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 · The vice tightens
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The vice tightens

Anne Stanton - September 21st, 2006
Record-Eagle detractor Ross Childs has succeeded in putting pressure on Record-Eagle editor Bill Thomas—but Thomas said his staff hasn’t backed off a whit from doing its job and he’s not intimidated.
And thanks to a counter–effort to applaud the Record-Eagle’s investigative journalism, the newspaper’s corporate office “has just been flooded with letters of support,” said Publisher Ann Reed. “I want to thank people for caring about our newspaper.”
In late August, the newspaper’s parent company announced that it was putting the Record-Eagle up for sale, along with five other papers. Dow Jones & Co. owns Ottaway newspapers, which owns the Record-Eagle along with 51 other newspapers and publications.
All involved say the sale of the profitable paper—for years, nicknamed the chain’s “cash cow”—has nothing to do with the recent controversy. Whatever the reason, new ownership sometimes means a bunch of people get fired.
Even beyond the prospect of a new owner, the heat is definitely on. The top brass at Ottaway asked Thomas and news editor Mike Tyree to submit a response to Childs’ critique. Childs submitted a package in early July to the Dow board chairman that included petitions with 875 signatures, 30 letters, and an analysis of eight articles, which he said proves his charge of mean-spiritedness and bias.
“Ross did send the information to corporate, and some of the letters were fairly accusatory,” said publisher Ann Reed. “Corporate wanted a better understanding of why we made the decisions we did, and why we covered what we did. They want to take an objective look of what action, if any, needs to be taken next. I really don’t know what that might be at this point.”
Reed said it took two or three weeks for Tyree and Thomas to compile the response, which was turned in last week.
Thomas said the staff is aware of the paper’s uncertain future, but has not changed its approach. Just last week, for example, the Record-Eagle ran a hard-hitting editorial about an incestuous consultant hire at Northwestern Michigan College.
“We’re still covering our stories, it’s still the same newspaper. As for the petition drive, we are not intimidated by any of it. That’s just nonsense,” Thomas said.
Reed said the sale has more to do with a pending $155 million tax credit than the controversy ignited by Ross Childs, an NMC board trustee and former Grand Traverse County administrator.
The announcement of the sale came in the midst of a petition drive supporting the award-winning newspaper. It was spearheaded by the Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council, grateful for the paper’s revelatory stories of politics trumping the environment. Ken Smith, president of NMEAC, said it’s more than that –the paper has sparked a healthy debate in the town and has held public officials accountable for their actions and words.
On September 5, NMEAC submitted 1,320 signatures and 50 letters of support (including 18 written to the R-E and Northern Express) to the newspaper’s parent company, Dow Jones & Co.
Supporters said Childs’ tactic of going to the top amounted to trying to bully the paper into submission—a not-so-subtle form of censorship. Childs said he did so because he felt frustrated with the paper’s lack of response to his and others’ complaints.
Childs said it was not his intention to get anyone fired. “You have to read the original letter and the original language. Nowhere in that document was there any reference to (editor) Bill Thomas. The language was very, very carefully drawn. We wanted to bring the paper back to respectability and that’s where we’ve always been.”
Childs said he was surprised when the Record-Eagle went up for sale, although he and others have explored options to offer an alternative local news source. But he said that Dow’s timeline of 15 days to submit complex bid requirements for purchase was too tight for himself and interested investors to put together.

A new restaurant along with residential and office condos are in store for a landmark building in downtown Traverse City.
Dan Marsh has purchased the former Smith/Kurtz Music store next to the State Theatre on Front Street from Rotary Charities with plans to renovate the over 100-year-old three-story building.
Marsh brings top credentials as a restaurateur. he gained his first restaurant experience working at Bowers Harbor Inn as a teenager and went on to graduate from the Culinary Institute of America with high honors in 1995. He has worked at the famed Rainbow Room atop Rockefeller Center in New York as well as Manhattan‘s Union Square Cafe and the Soho restaurant Zoe. He also cheffed at Hawthorne Lane in San Francisco‘s South of Market District.
Marsh plans to retain the building‘s historical charm, ceiling designs and brick walls, noting that there are great views of the bay from all three floors.

Convicts laboring in federal prisons will have to compete with the private sector for government contracts under legislation passed by the U.S. House. The bill, sponsored by U.S. Rep. Dave Camp (R-Midland), eliminates a Depression-era initiative that gave the Federal Prison Industries (FPI) exclusive access to some federal jobs.
Under current law, all federal agencies must purchase products offered by the FPI, which has 106 factories representing seven industries such as clothing, elctrionics, office furniture and services such as data entry. In 2005, federal prison workers generated $765 million in sales.
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