Letters

Letters 10-27-2014

Paging Doctor Dan: The doctor’s promise to repeal Obamacare reminds me of the frantic restaurant owner hurrying to install an exhaust fan after the kitchen burns down. He voted 51 times to replace the ACA law; a colossal waste of money and time. It’s here to stay and he has nothing to replace it.

Evolution Is Real Science: Breathtaking inanity. That was the term used by Judge John Jones III in his elegant evisceration of creationist arguments attempting to equate it to evolutionary theory in his landmark Kitzmiller vs. Dover Board of Education decision in 2005.

U.S. No Global Police: Steven Tuttle in the October 13 issue is correct: our military, under the leadership of the President (not the Congress) is charged with protecting the country, its citizens, and its borders. It is not charged with  performing military missions in other places in the world just because they have something we want (oil), or we don’t like their form of government, or we want to force them to live by the UN or our rules.

Graffiti: Art Or Vandalism?: I walk the [Grand Traverse] Commons frequently and sometimes I include the loop up to the cistern just to go and see how the art on the cistern has evolved. Granted there is the occasional gross image or word but generally there is a flurry of color.

NMEAC Snubbed: Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) is the Grand Traverse region’s oldest grassroots environmental advocacy organization. Preserving the environment through citizen action and education is our mission.

Vote, Everyone: Election Day on November 4 is fast approaching, and now is the time to make a commitment to vote. You may be getting sick of the political ads on TV, but instead, be grateful that you live in a free country with open elections. Take the time to learn about the candidates by contacting your county parties and doing research.

Do Fluoride Research: Hydrofluorosilicic acid, H2SiF6, is a byproduct from the production of fertilizer. This liquid, not environmentally safe, is scrubbed from the chimney of the fertilizer plant, put into containers, and shipped. Now it is a ‘product’ added to the public drinking water.

Meet The Homeless: As someone who volunteers for a Traverse City organization that works with homeless people, I am appalled at what is happening at the meetings regarding the homeless shelter. The people fighting this shelter need to get to know some homeless families. They have the wrong idea about who the homeless are.

Home · Articles · News · Features · City surveillance
. . . .

City surveillance

Patrick Sullivan - May 31st, 2011
City Surveillance: Officials keep a partial eye on TC’s nightlife
By Patrick Sullivan
When a pair of men got into an argument with a homeless man on Union
Street in Traverse City outside a row of bars earlier this month, things
escalated quickly.
Witnesses said David John Ursuy, a felon who spent years in prison for
assault and theft convictions, pulled a pocket knife and stabbed the two
men, 33-year-old and 26-year-old Traverse City residents, after the men
intervened when Ursuy was arguing with one of their girlfriends.
The men suffered non-life threatening wounds to their upper arms that
required hospitalization according to Traverse
City Police.
The alleged knife attack would appear to be what city commissioners had in
mind when they approved a surveillance camera for the area. A camera was
supposed to be installed in time for Memorial Day weekend on the back wall
of the City
Opera House.
That camera would not have captured the most recent incident, however,
because the stabbings took place on the sidewalk in front of the bars on
Union Street and not in the nearby alley.
While the camera can pan up and down the alley that runs parallel between
Front and State streets and look into the parking lot behind the bars, it
cannot see what goes on along the sidewalk in front of the bars, according
to Rob Bacigalupi, deputy director of the Downtown Development Authority.
The video will be occasionally monitored by a parking attendant at the
Larry C. Hardy Parking Deck. If there is an incident in the alley,
police can go back and look at the tape, Bacigalupi said.

NO SIDEWALK SURVEILLANCE
Nick McAllister, owner of House of Doggs, a restaurant on the 100 block of
Union Street opposite the bars, believes surveillance cameras could
improve the neighborhood, but he wishes the city would also set one up to
keep an eye on the Union Street sidewalk.
“Maybe somebody knows more than I do,” McAllister said.
Things on Union Street have gotten a little rowdier since the state’s
smoking ban took effect, pushing smokers out onto the street.
“We just want them to be cool; we want them to have a good time and not
start trouble,” McAllister said. “They can still have fun, they can still
stand out there and smoke and yuck it up with their friends, but (a
surveillance camera) might stop them from fighting. It might stop them
from doing something stupid.”
McAllister put cameras in his restaurant when he moved to his current
location three years ago.
He hoped the mere presence of cameras would cause customers to behave. The
cameras caught a man who stole a guitar from the restaurant and became
evidence last year after an off-duty city police officer was accused of a
drunken assault.

TABU LOUNGE
Talk of the surveillance began in January with the appearance of the Tabu
Lounge, a mysterious members-only club that featured showgirls and a
hookah bar that opened in a building on the alley behind Union Street
Station.
Officials were concerned about what kind of customer the new business
might bring to the alley and, among other measures, they decided to
explore setting up a camera on the Opera House that would look down on the
club.
They moved ahead with the alley-cam even after that short-lived business
closed, however, because of information they received from the Traverse
City Police Department about crimes committed in the area.
In February, city police Capt. Steve Morgan prepared a report that tallied
trouble in the vicinity of the Union Street bars.
In the summer months of 2010, police were called to the 100 block of south
Union 47 times. In the three months prior to Morgan’s report, police were
called to the area 45 times.
Complaints ranged from disorderly conduct to malicious destruction of
property to, more rarely, assault. Often trouble was broken up before
police arrived or police were able to diffuse the situation without taking
a criminal report.

NO MORE CAMERAS PLANNED
City commissioner Mary Ann Moore said she is not aware of plans for
additional cameras around the city or on Union Street.
“I don’t know, there aren’t a lot of hot spots around town,” Moore said.
Moore said the camera was placed where it is because officials determined
the alley was a location where fights were likely to occur and it might
have a deterrent effect.
“There were a lot of fights and things going on, and young people come out
of these bars and some of them are inebriated and some of them get into
fights,” Moore said.
Commissioner Jim Carruthers voted in favor of allowing the city manager’s
office to set up the camera, but he said he had misgivings -- he said he’s
not sure the city should be in the surveillance business.
While surveillance of city streets is widespread in the United Kingdom.,
closed-circuit cameras are relatively uncommon on public streets in the
U.S.
Surveillance cameras have been upheld by courts as long as they don’t
monitor an area where people have a “reasonable expectation of privacy,”
said Steve Morse, a Suttons Bay attorney and member of the American Civil
Liberties Union.
As a larger question, though, Morse believes people should ask themselves
if, as a society, we want more surveillance.
“Is this the way we want to go? Is this the way we want to spend our
money?” he said.
In the Ursuy case, police didn’t need video surveillance to make an arrest.
Police arrived soon after the incident and they found Ursuy nearby. They
recovered a pocket knife from him, allegedly the one used in the stabbing.
Ursuy faces two charges of felonious assault. His lawyer, Randy Smith,
said it was too early in the case to comment.

City Surveillance: Officials keep a partial eye on TC’s nightlife

By Patrick Sullivan

When a pair of men got into an argument with a homeless man on Union
Street in Traverse City outside a row of bars earlier this month, things
escalated quickly.
Witnesses said David John Ursuy, a felon who spent years in prison for
assault and theft convictions, pulled a pocket knife and stabbed the two
men, 33-year-old and 26-year-old Traverse City residents, after the men
intervened when Ursuy was arguing with one of their girlfriends.
The men suffered non-life threatening wounds to their upper arms that
required hospitalization according to Traverse
City Police.
The alleged knife attack would appear to be what city commissioners had in
mind when they approved a surveillance camera for the area. A camera was
supposed to be installed in time for Memorial Day weekend on the back wall
of the City
Opera House.
That camera would not have captured the most recent incident, however,
because the stabbings took place on the sidewalk in front of the bars on
Union Street and not in the nearby alley.
While the camera can pan up and down the alley that runs parallel between
Front and State streets and look into the parking lot behind the bars, it
cannot see what goes on along the sidewalk in front of the bars, according
to Rob Bacigalupi, deputy director of the Downtown Development Authority.
The video will be occasionally monitored by a parking attendant at the
Larry C. Hardy Parking Deck. If there is an incident in the alley,
police can go back and look at the tape, Bacigalupi said.

NO SIDEWALK SURVEILLANCE
Nick McAllister, owner of House of Doggs, a restaurant on the 100 block of
Union Street opposite the bars, believes surveillance cameras could
improve the neighborhood, but he wishes the city would also set one up to
keep an eye on the Union Street sidewalk.
“Maybe somebody knows more than I do,” McAllister said.
Things on Union Street have gotten a little rowdier since the state’s
smoking ban took effect, pushing smokers out onto the street.
“We just want them to be cool; we want them to have a good time and not
start trouble,” McAllister said. “They can still have fun, they can still
stand out there and smoke and yuck it up with their friends, but (a
surveillance camera) might stop them from fighting. It might stop them
from doing something stupid.”
McAllister put cameras in his restaurant when he moved to his current
location three years ago.
He hoped the mere presence of cameras would cause customers to behave. The
cameras caught a man who stole a guitar from the restaurant and became
evidence last year after an off-duty city police officer was accused of a
drunken assault.

TABU LOUNGE
Talk of the surveillance began in January with the appearance of the Tabu
Lounge, a mysterious members-only club that featured showgirls and a
hookah bar that opened in a building on the alley behind Union Street
Station.
Officials were concerned about what kind of customer the new business
might bring to the alley and, among other measures, they decided to
explore setting up a camera on the Opera House that would look down on the
club.
They moved ahead with the alley-cam even after that short-lived business
closed, however, because of information they received from the Traverse
City Police Department about crimes committed in the area.
In February, city police Capt. Steve Morgan prepared a report that tallied
trouble in the vicinity of the Union Street bars.
In the summer months of 2010, police were called to the 100 block of south
Union 47 times. In the three months prior to Morgan’s report, police were
called to the area 45 times.
Complaints ranged from disorderly conduct to malicious destruction of
property to, more rarely, assault. Often trouble was broken up before
police arrived or police were able to diffuse the situation without taking
a criminal report.

NO MORE CAMERAS PLANNED
City commissioner Mary Ann Moore said she is not aware of plans for
additional cameras around the city or on Union Street.
“I don’t know, there aren’t a lot of hot spots around town,” Moore said.
Moore said the camera was placed where it is because officials determined
the alley was a location where fights were likely to occur and it might
have a deterrent effect.
“There were a lot of fights and things going on, and young people come out
of these bars and some of them are inebriated and some of them get into
fights,” Moore said.
Commissioner Jim Carruthers voted in favor of allowing the city manager’s
office to set up the camera, but he said he had misgivings -- he said he’s
not sure the city should be in the surveillance business.
While surveillance of city streets is widespread in the United Kingdom.,
closed-circuit cameras are relatively uncommon on public streets in the
U.S.
Surveillance cameras have been upheld by courts as long as they don’t
monitor an area where people have a “reasonable expectation of privacy,”
said Steve Morse, a Suttons Bay attorney and member of the American Civil
Liberties Union.
As a larger question, though, Morse believes people should ask themselves
if, as a society, we want more surveillance.
“Is this the way we want to go? Is this the way we want to spend our
money?” he said.
In the Ursuy case, police didn’t need video surveillance to make an arrest.
Police arrived soon after the incident and they found Ursuy nearby. They
recovered a pocket knife from him, allegedly the one used in the stabbing.
Ursuy faces two charges of felonious assault. His lawyer, Randy Smith,
said it was too early in the case to comment.



 
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