Category: Social Media

The Maple Street Soap Opera

This week on the Maple Street Soap Opera Cody Sharpe responds to my recent Face Book post.


Okay if you find yourself at this post and you are not interested in the neighborhood soap opera that has taken place between Cody Sharpe and I you can skip right past this post. However if you are hanging on to the edge of your seat wondering what happened after the Face Book fracas. This is it.

Shortly after our last post on Face Book he posted this on his political site. Sorry I couldn’t find a perma-link to the post but right now it is the second post on the page. Scroll and you should be able to find it complete and uncut. Below is my response to his post cut up into blocks of text. Other then cutting it up I did not edit, remove or change his words in any way. At least not intentionally.

So here it goes…..

It has come to my attention today that an ongoing dispute with several area residents has reached social media.

Several?. Are there more? I thought I was it.

While I will not attempt to suppress the right to speak

The beauty of the internet is that it is next to impossible for any one person or organization to suppress speech for any length of time. People who yearn to be free will always find ways to get their words out.

While I don’t claim to be any great freedom fighter I do now how to get my words on the internet. So to whoever went to the trouble (probably really wasn’t all that much trouble but…) of having my post removed from Face Book for violating its standards I would like to thank you.

Admittedly, at first, I was a little taken aback. It is my belief that I didn’t do anything wrong and that all I was doing is saying words that I believe to be true about a man running for a political office that will have impact on my life.

At the point it happened I was reminded that this was the second time that someone thought they could use the “power to suppress” to shut me down. The first time it happened it was the City Commission of Three Rivers who thought that removing the TR Forum would quiet the opposition to their Bill Gothard inspired governmental propaganda they were trying to push on our schools, our workplaces and our places of worship.

If you weren’t around at the time, which was somewhere around 2001/2002 that was the original spark that started Liberty 1st.

And now a new spark has given life to the site again.

I will address certain rumors that are being propagated and perpetuated by these voices. In addressing these falsehoods, it is my hope that we can put an end to the continuous discrepancies and lapses in communication once and for all.

I am not sure if you have multiple people calling you out or not but I don’t what you mean by continuous discrepancies and lapses in communication. I didn’t even know your name until last week. And the first time I said anything about on Social Media about you was yesterday.

Admittedly when I did the flood gates opened and multiple people told us many things about you. However, even with that information, I don’t think you will find one instance of me talking about any of the rumors or allegations online. I think I have been very clear both on Face Book and with the follow up conversation you and I had on Messenger today about what my issues are with you.

And before you say it, yes, Ronda did mention a few of the allegations but I will tell you this about Ronda. She is a fierce woman and the fact that she only mentioned those and didn’t go into more detail is truly a testament of her relatively new found self control because just 10 years ago the outcome would have been much different then it was today.

The question of whether those “rumors” and “allegations” are relevant today really depends a lot on one’s perspective. And I am of two minds on this. On the one had it may show patterns of behaviors that could predict how you would behave in office. And on the other hand I am very aware that context matters and that I wouldn’t want the entirety of my life to be judged by any 15 minute segment contained in it.

For now I think (and I only speak for myself) I am going to stay focused on current events and leave the rest in the past. However this is not any kind of promise from me. You are running for a political office and the context of any of those situations could be relevant.

And to be clear, just in case, anybody is wondering I am not talking about what people do in their personal life. I am only concerned about actions carried out in public settings.

I will say I do appreciate your offer and willingness to sit down and talk to me (or anyone) about these rumors and allegations. In my experience that is an effective method for dealing with these kind of matters.

I have attempted to resolve this dispute through civil discussion to no avail and, when this discussion did not work

So on this one I am going to take issue with you. There was not one attempt that I know about until I called you out on Face Book. In fact I am pretty confident that you admitted this in one of your posts there earlier today.

I have involved the police on several attempts to put an end to the whole misunderstanding, and again I would like to be clear that this is what we are seeing: a misunderstanding.

Again, maybe a nitpick, but this was not a misunderstanding. This was you using the power of the police to get back at me because my son had exchanged some non pleasantries over the use of fireworks on the Fourth of July.

When I was made aware of my sons actions I made it clear to him that this is not how we expect him to act while he is at our house.

And to be completely frank I cannot say how serious he took me at that time but I will tell you now he takes me very serious on this matter and if he ever says anything to you or your wife again I want you to make me aware of it immediately.

I have not incessantly involved law enforcement, simply when I perceived the situation to be beyond the point of my own conflict resolution skill set.

Once again I am going to take issue with you here. You HAVE incessantly involved law enforcement and one only needs to check with the police to confirm what I am saying here. And I have to wonder about the conflict resolution skill set you mention because you never attempted to talk to me once before today. And lets be honest. I kind of forced your hand on that one.

The rumors which are being circulated are nothing more than that; rumors which have been twisted beyond fact into a sort of character assassination attempt that finds no basis in fact or logic.

Again I am confused because it is not really clear to me what you are referring to. If you are talking about what Ronda said a FOIA request will clear that up so if it is a rumor you have nothing to worry about.

If it is old and out of context, again you have nothing to worry about. It could be your best opportunity to clear it off your plate once and for all.

If it is something else you are referring to or someone else you are talking about you are going to have to clarify specifically what the character assassination attempt was or I can’t really address this.

Much of what has been spread is hearsay with no grounding in reality, and therefore I will not directly address it.

Then why bring it up? If someone was saying something about me that had no grounding in reality I would relish the attempt to clear the record. Having said that I will repeat that I have no interest in discussing anything that is not relevant to your run for office.

For my part, I welcome discussion about where I have come from, who I am, and where I am going.

Good because with my very limited Googling Skills I didn’t find all that much about you. Where do you come from? Who are you? Where are you going? I am genuinely interested.

Any misjudgments in my past remain there, while I remain firmly committed to serving the residents of St. Joseph county with transparency and honesty.

I hope so but at this point I don’t think we are off to a good start.

I have faith that in the coming weeks and months ahead, we can continue to work together to achieve the sort of partnerships that best lend themselves to this transparency– partnerships of character, of understanding, and of truth in the face of vitriol and cruelty.

Am I really the face of vitriol and cruelty? I had no idea.

In the meantime, I invite your earnest correspondence at any time and look forward to speaking again with you.

At this point I am not sure if there is anybody following along with this anymore because much of this is just a rehash of what was said on Face Book. But if you are still here you may be interested to know that after Cody had posted this on his site we had a private conversation via Messenger where we have both agreed to settle the neighborhood dispute between us and that anything going forward will be in the context of his political ambitions toward the District 1 county seat and nothing else.

Vote Spotter

Vote Spotter

It’s like finding a needle in a haystack

Michigan legislators vote on hundreds of bills every year. Spotting the most important votes could feel like a full-time job.


Vote Spotter is an app developed by the Mackinac Center of Public Policy for the iPhone (and soon Android) that enables you to track the legislation that your local legislators are voting on and how they vote. The bills are written in plain English and you can select the type of legislation you are interested in provide feedback. I was a little disappointed that “firearms” was not one of the preset categories but I guess that doesn’t really fit the kind of content that the Mackinac Center for Public Policy focuses on so it makes some sense (I guess), Also this does feel a little like a version 1 app so maybe this is something that will be added in a later update. There is are some “social” elements included that may help people get the word out on particular legislation as the community around this app grows. I am excited to see what future updates bring.

For more information about this app see the Vote Spotter website here.