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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Local Groups Shed Light on Palestinian Conflict

Jane Louise Boursaw - May 9th, 2002
Although the Middle East is on the other side of the planet, a few local groups are hoping to shed some light on the conflict to those of us in Northern Michigan.
One is “Mideast: Just Peace,” a group focused on educating themselves and the community about what’s going on over there.
“If you only watch TV for the news, you’re clueless,” said Marian Kromkowski, a Suttons Bay attorney and one of the founders of the group. “They don’t ever get to the root causes or offer a political or economic explanation as to what’s happening. The press in this country, from my point of view, primarily gives the U.S. government’s point of view, which, in many respects, goes hand in hand with the Israeli point of view.”
Although the group has only been in existence a few months, they’ve already brought two human rights activists to Traverse City to speak about the lives of Palestinians living under Israeli occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip: Hanan Elmasu, a founding board member of the Ramallah-based human rights group Addameer Prisoners Support and Human Rights Association, and Ted Lewis of the human rights group Global Exchange.
The group also has other ideas: a “letters to the editor” campaign, a film program, and
possibly a boycott of Israeli products.
Kromkowski said their feeling is that in order to have peace in the Middle East, it has to be a peace with justice. “By our definition, that means a number of things,” she said. “It needs to include a viable Palestinian state where status is not determined by religion, it requires an end to
the military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, and it needs an evaluation and dismantling of the settlements currently in the occupied territory... one of the core ingredients is a recognition that all people in the region need to be treated with dignity and not be judged solely on their religion.”
Kromkowski is also part of “Women in Black,” a group focused on the Palestinian/Israeli conflict that walks every Friday in downtown Traverse City.
“I think for most of us, it’s a time to get in touch with the vast amount of pain and
suffering that occurs in the world and to reflect on that silently,” she said. “Through our walking and our silence, we try to come to terms with that and hopefully discover how we can bring about world peace in a way that can diminish the cry for help and pain and suffering throughout so many countries in the world.”
Mideast: Just Peace will be showing the documentary “Palestine: Story of a Land” on Friday, May 10. For location and time, as well as more information about the group, visit their web site, www.nrec.org/justpeace.


Has Michigan taken the first step toward becoming a police state? That’s the conclusion of an article in the “Oakland Press” which is circulating worldwide in the wake of a decision by the state Legislature.
“The state Legislature has given police power to search your home without telling you why,” states the April 24 article entitled “Living in a police state” by John Wisely and Stephen W. Huber in the Pontiac-based paper.
“Two new laws, which took effect Monday as part of anti-terror efforts, also shield from public scrutiny the reasons for police searches.”
The new laws were rubberstamped with little discussion by the House and Senate. The laws “make search warrants and supporting documents such as affidavits non-public records.”
As a result, search warrants are now automatically closed for public review by the press and public. If your home is searched by the police, you may be unable to learn the reasons for the search.
Critics say the new laws tear Fourth Amendment protections against unlawful search and seizure to shreds.
“I think this is absolutely unconstitutional,“ said Dawn Phillips, a First Amendment lawyer with the Michigan Press Association (Quoted in the Oakland Press.). “We objected to it at the time. This thing passed like greased lightning.“

Lieutenant Governor Dick Posthumus has called for a “Marshall Plan” to protect the Great Lakes. The gubernatorial candidate says his plan would address fecal contamination from overflowing sewage plants, leaking septic systems and septic wastes, exotic species, mercury pollution, and strengthen regional laws to prevent diversions of fresh water to thirsty parts of the nation and world. The full story from the Great Lakes Bulletin News Service is available from http://mlui.org/newsservice/articles/guyposthum.html
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