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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Thrillin‘ Trillin: A Writer‘s Writer Comes to Town

Nancy Sundstrom - October 9th, 2003
Among even the most highly regarded of his peers, it’s known that Calvin Trillin is the kind of writer other writers aspire to be. He also happens to be equally adept as an actor, critic and raconteur in general, all of which makes him constantly in demand for everything from appearances on David Letterman’s show to speaking gigs such as the one he’ll be doing in Traverse City this weekend.
The Friends of the Traverse Area District Library (TADL) are presenting An Evening with Calvin Trillin on Saturday, October 11 at 8 p.m. in the Michigan Ballroom at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa in Acme. The night includes both the featured program and a post program reception, and will be the second time the group has hosted a major author, following last year’s presentation with poet Billy Collins.
The buzz about Trillin’s engagement here has been strong ever since it was announced . Among his many credits are being a 40-year veteran of the *New Yorker* magazine and the author of a number of books on food and eating that are considered classics of the genre. His latest book, *Feeding A Yen: Savoring Local Specialties from Kansas City to Cuzco,* offers antic eating adventures and has been described as being to food writing what Chaplin is to film editing. Three other of his antic books on eating have been compiled into one volume as *The Tummy Trilogy: American Fried; Alice, Let’s Eat and Third Helpings.*
His trademark is his witty, wry and ironic observations about life that are based with a distinct Midwestern perspective, something steeped in having been born and raised in Kansas City and refined by his longtime love affair with the city of New York, where he has lived for many years. He’s a serious writer in every regard, and in addition to his long list of book credits, he is respected for his work in humor, satire, fiction, columns, essays, poetry, novels and memoirs.
Trillin’s live performances have earned him a considerable legion of fans and served to introduce the uninitiated to his writing. His two one-man shows have been sell-outs at NYC‘s American Palace Theatre, and in reviewing “Words, No Music,“ *The New York Times* hailed Trillin as “the Buster Keaton of performance humorists.“ His frequent guest spots on The Tonight Show and Late Night with David Letterman reinforce his reputation as a classic American humorist, one who has personally has revised the mottoes that appear on state automobile license plates. Nebraska, for example is “a long way across,“ and Arkansas, on his first try, was a little verbose: “Not As Bad As You Might Imagine.“

He hasn’t yet planned what specifically he’ll be talking about when he makes his first-ever visit to Traverse City, because Trillin says he doesn’t prepare his speeches in advance or even “customize“ them in any way. As a result, he adds, the often-impromptu approach to the evening makes it as much of a surprise for him as it does for the audience.
“Sometimes I’ll talk about styles of writing or about the process of writing books and I always try to inject some humor, but I never stick to one sort of program. I come prepared to talk about various,“ he said, with a laugh.
When asked about the role that his overall versatility plays in his being able to do just that, Trillin says that he believes it comes with the job of being a reporter, which is primarily how he views what he does.
“As a reporter, you can suddenly finding yourself in someone else’s field, out of the realm of what you usually do, and the subject itself tends to decide what sort of form it will take, a column, an essay, verse, or the like,“ explained Trillin. “You learn to watch and listen carefully to opportunities as they present themselves, and sometimes, that’s how the speaking gigs go for me.“
Another of Trillin’s secrets of the trade is that he says he doesn’t write anything that he doesn’t intend to publish. His output has been quite prolific over the past four decades and reflects the work of a man who truly loves the written word in all of its forms. When he decided to migrate from Kansas City to New York in 1963, he did so because the city seemed to be a mecca for writers, particularly those interested in the magazine industry.

He was able to land at the *New Yorker,* which he calls his “home base,“ and has been one of its most revered and popular contributors since. From that vantage point, has seen a great number of changes take place, both with the publication and on the city’s vibrant literary scene.
“I’ll always think of the *New Yorker* as where I work, and when I stop to think back on everything that’s happened there during that time, it’s quite staggering,“ he said. “It’s had its phases, in that in the first 20 years there, it seemed like nothing happened until a change of ownership and regime took things in a new direction. A true restoration happened with a focus on more news. That began a very good period that’s continued since.“
As far as his adopted city, of which Trillin is a key member of its cultural community, he feels that New York continues to evolve and reinvent itself, something that has long been part of its many traditions.
“As a place and a city, it’s far better now than it was when I first came here. I’d have to say that not all that much is different since the events of two years ago, because it is a place where change is so constant. With both the city and the literary scene, there’s always something to look forward to, just as it is with theatre. Writers still come here to write, particularly if you want to write for magazines, which it happened that I did and still do.“
Trillin consistently has a myriad of projects and writing options to consider or that are in various stages of development. He just finished a piece that will appear shortly in the *New Yorker* on a flamboyant reporter named R.W. Apple Jr., who wrote “amazing pieces of journalism“ from somewhere in the United States at least once every three weeks between 1967-1982. He’s also working on an article for Gourmet, and will contribute to a section of a book dedicated to New Yorker cartoons.
And beyond those immediate assignments and a trip to Traverse City?
“I’m never too sure what’s ahead, and maybe that’s some of what keeps it all surprising and fun, and even exciting,“ he concluded. Just like his speeches.

Tickets for An Evening with Calvin Trillin on Saturday, October 11 are $15 for adults and $7.50 for students, and are available at all TADL locations, including Traverse City, East Bay, Kingsley, Interlochen, Peninsula and Fife Lake Libraries and at the door the evening of the event. For more information, call (231) 932-8550.

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