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..

Home · Articles · News · Region Watch · Gov. Grandholm & Ford
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Gov. Grandholm & Ford

Anne Stanton - August 17th, 2006
Governor Jennifer Granholm has offered Ford Motor Company a tax break of $151 million if it agrees to invest $1 billion in Michigan facilities.
If the company agrees, the investment will mean keeping about 56,200 jobs in Michigan, including up to 13,740 jobs directly by Ford, Granholm’s press release said.
The investment would allow Ford to more quickly retool its manufacturing line to produce new car models and to do more research and development.
The release comes at a time when Republican legislators, who hold the majority in both the house and senate, have blamed Granholm for the state’s high unemployment rate, largely due to auto lay-offs and, of course, the domino effect on businesses that depend on the Big Three.
Both Granholm and Mark Fields, Ford Motor executive vice president, were at the Grand Traverse Resort in Acme last week speaking to the Center for Automotive Research Management Briefing Seminar.
Fields said that Ford was considering the deal, but hadn’t made a decision. He said to expect an announcement in September when Ford details how it will restructure by cutting costs and introducing new models.
Granholm is going all out to make the state more amenable to the auto industry. On the governor’s website, she outlines ways to keep Michigan the “epicenter of the automotive industry.”
Her strategy: making air quality permits easier and quicker to get (for all businesses), offering engineering and technology students zero percent student loans, beefing up the state’s international presence by setting up overseas offices, and connecting the
intellectual property of universities to the auto industry. Whether that’s enough to keep automotive jobs in the state is anyone’s guess.
As the election heats up, there’s likely going to be a lot more political largesse shown to the state’s businesses in the form of tax abatements, but the Mackinac Center for Public Policy urges caution. For nine years, the Center has studied whether jobs created by these tax breaks really stick, said Mike LaFaive, the Mackinac Center’s director of fiscal policy.
The answer: “Only a little more than one-third of the companies actually produced the number of jobs that were expected, and most of them produced them late, and some eliminated the jobs after the fact,” LaFaive said.
The tax credits are called MEGA grants (Michigan Economic Growth Authority) and typically give a business a reprieve on the single business tax. The Mackinac Center recommends that rather than giving a tax credit to a specific company, give a uniform tax cut for all businesses.
“We say MEGA for all. We want all businesses to enjoy tax breaks. Right now a small group of Lansing political appointees meet and decide each month which applicants are worthy and which are not.”

Made in Michigan, I mean China, I mean...

In a recent press release, Senator Jason Allen said he was pleased that the governor’s plan to offer low-cost computers to the state’s poor and unemployed was deep-sixed in early August.
In a press release titled, “Made in China, Not Michigan,” Allen said the MiPC program—pronounced My PC—had too many problems.
The thinking behind the program was that selected computer vendors would offer computers on a massive scale at a bargain price, and that the state would promote their availability, said Teri Takai, director of the state Department of Information Technology that designed the program.
The program was prompted by a survey showing that 85 percent of all new jobs require computer skills, yet 28 percent or more than 1 million families in the state either don’t own a computer or aren’t on the Internet.
The program quietly died because computer manufacturers were unwilling to sell to residents for any less than they would through other venues, according to a Mitechnews.com article.
Allen’s press release said he had several concerns, such as the program might upset the free market. He also questioned whether it was even legal for the state to run this type of program, and that pricing wasn’t even raised in the 87-page request for bids.
“It’s positive to enter the discussion to get more computers into homes, that’s a great goal,” said Joe Agostinelli, Allen’s point man on this issue. “Unfortunately, this program didn’t come anywhere near accomplishing that goal.”
Allen’s major concern, though, was that the bid was designed so that Michigan computer vendors were unable to participate. Bids came from such national players as Dell, Lenovo (formerly IBM) and Comp USA. Both Lenovo and Dell manufacture computers overseas, while Comp USA is owned by a Mexican holding company.
“Shouldn’t we be buying computers made in Michigan? What kind of a signal are we sending when we endorse a company that not only isn’t located in Michigan, but has its product manufactured outside of the United States?” Allen asked.
Takai said the bid process wasn’t meant to exclude Michigan computer manufacturers.“But it was written that vendors had to be large enough to handle the volume. We didn’t have a response from any Michigan vendor.”
But wait a minute. Is there even a Michigan company that makes personal computers, at least of any significance?
“That was kind of a bit of our question,” Takai said. “But Senator Allen made a reference that he knew of one.”
Agostinelli said he meant computer stores across the state like TC Computer Sales, a retailer that custom-builds computers and might have four or five standard models on hand. One of its main parts suppliers is Ingram Micro, which gets its parts from... China.

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