The world as we know it has been upended over the past three months. Social conventions that would have been inconceivable on New Year’s Day are now accepted as the new normal.

The mayor and city council have made it exceedingly clear over these past months that public safety was their single greatest concern and that a surfeit of caution would be their standard for the foreseeable future.

With that in mind, it’s astonishing that these same officials haven’t already publicly announced the cancellation of the Lone Star Motorcycle Rally set for November. In fact, if you go to the rally website at, you would be excused if you thought you were looking at the 2019 promotion.

Not one mention of the COVID-19 virus, no guidance regarding social distancing and a decidedly strong encouragement to come on down and mix with hundreds of thousands of other bikers from around the country. This is surreal.

A city government that has been comfortable in locking down an entire community beyond state and county health guidelines and continues to consider 100,000 visitors — many of them families — enjoying miles of beaches as a threat, somehow manages not to notice the problem with dumping over 350,000 usually unruly bikers into the confined heart of downtown Galveston a few short months from now.

A local economy of small and medium businesses that was completely shut down and is limping badly can look forward to an invasion of itinerant merchants setting up shop in front of the very businesses that were asked to make these extraordinary sacrifices.

How is this supportive of public health, local economic recovery or basic fairness to the residents and businesses that will face this tidal wave of visitors? It’s clear allowing the rally would be none of those things.

The city cannot have it both ways on this issue. It cannot speak out of one side of its mouth and say the very unknown nature of the virus spread forces emergency conditions with no clear end in sight at the same time it displays no concern for a mass of bikers descending on us from around the country that will see tens of thousands shoulder to shoulder on our streets.

It’s beyond illogical; it’s plainly hypocritical and opportunistic, with public safety not even getting a nod.

I call on Mayor Jim Yarbrough and city council to direct Brian Maxwell as city manager to immediately invoke paragraph 24 of Galveston’s current contract with the rally. This is a unilateral declaration of public safety threat that allows the city to cancel the contract with no penalty to us and no recourse by the rally.

Failure to put Galveston’s public safety first for the Lone Star Rally will make a mockery of those residents and businesses who have lost so much when these same officials claimed it was an absolutely necessary sacrifice.

Wayne D. Holt is a candidate for Galveston City Council District 3.


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(46) comments

Larry Grissom

6 mo this, half a year away, is longer than a short few months.

Just as many things changed since January, lots can happen in the next 6 months.

Many businesses count on the festivals and I think caution in causing harm to them should be taken into account. We can wait a couple of months before a decision is made that adversely affects many.

Health must come first but there is time to see what the future holds before any rash decisions.

Lisa Keeler

You can't be serious. You think they should cancel an event that is 5+ months away. We have no idea what life will be like even in a couple of months. Now is NOT the time to cancel anything else, especially something this far in advance

Leigh Cowart

Agree...Dickens on the Strand has the dates up on their website for 2020. Come on, things change daily with the Covid, on every level. We have no idea what's in store for us in 5 months.

Wayne D Holt

I'm looking for consistency from our city leaders. Those who were--and still are--100% on Team Fauci need to explain this statement he made less than a month ago:

"We will have coronavirus in the fall. I am convinced of that," he said. Fauci said the virus will definitely be back in the fall but that the response can be better and help make the outbreak less severe.

So if Dr. Fauci is the expert we've all been told he is, he is saying right about the time of the rally is when this virus will make a comeback. City leaders did everything they could to shut down Galveston based primarily on the advice of this man and those who listened to him. Is he no longer the go-to guy? What happened? Are we now substituting local decision making rather than deferring to the experts? Who made that decision and what new information informed that decision?

People can avoid the question all they want but it still hangs in the air: Why is Dr. Fauci no longer the last word in public safety?

Larry Grissom

No. Your looking to further your political weight by showing your bias against the events on the island you, and apparently your supporters, don’t like. It’s all right there in your verbiage

Unless you BOI? Those events were here before you moved here.

Jack Cross

I am a BOI who doesn't live in Galveston so I really don't have any skin in the game.

But as to the lockdown, If my stats are correct, I think the entire Galveston County has had 31 deaths and if you exclude the 2 nursing homes, there are only 3 deaths in the entire county and two of them are elderly with pre existing conditions. I welcome a check on my numbers. But if these numbers are correct, it seems to me like the cure is worse than the virus. Look at all the young workers out of work, look at the mom and pop small business destroyed, many not coming back.

Is this near total destruction of the Galveston economy worth the damage to people who have their lives to live out. My gosh, there is a 99 percent recovery rate. The odds of death is near zero if you exclude the nursing homes, and even with them included it is extremely low.

Just wait until August when taxing bodies make there budgets, There will be a huge hole because the lost of hotel motel revenue, How can you fill the hole of loss of sales tax. Hello property tax increased, there is no other source of revenue. the losses have already occurred, that is why the lockdown makes the problem worse as time passes.

The state is even worse off, Oil and gas tax revenue way down, drillers filing bankruptcy, sales tax way down. These are the two main revenue sources. Texas has no state property tax, it has no income tax. Another hole in the revenue is the gasoline tax, where 25 percent goes to fund public schools.

Texas has a two year budget, it runs through 2021 but already the money is gone.

This past legislative session the state share of money the state pays to school districts was based on projections by Comptroller Glenn Hagar based on oil/gas/ and sales taxes. The carona virus blew up these projections. School funding is back on the table and more pressure put on property owners.

People are being delivered a basket of fear, but they are silent about the economic damage why?

Why would we believe the people whose projection have been wrong time and time again. They told us we needed to flatten the curve to keep the hospital from being overrun, well the hospitals were not overrun and we did flatten the curve, so they changed the game. I don't like to get politics into this, but when the left tells you that they are not going to stop investigation Trump, and they know they have a very weak candidate in Trump, I would be a fool to not consider that they may be some politics being played here and they are doing it with fear. But it is going to be at a huge price that takes a very long time to recover. We need to open up Galveston is a tourist town and eating establishments can't stay in business at 25 percent capacity.

Besides, there are 3 countries that did not lock down and the death rate percentage is the same.

Wayne D Holt

Jack, anyone who has followed this issue here on the boards in GDN knows I was one of the very first to question the rationale of what was being done in the name of public safety. It was not a particularly popular position to take but there were a few of us who were following and posting better/newer/alternative information all along. The mayor and council made zero course adjustments as it became obvious what was going to happen, as you made painfully clear. The name Fauci was invoked like a magic spell that was supposed to end all discussion of what was to come.

The same Dr. Fauci said less than a month ago it's coming back in the fall > The rally is in the fall > The mayor and council have made "an abundance of caution" their standard over and over again > I would like to know how 350,000 strangers from across the country swarming downtown and surrounding areas at a time Dr. Fauci predicts a recurrence can be considered consistent with their public safety messages to date.

The very lack of mention by the city to explain this phenomenon suggests to me they hope we don't notice the complete disconnect. As I said beginning way back in March, watch the narrative change. We are seeing that unfold right now.

Larry Grissom

Dr Fauci has been discredited by anyone interested in facts.

Dan Freeman

I am not sure about the "3 countries" but Sweden with a population of about 10 million did not lock down and has over 30,000 cases. Denmark, Norway, and Finland have populations of about 5 million and 11, 8, and 6 thousand each. So locking down was associated with suppression of the virus in these four countries.

Jack Cross

I meant a week candidate in Biden.

Jennifer Hunter-Peikert


David Smith

Galveston County population ....342000

Deaths 31.. including 11 in hursing home

That leaves 20..

For the ones that have preexisting conditions.. do what you must...

Let the rest continue their lives. This has gone on long enough

Ron Woody

Mr. Smith, yes 11 of the deaths have been nursing home residents, but it has been reported numerous times that all but three of the deaths had a connection to the nursing homes. That is where the figures came from.

Jack Cross

David, the 28 deaths occurred in 2 Texas City nursing homes, that leaves 3 deaths for the entire county. Source GCDN COVD daily back page report

**** notations at bottom.

Connie Patterson

Wayne, we all know how you feel about any event in the downtown area and now your using COVID 19 as a pawn to hide behind. Just stop. Connie Patterson

Wayne D Holt

Please, right below my response to you, post any criticism you can find that I made of Dickens, The Grand's family festivals, ArtWalk etc. What you know is simply not true. If anyone would like to see what I said specially about this issue when I was asked about downtown festivals during the 2020 Galveston Regional Chamber of Commerce video interview, they may hear it direct rather than secondhand at

Ms. Patterson, you said on these boards less than two weeks ago, "Personally, I chose to stay safe at home." Are you also personally guaranteeing the public health of Galveston's residents (particularly downtown District 3 residents) in November if this rally is held?

Larry Grissom

Well said. He’s using a tragedy to attempt to bend the populace to his desires.

Anyone who does that is not fit to hold public office. We’ve seen enough of that across the US recently to last a lifetime.

Wayne D Holt

I'm pointing out the leading medical voice on the shutdown of America--the one city leaders including Galveston used for their authority--says the virus will be back in the fall at a time we are inviting 350,000 people from across the country to stand shoulder to shoulder in downtown's narrow streets.

I'm not sure how much simpler I can make it for you, Larry.

John long

I'm calling BS for one that you use the term "most of them (bikers) are unruly" for one. Most of the bikers that come to Galveston are good people. There's always a couple of problems at any event. But now after all the suffering that store owners and hotels owners have suffered, you want the suffering to continue? I guess you want ALL downtown events cancelled too eh? You should have pondered your editorial more before hitting the send button! "Unruly"? HAH!

Wayne D Holt ] - not readily ruled, disciplined, or managed.

They may be good people but it is easy to find videos of the activities during the event and the cleanup after the event that supports my choice of words. As someone who has sat through multiple green lights as hundreds of motorcycles ignore traffic signals and blast through with audio systems set to STUN, unruly is a very apt description of the crowd. I also voluntarily clean up around the area after the rally; it's looks like Beirut after a shelling.

I always carefully consider what I write here. Unlike the political class we are accustomed to, I believe if someone is running for office, voters should find out before the election what their positions are rather than after. If you aren't hearing much from your representative, it may be because they don't really want to be pinned down to a position. For better or worse, that's not me.

Larry Grissom

Are YOU a BOI? If not? The downtown events were here when you moved here. Don’t like it? That’s your problem if you chose to move here.

Wayne D Holt

Flawed thinking. The rally has gotten less and less manageable over the years, as most anyone who lives downtown will tell you. When you have a gang task force assigned to monitor incoming "visitors", you have a problem just for starters. According to your logic, if something deteriorates over the years, it can't be corrected/improved/altered because it was here from some date. That's a poorly reasoned position.

Being BOI is irrelevant because I'm a TIG: taxpayer in Galveston. My property taxes and the taxes of all Galvestonians pay for enforcement of the law, of the contract terms the city includes in event promotions and the protection of public health that city leaders have made their top priority. If being BOI is a prerequisite to voicing legitimate concerns with how our neighborhoods are maintained, you may want to let the Chamber of Commerce and local Realtors know so they may alert those who wish to come here that they will not be welcome to express an opinion.

Jennifer Hunter-Peikert


Roy Hughes

I certainly agree with John. If you had any experience with being on the island when the bikers came over the last several years you would know that they are far from unruly. I have been here the past 19 years and I can assure that this group of people as mentioned by John is far from unruly. I am not even sure why you are trying to compare the Biker Rally to the Grand KIds Fest, Mardi Gras, Dickens, etc. The Biker Rally has a totally different setup and no comparisons can be drawn. It seems that you are trying to state your side of this situation but, you are failing miserably. You mentioned Dr Fauci as being the scientist in charge of 'predicting' the second wave. Have you not noticed the other doctor that appears at the majority of the press conferences with Dr Fauci? While they are both leaders in their field of science neither of the them can predict a second wave. However, they can provide a hypothesis (an educated guess). Providing that type of information would have different implications depending on what is currently happening in Galveston between now and then. I hope you have noticed that not all the cities are in the same place on the curve. If Dr.Fauci were to hypothesize that the US would see a second wave that does not necessarily mean that Galveston would have a second wave at that particular time....the date of the Motorcycle Rally. People who ride Harley's are not the same type of people who rider mini bikes or motor scooters on the city streets. Since we know there is a good chance that you will be here this year get out of the house and check out the bikers, the trailers they bring that house their bikes. A quick trip to the Spot should allow you a bird's eye into what really goes on during these rallies. Based on what you have said you should be in for a rather big surprise. Thus was written by

Lynne Springer and not Roy Hughes, whose name appears on the account. I am Mr Hughes' daughter.

Wayne D Holt

Ms. Springer, there is a reason downtown full-time residents leave the island and businesses close up shop completely until the rally is over. They don't do that for any other event that I have heard about, and I have asked a number of people downtown.

You are correct, Lone Star Rally is nothing like Dickens on the Strand, the Grand's family events, etc. The reason I am comparing them is to contrast how those events are handled versus what we see, hear and feel downtown for LSR. Those other events appear to follow the spirit and the letter of the contract they sign with the city. For some reason, our city manager does not feel it is necessary to hold LSR to the contract terms regarding ordinance enforcement that residents live under the entire year. They've been in there for years and the city manager has been studiously ignoring them for years, too.

I do not need to "get out of the house" to experience the rally because you can't escape the over revving and thunderous music that is provided by rallygoers at all hours beneath our windows downtown.

Funny you should mention a quick trip to The Spot. Does The Spot host thousands of people at one time in front of their business, closing the streets with wire fencing and folding everyone into two lanes hemmed in by buildings where the cacophony can be amplified? If it doesn't, you should spend more time downtown to get a resident' eye view into "what really goes on during these rallies" is in our neighborhood. And of course afterward, we are treated to garbage everywhere that we have to pick up since the city is overwhelmed just trying to keep up with the trash that is thrown on our streets.

I don't know if you live downtown but if not, it looks a lot different when you can come and go to your home where the circus hasn't pitched camp. Perhaps the city needs to publish a request for proposal for a Monster Truck Rally in Cedar Lawn.

Rick Altemose

I agree it's too early to cancel if you are taking into account only the risks from the coronavirus, but it is not too early to revisit the pluses and minuses of having the Lone Star rally here at all. The pluses are economic benefits, the minuses are the air and sound pollution, plus the disruption to the lives (and the sleep) of residents. Personally, I like motorcycles, but I like a good night's sleep even more.

Carlos Ponce

Biker rally - masks required, helmet optional? Really?

frank cunningham

Sadly, it takes a paid subscription to comment. Does that not also say that to stay in business they have to do what is needed to stay ‘open’? Also, no one is hearing the REST of Galveston County or folks like me who were born, raised and graduated from one of the Galveston Country schools but now live elsewhere in the state….. thanks to the subscription requirements, bravo!

Now Wayne, you are talking about an event that is months down the road… What ELSE is happening between now and then? Why did you choose, out of all of the great events that happen on the island, LSR? You wrote a great ‘opinion’ article, but like most writers, not a lot of facts, just words. Is this your norm, because….”it’s beyond illogical”.

Aaron Gore

Yes I was wondering the same thing?? I must’ve missed the article about the Jeep know the one with the shooting?? Apparently those “unruly” Jeep owners are ok it’s only us bikers under scrutiny. BTW of course the Covid 19 cases will ramp up in the fall right along with other respiratory illnesses that occur in the winter months. Fauci’s prediction is about the same as a meteorologist predicting it will start to cool off in October 🙄. The whole article reeks of a personal vendetta against the rally and biker community. BTW I bought a subscription just to see comments lol

Wayne D Holt

Aaron, Jeep Weekend is a ferry ride away from me and doesn't occur on the streets in my neighborhood, LSR does. I rode motorcycles from 15 into my 50s; more an enthusiast than hater. I actually hold the city responsible for what the rally has become rather than the bikers. Bikers are humans and humans will take advantage of whatever situation they find themselves in. If you are in a situation that you are allowed to break the law with impunity, likely you will find yourself breaking the law.

The rally has gotten more and more out of hand every year. Mr Maxwell, our city manager, doesn't seem to feel he needs to manage a contract with terms that are deliberately being ignored, such as ordinance enforcement. It's in the contract but it's ignored. Why is that?

I hope asking for neighborhood law enforcement and fulfilling of city contract terms doesn't require one to be BOI to be considered legitimate.

John long

Exactly how his editorial struck me as well...

Ron Woody

OK, I believe that Mr. Holt's concerns about the different festivals is often on how they are run and the city's role in offsetting some of the costs, etc. Just because one questions the process does not mean they are against them. Mr. Holt is not alone in his criticism of the Biker Rally for the affect it has on small businesses on the island.

That being stated it does not change his logic on the decisions that have been made by the Mayor. Let's face it many of these decisions were made by one single person. Yes, the City Council had to approve them after the fact, but what choice did they have. In time of crisis it is often better to show a unanimous position than be the one or two holdouts just to prove a point.

Whether one agrees with Mr. Holt about the value of the Rally to the island or not the logic he states is valid. You should not change the rules in the middle of the game, especially after much of the damage has already been done.

Comment deleted.
Wayne D Holt

Please post your previous commentaries on this or any other issue here so readers may consider for themselves the quality of your judgement. This particular entry today is called ad hominem and is taught on Day One of any argumentative logic course as the mark of someone without a legitimate response.

Stephen Murphy

Hold your horses, Wayne. The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is scheduled to start on August 6th. Sturgis is a much bigger deal than the Lone Star Rally. The City of Sturgis will make a decision on whether or not to hold the rally on June 15th, 7-1/2 weeks before the start of the rally.

There are 24 weeks before the start of the Lone Star Rally. A lot can happen in that time. Using the veil of public safety in an attempt to hide your contempt for the rally and its unruly visitors should be beneath someone of your ilk, Wayne. Then again, maybe not.

Wayne D Holt

You don't know me personally so perhaps I can clear this up. I don't hold any honest person in contempt who obeys the law, whether biker, mayor, council or city manager. I hold the same opinion for those who flaunt it, whether biker, mayor, council or city manager.

As I said above, I think the problem lies with the city rather than the bikers. It is city officials who have allowed it to become the free for all it is. The city somehow has the resources to send code enforcement letters for a single weed in an alley over code height, but 350,000 people taking over the city escapes their scrutiny.

A city manager who apparently can't see clearly defined contract obligations that are supposed to be enforced is more of a problem than the person who points it out. Maybe it's different in your world, Mr. Murphy.

Stephen Murphy

Nothing is as crystal clear as your own words, Wayne. In my world, the definition of contempt is when you call out all 350,000 rally participants for the questionable acts of a few.

"A city government...somehow manages not to notice the problem with dumping over 350,000 usually unruly bikers into the confined heart of downtown Galveston a few short months from now."

I stand by my previous post.

Connie Patterson

Wayne, while I promote and advocate following state safety guidelines NOW we have no way of predicting what guidelines will be in 6 months and neither do you so it’s incredibly presumptive of you to call for the cancelling events 6 months out. Exactly 4 weeks later is Dickens, should we cancel that too? Given your past history of complaints of events on the Stand one considers 2 possible motives... you don’t support events like this or your crystal ball reveals impending doom and the Good Samaritan in you is busting out to rescue mankind... Connie Patterson

Wayne D Holt

Ms. Patterson, I continue to be baffled by folks who are missing the point and still avert their gaze from the question I raised. Here it is again.

City officials went all in on the medical establishment's bona fides embodied in Dr. Fauci's warnings. These included local measures more stringent than state and county rules > Dr. Fauci stated clearly and recently the virus will be back with cooler weather in the fall > we have 350,000 people coming here from all over the country at the time Dr. Fauci says we are going to have a problem. They will be in downtown streets in proximity that is a thousand times more dense than that which the city closed the beaches for > these city officials repeatedly and consistently chose the "abundance of caution" standard for even the most tenuous of connections to any viral threat and kept businesses closed based on the Fauci Paradigm > these same officials haven't put out as much as a tweet about this situation that I have seen to clarify their thinking, reassure us we have nothing to worry about, state they are reviewing options. Radio silence is the motto.

I don't need to have a crystal ball or make any predictions whatsoever because I am using the words of the person the city has used for months as the principle authority to shut it down. Whether I support, oppose or am indifferent to any event is of no relevancy because this is about the consistent application of public health and safety principles city leaders have used to such rousing success so far.

If you would like to directly address the questions I have raised above, it would be welcome. Your insights about my motivations may be discussed after someone adequately speaks to what I raised first.

Seamus Dughan

Mr. Holt--don't be disingenuous. You aren't "baffled" by folks missing a point. You're obviously using the current crisis to press your agenda. The "facts" and "experts" evolve each day and the predictions of the fall scenario are about as prescient as announcing there will be hurricanes between June and November.

You don't like the Rally and this is a great "opportunity" to lambast it and what YOU perceive as inconsistent city management/leadership. To use your own evolution theory on the degradation of the rally requiring adjustments, city leadership can, and perhaps has, discovered through experience that Fauci is not infallible and they have learned that their little outpost isn't New York City or Washington DC. "Consistency" to an error is not good judgement. I hope this "adequately speaks to your questions...even if it IS my right to speak to your motives, even without your permission.

Wayne D Holt

That would possibly be a reasonable assumption except for one glaring fault in your hypothesis: no one, either elected official or the city manager, has said anything like what you have proposed. No one. You just made it up out of whole cloth.

Have you heard Mayor Yarbrough or Mr. Maxwell say they made a mistake? Has anyone in any official capacity whatsoever come forward and expressed any reservations about the methods or extent of the measures they took? Did you see a press release that explained city leaders are no longer going to look to the same sources of information and will now go their own way on public health decisions?

You haven't because it's a non-event, just an imaginary scenario that you've put forth.

Unless and until the city speaks authoritatively on the subject, there is no reason whatsoever to assume your imaginings reflect their reality. While "consistency to an error is not good judgement," failure to acknowledge an error was made is even more egregious.

So to answer your close, no, as a matter of fact it doesn't answer any part of the question I raised, sorry to say. You may speak to my motives and I may point out you missed the boat in your response but apparently didn't realize it.

Kelly Naschke

I’m not defending Mr. Holt, but the point of inconsistency at the city is glaringly obvious. The beaches never should have been closed, yet they were. And a few months later, you host 100’s of thousands of bikers? I had to sit back and watch waves roll in that I was restricted from surfing....and then the same politicians want a biker rally a few months later? No one sees an inconsistency?

Seamus Dughan

If you make a mistake, its a good idea not to be consistent. Closing the beaches was a bad idea. I dealt with it same as you. Is it reasonable to insist everything be closed moving forward because we suffered that? Much has changed in the last 2 months...much will change in the next 6.

Jennifer Hunter-Peikert

Everyone is so quick to cancel future events, to put the general public on lockdown, close businesses, and forcing wearing a face mask in public; (ok it's a suggestion, but show up anywhere without a mask, you'd think you either had a giant purple horn coming out of the middle of your head or you're satan), but can anyone show any sort of consistency with any of this? No consistency! Don't wear a mask, wear a mask.

The testing is another nightmare! I was tested Monday and I still have no results, won’t find out until Tuesday, at best, not that I’m worried I just needed proof of a negative test result in order to see my doctor and have some routine testing done in the Medical Center, yesterday. The media and Left have the hypochondriacs all spun up and the labs are overwhelmed trying to get the results out. What about the people who actually need their test results?

As a 50-something woman, with an existing chronic condition, YES, I'm scared,...but if I catch the flu, I'm going to be in just as much trouble as if I caught Covid19. How many people actually get a flu vaccine every fall? Do you realize those of you who are not vaccinated for the flu are putting ANYONE who has an existing chronic condition at risk? I realize that it's not 100%, but neither are condoms. Since becoming a future lung transplant patient, I have learned to avoid the crowded shopping times, to get some extra exercise, eat more healthy. If I have to go to any doctor's appointments or have testing at the hospital, I will don a mask to protect myself. I didn't live in a bubble before Covid19 and I'm not going to be forced to now. Stop canceling events that are 3-6 months away. Anything could happen. Maybe a vaccine will be ready, maybe we'll find out that this is some sort of liberal/media hoax used to just scare Americans, maybe condoms will be 100%.

Vitamin D is our friend, folks...has anyone thought about those who stay inside all the time, by choice? Our society has become indoor dwellers, who order our groceries and meals online and have some stranger drop it off. If you just walked from the parking lot to the store, think how much Vit D your body would absorb. Stop killing the good bacteria on your bodies with the hand sanitizer. Soap and water have worked for generations for MOST communicable diseases.

It's not rocket science Wayne. God gave us brains and most of us do just fine using them to survive on a daily basis. Just curious, when you were a kid did you ever drink out of a water hose, ride your bike without a helmet, or use the 3-second rule when you dropped your last cookie on the floor? You made it to adulthood, right?

Bubbles are for blowing and for Good Witch travel.

Wayne, maybe you just need a good old fashioned hug.


Wayne D Holt

Who doesn't? Is it still allowed or can we do hard time for a social distancing violation? [wink]

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