The BOC Chairman Invited the Proud Boys to the Lectern--and Badly Damaged Business Recruitment

The Grand Traverse County Commission pandered to white supremacist groups like the Proud Boys. We shouldn’t be proud of that.

There are several venture capitalists in Traverse City that are working to bring high-paying year-round jobs to Northern Michigan, making our economy less dependent on tourism and low-paying seasonal hospitality jobs. Those efforts were set back significantly when four Republicans on the County Commission invited twice-convicted felon Randy Bishop and the Proud Boys to town and did their bidding by passing a gun sanctuary resolution at their meeting on March 4, 2020. Commissioners Hentschel, Clous, Jewett and LaPointe voted in favor of the resolution.

The County Commission’s cooperation with Proud Boys will haunt us for a decade when companies and potential employees do their due-diligence research on Northern Michigan. In the math, computer science and statistics classes I took for my doctoral degree, it was not unusual to be the only native English speaker in the class. Women wearing a hijab are common at my professional conferences.

When employers and employees research job opportunities in Northern Michigan, they will learn about the Imam who was disinvited to a choral concert. They will learn that the former Kalkaska Village president made Islamophobic and racist comments on his Facebook page. They will discover that a Leelanau County Road Commissioner repeatedly made racist comments in public. And they will certainly learn that the Grand Traverse County Commission, against the wishes of most of the attendees at the March 4 meeting, sided with a repugnant hate group.

I don’t support the Proud Boys and I won’t vote to support their goals. I will work to make this a safe community for people who don’t look like me.

Randy Bishop was invited to present for more than the standard 3-minute public comment. He does not live in Grand Traverse County.
Randy Bishop was invited to present for more than the standard 3-minute public comment. He does not live in Grand Traverse County.
Proud Boy #1
One of the Proud Boys who spoke in favor of the Gun Sanctuary Resolution
Proud Boy #2
One of the Proud Boys who spoke in favor of the Gun Sanctuary Resolution

I encourage you to view the March 4th meeting on Traverse Area Community Media.





Keep Our Schools Open--Wear a Mask

Keep our schools open. Wear a mask.

I strive to set a positive example for wearing a face mask, and am not afraid to be the only one in an outdoor crowd to do so. Commissioners Hentschel, Jewett, Clous and LaPointe don’t wear masks, even in four hour indoor meetings.

We need to keep schools open. This is the best way to insure that kids make progress at a normal rate; if they don’t learn the subjects that they are supposed to learn this year, it will be a big hit to their lifetime earnings, and the hit will be biggest for kids that are already struggling.

Don’t kill our teachers. School is a long duration, close proximity, poor ventilation activity, even with all of the changes that have been made. It is a high-risk activity. To keep teachers, bus drivers, staff and students safe, we need to make the rest of the community as low-risk as we possibly can. We need to wear masks universally.

Keeping schools open is the best way for businesses to stay open. Employees can’t work if they are at home supervising virtual school.

To get customers back to businesses, we need make the community as low-risk as we can. This means wearing a face mask.

Wearing a simple face mask is working brilliantly in other economies, and should be working here.

The recent Supreme Court order has made holding totally virtual public meetings legally questionable, so the recent County Commission meetings have been in person. At the October 7 meeting, all of the staff and the elected County Clerk were wearing face masks, but Commissioners Hentschel, Jewett, Clous and LaPointe were conspicuously mask free. See the pictures from the October 7 meeting.

Staff wearing masks at October 7, 2020 Board of Commissioners meeting
Grand Traverse County staff wearing masks at October 7, 2020 Board of Commissioners meeting.
Commissioners Jewett, Hentschel, and Clous not wearing masks at October 7, 2020 Board of Commissioners meeting.
Jewett, Hentschel and Clous not wearing masks at October 7, 2020 Board of Commissioners meeting.
Commissioners Hentschel, Clous and LaPointe not wearing masks at October 7, 2020 Board of Commissioners meeting.
Hentschel, Clous and LaPointe not wearing masks at October 7, 2020 Board of Commissioners meeting.

See the full video on Youtube.