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Every Tuesday and Thursday, we run down what’s going on in local Internet discussion groups.

Ward 1 Council candidate and Listserv troll Chad Williams writes an open letter to his community in which he touts his ability to…chat with gang members. “We need a councilmember who truly understands how to reduce the criminal activities of gangs in Ward 1. We need a councilmember who is comfortable speaking to members of 640 (Park Morton Apartments), 35 Double O (3500 block of 14th Street), MS-13, Pussy Pound and others. That Councilmember must have the resolve to persuade gangs and enlighten these adolescents to ways of better economic opportunities than a life in crime.” One resident calls bullshit. “Okay, so you have ‘spoken with’ the various gangs,” she writes. “When? How many times? How did your speaking with them reduce crime in our neighborhood?…Do you have any empirical evidence to support your assumptions? Did you come to these conclusions after ‘speaking with’ the various gangs? Please tell us how you have persuaded the gangs in the past; and why you think the gang members will opt for a different lifestyle once they are enlightened about ‘better economic opportunities than a life in crime.’”

This week, local Mormons tackle illegal immigration. Xenophobic rants ensue: “Really, its becoming more and more clear that the U.S. is getting lost in the cultures of all the other countries out there,” JC writes. “Nobody even knows what the United States stands for anymore unless they are talking about high divorce rate, lots of fat people, and increasingly less morals (Pres. Clinton).…I can’t walk down the street without being bombarded by some other language on a sign or billboard.” Blake responds: “Yes we should be in better control of immigration, but the fear of losing ‘our culture’ is silly. And try not to forget that these 10 million illegals are not sitting around asking for a handout.” JC, however, is not to be talked down to—and he also remains oblivious to the fact that his command of written English would barely pass TOEFL requirements. “I’m really somewhat surprised to see how liberal some people in the church have become,” he grumbles.

The battle over the Piney Branch Road Safeway’s alcohol license continues. “I am a fan of being able to do one-stop-shopping at Safeway for a meal snd beverage (including alcohol),” writes Evelyn. “I also understand the concerns of not wanting to be a 24 hour liquor store. What I am concerned about is that we don’t make alcohol purchase an option of only the wealthy and well-to-do.” But Judy finds the discussion tangential. “I don’t think I care if the Safeway sells alcohol,” writes Judy, “but I wish they would care more about the shoppers’ experience in the store.” Hence her calls for Safeway to “stop selling farm-raised fish” and “stop their Sunday hot dog grilling, which can only be wasting more $ than it is raising”