Why are we talking about jail overcrowding again? This seems to be a perpetual topic that nothing is ever done about. I have a few suggestions.
First, have you all heard the phrase about Traverse City? Come on vacation, leave on probation! But seriously, jailable offenses seem to be proportionate to the severity of crimes being committed in each town. What is a serious offense here may not be seen as a serious or jailable offense in Detroit.
Second, DRUGS!!! There are many statistics out there -- lets just agree that most crimes are related, in some way, to drugs or alcohol. Our community has three resources“ to address this: Addiction Treatment Services (ATS), AA/ NA, and jail (for those who cannot afford treatment at Munson). ATS obviously does not cut it. If ATS does not work for a person, chances are AA is not going to work either. If you get kicked out of ATS, you really have no other substance abuse treatment options.
We can talk about building a bigger jail, building an off-site, minimum security substance abuse jail, or fill up the only homeless shelter around with Community Corrections people (those who are let out of jail early to serve their remaining time in a supervised environment). I personally think the homeless shelter should only be for the homeless, especially with winter coming.
So, my idea is that Grand Traverse County, or three counties cooperatively, set up a methadone clinic. Addicts who have not been cured by conventional methods, after trying over and over and over for years, could go each day and get their maintenence opiates. The staff would be real physicians and RN/LPNs, not simply counselors with no medical education. The clinic could enforce compliance with clients on court-ordered or voluntary Antabuse regimens.
If someone has been to jail two or more times for drug/ alcohol related offenses, they clearly need alternative intervention -- talk therapy isnt working.
I have been addicted to opiates for 10 years and have been involved in three inpatient drug treatment programs and counseling plus AA/NA since 1996. I am also very (intellectually) bright and have not been able to reason my way out of it. I have been on methadone maintenence, quietly through a local doctor, for seven months. I have not done any other substances in that seven months. That means I have not had to go buy drugs on the street or, if I had no money, steal drugs/ money/ property to get high. Seven months of not having to break the law to get by.
One argument I heard in Petoskey is that a methadone program would bring a bad element to the city. Guess what, folks. We are already here. Open your eyes and address the problem as other cities -- Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, etc. -- have done in an effort to cut down on drug related crime.
-- Name Withheld by Request
Do Republicans care?
The reader viewpoint from Steve Yenshaw (11/11) ought to also take into consideration the conservatives own myth making ability. Per his statement about Republicans caring about the environment with the supposed Grand Traverse County overwhelmingly voting 60% Bush but supporting the Open Space proposal -- actually the winning proposal regarding the open space and natural area only appeared for Garfield Township (approximately 6,000 voters) and the city of Traverse City (approximately 7,500 voters). Whitewater Township‘s proposal for farmland and open space preservation lost while a similar measure for Acme Township won.
Accordingly, the statement is a gross exaggeration by putting in all of Grand Traverse County when only three townships (where one proposal lost) and Traverse City had such environmental issue proposals. Furthermore, according to the Record-Eagle, Traverse City voted about 51% in favor of Kerry.
And lets digress about the supposed global warming junk science (dont ya just luv buzzwords that appeal to a junior high only education, circa 1960!) -- a recent scientific study pointed out that the readily evidenced melting of the arctic may likely cause the extinction of the polar bears by 2100. But wait, another report shortly after has announced that shipping/commerce will benefit by the melt. Hmm, wonder which party supported which announcement.
What is the more apparent issue with any kind of polemic statements filled with bias, spin, or inherent disregard of facts is that without a multi-party system there is always the incessant pitting of one against another.
And for the record, I am an independent, and I voted for some Green candidates and Kerry.
Jeff Mort TC
Diverted from democracy
As a proud Democrat, it was a tough day watching John Kerry concede. For the next four years Ill be having dreams of Ohio, Ohio, Ohio! It just wasnt meant to be.
But, I think it is sad that our counrty decided this election based on Abortion, Guns, God, and Gays. Those are all important issues, but they have diverted us from Democracy. The issues of our future, education, health care, the economy, and international relationships, took the back burner.
Four more years! Four more years! I just dont know.
Daniel Brown TC
Silent majority has spoken
In response to a letter written in the October 21 issue to the Northern Express by Jean A. Wilson, stating that we should not believe this is Republican territory. She stated ....havent you noticed the thousands of Kerry-Edwards signs.... Jean, again you have been duped. I think you owe us another letter stating just so!
The silent majority has spoken in the tune of the following: GT County Bush 27,446 , Kerry 18,255; Antrim County Bush 8,379, Kerry 5,072; Leelanau County Bush 7,773, Kerry 6,048. Jeepers, in presidential election returns, thats a landslide.
Liberals have always protested more, yelled louder and felt comforted by signs. While the rest of us are working, raising families and simply being personally responsible for ourselves. Now I think it would be responsible for you to ackowledge your mistake. Or were you, as with the majority of this countrys media, simply trying to make the Democrats believe they were winning?
Frankly though, I am disappointed in your party. For this countrys political system to work as effectively as it has we need strong united parties with opposing views. Will the Democrats go the way of Michael Moore and Hillary Clinton where personal responsibility is laughed at or will they embrace the more moderate thinkers like Gephardt and Leiberman that will bring unity and strength back to a party that is split? Time will tell. But for now the silent majority has spoken!
Doug Petersen TC
In response to Frank Breens recent letter to the editor (11/11), all I can say respectfully is augh, I would much rather be Moore-ized in view than de-moral-ized by the president select!
Traci George via email
Taxes on ICE
The attempt by East Bay Township to assess taxes against ICE facilities, a charitable organization under IRS Section 501(c)(3), is legally and ethically inappropriate.
ICE meets all four test requirements set by the IRS to qualify as a charitable organization. In this case, ICE is similar to hundreds of other Section 501(c)(3) qualified community service organizations who work to meet the health, education and social needs of their respective communities, serving people of all faiths, races, abilities, ages and incomes. The fact that ICE is efficiently managed and economically viable as it provides public services does not disqualify them from tax exempt status.
The purpose, mission and infrastructure of ICE is the same as many other nationally-recognized 501(c)(3) athletic non-profit programs and facilities that are operated by local citizens, schools, universities and churches. The national YMCA and YWCA, the National Sports Center in Blaine, Minnesota, and many others have been fully qualified as 501(c)(3) organizations for years, without legal challenge or harassment from local agencies.
Furthermore, East Bay Township appears to be painfully unaware of its legal jurisdiction as it relates to federal tax law. There is no IRS challenge to the tax exempt status of ICE, and it is inappropriate to ignore case law that has struck down arbitrary attempts by local governments to tax charitable organizations.
The township should stop its legal harassment of ICE, reimburse ICE for its legal defense costs, and recognize that every year ICE gives back far more than $200,000 worth of direct and indirect economic and community benefits to the people of East Bay.
Stuart Heaslet Cedar
War machine rolls on
We have destroyed the city of Fallujah. It has cost thousands of lives. Now we will rebuild it. It will cost millions of our tax dollars. Across this country our young people leave for war. We wave flags and play music and cry. Military commanders and politicians tell us that the home front must remain strong.
This scene has been played in this country for many, many years. Young folks sent off to war. The home folks told to remain strong. We are taught that war is necessary and right and just. We are taught to honor the military. We have cannons in our parks. We marvel at the latest war technology.
Whats missing is the other side. Im a Vietnam infantry veteran. At best, war is the failure of leaders to resolve conflicts. At worst, war is a massive money generating machine that has no regard for life.
The leaders cheer us on, but their kids dont go. Some of our folks may not return. Some may return with missing body parts. All who return will have permanent mental scars. And the leaders and the mega-rich wont care, except with words.
We need to question. We need to Protect Our Troops. Protect them from greed, from lies, from being pawns. We the People need to direct our public servants to use their brains to resolve conflicts. When they refuse, or say there are no options, we need to fire them and get better leaders. The price is too high if we dont.
Arnold Stieber Grass Lake
More on Jesus‘ politics
Some of the more recent Letters have been quite amusing. Premises put forth in some really boggle the mind. One reader criticizes Bush as being hypocritical for any number of indiscretions that “he“ caused while also espousing life. If one has a clue about history, it becomes quite obvious that every time we have entered into a major war in the 20th century (except the Gulf War), there was a Democrat in the White House. That‘s a five-to-one record. Why single Bush out as being a hypocrite? He has plenty of company!
Sure, Jesus is a liberal! Everyone with a conservative point of view has completely misunderstood Jesus all along! We never knew that lie supports abortion on demand, partial birth abortion, and euthanasia. We hadnt a clue He opposes a greater role for faith-based institutions to help to assuage societys ills. It never occurred to us that He supports banning prayer in public schools and would enlist help in squelching any public expression of the Christian faith. Must be Bible believers for the past 2,000 years never understood what He really believes. Gee. maybe we can undertand Jesus better from a liberal viewpoint! Perhaps then we can become intellectual and not be the 59,000,000 stupid people like London Daily Mirror says we are! Then again perhaps animals talk and elephants can fly!
Lee Oslund Mackinaw City
Californias Letter of Secession
Dear President Bush:
Congratulations on your victory over all us non-evangelicals.
Actually, were a bit ticked off here in California, so were leaving you. California will now be its own country. And were taking all the Blue States with us. In case you are not aware, that includes Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, all of the Northeast states, and the urban half of Ohio.
We spoke to God, and she agrees that this split will be beneficial to almost everybody, and especially to us in the new country of California. In fact, God is so excited about it, shes going to shift the whole country at 4:30 p.m. EST this Friday. Therefore, please let everyone know they need to be back in their states by then. God is going to give us the Pacific Ocean and Hollywood. In addition, were getting San Diego. (Sorry, thats just how it goes.) But God is letting you have the KKK and country music (except the Dixie Chicks).
Just so were clear, the country of California will be pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, and anti-war. Speaking of war, were going to need all Blue States citizens back from Iraq. If you need people to fight in Falujah, just ask your evangelical voters. They have tons of kids theyre willing to send to their deaths for absolutely no purpose. And they dont care if you dont show pictures of their kids caskets coming home.
So, you get Texas and all the former slave states, and we get the Governator and stem cell research. (We would love you to take Britney Spears off our hands, though. She IS from the south, right?)
Since we get New York, youll have to come up with your own late night TV shows because we get MTV, Letterman, the Daily Show, and Conan OBrien. You get... well, well! why dont you ask your people at Fox News to come up with something entertaining? (Maybe you should just watch Crossfire. Thats a really funny show.)
We wish you all the best in the next four years and we hope, really hope, you find those missing weapons of mass destruction. Seriously. Soon.