Reworked gas golf cart ban up for vote at Thursday's PTC Council

Thursday night the Peachtree City Council will consider a proposal to ban the registration of gas-powered golf carts, although existing gas cart owners will have 10 years before facing the same consequence, thereby rendering their carts unusable on the city’s 80-plus mile cart path system.

The gas golf cart ban has been applauded by residents who contend they are too smelly and noisy. But opponents have contended that the carts are a better alternative to electric-powered models since they have more range per tank compared to the electric cart’s built-in battery power.

City officials have said that roughly 5 percent of the golf carts currently registered are gas-powered.

There are concerns from city staff that a state law which prohibits any inspection relating to cart registration would make it impossible for staff to verify whether a new cart being registered is gas or electric powered.

Another concern from staff is that the ordinance would not address the time of year when most citizen complaints are lodged about gas carts: the Fourth of July holiday, when the city loosens its registration requirements to allow cart dealers to rent a significant amount of carts.

In a letter that arrived too late for this edition’s Letters pages, former longtime City Clerk Frances Meaders criticized the ban. “I don’t see how the environment is going to be improved, if that is the intent, because everyone except the citizens are going to be allowed to continue with the gasoline carts — i.e., golf courses and golf cart businesses that rent the carts to visitors,” Meaders wrote.

“The minute this regulation goes into effect, the value of every gasoline golf cart in the city is zero,” Meaders said.

The latest version of the ordinance allows golf cart dealers who rent gas carts to obtain new decals over the next 10 years as they replace their rental fleet. It also:

• Exempts disabled drivers who have a valid disabled parking permit;

• Waives the registration requirement for certain Tourism events;

• Allows the transfer of gas powered carts that are already registered; and

• Exempts carts on local golf courses.

The last time the ban was discussed by council, there were three in favor, including Mayor Don Haddix and Councilmen Doug Sturbaum and Eric Imker. Councilwoman Vanessa Fleisch and Kim Learnard have indicated they oppose the ban.

Path.User
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Evil Elvis
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A Matter of Taking Responsibility for One's Self

I loathe the smell produced by gas golf carts. That's why I don't own one. See how that works? When I find myself behind one, I take control of the objectionable situation and either slow down or pull over. I have choices that allow me to avoid the foul smell without encroaching upon others.

Robert W. Morgan
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I think they killed the ban

Hard to tell with the low sound and the commercials, but I did hear no ban.

So that would be good

And yes indeed - personal responsibility is always a good idea

NUK_1
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Morgan: Please Update

If they killed the ban, that would obviously mean that Imker got a clue because there is no way in hell that Sturbaum wouldn't vote with Haddix and it went 3-2 yet again.

What I predict happening next PTC election is Sturbaum goes down BIG to anyone running against him, and that's going to be an anti-Haddix/anti-puppet candidate.

Then, Imker goes down too, but loses to a pro-Haddix candidate.

In the end, it is still 3-2 against Mayor Haddix, which I see as a very good thing, even though it takes a twisted path to get there.

Evil Elvis
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Voted Down?

Aww, the 100 or so housewives whose pet peeve this was won't be pleased! Now they'll continue to endure foul odor when they zoom up behind gas carts while blathering on their iPhones.

Maybe their next board to bang will be overweight women wearing capri pants at Publix. I'm sure Don will be on board.

Spear Road Guy
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Nuk

I thought Imker took the pledge to finish the unexpired term and leave??? Did he say he's running again?

NUK_1
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Spear Road: Yeah, he's running again

He had a letter in the paper last week talking about what it takes to be a PTC Councilmember and he's definitely running.

PTClurker
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Well said bowser

I'll admit that originally I was opposed to the ban. But I think I was overthinking the "attack on personal freedom" that so many on this board still cling to.

In reality, this topic isn't really a big deal. If the ban is passed, it won't go into effect for 10 years anyway. Way too long from now to scratch/claw/whine about this subject (from either side).

I really don't care which way the vote goes. But if the ban passes, I won't go all up in arms raising my pitchfork.

bowser
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Gas cart ban -- Just Do It

I'll advance a minority view on this board -- that the gas cart ban is both logical and a totally reasonable function of government. I hope the council passes it. In fact I hope they amend it to make it stronger by banning rentals.

The cart paths have value as the chief lifestyle asset offered by Peachtree City. We, through our elected representatives, should be very, very protective of that value, which ultimately affects the value of the property we own here.

I am a heavy user of the paths (by foot, bike and electric cart) and I have seen a noticeable increase in gas carts in the past 5 years. They are noisy and smelly and, for me, interrupt and degrade the experience of being on the paths. The question for me isn't: Why would we ban gas golf carts, it's: Why do we still allow them?

Some here portray this as an issue of freedom or "limited government." Let me suggest the slippery slope goes in both directions in that regard. If we are going to allow gas golf carts because we don't want to restrict anyone's freedom, why are we restricting ATV's, go-karts, motorscooters or even motorcycles? Under the freedom argument, any wheeled vehicle that fits ought to be allowed, as long as the user stays within the speed limit and doesn't drive drunk, right? Unless you think those rules are illigetimate assaults on our freedom, too.

For that matter, why prohibit jet skis from our lakes? The obvious answer is that we don't want to impose the noise and stink of jet skis on everyone else using these community assets. Is that an overreach by tyrannical out-of-control government? By the logic advanced in many comments here, I gather some of you think so. I don't.

Banning gas carts is a reasonable and overdue step to protect the value of an important community asset. Do it.

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SPQR
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plain english

If we ask all PTC citizens to proactively respond to a survey concerning gas golf carts we can make the reasonable assumption that only those with feelings one way or the other will go to the trouble to respond. OK, so now it is reasonable to accept that the response group will mainly consist of those opposing gas golf carts and those having gas golf carts. It can also reasonably be assumed that the non responders don't care. Now, since the overall percentage of gas carts is only 5% it is overwhelmingly likely the gas carts will also be in the minority of the response group. Whats happened in the vernacular is that gas carters got the "bums rush"

To draw an honest conclusion from the internet survey conducted by city staff we would need to include all the citizens of PTC that did not respond to the survey as not being for a gas cart ban. they didn't respond so they don't care.

So in a nutshell the survey demonstrates this. Most folks don't care.

roundabout
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SPQR Carts

I think you are correct. Why, if I had an electric cart, would I care how many gas or electric ones there were? No. Silly survey---totally inaccurate.

The problem is that City Hall does not like complaints--even a few.
I am convinced that if ten people called them steadily for two weeks about lowering the lake a foot for a better view, it would be lowered.

SPQR
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the majority

Mayor. Are you confusing a vocal and influential minority with the majority? No one really knows how the majority of PTC citizens feel about this issue. The internet survey conducted by staff,as pointed out by Beth at a council meeting was not by any means an honest measure of public sentiment on the matter. Morgan's perspective is probably prevalent . It's an unwarranted intrusion by government.

Don Haddix
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Haddix: No Confusion

As with an election, where the minority vote, they determine who is elected.

Yes, Beth said that. For PTC about 545 random questions is a significant poll result.

But, as what was also pointed out and conceded at the Citizen Survey Workshop, a non random poll returning multiples of the random number is statistically significant because of the number weight.

Trying a negative proof claim of we do not know what the true majority of citizens feel on the issue is an invalid argument. Something is better than nothing.

Your probably assumption about Morgan is even less significant. It is personal opinion only.

We heard the same arguments on the leash issue. Reality is after we passed the law the complaints went away, after getting them for three years. That says we were right, based on the polling, as to what the citizens wanted in the majority.

I see no reason for this to be any different.

We do represent the citizens, or are supposed to. On some issues polls are valuable and a good source of information. On most others they are not.

Robert W. Morgan
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Personal opinion Mr. Haddix? That's all any of this is

but a ban on gas golf carts is a useless and uneeded intrusion by government. A survey response is a personal opinion. 12 survey responses from people who don't like gas golf carts equals exactly 12 personal opinions. It is not a valid sample in a city of over 36,000 from which 2 or 3 council people make up stupid laws. And this whole thing is not a democracy anyway, we hired you and the others to use your best judgment - not govern by survey. Of course if you don't have the judgment or experience to make responsible decisions, then I guess you would seek help from others via. a survey. And don't compare this to a leash law - that was a safety issue and passing a leash law benefitted all the citizens of PTC. And yes, you were righton that one - but not because of the survey.

Saying the Pro-ban people have a slight edge over the Pro-gas people is like passing a health care bill just because there were a few more Democrats voting zombie-like for any thing Obama /Pelosi wants.

Again, I will put the spotlight on Eric Imker to live up to some of the ideals and principles he referred to in today's candidate manifesto. I agree with everything he said - except not needing to understand Robert's Rules, but that is a minor point. Please Mr. Imker, vote against this gas golf cart ban and do so because you believe in limited government. You are completely in charge of this one. Or you can take the financial responsibility approach. You know there will be a legal challange to the ban, so why waste the money on an attorney to defend something that will surely be overturned by the next council? Those of you who know Mr. Imker should help him with this decision. The vote is tonight.

NUK_1
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Barely responded to surveys and the howling few......

...is NO WAY to run ANY government. It's truly pathetic to think that some can get elected into office and feel that all they have to do is send out some silly surveys that barely anyone responds to or just listen to whoever screeches the loudest. That is a total lack of anything resembling leadership and something we have seen repeatedly from this Mayor and some on Council.

Don Haddix
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Haddix: Howling Few

Are those not wanting them banned.

Actually, on both sides, most of those taking the time to respond have been very thoughtful and polite.

SPQR
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what we have here

is the Haddix syndrome

Gator
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Waste of Time

Dear Council,

Please find something important to do. Banning gasoline golf carts is a total waste of time and an over reach of your power. You are trying to solve a problem that does not exist.

Gator

Path.User
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No farting on the paths will

No farting on the paths will be allowed as well. This will omit a smell that someone will complain about.

roundabout
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Stupid stupid, stupid!

1. Allow gas carts to be sold or traded as long as they last...these things will run forever if maintained!
2. Exempt golf courses but not ordinary citizens or Mexican restaurant workers.

3. Exempt disabled. Doctors will give anyone a disabled permit.
4. Staff said, staff said, staff said!!! Who cares! Do they speak as one?

5. We will loosen regulations for money.
6. Waive regulations for tourists...do cops know who are tourists?

Just issue gas masks, or.....leave it totally alone.

Evil Elvis
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Stupid indeed

7. Tell those offended by the fumes to take control of their preference and not follow gas golf carts. Hint: The fumes wane with distance.

mudcat
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Here we have a reason for more females on city council

Beth or even Cyndi, had they been elected last time, would have buried this stupid gas golf cart ban very quickly. Contrary to what Frances Meaders (a viable female candidate herself) said, gas golf carts after this ban would actually increase in value as they would become novelty items. All would come with a city-issued diabled permit. No enviornmental impact whatsoever. No reduction in existing gas golf carts either. Stupid waste of time.

Don Haddix
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Haddix: Mudcat and Reality

The females on Council oppose the ban. Beth opposes the ban.

The increase in value is my argument, they say it will decrease value.

Evil Elvis
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Value is a silly argument

Don, have you considered that those who dislike the smell are following gas carts at an unsafe distance? Tell complainers to increase their distance to twenty cart lengths. They might find the issue literally disappears.

Has your administration considered how few minutes of exposure complaining citizens have over the course of a lifetime? Let one of the complainers carry a stop watch and record each minute exposed to the dreaded gas golf cart fumes. Let's see what it adds up to after a year of measurement.

How many minutes of exposure would you guess? One? Two? I suspect you are voting on an ordinance that will please one hundred people and save them from one minute of exposure each; something they themselves can achieve by not following other carts so closely.

This is an embarrassingly silly and superficial issue for the office of mayor of our city to not only be considering, but to be hashing out on this forum.

wdd5885
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Mayor, your argument defies logic...

Why in the world would anyone purchase a gas golf cart once the city makes them illegal? They're already less valuable here because of low demand. You cannot use one on the golf courses at all.

A piece of advice, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. I'm quite certain you won't listen.

David Downing

College Mike
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Waste of time to appease crybabies
wdd5885 wrote:

They're already less valuable here because of low demand. You cannot use one on the golf courses at all.

You couldn't be more wrong David. My parents own a gas powered cart and they have been offered quite large sums for it compared to electric models. Also a proprietor of a golf cart based business, who will remain nameless, has claimed that almost all gas carts he has experience with command a higher price due to the nature of gas carts. The 'nature' of gas carts mentioned is their exponentially longer range over electric carts, their ability to gas and go, improved ability to handle steep grades, improved heavy load performance, and in most cases lower maintenance costs (a set of six batteries are quite expensive).

Also the people who claim that gas carts are less "green" should really think twice. Lead acid batteries are quite hazardous and harmful to the environment.

As many have mentioned this issue is hardly worth the time when the PTC government has much more important issues to deal with.

It boils down to this:
I can't believe that people even take the time to complain about gas carts. If your riding your bike behind one and think it's smelly you should take in the scenery for two minutes and the gasser will be long gone. If you think they should be banned because they are noisy ... well I can only say GROW uP. Kid's in Honda's with a 'fart can' equipped make far more noise ... go ban those.

Robert W. Morgan
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Ban something more noisy than golf carts

If you all really want to ban something, how about the goofy kids (of all races) who play rap music extremely loud while crusing in their golf cart. I've heard this crap as late as 11PM and I assure you when they go by you can't tell if it a gas or electric cart bacause the "music" is so loud. And it is not a style thing either - I'd be just as upset if they were playing Sinatra.

Sink your teeth into that one city council. It has a nuisance component, affects everyone using the cart paths and everyone living near them and best of all there is a public safety angle as well. Plus by banning loud music on golf carts, you are not endangering someone's business.

normal
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Well geez morgan

I would support banning those sick damn speakers that rattle the pictures in my house when they go by. In the cars and trucks not golf carts. The trunks and back seats of these vehicles are loaded down with speakers. That is not music. They must think they were born to entertain the world With crap rap music. And whats worse is the base so loud you cant even here the words, which in most cases is good.

Don Haddix
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Haddix: Good Argument

For banning, actually.

If they are already unwanted with low demand and of less value then they will not be missed.

Gas carts had been a constant source of complaints right along with dogs off leash. Leash law went in and complaints stopped.

For many it is broken. The old arguments of 'freedom of' versus 'freedom from.' Only one side can win.

That is a simple fact for every controversial issue that comes before Council. But not looking at such issues and not making a decision is even worse. We saw that on too many Councils in the past and are now having to fix a lot of issues, too many at a higher than should be cost.

This issue has been one that has drawn some of highest volumes of citizen response. Most want them banned. The minority want them kept.

Which ever way the vote goes some people are going to be unhappy. Far more will be unhappy if not passed.

We will see Thursday.

Evil Elvis
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Two wolves and a sheep voting on what is for dinner, Mr. Mayor?

Consider the total length of time per year each PTC resident supporting this proposed ordinance actually endures the unwanted smell produced by a gas powered golf cart. I suspect it is less than one minute per person per year.

Hardly worthy of an ordinance.

Conversely, I endure scores of hours of barking dogs and see hundreds of unsightly poorly delivered hardcopies of this publication each year; both of which "bother" me more than the one or two times per year I happen to pull up too closely behind a gas powered cart.

Bottom line: If you don't like the smell of a gas powered golf cart (and I do not), don't buy one. Should you happen upon one on the paths, take control of the situation by slowing down, putting distance between your precious olfactory unit and it, thereby solving your problem yourself.

Are ordinances prohibiting fragrance we may or may not like next?

Gort
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Mayor Don, now is you chance! Bubble Carts!

Mayor Don, well it looks like you got yourself into another fine fix with this “ban the gasoline golf cart” issue. Right away I can see what the problem is. You’re using words like “Ban” and “Gasoline” to define the issue. Some people read the word “Ban” and they immediately reach for their pitchfork, other people read the word “Gasoline” and they reach for their wallets. How do you expect to create popular support for something called, “Banning Gasoline Golf Carts”? My advice is, scrap the vote on the ban.

If the gasoline carts are smelly and something needs to be done, try to be a little creative. Instead of banning the gasoline carts, ask the owners of these vehicles to have them retrofitted with a device that will inject a mixture of bubble water directly into the exhaust pipe.

When the engines are running they would emit a steady stream of bubbles out the exhaust. Inside each bubble will contain the warm noxious odors from the engine. Because the bubbles are warm they will rise high into the air until they burst far and away from any but the longest of noses.

You can ask the Science Clubs at the high schools to compete for best design. Get the Jay Cee’s to put together do-it-yourself kits. The city can give away the first 50 kits to get the ball rolling. The Jay Cee’s can sell kits to remaining owners and keep the bubble water concession to fund new initiatives. At the Forth of July parade, the “Bubble Carts” could lead the parade. Now, I ask you, who could say anything bad about something called a “Bubble Cart?”

Well, that’s about it. Now that you have a new action plan you can change the name from “Banning Gasoline Golf Carts” to the “Peachtree City Young Peoples Bubble Cart Community Involvement Initiative”. Good luck.

Mike King
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Good Argument, Bull!

"If they are already unwanted with low demand and of less value then they will not be missed." The same can/will be said of you in three years, but with your departure Peachtree City might begin to resemble why most of us moved here in the first place.

Your Brownish antics haved proved you incapable of dealing with others, and your utter lack of business acumen continues to shed commercial entities away from the city.

How's the debt reduction coming along? Have you reduced the city's entitlement growth? The city's personnel costs are nearly two-thirds of total revenue, do you intend to let it go to 75% or greater during your watch? Peachtree City is still paying for two separate retirement programs, have you forgotten to act?

Dealing with trivial and inconsequential issues and ignoring major issues demonstrates inability or cowardice, which is it?

intheknow
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Mr. King

Not even getting into the golf cart thing on here, but I must jump in as you continue to post up erroneous information on these boards.

You repeatedly make statements like "personnel costs are nearly two-thirds of total revenue" - what exactly do you think the majority of any cities costs are? As I've stated before, cities aren't like industries and don't deal in product, they are entities that provide services for their citizens, and do so with people. So accordingly it would seem to any normal person that most of a cities revenue would go towards personnel costs.

As far as the "two separate retirement programs you've frequently ranted about, maybe you should have attended the city Retirement Workshop that council held early last year. Maybe if you had attended, your ignorance on the topic wouldn't be continually displayed in your postings. I'll let you in on the results - Peachtree CIty pays less than most cities by doing it with the two retirement programs.

Mike King
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intheknow

Perhaps if you'd get your head out of the sand and realize that personnel costs are rising in PTC. Currently at nearly two-thirds and within three years over seventy percent. Where does this stop? The cost of living here continues to rise beyond that which is affordable for many of the kids reared here. Face facts, the population growth of this town is at a stand still and the size of its government continues to grow.

The previous mayor saw commercial development as a means to generate tax revenue because of near residential buildout, this mayor has done all he can to stiffle it. The result is a 1.25 property tax increase with a
.5 mil increase over the next three years which will assure Mr Haddix of presiding over the largest tax increase in PTC's history. All done because His Honor refused to compromise with three dissenting Councilmembers.

You speak of services provided. Would that include speed traps set up specifically for revenue generation and not for public safety? Would that include seven maintenance workers supervising one individual? Police patrols asleep in parking lots?

As for retirement options, you are comparing apples to oranges. But then, you went to the meeting and were convinced that the city couldn't hire anyone without both programs.

roundabout
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MIKE K

Arguing with city employees about layoffs or pay cuts is like arguing with the Pentagon Generals and Admirals about the same thing! I wonder if the Secretary of Defense will get to cut his 100 Generals and Admirals before he leaves. Maybe, but not before they have gotten all there is to get for retirement first.
Some dude wants to give Petraus "five stars." Isn't a star for quantity under command and not popularity?

wdd5885
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Mayor...

Creating a law just because gas carts are "smelley and noisy" defies any resonable logic. The fact is, there is no valid reason to ban them. This is bascially "some people don't like them, so let's ban them". Government at its finest.

David Downing

NUK_1
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Yes, we know that reality

That was Mudcat's point which should have been obvious: the females on Council and other females oppose the ban, as does Mudcat. In this case, they all happen to be right.

Robert W. Morgan
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I think Eric will back off his support of the ban

and we will see it defeated (dare I say it?) 3-2. This is not a male/female thing, it is common sense. Don't need more regulations - especially ones like this that have so many exceptions.

I hate gas golf carts and would never own one. But I hate intrusive government even more.

kevink
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Robert M, NUK, Mike K, Mudkitty: I agree 100%

This is a classic example of government overreach. With so many vital issues being kicked down the street like tin cans, this is how our city council will spend its time? Saving us from our own freedom to choose what fuels our golf carts?

Tell you what, since complaints got this ball rolling, I want to file one right now.

I think Labradoodles are a threat to children, smaller dogs, and peace-loving kittens in PTC. They should be banned and barred from The PTC limits. Just "Google" labradoodle attack and you get pages of stories. And don't let the cuddly, bloodless videos fool you. As we are proving with this attempt at a gasoline-powered golf cart ban, the lack of actual victims that need protection matters not.

Where is the conservative, smaller government thinking here?

Mike King
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kevink

A very good day to you , sir.

Most, if not all, of these councilmembers were voted in because they professed to be limited government, conservative types. Types, I might add, would have been very vocal and unyeilding regarding the erosion of their individual rights. Sound familiar?

I'll pass on the labradoodle threat, but it comes from the same logic.

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