We recently participated and observed the 19 days of testimony by property owners and several experts from around the US. This was billed by many as David vs. Goliath, since it pitted a newly formed organization of property owners and concerned citizens against the largest water bottler in the world.
The MCWC (Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation) was represented by Jim Olson of the law firm of Olson, Bzdok & Howard in Traverse City, a lawyer who we found out at the time of the trial is considered one of the most respected attorneys in the country in the environmental field. We feel very privileged and fortunate that he represented us. All of our experts were from Michigan while several of theirs came from other states. Our experts made us proud to be Michiganders.
The judge will give a ruling in the fall on whether he agrees with our side, which showed evidence that the streams, wetlands and local ecology near the pumping location have been diminished and are suffering damage. The lawsuit is historical and should be of utmost interest to every citizen of Michigan and elsewhere. It seeks to make sure that the rights of property owners and citizens everywhere are not subordinated to private exploits like Nestle that profit off the water appropriated at the expense of others. Log on to WWW.SAVEMIWATER.ORG if you want more information.
R.J. & Barb Doyle Honor
Taking it to the streets
As I ride my bicycle around Traverse City I wonder. I wonder why there are so many holes in the streets. I wonder if there is a plan to fix the holes and repave or only fix the streets downtown. Do the members of the city commission and the city staff care, or is the city just too poor to fix the streets?
I asked the staff about fixing the street where I live and was told that the city has no plan for infrastructure replacement. They told me that if I wanted my street repaved, take a petition around the neighborhood and that we could pay to have the street repaved.
It‘s not the paying part that I mind, it‘s the time and aggravation of trying to get the neighbors to sign a petition when they might mind paying to have the street repaved. I tried to do this once, for the gravel street next to my office, and even though we had more than 50% of the property owners signed up, the city still would not pave the street, because one single person did not want the extra tax burden. This was over 10 years ago and the street is still gravel. The bigger issue is not my street, but all of the holes around the city and the lack of any plan for the future replacement of the streets by the city.
Maybe the issue is bigger than the holes in the streets. Maybe the city commission and staff are so wrapped up in political issues like the big hole at Front and Park that they do not see the rest of the city. Why has the tavern on Front Street that had a fire several years ago been allowed to remain an eyesore? Why are all of the closed gasoline stations allowed to stand vacant and abandoned? How about the old Town House restaurant? That building and the gasoline station next to it should be required to be torn down.
Isn‘t it interesting that with the high demand for commercial property in this area that all of these properties have not been redeveloped. It makes me wonder, is the zoning so restrictive that it is not economically feasible to redevelop these sites? It seems like what is being said by the city is, we don‘t need no stinking drug store, we‘d rather have an abandoned gas station.
Michael Tarnow TC
It seems to me that you would want to be sure the facts and assertions you print are correct and contain little if any rubber, like rubber checks which bounce. In the recent article written by Kelly Thayer of the Michigan Land Use Institute (July 17), which you seem to have printed with great disregard for the facts or validity of the assertions contained therein, there is significant rubber. Here are some examples:
The bridge would start less than a half-mile south of the intersection of U. S. 31 and South Airport Rd.
Fact: The intersection of the proposed re-aligned Hartman Road with US. 31 is nearly a
mile south of the intersection of U. S. 31 and South Airport Rd. The bridge would be approximately a mile southeast of the intersection as the crow flies.
A four lane bridge would loom just 10 feet above the Boardman River. The rest of the valley would be filled to support the new road.
Fact: The proposal is for three bridges and numerous culverts, one bridge to cross the river, two bridges to cross sensitive wetlands and small streams.
Referring to public land acquisition along the river, “the State is paying for much of this
Fact: The Trust Fund Grant for land acquisition is a maximum of $500,000. The total acquisition cost is approximately $1,475,000. More than half of the funding for the acquisition will come from land owners and community business donations. Approximately $200,000 will come from Garfield Township.
The Hartman-Hammond/Three Mile Project would dump its traffic onto U.S. 31, practically at the entrance to Traverse City State Park.
Fact: The so called Smart Roads Proposal would also put all of the traffic on Three Mile Road intersecting at the same location with U.S. 31.
Trust Fund under Gov. Granholm is offering millions to support the park.
Fact: The Trust Fund approved the grant under the Engler administration watch and definitely it is not for millions.
I find it sad and somewhat disgusting that the Land Use Institute continues to use rubber facts to try and sell their point of view and that your paper so often assists them in their efforts by publishing their material without first determining the validity of their information, making sure it is correct. Have you thought about changing the name of the paper to Northern Enquirer?
Gerry Harsch TC
(We stand by Kelly Thayer‘s article and find your version of the facts in dispute. For starters, the proposed bridge will indeed be located a half-mile south of Airport Road on the Boardman River (as witnessed by hundreds of area residents who‘ve walked the trail along the river); the bridge will indeed be 10 feet off the river with surrounding wetlands filled (as illustrated in an artist‘s representation from the road commission in last week‘s Express); and the Smart Roads plan is an upgrade of Keystone/Beitner roads and goes nowhere near Three Mile Road.
We would agree, however, that the alternative plan is Not So Smart on one aspect, in that it would funnel traffic down Woodmere to already congested 8th Street. -- ed.)
Don‘t knock BATA
I attended a forum regarding BATA‘s millage. Joe DeKoning, BATA‘s executive director, was the winner, of every round. He had records and documentation to back up every statement he made.
Michael Estes and Gene Rundell had nothing but criticism to offer, and had absolutely no solutions to any problems as they saw them. They admitted they hadn‘t the faintest idea what to do about the problems.
Critics of BATA showed no regard for the working people, the elderly nor the handicapped.
Public transportation in every city has rush hours mornings and evenings, getting the working people to and from their jobs. It is most common to see their buses loaded at those hours. The afternoons in large cities as well in smaller towns are not as crowded, therefore its the perfect time for the elderly and the handicapped to go to the malls, the supermarket, the doctor and the dentist, or just out for lunch and to have their hair done.
Estes and Rundell seem to be unaware that BATA transports the very people who work every day who serve all of us every day; the waitress, the cashier, the stock boy. BATA transports the elderly and the handicapped. BATA employs drivers, dispatchers and mechanics to provide the service that the public needs and appreciates.
Public transportation is in. BATA will win. We are not in the dark ages.
I was shocked to learn that the critics of BATA are members of the Democratic party. That is a party for the working man, the blue collar worker. I have always thought of myself as a Democrat, but, if these men are what the Democratic party stands for today, I may have to vote Republican, and I really have enough problems, I don‘t need that.
So, thanks to Joe DeKoning, the mechanics, the drivers, the dispatchers, and the passengers. BATA will win.
Jean A. Wilson TC
Cherry Fest musings
In response to Mike Morey‘s take on the very dark side of the Cherry Festival (Letters 7/17), it‘s true it does very little for local merchants and the city economy. As a “victim“ of it, we have choices!
Keep your sense of humor and jump in with the mob -- or choose from miles of beautiful beaches and lakes surrounding us and flee. I live in the middle of town; I can leave for Leelanau County, watch a parade (out of four), or go kayaking in serene Boardman Lake about two blocks away from my home.
Mike‘s rant was instigated by having his bike stolen. He needed it and can‘t replace it and that‘s sad.
My loss, along with a few hundred others, was not participating in the Williams brothers parade mischief. I am proud of my years of devotion to those brilliant, amazing and very handsome brothers. John and David, we are nothing without you!
Chris Morey TC
Yes to BATA
There are currently six billion people that live on the planet Earth. Eleven billion is the projected number in approximately 10 years (National Geographic). A nice size segment of those people are coming here to reside. Road rage is becoming prevalent in Traverse City.
Too many people, including myself, do not belong on the roads at certain times. Cars die, you may have incurred a DUI, and possibly you have not enough MONEY to own a vehicle. So your only alternative is BATA!
The ignorant, political and self-serving attitudes are not enhancing Traverse City. “People“ make the area/world way too complicated. The Traverse City area needs a form of public transportation. Presently that is BATA!
Don‘t shoot something down just because YOU don‘t use it, and especially if your little mind didn‘t come up with an alternative. Be caring and have a conscience and vote to continue BATA.
Lynn W. Frank Cedar