never sold drugs or committed a violent crime, but I’ve been arrested, jailed, and eventually imprisoned. This did nothing but perpetuate shame, alienation, loss and continued use...

About A Girl -- Not Consider your audience, Thomas Kachadurian (“About A Girl” column). Preachy opinion pieces don’t change people’s minds. Example: “My view on abortion changed…It might be time for the rest of the country to catch up.” Opinion pieces work best when engaging the reader, not directing the reader...

Disappointed I am disappointed with the tone of many of the August 31 responses to Colleen Smith’s Letter to the Editor from the previous week. I do not hold Ms. Smith’s opinion; however, if we live in a diverse community, by definition, people will hold different views, value different things, look and act different from one another...

Free Will To Love I want to start off by saying I love Northern Express. It is well written, unbiased and always a pleasure to read. I am sorry I missed last month’s article referred to in the Aug. 24 letter titled, “No More State Theater.”

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