New Journal’s Tristam Blasts Gated Community Dwellers

N/J editorial writer would trust a 16-year old public school student’s vote over that of a retired resident of a gated community.

Palm Coast, Florida – October 20, 2008 – Born in the Middle East, Pierre Tristan was fortunate enough to be endowed with an IQ well above average. He was also fortunate enough to experience a quality education. He’s a gifted writer, armed with an impressive vocabulary. Pierre’s greatest good fortune is to live in the United States, a fortune of which he speaks seldom if at all. Great fortune because it is here that we have a free press, allowing him to demonstrate weekly that his intelligence, education, writing skills and vocabulary do not inoculate him against being infected with bigotry, elitism, and class envy. Nor do they convey upon him wisdom.
This is a real estate news website, not a political one. However politics, politicians, and political thought rub up against real estate in many ways, some of them not good. Tristam’s editorial rubs the wrong way.
Here is what Tristam says today in an editorial titled If they’re old enough to drive, they’re old enough to vote. "I would trust the vote of a 16-year old public school student in any public school with my eyes closed before trusting the vote of a retiree piddling about between the golf course and cable news (Toby’s note: these are code words for conservatives) in a gated community that prays to its mutual funds five times a day. Those communities are designed to self-segregate by age or tax bracket or, more subtly, by race. That’s not a blueprint for open-mindedness. Public schools are. They are as close to melting pots as we have. Students are daily engaged with cross-sections of the country’s cultures, religions, economic and even political currents. If that sort of atmosphere doesn’t ensure open-mindedness, it at least cultivates it. Suburban sameness or gated communities do the opposite. "
Let’s examine the open-minded youngsters that Tristam entrust to vote:
  • They have the highest auto accident rate of any age group
  • That age span is the one during which nearly all lifetime smokers make their "informed" decision to start smoking.
  • Young voters are the least likely to vote, which implies that they are also least likely to understand the power of a vote.
I live in Grand Haven, a gated community. We are far from segregated, racially or otherwise. While the average age in my community is above average, we have several families with children. We have retirees and those still working (including myself) – nurses, school teachers, first responders, corporate executives, and Wall Street investment bankers too. We have home owners as well as renters. We are a melting pot, sharing the common thread of having worked hard and saved enough to have what we think is part of the American Dream.
We turn out to vote. Our election district consistently turns out a high percentage of voters. We do not vote as a block. Our divergent views spawn spirited debates. Yes, some of us do play golf, but we don’t as you say "piddle about between courses." At our age, piddling has nothing to do with golf.
We are also affected by the economy. My wife (over 70) recently returned to work, competing very well in the workforce with those much younger. Our community is also experiencing foreclosures, vacant homes, and the occasional run-down property. Many of us have reached the age where we go to more funerals than weddings or christenings.
I am writing this alone, Pierre, but I feel confident that I am speaking for the majority of Grand Haven residents as well as residents of gated communities elsewhere. I find most of what you write elitism at its worst. I find your latest piece personally offensive.
Readers, please take the time to read his editorial and comment here about it. (Link to Pierre’s editorial)
9 replies
  1. Brian Gazzoli
    Brian Gazzoli says:

    Typical News-Journal Garbage

    This type of article is exactly why I recently cancelled my News-Journal subscription. I will no longer support a paper that prints this garbage. Toby, good job as always.

  2. Irene Klingenberg
    Irene Klingenberg says:


    Toby: This man has made me see red on more than one occasion. He is remembered for having criticized Tim Russert on the day of his funeral–unusual behavior at best. I am so incensed by his commentary that yes I did cancel my News Journal subscription but then had to reinstate it because I had no alternative for local news. This opinion today is without merit–he must never have raised a teenager. I’m so glad someone else wants him to go back to wherever he came from.

  3. Sarah Ulrich
    Sarah Ulrich says:

    Young and Informed

    I am only 26 and completely disagree with Trisam’s comments. If there is anything that I have learned through my diverse world-view it is that I am not as smart as I think and I learn massive amounts of new information every year. Apparently Trisam stopped learning in highschool. The Constitution does not guarentee the right to vote. I honestly do not believe it would be a bad idea to go back to the days when only property owners are allowed to, at least on matters of property taxes, zoning and the like. Did it ever occur to Trisam that a vast majority of those living in gated communities do so, not because they are the crooked "rich", but because they were wise enough and dedicated enough to make correct decisions in their lives? I guess if your wealth is handed down, you may have a hard time seeing where those before you sacrificed for that freedom.

  4. debi Peterson
    debi Peterson says:

    Thank You

    I too canceled my subscription to the News Journal. They are consistently
    negative when it comes to real estate and development in Flagler County.
    Hopefully, who ever purchases them will
    understand what ‘home town news’ means and use their publication to actually report helpful, encouraging news and bring communities together.

  5. Charles Denise
    Charles Denise says:

    gated dwellers

    Toby, we think alike (as usual). Maybe its because We also live in Grand Haven. I question this man’s attitude and obvious prejudice regarding life in a "gated community". Is it possible that he comes from a "gated country" and every time he encounters a planned community he has a "flashback"? His stereotyping is not fitting for such an intelligent person. Keep up the great work Toby! CPD

  6. George Meegan
    George Meegan says:

    Some people are so dumb

    The man has a great article, with detailed reasoning, and a logical conclusion. Years ago many were not allowed to vote, and now they are. That was because they had no idea of what was going on, and were kept in the dark so they couldn’t vote. Those that push for rights to vote understood that they were being ignored. The younger vote is welcomed and will be reality, if they push the issue just as blacks and women did.

  7. Pete Chiodo
    Pete Chiodo says:

    "Typical News Journalism"

    Way to go Toby! This is just another strike against the validity of the News Journal. The only benefit I get from the paper is the comics and reviewing the candidates whom the NJ recommends. I generally cannot go wrong by voting for all of the other candidates!

  8. DWFerguson
    DWFerguson says:

    Vitality Is Wasted on The Young

    Toby, et al, "You can’t put an adult ‘s head on a child’s shoulders" -"If you are not a liberal at 20 you have no heart, if you sre still a liberal @ 30 , you have No Brain" someone who knows the difference between idealism and Realism

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