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..

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Bob Seger Turns the Page at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Rick Coates - April 1st, 2004
Each year I get several opportunities to vote. Usually there are a couple elections for millages or elective offices, and I relish that part of my civic responsibility. But in all honesty, I look forward most to three other ballots I receive each year. As a music journalist I am afforded the special privilege of voting for the nominees to The Handy Awards (the blues version of the Grammys), The Blues Hall of Fame, and The Rock and Roll of Fame.
It may seem trivial on the surface, but when you witness the tears of Kid Rock and the jubilation of Bob Seger, you know this means something.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is shrouded in mystery. First, people think the Hall of Fame is in Cleveland; well that is the Museum. The Hall is in New York, or at least the administrative offices are. Each year some 1,000-rock music experts receive ballots, and if a performer or band receives 50% of the vote they get in, or so state the rules.

What I do know is for the past 19 years on average seven performers each year are inducted. The nomination process is secretive, very much like selecting the Pope. A selection committee that remains nameless compiles a short list of 12 or so nominees and ballots are mailed out and returned.
Like with the Baseball Hall of Fame, fans write letters and lobby the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Some create websites with petition drives, but in reality, all that does little in the decision process.
Rock musicians are eligible 25 years after they release their first album and nominations are based on “the contributions of those who have had a significant impact on the evolution, development and perpetuation of rock and roll.”
Bob Seger has been eligible for 11 years. Each year that I have had a vote he was an easy selection, but was overlooked by at least half of the voting panel. I wondered as the years went by if he would make it in. So when the inductees were announced last November, I was relieved. Just like I am sure Michigan sportswriters will be when Alan Trammell of the Tigers gets into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
See, Trammell and Seger are a lot alike. They embody the spirit and work ethic of Detroiters and Michiganians; people who go to work everyday and get the job done without bragging about it. Neither was flashy or outspoken of their talents, Trammell let his glove and bat speak for him, while Seger let his songs and the microphone speak for him.
Trammell was one of the best shortstops to play the game and his statistics and loyalty deserve a spot in the hall of fame. He will get it someday, probably like Seger, long after he actually deserves it.

Seger has sat quietly over the past 11 years, not speculating one way or the other about being inducted. Instead, he has been busy being a father to two kids Cole, 11, and Samantha, 8; attending PTA meetings, golfing, winning sailboat races and writing songs.
But when the call came last November to his home that he was inducted into the Hall of Fame, the family went crazy. They jumped all over him; it was as important to them as it was to him. Seger probably is eligible for the Hall of Fame for Dads -- while he was still riding high as one of the most sought-after live performers, he walked away to be a fulltime dad.
Seger quickly picked up the phone, calling several friends like Glenn Frey of the Eagles -- Frey and Seger were a part of the mid-sixties Detroit music scene. He called Kid Rock.
In fact, Kid Rock has probably been more excited than anyone else. Since Seger has been inducted, Rock has been talking about it as if he was the one being inducted. Rock was given the honors to induct Seger March 15 at the Waldorf Astoria in Manhattan.
“Until tonight the most underrated singer, song-writer and performer of our time has been Bob Seger,” said Kid Rock during the induction ceremony. “You can’t talk about Bob Seger and not mention the midwest, the great state of Michigan, or Detroit Rock City. Anyone who lives there will testify that Bob Seger is God.”
Seger took the stage and thank his family friends and fans. He then performed two songs, “Turn the Page,” and “Old Time Rock and Roll.” “Old Time” was a last-minute replacement to “Fire Down Below,” as a sore throat prevented him from singing that song.

After the induction ceremonies Seger talked to various artists and friends backstage. He reflected on the moment.
“This is certainly a big night for me, my family, friends and fans,” said Seger. “It truly is an honor to be in a place with The Beatles and The Stones and so many greats.”
Those greats include 21 others from Michigan, including Bill Haley, Aretha Franklin, Glen Frey with the Eagles, Stevie Wonder and John Lee Hooker.
Others backstage raved about Seger and his induction:
“I am honored to be here tonight and it is especially meaningful to go into the Hall of Fame with Bob Seger,” said Prince. “We are both midwesterners and Seger had a lot of influence on me at the start of my career; he certainly influenced my writing.”
In his book “Possessed: The Rise and Fall of Prince“ (Billboard, 2003), author Alex Hahn details how Prince once asked his keyboardist Matt Fink why Bob Seger was so successful. Fink explained how Seger‘s anthems appealed to America‘s heartland, adding, “Write something like that and you‘ll cross right over.“
Shortly after that Prince wrote “Purple Rain.“

A teary-eyed Kid Rock was all smiles after the ceremony, hugging all in sight and going on about Detroit and Michigan rock and roll.
“Seger is the best, I have been listening to him since I was a kid,” said Rock.
What about doing a duet together?
“Sure I would love that,” said Rock. “Bob has mentioned before about us doing a country song together someday. We will see.”
Seger and Rock share the same manager, Punch Andrews, so anything is possible. Just how important is Punch to the equation?
Punch and Seger have been together for 40 years. Near the end of his induction speech, Rock said, “You can’t talk about Bob Seger without mentioning two words: Punch Andrews.”
Mick Jagger also jumped on the Bob Seger bandwagon.
“Seger certainly deserves to be in,” said Jagger. “Of course I am a fan.”
Would you like to see Seger tour again? After all, he says that he is getting too old to tour, yet you guys are about the same age (actually Jagger just turned 60 and Seger will be 59 in May).
“I respect his decision not to tour. It is a lot of work and from what I understand he is a perfectionist and likes to rehearse for months before touring,” said Jagger. “After his performance tonight you can tell he still has got it.”
Jagger also agrees that Detroit and Michigan are important geographically to the evolution of rock and roll.
“Certainly there is an argument that Detroit is one the best cities for rock music,” said Jagger. “Michigan has turned out numerous musicians that have had a great impact on rock music as we know it today. Also, Detroit has had a great impact on all of us who have performed there. Eric Clapton once told me that Detroit audiences brought out the best in his playing.”

Thirty years ago at Cobo Hall, Bob Seger told a sold-out crowd, “Rolling Stone magazine just wrote that Detroit audiences are the best in the world. Shit, I have know that for 10 years.”
Well Bob, those of us from Michigan have known for years that you deserve to be in the Hall of Fame.
What about the question that he is asked almost daily; are you going to tour again?
“We will have to see. I have a new album being released in September and it is common practice to tour to support the album,” said Seger. “I am getting older and I am not sure my voice would hold up, plus it is a lot of work, it takes months to plan. I probably won’t but I am thinking about it. I guess I just don’t know.”
Bob Seger becomes the 140th performer inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The Hall was started in 1983 with the first ceremony in 1986. Other Michigan performers currently eligible include Grand Funk, Ted Nugent, Alice Cooper, Mitch Ryder and Iggy Pop. Grand Funk is most likely next but Madonna will probably beat them all in, as she is eligible in two years and only Elvis Presley has had more top-10 hits.
Seger got probably his biggest tribute the night after the ceremonies. Legendary singer-songwriter Bob Dylan was in Detroit performing and the crowd called Dylan to the stage for a second encore (Dylan seldom does second encores). As the fans wondered what hit song Dylan would close with the master took the stage with his band, silently picked up his guitar and rocked in “Get Out Of Denver,” by Seger. He finished the song and without a word set his guitar down and walked off the stage to a crowd that was delirious. Now when one of the best songwriters of all time covers your song, well, you are in a special hall of fame.
For 25 years Seger gave us his best night after night on the road, and through several great albums. So one could hardly blame him for wanting to give that same effort to his kids. He still writes songs but ends his workday by 2 p.m. and focuses on his family after that. Sure, all of us are selfish and want nothing more for Bob Seger to keep touring every year, but Seger is on the tour of his life, fatherhood. Thanks for the great songs and all the wonderful memories Bob, congratulations and remember your son is old enough to carry your guitar just in case you decide to tour!

*Editors note: Express contributing writer Rick Coates will be writing an in-depth article on Bob Seger that will take a deeper look into his career and how he spends his days. The article will appear later this spring. Coates also is the co-chair of the development committee for the Michigan Music Hall of Fame, which is scheduled to induct their first class in 2005. Rumors have it that the Michigan Music Hall of Fame may end up in Traverse City.*

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