Home > Crank, Editorial, Humor, Public Anecdotes > What is wrong with Gary Howe?

What is wrong with Gary Howe?

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a bit more personal than typical posts. I serve on the TC Parks and Rec Commission and I’m involved in a recommendation from that body that has generated some negative feelings;there is a process for them to voice their concerns. This is a big picture response to one particular email sent to the the CC.


An email sent to the Traverse City City Commissioners was recently shared with me. I can only assume for the entertainment value. It’s subject heading sent me into a day of introspection and self-discovery (¡).

Subject: What is wrong with Gary Howe?

As a friend commented on the question: “This is a can of worms, I’m sure.” Tell me about it; I live with myself! I ask myself daily why do I do what I do? Am I crazy? That was even the theme of one of my first posts.

What a relief to have someone I don’t know, have never spoken with, have never seen at a parks and recreation meeting (the reason for the email) and didn’t know existed until he started a campaign to repeal the City’s Anti-Discrimination Ordinance (Plan for TC) share my concerns about self-awareness.

The email goes on to call for my censure and resignation and/or dismissal from Parks and Recreation Commission (a volunteer position that advises the City) due to my role in the planning down at Clinch Park. Apparently, as citizens of a community, we aren’t allowed to have differences of opinion.

I’ll spare you the full text of the email, but I share this because one statement really satisfies the irony bone. Again note, the author of the email (NExpress) is the driving force behind the referendum to repeal the City’s Anti-Discrimination Ordinance–an ordinance passed by a 7-0 vote by an ideologically diverse City Commission. Yet, the author of the email, asking for my resignation due to my inability to “grasp the chain of command“, doesn’t have any cognitive dissonance uttering the following comment:

“Why doe’s he not understand that the Commission has the finial word, and that is the word of the people of Traverse City” [sic].


Again, this from a guy trying to repeal a unanimous decision by the exact same City Commission. Huh?

Do me a favor, please. On November 8th go to the polls, take a ballot and make your first mark a Yes on proposal 1. Also, in comments to this post, let’s show that MyWHaT readers are in full support of Traverse City’s step towards addressing discrimination, for any reason, in the work place. As for the plans for Clinch park, that discussion can wait. Those recommendations are working their way to the Planning Commission and will be back to the City Commission sometime in November. In the meantime:

Ballot Langauge:

Shall Chapter 605 of the Traverse City Code of Ordinances, entitled Non-Discrimination, which does the following, with certain exceptions:

  1. Prohibits specified discriminatory practices in housing, public accommodation, and employment,
  2. Prohibits discriminatory policies and advertisements,
  3. Prohibits retaliation against a person for making a complaint or assisting in an investigation under the Chapter,
  4. Prohibits conspiring to discriminate,
  5. Requires non-discrimination by city contractors, and
  6. Sets forth remedies and penalties for violations of the Chapter,

remain in effect?

Vote Yes!

  1. October 26, 2011 at 9:36 am

    I’m in full support, Gary, of both the non-discrimination ordinance and the work you do on behalf of our community. Thank you!

  2. R. Shimel
    October 26, 2011 at 10:49 am

    Gary– thank you for all that you do. I have been in the G. Howe fan club for a while now. A very special thanks for confronting hate, ignorance, and fear. Vote yes on 1.

  3. October 26, 2011 at 11:17 am

    Great question. “What is wrong with Gary Howe?”

    – Who do you think you are expecting the City to follow a stated process?
    – Why would you think a few vocal people representing one singular issue shouldn’t be allowed to change a plan that an empowered official group, along with hundreds of other citizens, has been working on for years?
    – Why isn’t old, stale, antiquated design, out of touch with the community, good enough for you?
    – When will you learn to stop trying to inform people of what’s going on in City Government in such a reasonable fashion?
    – What’s the big deal about hate, intolerance, and ignorance?

    Good God man! Get a life!

  4. Paul Batt
    October 26, 2011 at 11:23 am

    I’ve known Gary Howe almost a dozen years and I used to wonder that myself. If you ask me, the world needs more problems like Mr Howe. But, anyway. Congratulations on your first crank! Keep up the good work and maybe someday sill vote for you.

  5. Maura
    October 26, 2011 at 11:39 am

    Oh, this has provided my chuckle for the day! I hope you are chuckling too, Gary. And I hope you see this as proof that your blog, and your P & R Commission work make a difference in our community. Thanks for all you do! The public debate of issues is the purpose behind the First Amendment. It will always elevate the discussion, and expose bigotry.

    Vote Yes on 1! I am proud to live in a community that has repeatedly stood up for equality. Let’s do it again on November 8th, folks.

  6. Shauna Fite
    October 26, 2011 at 11:51 am

    Gary, Gary, Gary – such a trouble maker! Thank you for taking the time to raise awareness about this issue and show people the opposition that exists. It will be important for all of us who believe in equality to get out and vote on Nov. 8. Please do not assume someone else will do it for you. This is an opportunity for Traverse City to unite on an issue and express what type of city we want to be. I want to live in a city where I know my friends, family, neighbors, and their children all enjoy the same protections against discrimination as I do. I do not want to live in a city where people like Mr. Nepote are winning the debate. I’m on the Team Howe!

  7. ty schmidt
    October 26, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    80%? 90%? By how much does the prop need to pass so that it is not a black eye on TC?

  8. Max
    October 26, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    Gary, you’re an inspiration for the right way to go about civic involvement. Your dedication, determination and friendly/inclusive attitude are most appreciated. Nothing is wrong with you or what you’re doing, so don’t let haters get to you.

    And thanks for the plug for prop 1!

    P.S. I’d like to see the details of the note, it’s probably quite entertaining considering the source.

  9. Mike Gaines
    October 26, 2011 at 12:58 pm


    Gary, your post today got me laughing out loud and pissed right off simultaneously. I just cannot grasp the thought processes of “Christians” spewing hatred. I habitually imagine Christ standing next to him- or her-hater and His reaction to their complete ignorance of His message to Humanity.

    We’ve discussed for nearly two decades that individual, informed opinion combined with the spark of active involvement creates the true strength of not only our local communities, but of our nation as a whole.

    As I read through some of the other comments today I’ve found myself thinking, “Yeah!” “Hell Yes!”

    I know you appreciate people’s differing viewpoints (even when they are wrong), and love the fact that you’ve blogged about it today.

    Remember that Mr. Nepote has to live with himself each moment of every day; it must be horrible.

  10. October 26, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    tomorrow night (Thurs) at the Top of the Park is a Traverse City Equality party and fundraiser, 5-7 pm, supporting the Vote Yes effort. You’re invited. RSVP 946-8806

    I am grateful for the thoughtful work of Marshall Persky and our Human Rights Commission in putting together a fair and progressive ordinance, the courage of Commissioner Carruthers in spearheading it despite ceaseless harrassment from a few uncivil residents, and to the volunteers on the Vote Yes campaign – who are helping build a city out of positive aspirations of who and what and how we want to be.

    Oh yes, I’m grateful to Gary for 1,000 different things but mostly for giving a damn and putting himself out there for the good of our city.

  11. jayson
    October 26, 2011 at 11:54 pm

    Gary, you have such a well spoken readership, versed in everything from grammatical correctness to sarcasm to ego stroking. What more can I add to this?
    Thanks for what you do, from outside the city limits.

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