Letters

Letters 05-23-2016

Examine The Priorities Are you disgusted about closing schools, crumbling roads and bridges, and cuts everywhere? Investigate funding priorities of legislators. In 1985 at the request of President Reagan, Grover Norquist founded Americans for Tax Reform (ATR). For 30 years Norquist asked every federal and state candidate and incumbent to sign the pledge to vote against any increase in taxes. The cost of living has risen significantly since 1985; think houses, cars, health care, college, etc...

Make TC A Community For Children Let’s be that town that invests in children actively getting themselves to school in all of our neighborhoods. Let’s be that town that supports active, healthy, ready-to-learn children in all of our neighborhoods...

Where Are Real Christian Politicians? As a practicing Christian, I was very disappointed with the Rev. Dr. William C. Myers statements concerning the current presidential primaries (May 8). Instead of using the opportunity to share the message of Christ, he focused on Old Testament prophecies. Christ gave us a new commandment: to love one another...

Not A Great Plant Pick As outreach specialist for the Northwest Michigan Invasive Species Network and a citizen concerned about the health of our region’s natural areas, I was disappointed by the recent “Listen to the Local Experts” feature. When asked for their “best native plant pick,” three of the four garden centers referenced non-native plants including myrtle, which is incredibly invasive...

Truth About Plants Your feature, “listen to the local experts” contains an error that is not helpful for the birds and butterflies that try to live in northwest Michigan. Myrtle is not a native plant. The plant is also known as vinca and periwinkle...

Ask the Real Plant Experts This letter is written to express my serious concern about a recent “Listen To Your Local Experts” article where local nurseries suggested their favorite native plant. Three of the four suggested non-native plants and one suggested is an invasive and cause of serious damage to Michigan native plants in the woods. The article is both sad and alarming...

My Plant Picks In last week’s featured article “Listen to the Local Experts,” I was shocked at the responses from the local “experts” to the question about best native plant pick. Of the four “experts” two were completely wrong and one acknowledged that their pick, gingko tree, was from East Asia, only one responded with an excellent native plant, the serviceberry tree...

NOTE: Thank you to TC-based Eagle Eye Drone Service for the cover photo, taken high over Sixth Street in Traverse City.

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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