Letters 05-23-2016

Examine The Priorities Are you disgusted about closing schools, crumbling roads and bridges, and cuts everywhere? Investigate funding priorities of legislators. In 1985 at the request of President Reagan, Grover Norquist founded Americans for Tax Reform (ATR). For 30 years Norquist asked every federal and state candidate and incumbent to sign the pledge to vote against any increase in taxes. The cost of living has risen significantly since 1985; think houses, cars, health care, college, etc...

Make TC A Community For Children Let’s be that town that invests in children actively getting themselves to school in all of our neighborhoods. Let’s be that town that supports active, healthy, ready-to-learn children in all of our neighborhoods...

Where Are Real Christian Politicians? As a practicing Christian, I was very disappointed with the Rev. Dr. William C. Myers statements concerning the current presidential primaries (May 8). Instead of using the opportunity to share the message of Christ, he focused on Old Testament prophecies. Christ gave us a new commandment: to love one another...

Not A Great Plant Pick As outreach specialist for the Northwest Michigan Invasive Species Network and a citizen concerned about the health of our region’s natural areas, I was disappointed by the recent “Listen to the Local Experts” feature. When asked for their “best native plant pick,” three of the four garden centers referenced non-native plants including myrtle, which is incredibly invasive...

Truth About Plants Your feature, “listen to the local experts” contains an error that is not helpful for the birds and butterflies that try to live in northwest Michigan. Myrtle is not a native plant. The plant is also known as vinca and periwinkle...

Ask the Real Plant Experts This letter is written to express my serious concern about a recent “Listen To Your Local Experts” article where local nurseries suggested their favorite native plant. Three of the four suggested non-native plants and one suggested is an invasive and cause of serious damage to Michigan native plants in the woods. The article is both sad and alarming...

My Plant Picks In last week’s featured article “Listen to the Local Experts,” I was shocked at the responses from the local “experts” to the question about best native plant pick. Of the four “experts” two were completely wrong and one acknowledged that their pick, gingko tree, was from East Asia, only one responded with an excellent native plant, the serviceberry tree...

NOTE: Thank you to TC-based Eagle Eye Drone Service for the cover photo, taken high over Sixth Street in Traverse City.

Home · Articles · News · Letters · Letters 7/4/11
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Letters 7/4/11

- July 4th, 2011
Do your part
In elementary school, I learned to “pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands...” In junior high school, I learned that a “Republic” is a specific form of democracy in which eligible voters elect officials to act as their representatives in adopting laws and setting public policy. In high school, I learned that English taxation of the American colonists “without representation” in Parliament was a principal cause of the Boston Tea Party and the American Revolution that soon followed. In college and law school, I learned much more about the U.S. Constitution, including Article IV, Section 4, which reads in part: “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union, a Republican Form of Government . . .”
With this basic understanding of our republican democracy, I turn to Michigan’s new emergency manager law, P.A. 4, that greatly expands the authority of Governor Snyder to allow him (and his successors) to abrogate -- unilaterally, indefinitely and much more comprehensively than before -- the fundamental rights of Michigan citizens to enjoy an elected, republican form of government at the local level.
Under this legislation, Governor Snyder has “deposed” -- no other word will do -- the local government of Benton Harbor that was elected by the voters, replaced with an unelected bureaucrat who will decide how that city’s local taxes are spent.
Right now, Benton Harbor residents are in the same position as the American colonists in 1775 -- they are paying local taxes, but they have no representation in a local legislative body that will decide how their taxes are spent.
My pocket copy of the Constitution was published in 2002 by the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank in Washington, DC. While I don’t subscribe to all of Cato’s doctrines, I do wholeheartedly agree with the following prefatory statement. “Government officials must respect their oaths to uphold the Constitution; and we the people must be vigilant in seeing that they do.”
It is time for “we the people” of Michigan to repeal P.A. 4 by referendum. Petitions are now circulating. If you are a registered Michigan voter, please seek out and sign a petition to restore republican democracy to every layer of Michigan government.
In 1787, after the Constitutional Convention had concluded, Benjamin Franklin was asked what form of government the founding fathers had created; he is said to have replied: “A Republic, if you can keep it.” Will you do your part?

Jay S. Johnson • Empire

Document crime rates
It is surprising to me that the editorial staff of Northern Express permitted the screaming, inflammatory headline and picture titled “Fewer Cops, More Crime” (6/20). This headline certainly gets attention and produces fear for some readers, but the article contains no evidence whatsoever to support this headline.
Did your writer examine real crime rates in the counties where he conducted interviews? Is it a fact that crime rates increased after any layoffs happened in these counties?
I believe the Express and its writers need to produce real documentation for claims made with a headline such as this. Documentation is needed--not just personal opinions and conversations.

Michael Kearns • via email

Boom & bust
One cycle runs for 30 years or so and then is replaced by the other.
From 1947 to 1977 you could hear the American Boom on the moon. The primary reason for that boom was jobs. That cycle was a workers’ feast, and the economy cleaned up their plates. In 1956, 35% of the private sector work force was unionized; non-union industries and stores paid higher wages just to keep workers from forming another union. Working people tripped over themselves spending their paychecks, factories went into overtime to keep up with the demand, and the middle class expanded to include almost everybody.
Workers saved more of their paychecks, stashing nice little next eggs for rainy days and their retirement and maybe a little for their grandkids to go to college. Almost nobody got fired but when they did it was for a reason. One good job could occupy the entire working life of one good employee.
The last 30 years have been the Bust. Reagan fired the air traffic controllers and began a power shift from employees to employers. Phil Gramm slipped a bill into the last Clinton budget that mostly deregulated Wall Street, and ever since it’s been a steady decline in jobs, wages, spending, and the middle class. Only 7% of the private sector is now unionized. Just hanging on to a job is a challenge; landing a new one requires the fortitude of a Hercules and the faith of a Zen master. Employees are routinely fired, usually for no reason at all, often for capricious reasons, always to intimidate the rest of the workers into cowed silence. The recent termination of Margaret Kelly as senior adult reference librarian at Traverse Area District Library is a perfect example.
Today the most powerful person in Michigan is a former business owner who purports to have everyone’s interests at heart as he tries to run the state like a business. His mentality is peeking out from his white collar. Isn’t this the same mentality that served up unregulated financial speculations and risky credit derivatives? Isn’t this the same mentality with untold mortgage foreclosures and bankruptcies and innocent workers fired for no reason on its resume?
The Emergency Financial Managers act is a reflection of that mentality. Now through his hired gun the governor can fire any public servant, including policemen, firemen, teachers, school principals and superintendants, county commissioners, city councilmen.
And district librarians.
Imagine financial difficulties for Traverse Area District Library. The new director would certainly be in the cross-hairs of the EFM. In her short time on the job she’s come under close scrutiny from the library board, serious review, probation and public embarrassment. Her job history hasn’t spoken in her favor either; both Chelsea and Royal Oak staff revolted against her directorship. What if county voters said no to the library’s next millage referendum?
I can almost hear the boom coming.

David Zaiss • via email

Stop the polluters
As we celebrate Independence Day and our veterans and members of the active duty military, we need to keep fighting to protect our families, right here at home. Every year, big polluters dump millions of tons of toxics into our air and water increasing the risk of asthma attacks, heart attacks, lung disease, and mercury laden fish.
Reducing mercury and air toxics will also help protect our long standing investment in our outdoor heritage and Michigan’s $5 billion dollar recreational tourism economy. Air toxics settle from the air onto our waters polluting the environment and accumulating up the food chain as wildlife consumes the contamination.
EPA is working to update air quality standards and big polluters are working to stop them. Delaying new air quality standards will result in more deaths, additional asthma attacks, and more fish consumption advisories every year. That’s unacceptable. Any action to block the EPA from implementing new clean air standards is an attack on the health of our people and our outdoor legacy. We shouldn’t stand for it. We need to help ensure the legacy we leave our children is a clean and healthy planet.

Brenda Archambo • Cheboygan
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