Thursday, June 21, 2018

An Open Letter to Columbia Spy


Residents fed bullshit soup and they ate it all up:

At tonight's Community Development Committee meeting, Cleon Berntheizel criticized "media" reporting about the requested $650,000 hotel grant.

He blamed the media for its reporting on the issue.  What WAS reported, was clearly said at the May Finance Committee Meeting.  There was NO confusion about the grant request.

The grant was in fact requested by Cimmaron properties at the May Finance Committee Meeting.  In fact, Mr. Don Murphy clearly said that the project would not move forward without the grant, as I recall, his words were, it would be "dead in the water." At that time the committee voted to pass it on to full council.  It was in fact printed on the final June borough council meeting agenda.  It was tabled after the final agenda was printed.

The attorney should have reviewed this first before it ever went to council.  In fact, the committee members should have known the answer and said it cannot be done.  Then and there...over.  The committee is responsible for upsetting residents, not the media.

At the Community Development Meeting tonight, Janice Nikoloff (CEDC) took to the podium in support of the hotel project.  She said that she doesn't like hearing people say "Not on my dime," which was directed at Sharon Lintner.  Problem being, it never will be on "Nikoloff's dime" because she does not live in Columbia.  She does not pay taxes here, we pay her salary.  

Cleon Berntheizel passionately supports the hotel.  Trouble again, Cleon is currently on the delinquent tax list as of June 12, 2018 for $3,291.55. (for 2017).  His name also appears on the borough's open invoice list as of April 30, 2018 as owing $1,975.00,  due date was 08/15/2013.

I'm sick of people that aren't spending "their dime" telling me to be happy with the way they want to spend mine. 

I'm not hiding behind anonymous, my name is SHARON LINTNER and I'm not eating the bullshit soup.

76 comments:

  1. THANK YOU Sharon! Very well said and you speak for many of us.

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    1. Thank You Sharon, they can not do these things and keep getting away with it and you are rite on target with the not my dime none of our dimes should be wasted on private businesses.

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  2. So, what is the projected Assessment value of completed? $2 million? $3 million. So, how much in taxes are lost if they are permitted to pay the broken down warehouse tax of $7,600 on $200 thousand assessment for the first 10 years of operation?

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  3. Open letter from the Spy to the Spy. Your media is ridiculous. Read the motions. Your biased reporting is very sad. Remember the granted labor of the Borough highway department employees that the Turkey Hill Experience received towards their infrastructure work for an entire summer. Remember the money that was offered again to that out of town developer who needed quick money for a call center that the borough quickly offered. You have no concept of economic development, yet this is what drives our nations economiy and rebuilds communities. Come out of your box and see how it really works. Your credibility is worthless. But keep up the good work. This is probably why the Lancaster News dropped you as a reporter because you don’t gather all your facts prior to reporting.

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    1. What I know of "economic development" is that taxpayers subsidize business and get little or nothing in return. As for Lancaster Newspapers, get YOUR facts straight. Sharon was asked to stay on when she announced she was resigning. You can verify this by calling the supervisor of correspondents there.

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    2. You are generous with your insults, but you need corrected. I was never let go or dropped from any job, including my work as a correspondent with LNP. I was in fact asked to remain on as a correspondent. This was a part-time job I was offered after retiring from a successful 34 year career. I put a lot of time into about 25 published articles. Several of which were "feel good" fluff about Columbia. As far as reporting, you have a choice, DON'T read it. We do not need you or anyone else to read it, we do not get paid. We do not have advertising. We do not want it. SHARON LINTNER

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    3. Don't be anonymous your calling em out. I'm Shane Simpson. I don't have an issue Sayin my name

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    4. So - which borough official wrote that reply?

      Amazing how fragile the egos of those that run this town are. Face it. You people SUCK at running this town. Find a new line of work. You people can NOT be trusted with tax money.

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    5. Without the Spy residents would be in the dark. Thank you.

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    6. councilman owes taxes throw him out

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  4. We, borough residents, are paying the new borough manager to know the answers. She should have shut the grant request down at the onset. It is not legal for the borough to provide grant funding to businesses for private gain or profit. That is common knowledge.

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    1. Yes for $95,000 a year plus benefits we could expect a little more. Plus, she should step down from the West Lampeter Township Zoning Board where she is listed as a member until 2020. With the money we're paying her, she should be available to Columbia 24/7.

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    2. Cole Thank You, you shine the lite on these things that the borough does not want the tax paying people to know it does take a strong sense of rite and wrong to do this. we want you to know we the people are thankful for your work.

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  5. So whats the outcome for the $650,000.00 yes or no??

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    1. Well, it was a no for now. It came from the table that they are still looking for other ways to make it happen.

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  6. What I heard this evening was a proper explanation that the Borough cannot give public funds to a private entity. So, no payment by the Borough (i.e., tax dollars). This was explained quite clearly by Mgr. Denlinger. She also explained the Borough solicitor's opinion on the matter was not received in time to discuss the matter more fully at the meeting. I have worked my entire career of nearly 25 yrs in local government. Matters can be discussed if the Council desires, but it doesn't mean it must be voted on at that meeting. Requests of all kinds are made to Council all the time. Agendas can change at any time. I can tell you that this Borough is in good hands with Ms.Denlinger at the helm. She has the knowledge and connections to get things moving in the right direction. Let's keep the focus off personal attacks and work together to make Columbia the town we all know it can be.

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    1. What you heard tonight was already clearly explained at the June Council meeting that you missed. It was told to council and to Denlinger by former borough manager Norm Meiskey. I guess it sounded good to hear it for the first time tonight.

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    2. Yeah, agendas can be changed anytime. However, any agency, entity or government interested in transparent actions will make every effort to convey agenda changes to the constituency it serves.

      Hidden agendas are exactly that: HIDDEN.

      And to what end?

      Just look at yesterday for instance. There was no agenda posted for the Community Development committee meeting, slated for last night, until sometime after 9:15 am ON THE DAY OF THE MEETING.

      What kind of notice is that providing to the constituents? Probably many constituents were at work or engaged in something else at 9:15 in the morning.

      The Pennsylvania Borough Council Handbook states:

      "The agenda also serves another useful purpose by enabling the borough to inform the news media in advance of relevant topics to be discussed at the meeting. The news media in turn helps encourage citizen participation in the borough’s decision making process."

      Agenda items are not a secret - and if something changes, ethical leadership will assure that constituents are informed of the changes.

      Otherwise we turn into a authoritarian, despotic organization. Those kinds of organizations are destined for failure. History shows that.

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  7. This is what you get when you vote mediocre Council that cold have had a plan for a return on investment. If I took $650,000 from my company for a investment with no return I would be fired.
    A 5% room tax administered by Columbia Borough would show an investment return after 7 years with the proposed 65+ room hotel at a $100.00+ per night stay. Retail business rarely flow tax dollars to the homeowner, but brings commerce and investment to a borough's tourism district.
    The Council needs to be negotiators with the investors with the best interest of the taxpayer. Investment with negotiation is a standard, not an abuse of power on behalf of your investors (Columbia citizens).
    I guarantee Don Murphy would have listened to any offer that the Council proposed in a professional manner. Think about each homeowners investment when they are strapped from paying taxes and utilities. Homes sales are on the rise due to the negligence of BOTH governments in Columbia and our generation is coming to an end. What a shame!

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  8. FYI, whoever we is do not pay Nikoloff's salary. She is paid by CEDC. FACT!

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  9. A total of five Columbia businesses owe back taxes from 2017. The combined amount for the five is over $133,000. If business is so great for our community why aren't they paying to support the community?

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    1. LIST THEM public needs to know.

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  10. I am curious how you came to make these statements when you left the meeting about 640 when the meeting did not end until after 800. And so much anger and personal attacks. I expect better from Columbia citizens. Tide pride!

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    1. Issues referenced in the letter happened before Sharon left the meeting to cover the school board meeting. We audio recorded both meetings.
      Anger and attacks came from committee members, also.

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    2. I'm not seeing personal attacks but rather true facts stated by Sharon.

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    3. Keep telling the truth Sharon, I appreciate it.

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  11. The LNP Columbia Correspondent who was terminated some years ago was Maureen Landis - not Sharon Lintner.

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  12. It was interesting that people were allowed to speak out of turn, until the chair didn't like what they were saying and then they were sharply told to stop speaking.

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  13. Is the hotel idea in Columbia similar or not similar to the Convention Center in Lancaster? I remember hearing room taxes in the county, and if there was a default in payment, the county taxpayers would have to pay. Maybe I misunderstood something.

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    1. Similar - but perhaps even more similar to what was often refereed to behind the scenes as "the largest money laundering scheme ever to hit Lancaster County", and that wasn't the Convention Center - it was the Turkey Hill Experience !!

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    2. ask yourself - who got new big black SUV's and and who got New Houses - not very long after the Turkey Hill Experience got funded - and with our Taxes ! Perhaps some of the same people that are helping to make decisions to this day ! The truth in this corrupt town is only jut beginning to come to light !

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  14. It is in insult that Cimmeron and their attorneys would even ask for something so outlandish - it's no different then a beggar in the street collecting welfare and asking for more.

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    1. Amen ! - Cimmeron is not quite the God Sent that people make them out to be. Who exactly is Cimmeron ? Are the Attorney's involved ?

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  15. It is very common for municipalities to invest in a town's businesses especially when efforts are being made to develop such a town. All of this bad press is just hurting everyone. If you are all so concerned why don't you go visit the council members outside of a hostile environment and seek to understand their logic. We are all just human beings trying to make our way through this life and hopefully striving to leave it a better place. Name calling, exposing people's weaknesses (paid a bill, didn't pay a bill .. whatever) is counter productive. I think the one person your referring to owns a coffee shop, pop in and visit and have a conversation you might learn more that way. You may end up still not crazy about the plan or the person but at least you can say you reached out on a different level, rather than council meetings, speculation, hear say and name calling.

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    1. Thank you mysterious boro official. Oops, I mean anonymous poster.

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    2. Like it or not, Columbia Borough council and committee meetings, are where the public has been encouraged to go and be involved, by this very council.

      Now that citizens have been awakened, you are suggesting they NOT attend? But rather, go visit the individual council members at their businesses? Sounds rather shady, what is the purpose? Backdoor deals? You scrath my back, I'll scratch yours? In the past two weeks there have been close to 100 residents present at Borough meetings. That is where conversations should take place, so that we all get the same information at the same time, or later in a news report.

      And can you imagine if all 10,300 residents followed this advise? Each council member who owns a business would go broke making time at their work for residents visits.

      Here's a suggestion, how about the council members take some government classes on the responsibilities of their elected positions and start running this borough properly and reign in the spending.

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  16. Over the years Columbia is blessed to have citizens with the integrity of Sharon Litner and Cole Umber . I urge readers of the Columbia Spy to appreciate what these two folks do for Columbia. Without them as our watchdogs things would be much worse than they are. I have always spoken the truth and from the bottom of my heart I say THANK YOU to the both of you!

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    1. Fran, We both appreciate every kind word in support of our efforts. It has been (at times) a thankless endeavor, so thank you for recognizing that and communicating it to us.
      Sharon

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    2. Well said and also thank you both!!

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    3. This is terrible - Please get Lancaster Newspaper to explain to the public that the Story was all wrong.

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  17. I now appreciate all the developers and businesses that spent their private money on this town and didn't ask for a handout from the taxpayers.


    Cimmeron: Climb into Leo's pocket and you won't have to ask.

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  18. I agree with Mr Resh

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  19. The call center was another similar under the table deal- only a Columbia Economic member to benefit. Be thankful that the state pull the plug on that. the Borough solicitor advised against the boroughs involvement one council person voted against that the ray followed like sheep .........

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  20. Here is the article in the Lancaster Newspaper November, 2017 on Mount Joy's acceptance of a medical marijuana plant orchestrated by former Columbia Borough Manager Sam Sulkosky. Who we left go because Council could not embrace. Mount Joy is growing and their Council has the vision of a whole community. Did not see one penny of taxpayers money just handed over to this corporation. I guess the employees of both Kleen Rite and marijuana plant will be buying their goods in downtown Mount Joy.

    Lancasteronline November 30, 2017
    A medical-marijuana grower affiliated with Temple University wants to build a facility costing $8 million to $10 million in Mount Joy Borough. Laurel Harvest Labs presented a sketch plan for the growing and research facility to the borough Planning Commission in November.
    The startup company’s building at 249 S. Barbara St. would have up to 90 employees in three to five years, a Laurel Harvest Labs executive said Thursday. “We think it’s a win-win for everybody. We really appreciate Mount Joy welcoming us,” said Andrew Dodge, a managing partner in Laurel Harvest.
    Dodge, a Lancaster businessman, said he and his Philadelphia-area partners are attracted to Mount Joy for several reasons. The cost of developing the facility here is cheaper than in the Philadelphia area, he said.
    In addition, Mount Joy’s Amtrak station, which provides direct service to Philadelphia, is getting a $25 million upgrade. Finally, Dodge said it would be appropriate for Lancaster County —Pennsylvania’s leading agricultural county — to become a site for growing medical marijuana.
    Temple University’s School of Medicine would have researchers at the Mount Joy facility, seeing which strains of marijuana are most effective for treating various conditions.

    'Low impact project'
    Borough Manager Sam Sulkosky called the Laurel Harvest proposal “an excellent economic development opportunity.” The facility, Sulkosky said, would be “a very low impact project. There would be only two or three delivery trucks a week — not a day, a week. “It’s very non-descript. There would be no noise, no disruption of the neighborhood at all. We’d be getting maximum benefit for minimal impact,” he said.
    Among those benefits, Sulkosky said, would be new jobs and more tax revenue.

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  21. Finance Meeting Minutes April 23, 2018
    Presentations:
    Attorney Mike Grab (representing Cimarron Investments) and Steven Raposa (representing Choice
    Hotels) gave a presentation regarding a request for borough financial support for 2nd Street project. Cimarron Investments will be signing a contract for securing a franchise placement of a Choice Hotels project for his recently purchase property at the corner of Locust and 2nd Streets. Site improvements include a 60 room boutique style hotel with on site parking for all rooms, restaurant, roof top bar, and meeting/event spaces. The project cost is estimated at $7 million, and will create 50-75 permanent jobs as well as those associated with construction of the site. Choice Hotels will provide support via staff and financially for the pre-construction and construction phases. Cimarron Investments is asking the borough in return for consideration of up to 10 year tax moratorium and approximately 10% ($650,000) in financial support for this project. Committee members and staff asked numerous questions of the project and particularly those centered around the finance request. Noted that the borough has a 5 year LERTA already in place and has included this property in the
    recently submitted list with regard to expansion of KOZ initiative. Cimarron request is for a grant rather than a loan due to already expected project costs. Borough asked whether a package of support, via a long term loan, other grants, and/or borough work in kind equal to the request., Committee members also asked for research as to whether this would qualify for the streetscape bond funding, as well as the timing for need of requested funding. All parties agreed that due to numerous questions still requiring research and answers, we would reconvene the conversation at the May 21, 2108 Finance meeting. Cimarron Investments and Choice Hotels representatives indicated that there will be a public release/announcement for the project in the next day and requested time to present the project at a future council meeting. Conversation will continue at the next Finance meeting to allow both sides time to collect information/answers..
    Now of course we are waiting for May, 2018 Finance Minutes to finish the story on what happened in a poorly unintended Finance meeting. I wonder if they will alter the minutes to cover up the truth. Remember Kelly, Cle and John that you are under oath to administer the truth to the public.

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    1. minutes only say what they want

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  22. It looks like the Myers Brothers project has come to a halt. Equipment removed and an empty hole. I just saw on Facebook where Cimmeron bought about property on Locust next to the proposed hotel. Gotta hand it to the Murphy’s they are getting stuff done in town and moving forward. I hope they don’t pay attention to these misguided negative comments. Keep up the great work. So lucky to yous in this town. Other towns are probably jealous.

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    1. Are ALL negative comments "misguided" ?

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    2. I'm sure that by now with all of the demolition and no re-construction over the last decade Borough Council was smart enough to "Bond" Myers Brothers to a commitment to re-build after demolition permits, like most other towns do, right ?

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    3. wasn't the building they took down one of those early "Federal Style" buildings know to be rare in the State of Pennsylvania ?

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    4. They had no significant, identifiable architectural elements left on them on the exterior through many, many alterations over the years.

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  23. It seams that the oath our council took means NOTHING to the people that took it , they do to many things behind closed doors. If they told the whole story on ALL items why did they NOT work with Sam SUlkosky ? Maybe because he would NOT do the back door things that the mayor and council president do , We (tax payers) really need to have the state attorney look in to this government body here , a council man owes taxes and still on the board , a mayor who sees a neighbor break zoning laws and don't do anything about it , a council president who has a structure on his property that has flacking paint and is telling codes to inforce the rest of the town to be fined for it. THEY ARE NOT ABOVE THE LAW , they should lead by example and be transparent and not hot headed like is going on here . A state audit could see heads roll , Like the mayors fence ($32,000) to buffer the and his cottages at the river, these things are just the tip of the back door things that this group has done.

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  24. SOUNDS like Cimarron and Grab are trying to Exhort money , they said with out the ( tax payer)money the whole thig is dead in the water . Cimarron should pay its taxes first just like the council man

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    1. Doesn't Grab know that this type of a grant is not even legal ?

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    2. Any attorney saying without the grant (tax payer money ) the hotel is dead knows it is illegal to try to exhort money , he is just as bad as cimmeron to try this.

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  25. What does the mayor have to do with the cottages along the river

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    1. he owns one along with other borough employees

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    2. beside the union street ramp , that's why nothing gets done to the borough owned ramp .

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    3. Does codes do any thing at the cottages , there seams to be a lot of construction going on there and NO visibly permits , or is it off limits per the mayor ?

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    4. The Mayor has Everything to do with Everything. Like it or not, Like what you Got !

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    5. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1tFQMjc-IE

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  26. Keep up the good work with the Spy informing us on what happens in our town. How else would we know what's going on.
    Thank you

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  27. I would like to know who is doing construction at the cottages who also said the mayor and other brough people have a cottage at the river

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  28. Why is everyone., with there comments., Anonymous??????πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•

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    1. Unless you have a Google account, that's almost the only way you can post a comment. We do wish more people would use their names at the end of the comments, though.

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    2. Because it seems the working class can't have a voice anymore. If they make an unpolular opinion (truth) it will go back to their employer to have them fired.

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    3. Indeed. Everyone has a problem with everyone else's views. So much so that there is no room for understanding both sides or even, dare I say, resolve the problem.

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  29. Love the Monday Morning Quarterbacks. Easy solutions put your mouth and opinions to work. Run for office instead of running with words on here. But that would be to,easy!

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    1. Love how your argument is just a red herring.

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