Cull Places, pt. 2: Mayor Barnett's Desecration of Our Deerly Departed

In Cull Places part one, we saw that Ludington Mayor Mark Barnett was so adamant on getting a city deer cull established so that he could benefit his bizarre elafiphobia by hosting it on his own property and the property of two of his neighbors.  We saw that the proposed culling area was precluded from having a deer cull take place, unless they received formal approval by the Ludington public school district (LASD), and that he kept his conflict-of-interest secret from the public discussions about this costly public expenditure on a problem that has only been defined by anecdotes from alarmists.  The Ludington Torch saw this as the mayor's indifference to the safety of his neighbors, our school's children, and basic ethical conduct, but we didn't see it as a personal affront.  

In this episode we will look at another place they are planning of holding the deer cull and this is one that this reporter takes offense deeply and personally.  If your heritage lies within Ludington for generations, you should probably take it personally too.  

The site of Cartier Park is one that came up the first time and has generally been considered by officials as the most likely place to hold a successful cull as it provides a suitable habitat for deer throughout the year, though it isn't optimal for a deer wintering complex.  Yet, it is fully contained within the city limits and is not in a school zone, so one might think there would be no problems with the selection of this spot for deer management cull activities.  A serious problem arises, however when we look at the 'work initiation form' for the park and see that the cull will go beyond park boundaries:

Cartier Park is properly only about 80 acres by itself.  It is the largest part of about a 1/4 square mile defined by Rath to the east, Bryant to the south, M-116 to the west and Lincoln Lake to the north.  The other 100 acres of this space is used for composting operations of the city's organic waste (leaves, brush, etc.) and as a burial ground, as noted in the assessing records below which coincide exactly with the acreage of the property on the WI form:

This is the Lakeview Cemetery, which holds not only a lot of Ludington's most famous historical figures within its confines, but also this reporter's grandparents, parents, several aunts and uncles, and (very sadly) my daughter.  I not only feel uncomfortable with some strangers driving around this area in their ORVs at night, shooting their high powered rifles and mindlessly slaughtering deer struggling through a Michigan winter, I take it as an outrage made against the peaceful eternity of my resting family and friends.  

Everybody interred in that cemetery and those that interred them, never expected such violence to occur on those grounds, with the distinct possibility that grave markers worth thousands could be marred by stray fire or defiled by deer blood and guts.  The city was entrusted with ensuring this would not ever happen in their signature cemetery and back when we had wiser and moral men and women in charge we made sure of that.  In the Ludington City Code it's fairly clear that the cemetery is off-limits to carrying or shooting a firearm, with the only exceptions being for military ceremonies and police officers on duty:

This is not strictly a city code issue either, if you search you will find state law that prohibits firearms and ORVs to be in or used in cemeteries throughout the state such as this notice...

...found in a Wilber Township newsletter.  The actual state laws referenced are very clear about firearms in cemeteries:

And about using ORVs in cemeteries (see section k, below):

Interestingly, section (j) notes that it is against state law to carry firearms on ORVs unless unloaded or made inoperative, then section (o) says it cannot be used or attempted to hunt, pursue, worry, or kill any animal.  We are being lied to in order to satiate Mayor Barnett's sadism.

Recall in the deer cull talking points we learned that wildlife management won't do anything against state law. 

Oh, really?!  We found that the USDA had already started pre-baiting on school grounds when we filed our lawsuit against the cull last year, making the clear case of multiple federal and state laws being violated by their "safety-minded professionals", all to the detriment of our public health and safety, especially of our elementary students.  

Looking at section 14-38 of the city code again we note that it says possession or discharge of a firearm adjacent to the cemetery is also forbidden.  The legal definition of 'adjacent' is "lying near or close to: neighboring".  Both Cartier Park and the yard waste areas neighbor the cemetery and are within the city limits, therefore, carrying or shooting firearms is unlawful there.  If that isn't clear enough to show that having and shooting a gun is forbidden in Cartier Park, another section spells it out, and the only exception for this is a law enforcement officer:

Additionally working against deer management operations in Cartier Park is that it does not seem to fall under a "park purpose".  Such use could allow the legitimate heirs of the Cartier family that donated the parcel for 'park purposes' only to reclaim their deed.  

Courts have ruled that an appropriate park purpose should produce or enhance a unique park experience within the context of a particular parcel of land.  A park is a pleasure ground set apart for recreation of the public, to promote its health and enjoyment. Parks facilitate free public means of pleasure, recreation and amusement and thus provide for the welfare of the community. They must be kept free from intrusion of every kind which would interfere in any degree with their complete use for this end.

A still-unjustified deer cull would not only close Cartier Park to the public for up to five days it would arguably be detrimental to the enjoyment of the park by the general public thereafter, who appreciate the natural setting soon to be despoiled by this barbaric event.  Trying to eradicate an important part of the natural ecology of the 80-acre park, and an important part of the area's charm we market for tourists, is not accomplishing anything other than angering our visitors and those who make a living catering to those visitors.

Yet the revelation that our city's leader has made it his political quest to have a deer cull take place on the burial grounds of my ancestors and my beloved daughter, doing so brazenly against the laws of our state and our city, has angered me to the point that I will not only be seeking an injunction to prevent this planned inhumane graveyard massacre, but make it so that he and his cruel allies on the city council would never plan on doing such a sacrilegious act ever again. 

Join my cause if you have a student in our school district who has been put in danger by him asking for the cull to happen adjacent to school grounds, or forebears who may have their eternal rest be interrupted this winter by gore and gunshot in this fully-planned desecration of our city's primary burial ground.

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I too have grandchildren in the Ludington school system and am apposed to this Governmental over reach. The mayor, in my opinion should be held accountable. Hold a public forum announcement and be forthcoming about his mindset, how this all transpired and his motives for doing so.

This hypocrite mayor made it to his position by appealing to Ludington's powerful Christian constituency and what has he done his first year, well he started by attacking the same First Amendment that affirms our freedom of religion, and graduated to the point of implementing a deer slaughter.  He must have bypassed the Bible verse saying "The voice of the LORD makes the deer give birth...", as well as laws that protect us from hiring mercenaries to come in and ignore our local and state laws by shooting in school zones and cemeteries and city parks.  

I have read the contracts with wildlife management, their talking points and there is no attempt at having any plan to safely hold this cull other than they will call off their evening's massacre if they happen to see people in their kill zones.  Provided they don't mistake them for a deer in the darkness and shoot them.  No worries, they have tort immunity, so they don't have to even think of safety.

 I didn't know of the weapons  Laws in cemeteries , but it would seem to be common sense .  Other citizens that are ignorant of the laws who live in school zones should know . We as tax payers pay good money to have a Lawyer supposedly  guiding the City in policy the city wants to implement. Apparently he doesn't pay attention to what's going on . The Mayor on the other hand apparently knows the law as he blatantly whited out the law on the cull form. He should be held accountable for that. Write him up, give him a demerit, tar and feather him , hang him from the nearest tree, well maybe not  but he should be made aware this crap isn't going to get a  pass.

Ludington definitely gets what it votes for. If there ever was a clear cut case of how the old guard operates in Ludington this is it. All the corruption and deceit in one package. Brought to you by and X police chief turned Mayor. Who would have seen this coming. OH! That would be X and his 15 years of investigating all of the misdeeds and slimy dealings that have been going on. He has been right all this time and has informed all who would hear but I guess most of Ludington's voters are hard of hearing. Thanks for this saga about Ludington's leaders taking another dive into the dumpster of corruption.

Those kids did such a good job on cleaning up the tombstone to the left, you wouldn't suspect all the decay and rot that you'd find six feet below.  I 'lifted' your custom photo and put it up in the article as it seems to be better than my file photo of two students just reverently cleaning older grave markers.

This is desecration plain and simple and if this blatant disrespect for our deceased ancestors were not enough the city council is risking losing Cartier Park. When the Cartier family deeded to property to the city it contains a clause that prohibits anything, but park use for the property. Based on what other legal sources have told me a cull cannot be categorized as a park activity. The city attorney did state in a council meeting that it would be a park activity, but my observations indicate his advice reflects what the council wants.  The deed states if this clause is violated the property reverts to the Cartier heirs. I know the Cartier heir and her attorney are aware of the planned cull, I do not know what they plan to do about it, but I do know what I would do and that is if they proceeded, I would enforce the deed restriction.  

We all have to remember that city attorneys are not elected to their position, they are chosen by city councils and sometimes mayors to handle the city corporate's legal issues.  Just as a defense attorney has to defend their client to the best of their ability, even if they know their client is guilty AF, so goes the city attorney.  Their opinions are always geared towards pleasing their real masters and almost always politically motivated.  

Personally, I've had city attorneys of Ludington, Manistee, and Scottville tell me their opinions before I've taken those opinions to court, and those opinions were mostly dashed under legal scrutiny.  Sometimes even mine were, but that's when the judge erred, of course.  Truly, at most trials where the opinion of two different attorneys are weighed, at least one is deemed to be wrong by the judge.  

Mary Cartier's lawyers have a smorgasbord of legal options should she decide to reclaim her ancestral land for a still-unjustified deer cull at the park.  Allow me to add, if your own tourism bureau is using pictures of deer to attract people to the Ludington area, then what message are you projecting when your elected leaders take this move, which similarly repels both deer lovers and deer hunters?


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