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 2/3/05
. . . .

Letters 2/3/05

Various - February 3rd, 2005
Social Security: the truth
I hope that I’m not the only one suspicious about the recent wave of letters defending the Social Security system in our local papers. I’ve found that many are reprinted from web sites of lobbying groups. I don’t completely understand why they are using scare tactics aimed at the elderly except that it might be self-serving to cause a panic.
The truth about the Social Security situation is simple. It’s a pyramid scheme that would be illegal if it were not run by the government. Just like all the budget surpluses that suddenly disappeared, it’s all just smoke and mirrors. The federal government doesn‘t follow Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). Instead it runs on a cash basis. In essence, it immediately spends every dollar it takes in. It invests nothing for the future. There are no federal bank accounts where social security taxes earn interest and wait to be collected.
Predictions about the future viability of Social Security are, at best, wild guesses.
But here are some facts. Each year the ratio of people paying into the system as compared to collecting from it declines. People are living longer and collecting benefits longer. The cost to care for the elderly is increasing far faster than the rate of inflation and the growth of the GNP.
Social Security was never intended to be a complete retirement plan. It was to supplement individual’s pensions and savings. Even with it’s ups and downs, the stock market is a tangible investment.
Putting money into a simple savings account does more to help our economy grow than letting the government spend tomorrow’s dollars today. We need to fulfill our obligations to seniors but we need to look ahead and design a system that’s built on equity and not wishful thinking.

Charles Russell • Willamsburg
Get informed
Thank you for your articles on Social Security in the 1/20 issue of NE, especially the “Northern View“ by Mark Weisbrot.
With the dire threat the Bush administration poses to what should be sacrosant in our “democratic society,” the more information given to the general public the better.
We strongly advise that you avail yourself of an article found at www.ncpssm.org: “Social Security Primer, January 2005 - History of the Social Security Program.”
This article is concise and factual and should be read by everyone who has the least concern over the current debate. And we should all be concerned, as our failure to understand and address this issue only helps to promote a major threat to
our future.

Julia & John Brabenec •

Terminal turmoil
Who was the new Cherry Capital Airport terminal built for? The terminal looks like it was designed for the Southwest with large flat roofs and open spaces.
The massive roof out front doesn‘t extend far enough to protect loading and unloading passenger from weather.
The colonnades out front, while they looked impressive, are a safety hazard and hide guests moving behind them until they are right out in the street. Passengers are often in a hurry to get their cars and moving quickly with the momentum of heavy luggage. Because there are no regularly posted signs or speed bumps out front, people have had a tendency to move too fast through the area. There are stop signs, yet they sit low and to the sides where they are often blocked from view by vehicles parking.
The delineation between commercial and private pick up lanes is immediately blurred when the snow falls because the markings are on the pavement (many drivers have gotten tickets). So all this “beauty” designed to wow guests will leave them cold and wet for years to come as we all pay for the terminal‘s poorly thought-out design. Design which fails to take into consideration the very people it was trying to impress.
This is a great example of the disconnect between guest and host. It shows an apparent underlying seething contempt for others (or worse, and more probable, complete inattention to the common sense needs of others). Is this terminal an attempt at gratitude towards the guests and patrons that have made Northern Michigan a great vacation destination? The focus of the new terminal is so obviously self-aggrandizement
under the guise of customer service that it does indeed serve as a perfect entranceway
to Northern Michigan. To answer the question often posed -- Yes the new terminal “looks nice.“

Chris Williams • TC

Who‘s going to pay?
What is the missing piece to this puzzle?
The security tab for our President’s wartime inauguration was $11.9 million; our President refuses to pay for any part of it. The money comes out of our Homeland Security funds. Bush wants the protection, taxpayers pay for it.
There are no limits to donations for an inauguration. $8 million has been donated in the past three weeks alone. How much does it cost to arm a Humvee to protect our troops?
The harsh irony of the extreme wealth of Bush donations and the devastation being perpetuated upon the American people is horrific:
• the President has not funded No Child Left Behind - it is a mandate without financial support,
• the Social Security privatization is a serious threat to the middle and lower class,
• the Medicare Prescription Card is a painful and costly mess for our elderly,
• the assault on the environment to benefit energy companies continues,
• our children continue to be sent to war for undisclosed and dubious reasons.
How long will we stand for it? Let our legislature know how you feel. www.firstgov.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml.

Judy Childs • TC

Freedom for Iran too
Mr. President,
As a proud Iranian American, I am writing to express my strong support for your recent warnings to Iran and your pledge to spread freedom to other lands. Your statement recognizes the most obvious truth -- our problem does not lie with Iran, but with its ruling clerics.
Our policy should be one of denying the Iranian clerics the legitimacy that direct US-Iranian negotiations would lend them. Furthermore, while I believe that the military option should not be excluded, it should not be exercised until all other options of regime change have been exhausted.
The regime in Iran is standing on its last leg. Discontent amongst the Iranian people is higher than it has ever been before. Taking military action may prove redundant if we first give the Iranian opposition a fair chance to challenge the clerics. Through American moral and financial support, the Iranian people will themselves rise up and overthrow the ruling clerics and eliminate their nuclear program.
Mr. President, like most Iranian Americans, my family too has suffered, and continues to suffer from the brutal repression of the regime in Tehran.
My pride in America only grows when we choose to stand with those who stand for their own freedom. Now is the time to do so more than ever by funding the Iranian opposition and helping bring down one of the last outposts of tyranny.

Armand Ash • Associate Professor
University of Detroit

Christian environment
Lately, I have seen some really... uninformed (is that gentle?) letters about Christians and environmentalism, and I just can’t let them slide by.
I grew up Mennonite, attended a Baptist College, currently attend a non- denominational church, and teach at a Christian High School in which over 20 congregations are represented. I have NEVER been around people who Bill Moyers says “welcome environmental destruction as a sign of the Apocolypse,” or who, as a letter writer said, “blatantly disregarded science.” If anything, they have always been very aware of the Biblical injuction to be stewards of God’s earth.
C. S. Lewis and Francis Schaeffer, two of the most prominent Christian theologians of the 20th century, were decidedly concerned about this issue. Charles Colson, currently one of the more visible faces of Christianity, addresses this issue consistently on his website and in his books. Christian theologians and professors are churning out books on environmentalism. Anyone willing to do a little research would know this.
As for Kyoto, there are two sides to the stories, as usual. Note the following:
1. Of the approximately 130 nations that have signed so far, only 99 have had restrictions placed on them. China, the world’s second largest emitter of carbon gas, is not one of them.
2. 75% of the world’s C02 is emitted by the 89% of the world’s population living in countries that Kyoto would not affect.
3. In 1998, during the Clinton administration, the Energy Information Agency estimated that Kyoto’s total cost to our economy would be $77-338 billion per year. A low estimation places the average cost at $2,700 per family.
4. And by the way, the vote against Kyoto was bipartisan in the Senate - 95-0.
So lighten up. Maybe the ideas in Kyoto are good, but the treaty is lousy, and maybe Bill Moyers is wrong on certain issues. There is a whole other side of the world out there waiting to be discovered.

Anthony Weber • TC

Just imagine
An Express reader suggests we imagine scenarios where bogeyman conservatives try to “control’’ reproductive rights of Americans. Why not imagine a few more?
Imagine we lived in a country where ALL information was truly unbiased and allowed more than just abortion and contraception to be discussed as a method to prevent unwanted pregnancy.
Imagine a nation where young people were provided with all of the information they needed, but encouraged to “wait.”
Imagine a nation where a health care provider can’t be forced to deny his Hippocratic Oath to “do no harm.”
Imagine a nation where some didn’t feel that their “rights” were violated because they (hypothetically) were “forced” to drive across town to Osco instead of K-Mart.
Imagine parents being allowed to have knowledge that their children were seeking contraception or perhaps even seeking an abortion. (There ARE judicial safeguards for those who need them, so don’t even
go there.)
We live in a nation whose legal schizophrenia prosecutes a man for double homicide for the murders of his wife and an unborn fetus, while without blinking an eye allows an abortionist to snuff the life of a healthy unborn fetus from a healthy mother. Isn’t the result the same? A drunk driver or drug addicted mother who causes fetal death can be prosecuted, but an abortionist may take the same life without consequence just because it may “inconvenience” someone.
Imagine a country where all citizens took personal responsibility for their actions and used sensible precautions to PREVENT unwanted pregnancy. Imagine abortion being a means of terminating pregnancies only in cases of rape or incest, or where a mother’s physical or mental health was in danger, instead of a wholesale on-demand method of getting rid of an “oops.”
Yes, we have rights. With those rights there should also be the expectation that a citizen will “with control” act responsibly. Responsible prevention is always better than taking a life.
Imagine that.

Lee Oslund • Mackinaw City

Abuse of power
I echo the words of Gerry Greene: “It scares me what I have seen here this evening,” when we are talking about the backroom use of power that kept commissioner Anne Melichar from a closed session of the Traverse City Commission.
I worked for seven years to pass the noise pollution code of the City of Traverse City. Despite the City Commission’s changing City Charter to keep me from coming to bring up the issue but once every six months and the changing of the meetings act rule so that I could only speak for five minutes, I won. It is a police code of rules that allow citizens to complain when decibel levels or night deliveries and snow removal are causing them problems sleeping or with their normal life.
On the 17th of January I called the police department at 3 a. m. and complained about the front-end loaders moving snow at Tom’s West Bay Shopping Center. I was informed that the prosecuting attorney has suspended the enforcement of this code and that no tickets will be written. How does the capricious nature of prosecuting attorney‘s whims make a law exist or not exist?
In that last few years I have helped to make Fulton Park into a wetlands learning area for the school children and the public. I have also helped to gift land from my mother‘s trust to make the bike paths join together. I would like to sell the city my mother‘s 16 acre trust property adjoining Fulton Park to create a 26 acre parcel accessible by bikes or autos that overlooks West Bay. Yet, I am scared that with one phone call they can stop anything positive from happening, and change the laws to suit their businessmen’s friends needs.

Gary Keyes • TC

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5