1911Forum banner

1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Banned
Joined
·
8,526 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
as a kid I watched a lot of "B" westerns where the rich landowner bought the politicians to try and run a guy off his own ranch, too bad the same type of characters are still using the same playbook:




http://news.galvestondailynews.com/story.lasso?ewcd=3c59eaed91b2d80f

Gun range owner says he's unfairly targeted

By Sara McDonald
The Daily News

Published December 27, 2007
LEAGUE CITY — Records show that top city officials spent at least seven months discussing how to shut down a gun range, a move range owner Ernest Randall says is aimed at helping a developer build homes in the area.

City Attorney Dick Gregg’s billing records show he participated in a series of meetings about how to “characterize a gun range as a nuisance and ultimately have it removed.” The legal fees cost taxpayers more than $6,000 from May to November.

Involved in the planning were Mayor Jerry Shults, City Administrator Chris Reed, other senior staff members and developer Sam Boyd, who gave $4,000 to Shults’ campaign in August 2005.

The records show Gregg billed the city for gun range discussions with the mayor at least seven times and for conversations with Boyd at least five times.

For more than a week, The Daily News made phone calls and sent e-mails to Shults asking questions about the range. Shults’ assistant called to say he had “no further comment on any of the issues.”

Gregg did not return phone calls asking for comment. Randall, who has owned the Clear Creek Gun Range since 1976, said he thinks Shults is helping homebuilders who’ve been trying to buy his land for years.

A Nuisance?

In a July 31 e-mail, Gregg said that “many perceive the gun range ... to be a nuisance” and said he’d been asked to pursue its removal.

What makes the range near FM 1266 and state Highway 96 a problem isn’t clear. Correspondence between Gregg and Boyd shows that the developer’s attorney offered a list of possible issues the city could raise.

That e-mail, from Aug. 2, said that, if the range were contaminated with lead, it could be in violation of federal and state environmental laws.

In November, that reason was passed along to the city council in a memo from Gregg. It said lead shot had been found in a church parking lot on nearby property. Gregg didn’t answer questions about which church had problems, but New Hope Baptist Church is the nearest church to the range. Pastor Richard Sumner said he hasn’t found lead in the parking lot in five or six years.

“We haven’t had any problems in some time,” he said. “They made some modifications, and there’s been nothing since then.”

Randall said he built planks of wood over the targets to deflect shots after he learned of problems.

Another nearby church, Gloria Dei, bought property near the range but hasn’t built on it yet. Council members Tim Paulissen and Mike Barber, as well as Randall, said that Gregg claimed the church wasn’t going to build on the property because of the gun range.

Gloria Dei’s executive director, Vince Parks, said that wasn’t true and the church is in the process of raising money for the new building.

Neither the Texas Department of Public Safety or the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives regulates shooting ranges, spokeswomen from those agencies said. The federal bureau does license ranges that sell guns, a license Randall said he’s had since 1976. Larger ranges are required to register with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, but Randall’s range isn’t large enough to require registration, commission spokeswoman Andrea Morrow said.

The commission is also the agency that would investigate complaints of excess lead in the area, but has never opened an investigation into Randall’s gun range or been asked to, Morrow said.

Compliance With Codes

City staff didn’t answer the following questions posed by The Daily News:

• Why were the city attorney and staff members meeting with a developer about a city business?

• Were representatives of this business invited to these meetings?

• Is it normal for a developer to be involved in these types of procedures?

• Why is the gun range considered a possible public nuisance?

•What attempts were made to contact Randall about problems with his business?

Instead, city spokeswoman Kristi Wyatt responded to those questions with a statement saying that the property was out of compliance with zoning regulations.

The business was registered with the city in 1991, but when zoning was adopted in 1999, the land was zoned office commercial. It was later rezoned for single-family homes in August 2005. Neither of the zoning designations would have allowed a gun range. The city sent a letter to Randall notifying him he could change his zoning without a fee in 2005, but he didn’t ask for a change.

Randall said a city staff member told him there would be no problems with the zoning changes when he left for a five-month trip to Alaska in 2005. When he returned, his zoning had changed.

But because the business existed before zoning did, it was grandfathered in.

The city statement says the property and business appears to have changed hands, which would nullify the grandfather statues.

But Randall’s attorney, George Kurisky, said the business has always been owned and operated by Randall.

Randall allows an instructor, Al Trug, to teach a course at the range required for people wanting concealed handgun licenses. Trug filed for a business permit for his classes after a city employee told him to, which may have been why the city thought the business changed hands, Kurisky said.

“I’ve had eight or 10 instructors use my range over the years,” Randall said. “It’s never been a problem.”

But Barber said he thinks the city is trying to find problems with the range.

“It’s not as if all the sudden at 8 p.m. he serves alcohol and has a strip tease,” Barber said. “There’s no change of use. Why the city would say your action isn’t permitted, I don’t know. I think they did that because they’re trying bully him.”

Future Home Sites

Randall said that, in the past five years, he’s had at least six meetings with Boyd in which the developer offered to buy his land.

The closest they came to striking a deal was when they discussed Boyd leasing a part of the small lake behind the range, but that deal fell through, Randall said.

Randall said developers told him they want the 60-acre lake to use as a detention pond if they build homes.

Randall also claims developers said they couldn’t get financing for building the homes with the gun range active.

Gregg’s memo said the land is slated for residential development but doesn’t elaborate.

About 20 acres of the lake was recently bought by home developer Bob Perry, Randall said.

‘Political Interference’

The issue caused Randall to call on council members for help.

After that, Paulissen asked for copies of the city attorney’s bills, which detail seven months of meetings and research that Gregg said was part of “normal, behind-the-scenes efforts.”

“What is not normal is political interference in that process,” Gregg’s memo said. “Apparently, the two council members have already decided what they want to do, though it has not yet been on any public agenda.”

Meanwhile, it appears the city is continuing to pursue plans to shut down the range.

A city contractor e-mailed Reed and former city administrator Mike Clawson in October, documents released through an open records request show. In the e-mail, the contractor said he heard from Clawson that Reed needed help with ammunition cleanup at a gun range.

City staff, Gregg and the two councilmen met with Randall last week. After the meeting, Kurisky said it’s still unclear what laws the city thinks the range is violating. He asked that the specific allegations be given to him in writing.

Barber said it’s not just him and Paulissen who have gotten involved.

“The real story is that Sam Boyd has a relationship with (Shults) to make the deal work,” he said. “The mayor got personally involved to investigate ways to shut him down.”
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
505 Posts
Such is the state of politics today. The sad thing is this type of abuse of power is more common every day. The only solution is to vote OUT every incumbent in office today and start over.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,514 Posts
time to put in a home for father-less childeren from economically depressed inner cities. this is shady stuff.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
190 Posts
Let's see....According to the story, Mr. Randall has owned the gun range since 1976 and people have lived and been buying land around him for years. But suddenly (within the past 5 years+/-) it has become a nuisance and City Officials are "conspiring" with the Developer (who has been trying to buy the land and has been turned down repeatedly by Mr. Randall) in private meetings and the taxpayers are footing the city's legal bill.

WOW!...I'm no legal expert (and I didn't stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night either) but it seems like some (most) of these actions would be bordering on Malfeasance, Conspiracy, and Conflict of Interest by the City Officials, to say the least.

Then again, I'm not in Politics and for all I know, this may be Status Quo.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,731 Posts
Wow, that's something I never thought I'd see outside of a Dukes of Hazzard TV show.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,637 Posts
thats progress for you. A four thousand dollar donation to take away a legal business and a mans livelihood.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
8,526 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The knuckleheaded politician is trying to throw lead scare tactics into the mix also, as he has taken a page from the liberal playbook. I think that we are going to see more and more people try to use that ploy. Even some gun owners are buying into the lead scare, I have some extra carbon credits that I would like to sell them...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
271 Posts
I shoot at that range some. Plus, AL Trug (mentioned in the article) was the instructor for my CHL at that range. I think everybody has been expecting League City, a Houston bedroom community, to try and close the range. League City is a hot building location, southeast of Houston, on the way to Galveston. But I doubt anybody was expecting them to stoop this low. The builders really want to buy land in that area and now it looks like they will do anything to get it.

The sad thing is that the land developers will probably win in the end.

I should go down there and shoot this weekend.......
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,237 Posts
All the more important for each gun club / range to establish a legal defense fund and carry good liability insurance. There seems to be evidence of some wrongdoing in the article above. The range operator in question would be well served spending whatever money he has on going after the city officials through the legal system. If the owner keeps taking 5-month vacations to Alaska when critical zoning decisions are being made, one of these days he'll find a development on his range when he gets back.

Here are the things our club is doing to fight off the efforts to close down our range:

1) Reducing noise
A) Applying sound deadening materials to the indoor range
B) Limiting most shooting to indoors - I hate this one but we're on a residential street and people aren't thrilled with listening to magnum rifle loads going off all day long

2) Eliminating lead
A) sifting berms for lead
B) restricting all shooting not to go over the berms. No skeet here.
C) hiring water and soil testing agencies to test our property regularly to have a record of proactive environmental protection efforts.

3) Maintaining safety - just making sure all bullets end up safely in the back stops

4) Public relations - try to have local cops use the range for practice and qualifications, be useful to the government :barf:.

5) Always have a lawyer ready.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,045 Posts
thats progress for you. A four thousand dollar donation to take away a legal business and a mans livelihood.
+1

I don't mean to sound sarcastic but honestly the only way to correct this garbage is though political-correctness itself. For instance, get local Hmong population in there or a monthly meeting of the Pink Pistols or whatever. Then when they try to shut down the range you will have all sorts of inflammatory accusations to hurl at the antis. Doesn't matter how ridiculous it sounds as this sort of thing is always ridiculous but works anyway.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,681 Posts
Sosdd

Same Old Sh** Different Day
I have seen local officials many times use their office to attempt to forward their personal agenda and get away with it. Zoning law violations ignored, state laws blow off all by local officials that want something to pad either their or a friends pocket this in nothing new other than they got caught and are being brought to task.:barf:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
48 Posts
Such is the state of politics today. The sad thing is this type of abuse of power is more common every day. The only solution is to vote OUT every incumbent in office today and start over.
I have been advocating for over twenty years that the ONLY effective way to vote today is to ALWAYS vote against the incumbant. The government of this country was not originally intended to be held captive by career politicians and bureaucrats. Since they won't voluntarily limit their terms of office, we the People need to start enforcing term limits at the ballot box.

If you think about it, the risk of occasionally voting out a good guy (or gal) is rather small, and I think it's a price worth paying. If we could/would do that consistently, after awhile we would get candidates who really want to "serve," rather than candidates who want to seize control and feather their own nests.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22 Posts
ssdd=p=2=

sad thing in the end he will lose his land when they start to use public domaim agianst him
that he is [can not think of that word ] not doing want they want him to do and shut down and sell is land to the developer who is friend of the local politican
it the game that all big city developer use to get land they need to build house on
i travel the country in my job and see that going on all around the country where the developer will use a lot of diff tactics to get the poeple to sale them land to them
in my last job i was in wis and i saw that the developer went after a small local dairy farm the people who had the place had been in business for over a 100.years there and the city was expanding out past the farm and thought was a problem with smell and trucks comeing and going at diff hours of the day
i felt sorry for them seams that way of life where its a family owned business going by the wayside and only the big compainy can make it now with money to fight back at the developer
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,787 Posts
I have been advocating for over twenty years that the ONLY effective way to vote today is to ALWAYS vote against the incumbant. The government of this country was not originally intended to be held captive by career politicians and bureaucrats. Since they won't voluntarily limit their terms of office, we the People need to start enforcing term limits at the ballot box.

If you think about it, the risk of occasionally voting out a good guy (or gal) is rather small, and I think it's a price worth paying. If we could/would do that consistently, after awhile we would get candidates who really want to "serve," rather than candidates who want to seize control and feather their own nests.
So it doen't even matter who the incumbant is, or who is challenging them?
That has to be the most ridiculous voting strategy that I have ever heard.
It would seem to be intuitively obvious that one should always vote for the better candidate, the one who deserves the spot the most and most closely mirrors your ideals.
Simply voting out the incumbant is incredibly arbitrary.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
8,526 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Our local incumbent congressman was a great guy, J.D. Hayworth who was a great defender and champion on pro 2nd amendment issues, a rich developer lied like a rug about him and the local paper {Az Republic} constantly wrote misleading articles and refusing to retract the lies when they were called on it. Many voters decided to "vote the incumbent out" and we ended up with Harry Mitchell....:barf:
The Brady campaign can count on him when future legislation comes down the pike...
Some people need to rethink their voting strategy...
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Top