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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Random Thoughts

Robert Downes - December 18th, 2003
The Lucky Guys

Over the past few weeks, members of our staff have gently hinted that it would be a very fine thing if we were to write an article about Men‘s Night in downtown Traverse City this Thursday, Dec. 18. And in hopes of being a kind and considerate soul, I‘ve spent some time wrestling with the topic, even though most (okay, all) of the men I know wouldn’t give a flying figgy pudding for such a story.
You see, the problem with men is that very few of us like to shop -- the whole business is anathema to us (a fancy word for “hate it“). Have you seen the new magazine, Lucky, about the “glory of shopping“? It‘s got about 400 pages of ads and articles on shopping, every page of which is devoted to women with nary a male face within.
That‘s because the editors of Lucky know that a great many women are hard-wired to shop, like birds have feathers for flying, whereas men are more comfortable lying on the couch watching TV sports or Seinfeld reruns.
But men do shop when necessary, especially if it‘s for some cool gadget, like a bass-finder with an Army knife attachment and Global Positioning Satellite locator -- we like shopping for stuff like that. And like soldiers leaping onto live grenades to save the lives of their buddies, we heroically go Christmas shopping for our women and our families.
On Men‘s Night, from 6-9 p.m., there will be such enticements as store specials for men, refreshments, drawings and free gift wrappings.
If these goodies don’t do the trick, let me conjure some images that might actually blast a few men off the couch and into the holiday shopping stream:
• Single men -- it‘s possible that you‘ll meet the woman of your dreams while shopping on Men‘s Night because single females know that the streets will be packed with nice guys out shopping. Guys in need of girlfriends. Not likely, but possible. So dress up a bit and send a finder‘s fee this way if you get lucky.
• Married men -- this is your chance for a night out with the boys. After the shopping stuff is taken care of, you can gather with friends at a downtown watering hole to watch sports on the big screen TVs and brag about who got the best gift wrapping.
Come to think of it, these are good excuses for men to get out shopping in other towns this Thursday, be they Petoskey, Mackinaw City, Gaylord, Suttons Bay, Cadillac, Manistee or what-have-you. Tell the old lady you‘re going to Men‘s Night downtown and you plan to shop ‘til you drop. She‘ll think you‘re a hero.
See you there.

Whither the wind?

The always insightful Bob VanderLewn of Manistee poses a good question on our Letters page this week: What’s going to happen to Traverse City when all the smog from Manistee’s proposed coal burning plant and its 400-foot-tall smokestack blows this way?
A plant producing 450 tons of ash each day, free of scrubbers, will surely have an impact on communities downwind. In TC, the wind most always blows from Manistee. So...
Start choking. This is an issue our city and county commissions need to examine. And our legislators too.

Put Nixon on the Nickel

There‘s been some talk lately about kicking Franklin D. Roosevelt off the dime and replacing him with Ronald Reagan under the rationale that FDR is just a tired old liberal.
In truth, it‘s hard to measure up to Ronald Reagan. All Roosevelt did was save America from the Great Depression and the world from fascist maniacs during World War II.
By contrast, Reagan had these accomplishments:
• He invaded the small island of Grenada to divert Americans‘ attention from the fact that several hundred U.S. Marines were killed in a car bomb attack in his misguided mission to Lebanon. Killing some Cuban construction workers made Americans feel good about themselves again.
• He traded arms for hostages in Iran and then gave the money to the ousted Noriega regime in Nicaragua against the law laid down by Congress. Again, it made us Americans feel good about ourselves.
• He outspent the Russians on military hardware, causing them to say “uncle“ on the Cold War. Give him credit there.
But wouldn‘t it be better to have Richard Nixon on the nickel than Reagan on the dime? No offense, but saving the WHOLE WORLD and AMERICA too should give Roosevelt dibs on the dime for at least another 100 years.
And, though he has been vilified, Nixon did more good things than Reagan.
• Nixon gave us “Earth Day“ and a raft of environmental legislation and agencies that got America‘s rivers and skies on the clean-up path.
• Nixon was the first president to visit communist China, putting us on the path of peace and trade.
• Nixon launched nuclear arms control talks with the Soviet Union that eased us back from the brink of global annihilation.
• And he had a “secret plan“ to end the war in Vietnam, which only took him seven years to wrap up... maybe that one wasn‘t so good.
So, Nixon on the nickel, FDR keeps the dime, and give Reagan a new coin all his own just to keep “his“ people feeling good about themselves. Some would argue for the two-cent piece, but it would be kinder to come up with a new 12-and-a-half-cent coin for the Gipper, making two bits for a quarter. After all, the guy did take a bullet -- that should be worth something.

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