Letters 10-24-2016

It’s Obama’s 1984 Several editions ago I concluded a short letter to the editor with an ominous rhetorical flourish: “Welcome to George Orwell’s 1984 and the grand opening of the Federal Department of Truth!” At the time I am sure most of the readers laughed off my comments as right-wing hyperbole. Shame on you for doubting me...

Gun Bans Don’t Work It is said that mass violence only happens in the USA. A lone gunman in a rubber boat, drifted ashore at a popular resort in Tunisia and randomly shot and killed 38 mostly British and Irish tourists. Tunisian gun laws, which are among the most restrictive in the world, didn’t stop this mass slaughter. And in January 2015, two armed men killed 11 and wounded 11 others in an attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. French gun laws didn’t stop these assassins...

Scripps’ Good Deed No good deed shall go unpunished! When Dan Scripps was the 101st District State Representative, he introduced legislation to prevent corporations from contaminating (e.g. fracking) or depleting (e.g. Nestle) Michigan’s water table for corporate profit. There are no property lines in the water table, and many of us depend on private wells for abundant, safe, clean water. In the subsequent election, Dan’s opponents ran a negative campaign almost solely on the misrepresentation that Dan’s good deed was a government takeover of your private water well...

Political Definitions As the time to vote draws near it’s a good time to check into what you stand for. According to Dictionary.com the meanings for liberal and conservative are as follows:

Liberal: Favorable to progress or reform as in political or religious affairs.

Conservative: Disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditions and limit change...

Voting Takes A Month? Hurricane Matthew hit the Florida coast Oct. 6, over three weeks before Election Day. Bob Ross (Oct. 17th issue) posits that perhaps evacuation orders from Governor Scott may have had political motivations to diminish turnout and seems to praise Hillary Clinton’s call for Gov. Scott to extend Florida’s voter registration deadline due to evacuations...

Clinton Foundation Facts Does the Clinton Foundation really spend a mere 10 percent (per Mike Pence) or 20 percent (per Reince Priebus) of its money on charity? Not true. Charity Watch gives it an A rating (the same as it gives the NRA Foundation) and says it spends 88 percent on charitable causes, and 12 percent on overhead. Here is the source of the misunderstanding: The Foundation does give only a small percentage of its money to charitable organizations, but it spends far more money directly running a number of programs...

America Needs Change Trump supports our constitution, will appoint judges that will keep our freedoms safe. He supports the partial-birth ban; Hillary voted against it. Regardless of how you feel about Trump, critical issues are at stake. Trump will increase national security, monitor refugee admissions, endorse our vital military forces while fighting ISIS. Vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence will be an intelligent asset for the country. Hillary wants open borders, increased government regulation, and more demilitarization at a time when we need strong military defenses...

My Process For No I will be voting “no” on Prop 3 because I am supportive of the process that is in place to review and approve developments. I was on the Traverse City Planning Commission in the 1990s and gained an appreciation for all of the work that goes into a review. The staff reviews the project and makes a recommendation. The developer then makes a presentation, and fellow commissioners and the public can ask questions and make comments. By the end of the process, I knew how to vote for a project, up or down. This process then repeats itself at the City Commission...

Regarding Your Postcard If you received a “Vote No” postcard from StandUp TC, don’t believe their lies. Prop 3 is not illegal. It won’t cost city taxpayers thousands of dollars in legal bills or special elections. Prop 3 is about protecting our downtown -- not Munson, NMC or the Commons -- from a future of ugly skyscrapers that will diminish the very character of our downtown...

Vote Yes It has been suggested that a recall or re-election of current city staff and Traverse City Commission would work better than Prop 3. I disagree. A recall campaign is the most divisive, costly type of election possible. Prop 3, when passed, will allow all city residents an opportunity to vote on any proposed development over 60 feet tall at no cost to the taxpayer...

Yes Vote Explained A “yes” vote on Prop 3 will give Traverse City the right to vote on developments over 60 feet high. It doesn’t require votes on every future building, as incorrectly stated by a previous letter writer. If referendums are held during general elections, taxpayers pay nothing...

Beware Trump When the country you love have have served for 33 years is threatened, you have an obligation and a duty to speak out. Now is the time for all Americans to speak out against a possible Donald Trump presidency. During the past year Trump has been exposed as a pathological liar, a demagogue and a person who is totally unfit to assume the presidency of our already great country...

Picture Worth 1,000 Words Nobody disagrees with the need for affordable housing or that a certain level of density is dollar smart for TC. The issue is the proposed solution. If you haven’t already seen the architect’s rendition for the site, please Google “Pine Street Development Traverse City”...

Living Wage, Not Tall Buildings Our community deserves better than the StandUp TC “vote no” arguments. They are not truthful. Their yard signs say: “More Housing. Less Red Tape. Vote like you want your kids to live here.” The truth: More housing, but for whom? At what price..

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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