While reading your article “Opposing a War for Oil“ my heart sank. Not with empathy, but more from memory. I was a Marine stationed in the Philippines during the Gulf War. I was 20, doing what I thought was right, believing my country was behind me. CNN was on in the barracks that night with a young correspondent covering war protectors on American campuses. A feeling came over me of intense loneliness. I felt abandoned. I realized then as I do now that the protestors were a small percentage of the overall country, and that they were not protesting against me but against war. But I was young, away from home and desperately needed the support from the home front.
War is coming. Maybe this year, maybe not for 20, but it will come. That is our nature. That is reality. No one wants this to be a truth, but it is. I hope for the sake of all of our sons and daughters overseas, that these same protestors who come out each Saturday to exercise their right as an American to protest (A right earned from the blood of a battlefield.), will support our countrymen with that same passion. Make them feel that they are doing the right thing. They need you. You are their home. Protest is etched deep into the soul of our country. It is our right, but just remember the kid in the corner of some foreign field when you burn that flag.
As for the current anti-“Bush/Cheney/Big Oil“ protectors, I don‘t agree with your point of view, but I respect your opinion and salute you.
Tim Burger Petoskey
Judge Gilbert has nothing to be ashamed of
Today (November 8), I listened with disgust to 7&4 and 9&10 tell the big news about the judge smoking a marijuana cigarette at a Rolling Stone concert in Detroit. They told how ashamed he was and how he was gettng treatment for his substance abuse problem. They interviewed Judge Haley, who said that people‘s faith in the justice system had been shaken by this. What a bunch of crap!
If Judge Gilbert was true to his convictions and not afraid of losing his position, he would have said, “You bet I smoked it and it was good. The only thing bad about it is the stupid law against it!“
He‘s ashamed because he got caught, and he‘s getting treatment probably because he‘s being forced to. Substance abuse -- pull-lease!
Judge Haley, I‘m a “people“! A judge smoking a joint does not shake my faith in the justice system, but it does make me mad if he‘s being hard on pot smokers coming before him. What does shake my faith is guys like O.J. getting away with murder because they have lots of money. Or how about innocent, law-abiding citizens‘ lives being destroyed and their possessions taken away because they choose to grow or smoke pot? They‘re here -- they‘re high -- get used to it!
If every marijuana smoker in the U.S. came out of their closets and sent just $1 to NORML, how quickly then do you think we would end marijuana prohibition?
Rev. Steven B. Thompson Director, Benzie County NORML
The current smelly situation of “who sent poo“ to the City of Traverse City Parking Enforcement Department may bring up a slightly larger issue since this message was clearly from someone slightly upset about getting a parking ticket .
The mesage was clear, parking tickets stink, and the best usage I can think of for them is a regular location for my dog to lift its leg. They are an eye sore and an obstruction to the walkways. I would like to know how many people each year accidentally hurt themselves by walking into them. Is there really any benefit to the city, customers of downtown business, or employees of downtown businesses of the parking meter? Other cities have ceremoniously removed their meters to assist their downtown areas in the battle against the mega mall and urban sprawl.
Isn‘t it time for Traverse City to balance the books and eliminate worthless enforcement of parking regulations that do nothing but provide a surplus of steel pickpockets every 40 feet on our streets?
Blair Robb via email
Follow Petoskey Club‘s example
At a time when state funding for community mental health
budgets is at an all-time low, it takes a special commitment
from mental health care providers and community leaders to
ensure that valuable rehabilitation programs like the Petoskey
Club are allowed to continue (Express 11/14).
Clubhouses like theirs help close the gap that exists
between recovery and a return to the community.
One of the best-kept secrets in Northern Michigan is that
people with serious mental illnesses are living and working
independently. Stellar examples exist of area agencies and
businesses who have mentored and/or employed individuals in
recovery... but broader community awareness and support is
needed to tap into this vast, local resource.
On Thursday, Nov. 21, the Anti-Stigma Grant Committee of
Great Lakes Community Mental Health will host a forum to ask
Grand Traverse and Leelanau County leaders to share what
they have done to help individuals re-enter the community.
Many people with these illnesses have but one wish for
themselves: the ability to live and work alongside the rest
of humanity. During this forum, we hope to bring community
leaders together to turn this basic human desire into an
opportunity for all.
Pat Stinson, Anti-Stigma Grant Committee member Cedar
Too little, too late
Usually, when I see something in the Express that I want to comment on, I save my letter writing until after I finish reading everything of interest. Unfortunately, my normal perusal system was interrupted by statements made by Maude Barlow, Holly Wren Spaulding, and Jim Olson in ‘New Water Order‘ (11/7/02). Lets start with “water should be preserved in the public trust.“ In other words, lets keep Northern Michigan water in Northern Michigan. How will this selfish mentality do anything to solve the problem of “10 million South Africans who have had water services suspended since... privatization... took place?“
I have had just about enough of listening to new millennium hippies bitching about the purchase of this underground spring by Nestle. Don‘t get me wrong, I firmly believe in the existence of grassroots organizations that take on the admirable task of watch dogging, protesting, and making life difficult for giant corporations.
The actions of The Sweetwater Alliance, however, are a case of “too little too late.“ How many current members of the Alliance knew of the existence of this aquifer before Nestle bought the rights to it? How many of these concerned environmentalists were paying attention when this purchase was nothing more than an idea on a piece of paper? Where were they when representatives from Nestle were cruising through the woods and groundwater management offices of Mecosta County, scoping out the best building sites?
Activism is not a party game to be pulled out of the closet whenever it‘s fashionable to do so. If you really want to make a difference, you have to maintain a certain level of vigilance to the causes you believe in. If you relax in front of your incense burner for too long, thinking everything is okay in your little slice of heaven while the evil corporate giants slip a water plant in under your nose, maybe you need to rethink your strategy for changing the world.
Before everyone I just upset gets out their recycled paper notepad and soy ink pen, let me make it clear that I do consider the protection of our natural resources important, and it should be a priority for everyone in our region. However, I also believe that bringing industry and jobs to this area is also important. If the Alliance succeeds in getting Nestle out of Mecosta Courtty, are they prepared to make room in their treehouses for all the families of the region who will suddenly be dealing with unemployment?
Let‘s consider this scenario -- it‘s the year 2000, and a group of concerned citizens known as the Sweetwater Alliance hear that Nestle wants to buy an aquifer in Mecosta county. Let‘s say that their hard work pays off. They get the aquifer and surrounding land, get the plant built, and extract the water. Operating under the conviction that the water must stay local, it is only sold to locally owned businesses, who will sell it at a higher cost to compensate for having a smaller customer base than say, Meijer or Sam‘s Club. Now here‘s the kicker -- if this were true, would the people who believe that the water should be local go out of their way to buy it from the local businesses, when they can go to a chain store and get more bottled water for less? A chat with a lot of local shop owners would probably reveal that their sales on local food and beverage items is slow except during the Cherry Festival, when the tourists buy it... does this count as local support for local products? If the Sweetwater Alliance were truly “seeing the problem before anyone else,“ the Nestle plant wouldn‘t even be here.
I hope that this timeless truth will be applied to their future conservation efforts: “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.“
Annaka Dodd Traverse City