by David Miller
Loveland Magazine Publisher
9 on Their Side Talking Heads Report with Hook Caught in Mouth
Channel 9's Bryce Anslinger, Clyde Gray, and Tanya O'Rourke did a drive by report last Friday night on the proposed shooting range near the Loveland Primary and Elementary schools. It was a diservice to to residents and teachers of the Loveland and Sycamore school districts, as well as the hundreds of residents who live in the subdivisions surrounding the Loveland Industrial Park.Channel 9 should do their homework before they drive into town, do a quick story that was nothing more than a city hall generated publicity stunt, and actually attend the meetings held since they were last here. Perhaps they could even read council minutes, memorandums, and agendas.
Perhaps they could have spent an extra ten minutes talking to residents.
Perhaps they could have interviewed those on council and the Planing Commission who are truly motivated to put in place new laws that would remove this threat to ALL of our schools and neighborhoods.
Why, only interview City Manager Thomas Carroll, and then repeat what he says to give it even more credibility?
This whole story, according to Carrol's account at the last council meeting (that Channel 9 did not attend) was dreamt up by Mayor Weisgerber. Listening to Council-member Brenton Zuch's explanation, it was apparent he had no small part to play in the concoction himself. Channel 9 got caught, hook line and sinker.
Channel 9's story was that the City Manager and City Council were doing everything possible to keep a shooting range away from the Loveland Schools, because they were going to have an special meeting to implement an "Emergency" 45-day moratorium on new shooting ranges. And, they are going to convince Symmes Township resident, Steven Ling to operate his shooting range in the Loveland Industrial Park or on Kemper Road, Carroll told the gullible, 9 on His Side.
It was revealed at the last council meeting that Mayor Weisgerber proposed the idea and had the law director draw up an emergency ordinance for him. But, not for a 180 day moratorium which had been discussed and pleaded for at earlier Council and Planing Commission meetings, which Weisgerber helped vote down. An emergency ordinance would need 6 of 7 votes for passage. Since Angie Settelll was not going to be at the last meeting because of a death in her family, and the Mayor took a business trip - the ordinance had no chance of passing.
It is supposed to take a majority vote of Council to direct the law department to draft a ordinance. The mayor alone had the ordinance drafted, something he is not legally allowed to do. Presto - the publicity stunt that Channel 9 was all too happy to broadcast.
9 News on Their Side was all too eager to tell Loveland residents that they could rest easy, pat, pat, pat on our backs, because City Hall was doing everything possible to keep our children safe.
Truth is, that when Ling first proposed the shooting range near the school campus he was told by the Carroll Administration, through then Assistant City Manager, Gary Vidmar, "Steve, Are you making any progress on signing a lease for the space on Loveland Madeira Rd.? Is there anything more I can do to help move the project along?" They offered Ling help getting the Small Business Administration loan he needed. Vidmar even expressed excitement over the chosen name, Sling N Guns, when in an e-mail he said, "By the way, I like the clever name you chose for your new business"
Council-member, Brenton Zuch chastises Loveland Magazine for breaking what has now become a national news story, insinuating that an un-named council-member leaked the story to Loveland Magazine and then Loveland Magazine held the story, waiting on the Sandy Hook massacre to happen. "Exploitation" and "politicize the situation," Zuch has charged. The overflow crowd at the January 8 council meeting turned on Zuch when he told residents they were being irrational, and were making a gun range near the school a "Second Amendment issue." Zuch said that a moratorium essentially "snuffs" the will of the people because voters have twice voted to allow gun ranges near the school campus.
The crowd grew angrier, moaned, and took it personally when he said about Loveland Magazine, "It pains me to think that we are exploiting the tragedy and deaths of those children for political gain." The groans from the crowd drowned out the rest of Zuch's indictment. Some residents could listen no more and stormed out of the room as Zuch, instead of voting to stop the shooting range near the schools, proposed expanding the areas in town where shooting ranges could be located. (Brenton Zuch's Speech About Shooting Range Angers Crowd)
Truth, that 9 News didn't report, is that Zuch himself knew long before Loveland Magazine discovered the story while digging for something else, and Zuch was among those at City Hall who knew there was a proposed gun range next to the schools, and said nothing. All of council and most city staff knew about the proposed gun range long before Loveland Magazine did. Contrary to Zuch's indictment of fellow council-members, none leaked the memo to Loveland Magazine.
"Hear's" the truth, 9 on Their Side... City Manager Thomas Carroll first reported about the gun range in a memo he wrote to council and staff on December 7, and his administration was doing everything possible to assist Ling. They began helping Ling open the range next to the schools as far back as September.
As soon as Loveland Magazine accidentally discovered the Carroll memo while looking for something else (at 10:05 PM, the night of the Sandy Hook shootings), and after verifying the report, the story was immediately published. There was no delaying of the release of the story, other than to make a public records request to verify facts. Zuch is angry that the story was published and makes factually uninformed, ridiculous, and barbaric allegations.
Now, the Mayor with the help of Zuch, and an administration pledging to help Ling open a gun range in Loveland have been stung by public outcry.
They now propose expanding areas in the community where gun ranges can be located, without "conditions" on how they are constructed or operated, or how close they can be to schools or homes. Thus, the current threat to Sycamore School District's Symmes Elementary School and surrounding residential neighborhoods. I am waiting for one responsible elected or appointed official to say, "let's keep any gun range at least 1,000 yards from the Symmes Elementary School which shares their back yard with the Loveland Industrial Park.
Their publicity stunt reported by 9 on Their Side, even if successful, will put in place an almost meaningless 45-day moratorium, that in reality does not allow enough time for the Planning Commission to study and recommend meaningful changes. The Commission has called a public hearing for Tuesday, February 5 on proposed changes, yet the Carroll administration will not release information about what the proposed changes are. Loveland Magazine has made a public records request, however, they say the information about this meeting will be withheld, even from the Commission until the Friday afternoon before the Public Hearing. The words, "Shooting Range" are not in the Legal Notice for this public hearing.
Their 45-day publicity stunt will not allow adequate time for P&Z to study the issue. Council must then wait on the P&Z report, call their own required public hearing, and pass a new shooting range law, something that the City Manager admitted at the last council meeting when quizzed by Council-woman Linda Cox. A meeting that 9 on Their Side, bothered not drive into town and attend
No special meeting of council is planned as reported by Carroll, and repeated by 9 on Their Side, and none is likely in the near future. One council-member has been called out of town to attend to a family matter, and another has left for a two week vacation.
It has been 22 days since Weisgerber and Zuch voted against a gun range moratorium. Ling is still free to open his range near the Loveland schools by simply applying for a building permit, and no special conditions could be placed on its operation other than would be placed on the pizza parlor next door. Meanwhile the Mayor and City Manager are playing public relation games with 9 News, and making another school vulnerable.
This LOVELAND MAGAZINE HD VIDEO is from the last council meeting. Below are the two reports by 9 News.