Letters 10-24-2016

It’s Obama’s 1984 Several editions ago I concluded a short letter to the editor with an ominous rhetorical flourish: “Welcome to George Orwell’s 1984 and the grand opening of the Federal Department of Truth!” At the time I am sure most of the readers laughed off my comments as right-wing hyperbole. Shame on you for doubting me...

Gun Bans Don’t Work It is said that mass violence only happens in the USA. A lone gunman in a rubber boat, drifted ashore at a popular resort in Tunisia and randomly shot and killed 38 mostly British and Irish tourists. Tunisian gun laws, which are among the most restrictive in the world, didn’t stop this mass slaughter. And in January 2015, two armed men killed 11 and wounded 11 others in an attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. French gun laws didn’t stop these assassins...

Scripps’ Good Deed No good deed shall go unpunished! When Dan Scripps was the 101st District State Representative, he introduced legislation to prevent corporations from contaminating (e.g. fracking) or depleting (e.g. Nestle) Michigan’s water table for corporate profit. There are no property lines in the water table, and many of us depend on private wells for abundant, safe, clean water. In the subsequent election, Dan’s opponents ran a negative campaign almost solely on the misrepresentation that Dan’s good deed was a government takeover of your private water well...

Political Definitions As the time to vote draws near it’s a good time to check into what you stand for. According to Dictionary.com the meanings for liberal and conservative are as follows:

Liberal: Favorable to progress or reform as in political or religious affairs.

Conservative: Disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditions and limit change...

Voting Takes A Month? Hurricane Matthew hit the Florida coast Oct. 6, over three weeks before Election Day. Bob Ross (Oct. 17th issue) posits that perhaps evacuation orders from Governor Scott may have had political motivations to diminish turnout and seems to praise Hillary Clinton’s call for Gov. Scott to extend Florida’s voter registration deadline due to evacuations...

Clinton Foundation Facts Does the Clinton Foundation really spend a mere 10 percent (per Mike Pence) or 20 percent (per Reince Priebus) of its money on charity? Not true. Charity Watch gives it an A rating (the same as it gives the NRA Foundation) and says it spends 88 percent on charitable causes, and 12 percent on overhead. Here is the source of the misunderstanding: The Foundation does give only a small percentage of its money to charitable organizations, but it spends far more money directly running a number of programs...

America Needs Change Trump supports our constitution, will appoint judges that will keep our freedoms safe. He supports the partial-birth ban; Hillary voted against it. Regardless of how you feel about Trump, critical issues are at stake. Trump will increase national security, monitor refugee admissions, endorse our vital military forces while fighting ISIS. Vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence will be an intelligent asset for the country. Hillary wants open borders, increased government regulation, and more demilitarization at a time when we need strong military defenses...

My Process For No I will be voting “no” on Prop 3 because I am supportive of the process that is in place to review and approve developments. I was on the Traverse City Planning Commission in the 1990s and gained an appreciation for all of the work that goes into a review. The staff reviews the project and makes a recommendation. The developer then makes a presentation, and fellow commissioners and the public can ask questions and make comments. By the end of the process, I knew how to vote for a project, up or down. This process then repeats itself at the City Commission...

Regarding Your Postcard If you received a “Vote No” postcard from StandUp TC, don’t believe their lies. Prop 3 is not illegal. It won’t cost city taxpayers thousands of dollars in legal bills or special elections. Prop 3 is about protecting our downtown -- not Munson, NMC or the Commons -- from a future of ugly skyscrapers that will diminish the very character of our downtown...

Vote Yes It has been suggested that a recall or re-election of current city staff and Traverse City Commission would work better than Prop 3. I disagree. A recall campaign is the most divisive, costly type of election possible. Prop 3, when passed, will allow all city residents an opportunity to vote on any proposed development over 60 feet tall at no cost to the taxpayer...

Yes Vote Explained A “yes” vote on Prop 3 will give Traverse City the right to vote on developments over 60 feet high. It doesn’t require votes on every future building, as incorrectly stated by a previous letter writer. If referendums are held during general elections, taxpayers pay nothing...

Beware Trump When the country you love have have served for 33 years is threatened, you have an obligation and a duty to speak out. Now is the time for all Americans to speak out against a possible Donald Trump presidency. During the past year Trump has been exposed as a pathological liar, a demagogue and a person who is totally unfit to assume the presidency of our already great country...

Picture Worth 1,000 Words Nobody disagrees with the need for affordable housing or that a certain level of density is dollar smart for TC. The issue is the proposed solution. If you haven’t already seen the architect’s rendition for the site, please Google “Pine Street Development Traverse City”...

Living Wage, Not Tall Buildings Our community deserves better than the StandUp TC “vote no” arguments. They are not truthful. Their yard signs say: “More Housing. Less Red Tape. Vote like you want your kids to live here.” The truth: More housing, but for whom? At what price..

Home · Articles · News · Best of NM 2012 · Best Heroes!
. . . .

Best Heroes!

- March 26th, 2012  


Mark Wayne Williams

Express readers picked a “super hero” in this year’s vote for Northern Michigan’s Best Local Hero.

That is, if by “super hero,” you mean someone who dressed in tights, scaled a not-so-tall building, and got busted by the cops while carrying irritant spray, a sap and collapsible baton.

The world-famous Petoskey Batman, a.k.a. Mark Wayne Williams, 32, of Harbor Springs, received the most votes in the hero category this year.

Williams was arrested in Petoskey in May and a booking photo of him dressed in a sweaty homemade Batman costume catapulted him to fame and subjected him to some of the Internet’s most bat-awful snark.

Williams ended up making a deal with prosecutors and ducked felony concealed weapons charges when he pleaded guilty to a charge of attempted resisting and obstructing a police officer last fall.

In October he was sentenced to six months probation, during which time he must leave his alter ego in the closet -- he is barred from wearing the Batman costume until his probation expires in April.


Williams did not respond to messages left for him on Facebook. A phone message left for his attorney, Bryan Klawuhn, also went unreturned.

When Williams was sentenced, he said it was not his intent to hurt anybody with the weapons police found in his possession.

The judge suggested he keep a low profile. Despite apparent media-shyness, he didn’t exactly do that.

The experience might lead some to seek out time away from the spotlight, but Williams has, apparently, attempted to milk his notoriety, at least a little.

A Facebook fan page for “Petoskey Batman” has chronicled his life as he faced charges, pled guilty, and, into this year, awaits the end of probation.

According to one post, he is looking forward to the end of probation so he can dress like Batman once again and pose for a professional photo shoot.

Those photos are bound to be popular; on Facebook, Petoskey Batman has many fans.

He’s racked up 4,294 “likes.” To put that in perspective, Petoskey Batman’s representative in the Michigan House, Rep. Frank Foster, has just 1,437 “likes” for his Facebook page.

In October, a post from Batman that read “anyone want to help form a ‘Justice League’ here in petoskey?” got 42 messages in response.

In his most recent message, Petoskey Batman apologized to fans for lack of activity on the site, but he vowed to return.

“Ive had a lot of things keeping me busy so I havnt been able to post much on here. I WILL be back to patroling and doing what I can to help in Aprill. It seems that I will not be alone iether....” Petoskey Batman wrote on Feb. 10.


Along the way, Petoskey Batman has maintained a good attitude about the Internet ridicule he’s endured.

When a fan posted a link to a buzzfeed.com list of 2011’s best mugshots, a feature that ranked William’s snapshot at number seven, Petoskey Batman responded in good humor: “nice!” he wrote.

“I should have gotten #1 though! LOL!” In response to a troll who posted abusive, name-calling comments about him, Petoskey Batman attempted to take the high road: “OH Yeah, . . . , I was having fun too. It is possible to have fun while trying to help others. Its more rewarding than just partying and not giving a shit about anyone but yourself too. You should try it sometime instead of just adding more ignorance and negativity to the world.”

Indeed, it appears, based on his Facebook posts, that Petoskey Batman wants to get back to his roots on the other side of the law -- crime fighting.

He posts links to media reports about unsolved local crimes and he has taken a special interest in domestic abuse.

He has posted about his support of the Woman’s Resource Center.

In December he tried to raise money for a woman who was in an abusive relationship:

“Ok. Heres the deal. I know this woman who was in an abusive relationship and had to go to the WRC just to escape him. The good news is that she did get out of the relationship, the bad news is, they have a kid together. In fact, to keep her from leaving him, he had held their daughter over her head telling her that if she left he would file for full custody and make it so she couldnt see her daughter anymore. well, he is following through with his threat. “ The post goes on to explain that Petoskey Batman wants to raise money to help the woman hire an attorney.

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