Citizens air concerns about health care, other issues

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Mark Muller, owner of Max Motors in Butler, has a knack for self-promotion and freely admits it. Saturday Muller was promoting something in the public interest, a wide-open townhall for anyone who wished to participate.

"I shamelessly promote Max Motors however I can," Muller said. "I've had more than 200 interviews since my AK-47 promotion began and the idea for the townhall came to me."

Muller said that of all the interviews the one with Al Jazeera surprised him the most.

"I was surprised by the way Al Jazeera treated me," Muller said. "I called them up and apologized for the prejudice I had. Of all the media I talked to I think they treated me the best. They treated me better than our American media like ABC, CBS and CNN.

The townhall began at noon and drew a small crowd that came and went but the action was not just at the car lot, it was broadcast on WIFL 104 out of Ocala, Fla., and live-streamed on the Internet from several Web sites including Liberty Works Radio Network and Operation Firewall.

Muller said he was disappointed by the turnout but said that it was a good idea that he hoped would spread.

"We never had the turnout we were expecting," Muller said. "I'm a bit disappointed but I think it was worth doing. It's something everyone in this country should be interested in."

Talk show host Bryan Malatesta was on hand to moderate the broadcast and interview speakers both in person and over the phone.

The in-person interviews included husband and wife doctors, Dr. Wayne Graves and Dr. Karla Dine Graves; a former long-time hospital board member, Jim Dugan; and a bank president, Scott Buerge of Nevada.

The husband and wife doctors had several objections to the bills currently being considered in Congress and took turns speaking about them.

"There are about 141,000 members of the AMA and they are mostly retired and no longer practicing," Karla said. "It doesn't represent active doctors."

"This bill doesn't cover tort reform," Wayne said. "Without that costs are going to keep going up. A lot of the cost, 40 percent, of a doctor's bill covers the cost of medical malpractice insurance, and that's just going to increase without tort reform."

Buerge told Muller that he appreciated his support for the Second Amendment and for his efforts to give area residents a chance to participate in a townhall.

"I'm pleased to be here and I love it that you're doing this," Buerge said.

By the time Buerge had a chance to speak the time was getting close to 4 p.m., when the bands were scheduled to begin performances, so he had to keep it brief.

"Bryan, I can tell you all I know in five minutes," Buerge joked. "I commend Mr. Muller for his Second Amendment support. Without the Second Amendment we wouldn't have any First Amendment rights."

Buerge said that onerous regulations were adding to the cost of doing business for all sectors of the economy, doctors and bankers alike.

"Every time one of these regulations come down the pike and increases costs it doesn't come out of my salary, it goes to the bottom line and the customer pays the cost," Buerge said. "All of these regulations cost real money and we just can't afford all the protections the government wants to give us."

At 4 p.m. the format of the townhall changed and bands began performing on a makeshift stage set up in front of the Max Motors service area. Bands included The Mighty "Chin's Mojo," Led Astray, Emma Jo and the Poets Down Here, Jimmie Lee Reeves, Jeremy Miller Band, and Thad Hotle.

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