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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Sleeping Bear Dunes Management Plan

Anne Stanton - June 8th, 2006
From 1999 to 2002, officials at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore attempted to write a new General Management Plan. Essentially it was a 20-year vision for the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, a gorgeous landscape of dunes, fields and woodlands hugging the Lake Michigan shoreline.
That attempt failed, largely owing to fears that some popular areas would be designated as wilderness areas and made off-limits to cars.
Now officials have wiped the slate clean and started over.
The most controversial element of the plan is what’s called a wilderness study, which defines areas in the park that are off-limits to anything with wheels, but still open to hikers and swimmers.
The first time that park officials tried to put together a 20-year plan, many citizens feared the park would close off Esch Road, a dirt road leading to the popular Otter Creek beach. That’s because Esch Road is currently managed as a wilderness area and the park was not looking at redefining wilderness areas.
This time the park is and is seeking lots of public input early on, said Tom Ulrich, assistant superintendent.
Ulrich explained that the park has never shut down Esch Road because Benzie County owns the road and supersedes federal authority in how it’s used. Unless the county abandons it, the road will stay open.
Whether Esch Road remains a proposed wilderness area depends on public input on the wilderness study, he said.
In that spirit, Ulrich has already met with various community groups and held three open houses earlier this spring. So far, the park has collected 300 written comments. Suggestions, so far, have included adding mountain bike trails somewhere in the park.
Why do a General Management Plan at all? The park’s last General Management Plan dates back to 1979 and a lot has changed since then. Some new areas have been added to the park, including the Crystal River, Bow lakes, and Miller Hill.
“And there’s also a recognition of historic features in the park that weren’t there earlier—Port Oneida and mainland agricultural history,” Ulrich said.
Park officials aim to submit the wilderness study for presidential and Congressional approval by the end of 2008.
Three identical workshops are scheduled for June (you just need to go to one). All workshops will be held in the commons area at Traverse City West High School, 5376 North Long Lake Road. Dates are June 20, 6-9 p.m., June 21, 1-4 p.m., and the evening of June 21, 6-9 p.m.

Complaints about newspaper
to be delayed by a month
Local newspaper critic K. Ross Childs said that he won’t submit a packet of complaints about the Traverse City Record-Eagle until June 30, a month after his original deadline.
Childs, the former administrator of Grand Traverse County, had originally planned to submit 500 signatures and written complaints to the board chairman of Dow Jones & Company, owner of the Traverse City Record-Eagle, at the end of May.
Childs just underwent hip surgery and said he’s been “basically out of commission” since mid-May and unable to work on the packet. Childs, acting as an individual, asked in an undated letter for people to share their opinion about the newspaper, preferably on letterhead. He said in an interview last Thursday that he won’t ask for signatures until the documents are compiled, although his original letter indicated that he would have petition type sign-up forms available.
“We need to say, ‘If you agree with what people are saying, please sign this,’” he said. “That you are supporting that there is an issue with the Record-Eagle being accurate and somewhat vindictive, the word I tend to use. It’s not like it was and it needs to be better than what we have.”
Childs, who sits on the board of Northwestern Michigan College, and is a former county administrator, has been criticized in the paper, along with his friends, state Senator Jason Allen, Tim Nelson, president of Northwestern Michigan College, and Grand Traverse County board members.
A story ran in the Northern Express on Childs’ attempt to go to the top with his
complaints, a move that R-E editor Bill Thomas described as “bullying this newspaper into shutting up.”
The Record-Eagle has covered a range of stories, from an $8 million septage plant partially collapsing 30 days after it was built to the most recent story on thousands of dollars that went into a fund of Sen. Jason Allen’s that, by law, can be kept secret. That story has prompted newspapers across the state to investigate the secret funds relative to their own legislators.
Meanwhile, Bill Thomas, editor of the Record-Eagle, said he’s received many votes of confidence from readers. “They were very, very supportive and these phone calls were made by the people who we’re doing these stories for, who we’re doing this work for.
“The thing that might not have gotten across (in the article) is that Ross Childs is a public official and that he is subject to the same scrutiny as any public official, whether he likes it or not.”
An article this spring criticized NMC college board members for spending thousands on travel for seminars. The biggest criticism was that no one could say what they learned and how it would benefit the college.

Walk, ride and be merry
If gas prices aren’t enough to get you on a bike, on your feet or into a carpool, how about a free breakfast of scones, bagels, cream cheese, fruit, muffins, juice and coffee?
From June 7 to 11, anybody who bicycles, walks, carpools, kayaks or takes a bus to work will be treated to a free breakfast at different spots throughout Traverse City.
It’s all part of the 10th annual Smart Commute Week sponsored by TART Trails, which builds trails throughout the region.
Part of the event includes a Commuter Cup Challenge—in which area organizations and businesses compete on getting to work on their own leg power. For more information on the challenge or TART Trails, call 941-4300 or go to www.traversetrails.org.
So now onto the free breakfasts: Served from 7 to 9 a.m., look for the breakfast spots at the following locations: Monday, F&M Park on Washington and Railroad Avenue and Another Cuppa Joe in Building 50 at the Grand Traverse Commons; Tuesday, Oryana Natural Foods on E. 10th and Lake streets; Wednesday at NMC Main Campus (the museum building) and the BATA Transfer Station on Hall Street; Thursday at Munson Medical Center on 6th St. and Munson Community Health Center (the old osteopathic hospital) on Munson Avenue; and Friday at Mustard’s on the corner of State and Cass.

Slipping into Leland will get easier
By next spring, the Leland Township Marina will open with more than double the number of boat slips, a reconstructed parking area and a new marina services building, said Laney Henson, who is with Soil and Material Engineers. The Plymouth-based firm was recently awarded the task of geotechnical engineering for the project.
The picturesque town of Leland in Leelanau County is known for its historic Fishtown, which boasts little shops of smoked fish and cheeses, clothes boutiques, and art shops that are nestled alongside a boat dock. The township marina is immediately adjacent, but north of Fishtown.
“Those slips on the Carp River won’t be changed. And the slips are being designed in the existing harbor structure, so there are no changes in the breakwater walls, those are not moving. They had existing capacity within the existing structure,” Henson said.
The township now has 45 transient slips and one commercial slip—that number will increase to 105 with the expansion.
The $3.5 million construction project will start this fall and the new slips will open in spring of 2007.
Most of the funding comes from the Michigan Waterways Commission, which gets its revenue from Michigan watercraft registration fees and marine fuel taxes.
The Abonmarche Group of Benton Harbor is designing the project.

Aliens invading your lake?
A free workshop in June is being offered to show water lovers how to identify and control alien species that can wreak havoc in a lake or river.
Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council of Petoskey is offering Aquatic Invasive Species Patrol Trainings on June 21-22 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The hands-on workshop will focus on identifying purple loosestrife and Eurasian watermilfoil, with other aquatic invasive species to be discussed, including zebra mussels, round gobies, and rusty crayfish, said Ann Baughman, watershed protection director.
Then participants will learn different strategies to reduce and control the alien species.
The workshop is being held in two locations (you need attend only one); the June 21 workshop will take place on Crooked Lake north of Petoskey and the second at Thurston Park in Central Lake.
The workshop is free, however, registration is requested. For info or to register email jillk@watershedcouncil.org or call Ann Baughman at 231-347-1181, ext. 110 for details.

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