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 1/9/03
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Letters 1/9/03

Various - January 9th, 2003
Say yes to treatment instead of punishment

As many of you know, I have been a lawyer for minorities and victims of racial and political prejudice all of my “lawyering life,“ 1949-2003. First the McCarthy era, next the civil rights movement, then the women‘s movement for equality. More recently standing up against the widespread prejudice against gays and lesbians.
During my longstanding career I‘ve also been sensitive to the errors and mistakes of our criminal justice system.
This year I attempted to help a talented but mentally troubled young man, Steven Glen Schwarz, of Leland. Steve has been sent to prison. Not for the treatment he so desperately needed, but for punishment. There is no question Steve made mistakes that made it easy for all involved in the system to “give up hope“ resulting in a punitive 16-24 month prison sentence handed down by Judge Tom Power. Twice he resisted arrest and was beat up, the first time after he was handcuffed. His doctor Phil Seimer plead for a sentence that included treatment. Dr. Seimer prescribed much-needed medications and feared his instructions for care would not be followed in prison. Steve had two other doctors that recommended treatment.
Judge Power listened to all of these recommendations from trained and educated physicians and his legal training somehow made him smarter than all the doctors, and he sent Steve to prison where all his medications were taken from him. Did I mention he was suicidal before he even left the county jail? Michigan is using prisons to replace the state hospitals. We are turning the mentally ill and drug/alcohol addicted into prisoners and criminals.
Steve is just one case; it would make most people sick to know how this criminal “justice“ (l choke on the word) system works! Unfortunately, the only way people find out how truly horrible and unjust it is, would be when they find themselves or their children or loved ones caught in its net and then it‘s too late.
So, my plea to you is two-fold. One, remember to think carefully before voting for judges and prosecutors. Do you want people who will look at the big picture and take a stance to rehabilitate? Or do you want the “Tough on Crime“ folks who don‘t see human beings, but rather numbers that do little more than justify their own existence? I‘ll guarantee what you‘ll want when you or your loved one is the one swept up in the “system.“ Don‘t make the mistake of kidding yourself into thinking it won‘t be you either!
Two, is to call or write your county commissioner. Your tax dollars are about to build a brand new facility (in Leelanau County), and you should try to get your money‘s worth. Ask your commissioner to request a section of your jail be for rehabilitation, psychiatric care, and prisoners who need medications. Think about it, a cop and a nurse all cost about the same but a nurse is going to do a heck of a lot more for someone who needs rehabilitation than a cop will. And the bed costs the same whether you get help or punishment. This way you end up with people coming out of your jail on the right track versus becoming a more hardened criminal. Your voice and vote can make a difference! When are we going to stop “punishing“ those of us in need of physical and mental help with prison?

Dean Robb • Suttons Bay

Lust for oil

Re: your “Random Thoughts” column, “Who wants to die for oil?” (12/19/02) Thank you for saying what needs to be said more and more and louder and louder. Our lust for war and oil is obscene.

Linda Badalucco • Petoskey

Smokescreen checkpoints

The Detroit Free Press announced on November 12 that the federal government will start implementing random checkpoints in the metro-Detroit area. What will Latinos, African-Americans, Arab-Americans, and other minorities do, as this law will target them for drugs, violation of probation, and links to terrorism?
This is the continuation of the government using the war on terrorism as a screen to go after minorities in this country. African-Americans have been in the middle of a war against racist and brutal police departments around the country. They have been on the frontline of U.S. oppression through slavery, segregation, and today economic and social apartheid.
In California the random checkpoint strategy is already in use to catch immigrants. Of course, the word “random” is only political correctness to keep civil rights groups at bay. In reality most of the people that will be pulled over will be people with a Middle Eastern look, African-Americans, and Latinos.
Now it is the turn of Arab-Americans and Latinos to take a beating from a country that has generalized them as terrorist suspects or automatic illegal immigrants in the latter case. This is one more tie that binds minorities of this country
together -- oppression at home. Many minorities have ran away from oppression in their native lands (largely due to U.S. backed dictators), but now all minorities find it at their doorstep.
Certainly, fear is running through these communities; as another article in the Detroit Free Press said the government‘s role in monitoring is “massive, extraordinary network -- with undercover agents infiltrating Arab and Muslim communities, street informants feeding information to investigators, and cooperative, but wary, community leaders acting as cultural guides into the local Arab world.“
This is the democracy we live in. It is only a democracy of convenience, which can be torn at the whim of the ruling party -- Republicans. They have made it clear that they will impede economic and social progress for minorities, even if it is being hypocritical to the very Constitution our forefathers wrote during the birth of this nation.
And the media has not helped matters much in their silence of this injustice. But it should be of no surprise either considering their silent roles during the era of slavery, segregation, McCarthyism, Vietnam, and other times in America when there was a need for an outcry of injustice.

Shemon Salam • via email
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