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 9/19/02
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Letters 9/19/02

Various - September 19th, 2002
Eminent domain turnaround
In reference to the Homestead‘s land swap, I feel I have the most logical
answer, and that is for the National Park Service to apply “eminent domain“
upon the Homestead and forcefully take over the rich white man‘s paradise.
We as public owners could then remove the condos, golf courses and pools
and reclaim the property for all to enjoy. Simple enough?

Alex Harvey • Traverse City

The ACLU‘s double standard
To see examples of well-crafted, well-funded, violations of separation of church and state, request a copy of the liturgically-oriented Character First sheep, shepherd, and crook “Forgiveness“ leaflet distributed by Glen Lake School last Easter. Parents notified the ACLU that their children were pulled out of class for church-type assemblies, without notification or permission, and were inundated with repetitive liturgical format collectors‘ cards and hallway posters flaunting religious symbolism dating back to the catacombs. The White Christian Fundamentalist Liberties Union chose not to respond. Yet, when Suttons Bay school board president Cindy Robb and her colleagues became experts on Woodland Indian “spiritualism“, they huffed and puffed and threatened to burn the integrated school down.
There are no words for “god“ and “spirit“ in the Chippewa language family. Such simple terms were superimposed upon sophisticated and pragmatic Native cultural concepts during the era of the Salem witch hunts. Robb, Morse, and Quick trivialize an entire culture by superimposing their own ideas about religious practices. This is racism in its purest, most ignorant form. By discriminating in their targets they embarrass not only themselves, but the ACLU, school board, locals, and everyone who did not move up here looking for a newer, whiter Dearborn.
The educational status quo in the Grand Traverse area is one of well-documented discrimination. We need class action lawsuits. But for now, folks from the local ACLU aren‘t suing.. They‘re merely thumping their bibles... oops... I mean chests.

Lois Beardslee • Maple City

Voters deserve a debate
Debates have become an established tradition in political campaigns and a fixture on the American landscape. They date themselves back long before the famed “Lincoln-Douglas“ oratory battles and have grown to become an integral component of the election cycle. For those as old as I, no one will ever forget when Nixon and Kennedy faced each other before the American populous or more recently when Dukakis openly challenged Bush.
As the Democrat nominee for the State Senate from the 37th District, I challenged my opponent to a series of three debates the day after the August primary. The Estes for State Senate campaign outlined potential debate dates, times, locations and sponsors. These tentative details were established to move the debate format process along. Since our initial challenge, we have repeated the challenge twice. To date, our opponent has remained mute except for some double talk spin he shared with Bill O‘Brien, a reporter for the Traverse City Record Eagle.
The real question is, do the voters really want debates or do they at least expect candidates to be willing to debate? In my 30-plus years of political participation, I firmly believe that voters do indeed expect candidates to meet and apenly discuss their positions, accomplishments and visions and to do so in a format that allows their opponent to challenge their claims. Debates force candidates to think on their feet while answering unexpected questions. In debates, candidates must withstand the scrutiny of their opposition and address an ever-vigilant audience comprised of media and concerned citizens. Without debates, candidates can simply hide behind high-priced PAC money advertising campaigns that glamorize candidates with unchallenged messages. In the worst case, candidates will use negative advertising to smear their opponent by heaping on the fabricated mud until polling data discloses their war chest of Enron contributors.
When I chose to seek elected office, I did so knowing that my message should and would be met by challenges and that explanations for my platform would be demanded. I did so knowing that I would sometimes err and at times would simply have to respond, that “I don‘t know.“ I chose to run for public offce because I truly believed that my core values and beliefs were a reflection of my community and that I was willing to carry those values and beliefs to Lansing no matter how difficult the travels or where the roadblocks might lie.
Debating an opponent here in northern Michigan should be viewed as a first step in representing the voters of the 37th State Senatorial district and as such, a preliminary requirement for this prestigious office. Yes, I truly believe that candidates have an obligation and a responsibility to debate and yes, I truly believe that the voters expect candidates to be willing to debate. Handshakes, yard signs and media buys should never replace the person-to-person comparisons that all voters deserve.
If in some way the message of my debate challenge has been misinterpreted by my opponent, then I would expect that this open letter, written for all to see, would stand as my challenge to debate three times at various locations within the district before the November 5 election. The Estes for State Senate campaign is very willing to work with any of the debate logistics as long as the format is open and meaningful to the voting public.

Michael Estes • State Senate candidate

She‘s had enough
Dubya, acting upon a joint resolution of Congress, has declared September 11 to be Patriot Day.
According to his proclamation, we‘re supposed to “...observe this day with appropriate ceremonies
and activities...“ and to “...display the flag at half-staff from their homes and observe a moment
of silence at 8:46 a.m. EDT,“ this in honor of the Americans who died in the terorist attack.
You know, personally I think this just stinks to hell. I have a better idea, so I‘m making a
proclamation of my own, which of course is completely unendorsed by any U.S. politicians I‘m aware
I‘m declaring September 11 “International Enough Day.“ Enough flag-waving, enough violence, enough
nationalism. Enough already. September 11 was not an American tragedy, it was a human tragedy. It
was a tragedy not just for the people in the U.S. who died, but for every innocent person killed as
a result of the U.S. reaction to the attacks as well. It was a tragedy for the human spirit,
regardless of nationality, religion, and anything else.
On September 11, let‘s say “Enough.“ No more killing. Lets remember not only the victims of the
hijacked airplanes in the U.S., but of the embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998. Let‘s
remember all the Israelis killed by Palestinian bombers and all the Palestinians killed by Israeli
troops. Lets remember all the innocent people slain by Union Carbide in Bhopal, India in 1984.
Lets take the day to contemplate the people who‘ve been victims of genocidal warfare in Africa,
and the ones who‘ve starved to death because of political games as well. Lets remember the
victims of the Holocaust and of the firebombing of Dresden, too. Lets not forget those who were
slain in the Mai Lai Massacre. Instead of waving the flag of one nation and thinking only about
our own dead, lets make September 11 a day to remember all the people who‘ve died at the hands of
someone else‘s political agenda through no fault of their own, and lets say enough. We should
stand up and disavow this, no matter what country we‘re in, no matter what religion we are, no
matter our political affiliation or status or race or anything else.
If we had a moment of silence marking the time of every attrocity ever committed in the name of
nationalism, religion... every attrocity committed in the name of the artificial borders that try
to make us forget that we‘re all human, all in this together, all fragile creatures whose lives
can be snuffed out in an instant through no fault of our own... then we would never speak again.
There should be no “Patriot Day,“ no day to further emphasize that we‘re different. Instead, lets
say “Enough.“ Enough of putting the interests of any one nation above the interests of the human
race. Enough dwelling on our small differences. Enough killing each other over them. Enough hate,
enough fear, enough hunger, enough violence, enough bombing, enough enough enough ENOUGH.

Dawn Wolfe • via email

Racists & anti-Semites not welcome
On September 3, MidEast: Just Peace held a forum in Suttons Bay. The
guest speaker was a Palestinian refugee from Jordan. Some 65
people attended the forum. Two of them walked in wearing “white power“
t-shirts. The forum organizers promptly and privately advised the two
men that the message on their shirts was abhorrent to MidEast: Just
Peace and to probably the overwhelming majority of persons in
attendance. The men were also informed that they would not be allowed to
voice any opinion at the forum due to the racist message on their shirts
and if they disrupted the event they would be removed.
Why did they
come to the forum? Did they think that their anti-Semitic, racist and
intolerant views would find a safe haven at the event? Many people,
racist and non-racist alike, mistakenly assume that views critical of
the Israel or United States‘ support for Israel are always fueled by
anti-Semitism. There is a difference between zionism, a colonialist
political concept that has forcibly created a state for Jews only at the
expense of the indigenous Palestinians, and Judaism, a religion that
recognizes the goodness in all humanity, regardless of race, sex or
religion. Not all Jews are zionist. Not all Jews support the apartheid
policies of Israel. Many Jews, Christians and Muslims advocate that
historic Palestine return to being a land where people can live without
regard to their religious status, one democratic, secular state for
As the forum‘s speaker asked, “Since when has God become a real
estate agent?“ As the forum‘s organizers made clear, racists and
anti-Semites are not welcome at our events.

Marian Kromkowski • Organizer with MidEast: Just Peace
Suttons Bay

Yuppie paper sucks
As it has been said, Thee Petoskey News-Review is a quick read, almost as quick as the Traverse City Record-Eagle. So it is with the weekly Northern Express. After the cover story and the cartoons, a commentary by an editer, the current listing of events, and the want ads, there is nothing to reain the attention beyond this span deficit.
The cartoons: This Modern World is always entertaining for those who wish the world were a much better place; the recently implemented Life In Hell might as well be renamed Life In
Horseshit; The City by Derf is at once repulsive and compelling in its naive drawings and mentality,
Tom the Dancing Bug by Rubin Bolling is full of great ideas though restricted by its recalcitrance in
allowing for draftsmanship to improve, a befuddling parallel.
News Of The Weird is a syndicated series found in most weekly papers as is Freewill Astrology by Brezsney. And this is the gist of the scenario with weekly papers: homogenization. What appeared to be the new format soon became the watered down version of that which we now know as the yuppie uprising. Check out the restaurant ads. That is what supports this newspaper as well as all other weekly presses of today. That certain hipness of intellectual and spiritual decree permeates all weeklies now, except for the biggies like The Village Voice and the Boston Phoenix which exist on their own hip terms - not.
What is left? Not much. An article of interest now and then, a commentary of interest now and then, a want ad section which might or might not lend itself to your wants and needs. Conclusion? A five minute leaf-through and that‘s about it. Despite the local inhabitants, the yuppie crowd do think it is their territory and perhaps that this is their news weekly. And it is, at least the news weekly. This is not for the local inhabitant. This is for the lawyers, restaurateurs, and tourists, this entertainment weekly. And it is this format across the whole continent both sides of the divide. The addenda of an omni-sexual correspondence column may seem to add to the liberal posture but only serves to grant the silent majority that much more fodder for its disdain at such proclivities.
There is much talent and character in this upper northwesten area of Michigan, most of which goes unnoticed in such weeklies as the Express and certainly the established presses such as the Record-Eagle and the further north New-Review. The watered-down mentality and acceptance level of complacency deter any thoughts or acts of protagonism toward freedom of expression, whether literary or societal. This is just another ad program for the yuppie contingency in its progress toward aligning the culture subservient to its supercillious ways of making more money. It at first seems so hip and progressive - until one examines the sense that is left when the paper is folded and put in the recycling bin: what was there? Almost nothing. It doesn‘t have to be this way. But it is.

Mitchell Jon MacKay • East Jordan

(I felt the same way after reading the Cliff Notes version of “Plato‘s Republic“ early this summer. After the ideas were digested, what was there left? Almost nothing. -- ed.)

Water rip-off must stop
(A response to the 9/5 letter from Oran Kelly “Worse things could happen to the water.“)
As stewards of 20% of the earth‘s fresh water, it is time for us to decide where we stand on this important issue. The words of journalist Chris Ney express some of why I think this is so vital: “If it (water) is a right, then an international system must ensure access to enough clean water to sustain communities and the environment. If water is a commodity, then it can be bought and sold like any other, hoarded or squandered by those with enough cash and denied to those too poor to pay.“
Water is an issue for all of us because we all require it for survival. Our supply of freshwater is finite. Currently 31 countries in the world face extreme water stress and scarcity. In this country there are many areas with the same problem. Over 1 billion people in the world lack adequate access to potable water and the problem is getting more serious by the day.
When the “rights“ and access to a huge aquifer are given over to a profit-seeking corporation as they were in the case of Ice Mountain (which is being given tax abatements of over $9.5 million for their bottling operation in Mecosta County,) this is a violation of the public trust and a highjack of the Commons. Ice Mountain Corp. (a subsidiary of Nestle) does not view water as a social resource, and is instead beholden to the motives of shareholders who invest to make money, no matter the social or environmental costs.
The local/international struggle to stop the Ice Mountain project is a struggle that is shared by people in Bolivia, India, Ghana, China, and anywhere people are fighting privatization in favor of more democratic methods of water distribution. There is hard work to he done to make governments accountable to all beings and the earth. We need laws and plans that promote the care and conservation of water. We also need the participation of ordinary citizens who understand that our investment is of greater worth than any money making venture.
The citizen lawsuit pending in state court (more info www.SaveMIWater.org) against Ice Mountain is one important cause that can, and must be supported. In this age of corporate globalization, NAFTA, WTO, the case is precedent setting, in part because it will determine who has the legal, and indeed moral authority to make decisions about the fate of the Great Lakes basin.
In the last few weeks numerous publications have featured stories about the struggle here in Michigan, as well as increased instances of desertification, hot stains, dried-up aquifers, and the millions of people who die every year due to lack of access to clean water. Just because we have some big lakes flanking us doesn‘t mean that we are immune to the looming water crisis.
Anyone interested in this issue can find archived media coverage as well as backgound info on our web-site: www.WaterIsSweet.org.

Robert Bartle • Cedar

Homestead corrections
I am writing to correct several statements that I believe are in error in the recent article in the Express: “Homestead Reflections A few words with Robert Kuras.“
1. “Those in favor of the swap include... the National Park Service.“
The National Park Service has most certainly not taken an official position one way or the other on the proposed swap. Whatever position is eventually taken by the Park Service will be the result of the planning process currently underway which will eventually result in a draft General Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement which will be made public for further public review and comment.
2. “Kuras went on to say that the proposed exchange would give the Homestead free title to a 45-acre wastewater discharge area and its 32 acre front entrance and lawn for which it already has an easement in perpetuity, freeing local park officials from some bureaucratic functions relating to these areas...“
In point of fact the Homestead has an easement on a 7 acre part of a 32 acre tract of Park Service land. The proposed swap would give them free title to the entire 32 acres. (This is the explanation provided by Tom Van Zoeren, representing the National Park Service, at the hearing at Glen Arbor in July.)
Further, the easement that the Homestead has for the 45 acre wastewater discharge area is for a specific purpose only. If they were given free title to that tract theland could be developed for other purposes. So there is probably more here than a desire to “free Park officials from some bureaucratic functions relating to these areas.“
3. “The Homestead re-contacted former NPS Director Jim Ridenour in an attempt to mediate a settlement and found that Park Service officials were agreeable to the swap...“
Mr. Ridenour was hired by the Homestead - he has stated publicly at hearings here that he is “under retainer.“ It would be more accurate to say that he is a “paid lobbyist,“ not a “mediator“ for there is nothing to “mediate.“ Instead, much of the Homestead‘s and Mr. Ridenour‘s work has been in Washington where they have tried to circumvent or avoid the Park Service‘s planning process by having the proposed “swap“ included as a rider on an upcoming bill in Congress. Thus far that attempt has not been successful.
I hope that greater care will be taken in future articles in the Express about the Homestead and the proposed “swap“ to be sure that statements made by those representing the Homestead are accurate.

Andrew White • Traverse City

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