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 · Books · The Late, Great Kate
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The Late, Great Kate

Nancy Sundstrom - July 31st, 2003
Very few people in the literary world knew that an extraordinary sort of memoir had been in the works since 1983 about Katherine Hepburn by the fine biographer A. Scott Berg, the writer who had previously tackled Max Perkins, Samuel Goldwyn and Charles Lindbergh as subjects, and with resounding success.

There was good reason why the tome was being kept under wraps. Hepburn herself had stipulated that it could only be published after her death. Berg met the legendary actress and became a friend and confidante for the next 20 years, lovingly crafting this tale of their relationship. When she passed away this past June 29 at the age of 96, the manuscript was ready to go, which explains why it hit stores this past week, less than two from her passing.

“Kate Remembered“ is an account of quiet moments and intimate conversations shared by the writer and actress, and through them, there is very little that isn’t revealed to us about a woman who was notorious when it came to the issue of privacy. Berg states upfront that it’s not a critical study of her life and career, but his documentation of Hepburn in some of the more reflective moments of her last 20 years. In doing so, he wanted to share more than his remembrances, but instead, convey hers.

In this excerpt from the first chapter, “A Private Function,“ the author describes his first meeting with Hepburn, which happened when she was 75, and in the twilight years of her remarkable career:

I’ve never felt so intimidated ringing a doorbell.

Even though she and I had become friendly in the past few months over the telephone and I was standing at her front door in New York City at her invitation, I was genuinely nervous about our first meeting. And -I’ve never been especially starstruck.

But this was different. Katharine Hepburn was the first movie star I had ever noticed, and she had been my favorite ever since - the only actor whose plays and movies I attended just because she was in them...After a long pause, a short woman with black hair poked her cherubic face out of an adjacent door, the service entrance, and said, “Yes?“

I said I had a six o’clock appointment with Miss Hepburn...She said Miss Hepburn was expecting me...Before I had even entered the room, I heard the unmistakable voice from inside. “Did you use the bathroom?“

“I’m sorry?“ I said, now standing in the doorway and seeing Katharine Hepburn for the first time.

She sat to the right in a comfortable- looking chair, her feet in white athletic shoes propped up on a footrest. She appeared to be amazingly fit for a seventy-five- year- old then recovering from a serious car accident. She looked restored and relaxed, her skin tight against the legendary cheekbones, her eyes clear, a soothing pale blue, her hair a ruddy gray, all pulled off her face and pinned up into her trademark knot. She wore no make up and flashed a big movie-star grin, exuding charm and energy. She was wearing khaki pants, a white turtleneck under a blue chambray shirt, and she had a red sweater tied loosely around her neck. As I approached her, I tried to take in as much of the room as I could - the high ceiling, pictures on the walls, a fire blazing in the fireplace, nothing ostentatious except for huge bouquets of flowers everywhere.

“Did you use the bathroom?“ she asked again, before I had reached her.


“Well, don’t you think you should?“

“No, thank you. I don’t think that’s necessary.“

“Well, I think you should probably go back downstairs and use the bathroom first.“ I repeated that I didn’t think it was necessary but that I would do my best.

Two minutes later I returned; and as I reached the top of the stairs, she asked, “Did you use the bathroom?“

“Well, actually,“I said, “I did, thank you.“

“Good. You know my father was a urologist, and he said you should always go to the bathroom whenever you have to...and you see, you had to. So how do you do? I’m Katharine Hepburn.“

“Yes, I know you are.“ We shook hands, and from her chair she looked me up and down and smiled. “You’re tall.“ A little over six feet, I told her. “Tennis?“ No, I said, but I swim regularly and work out with weights at a gym. “Boah.“ A little boring, I concurred, adding that it was the most time- efficient form of exercise for me.

“Do you smoke?“ she asked.

I started to laugh - feeling as though I had walked into a production of The Importance of Being Earnest - and said, “No, Lady Bracknell, I -don’t.“ She laughed and said, “I used to. Gave it up. Disgusting habit. Well, I hope you drink.“

There are scores of those sorts of reminiscences in the book, all of which allow the reader rare glimpses into the multi-faceted Hepburn’s personality. As her friendship with Berg deepens over the years, she reveals more of herself to him, resulting in previously untold biographical details of her career and her famous love affairs with the likes of Spencer Tracy and Howard Hughes. The book isn’t a tell-all, by any means, but it does let you in on what happened at meeting with Michael Jackson and Warren Beatty, the deterioration of her physical and mental health in her final years, events surrounding some of her most memorable films, and much, much more.

Most touching of all, though, are the quietly effective passages of the friendship between Hepburn and Berg, and the story’s enormously moving finale lingers with the reader long after the book has been completed. As noted, Berg is as good a biographer as any currently on the scene, but he made a unique and wonderful choice in shaping this work as he did. All of the loves and life lessons held dear by someone who came to embody the independent spirit of the American woman are told here, and in a way that is so personal and intimate. Ultimately, it’s hard to imagine a more fitting tribute to Great Kate.

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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