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 · Letters · Letters 5/20/04
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Letters 5/20/04

Various - May 20th, 2004
No morality in war

I’m a Vietnam infantry veteran and I find it almost amazing that there is this big “scandal” about our military beating, raping, killing prisoners.
When you say its okay to kill and wave the flag and cheer - then its okay to kill. The other stuff just goes along with it.
There is no morality in war. No matter how much paint (be it “patriotic” or “religious” or “Just War Theory”) you apply, the blood comes through.

Arnold Stieber • Grass Lake

Bad for business

My wife and I are the owners of the Harbour View Centre project, which lies adjacent to the Hall Street property on both the north and west sides. The purpose of this letter is to express our opposition to the granting of the Special Land Use permit (SLUP) that is required for BATA to occupy the Hall street property.
In 1997 we approached the city planning director about the concept of placing a five story building on our property. We were told that it was the intention of the city through the master plan to create in this area a village like atmosphere of residences and ancillary commercial businesses. Adhering to this concept and with substantial direction and input from the city planner, we designed and built a first class mixed use building. We had to include residential units to fit within the zoning requirements. In fact the Master Plan was quite clear when it spelled out that “Along Hall Street, residential units with ancillary commercial businesses are planned” and “Mixed use developments typically include residential units, offices and small scale commercial uses.”
We have a substantial investment in this project and we feel that it will be seriously jeopardized by placing next to it a bus transfer station that will emit noxious diesel fumes and noise from the anticipated 168 buses per day. In fact we have several open air terraces that directly front on the proposed area and will no doubt be subject to these fumes and noise. This definitely does not meet the standard of subsection (f) of Specific Standards for SLUP’s which states “Noise, lights, glare and odor will not unreasonably disturb the surrounding land uses or members of the public.”
The uses specifically prohibited in this D3 Redevelopment area include every type of business that has a drive through. It being the intention of the city to exclude these businesses, I ask you how the bus station, which is in fact a large drive-through business delivering people instead of goods, could possibly fit into what is to be a residential area?
By granting this SLUP you would be effectively sabotaging the intent of the Master Plan and writing off this neighborhood and its future as a residential/commercial focal point of Traverse City. It would send a very clear signal to other land owners and developers to be very wary of investing money in downtown Traverse City when the city government cannot be trusted to adhere to its own guidelines.
Can you remove from the tax rolls yet another valuable piece of property while the city is running an annual $900,000 deficit and over 46% of the city land is off the tax rolls? People are justifiably scornful of the high taxes in this city and this would only make it worse. The city would be foregoing a ten year property tax payment somewhere in the neighborhood of $2,500,000 that could be garnered from development of this parcel other than as a bus station.
Also, at this point I would say it is highly unlikely that my wife and I would build our intended second building if the bus station was allowed and that would account for another $1,500,000 in lost tax revenue. All of this doesn’t even account for the damage that will be done to the values of surrounding properties.
The concerned citizens of the Hall St./ Garland area have already collected the signatures of over 800 individuals and 125 businesses that are opposed to this BATA location. That in turn has led the Downtown Development Authority to also oppose this location. I would ask that you seriously weigh the opinions of many people in making your decision on this matter.

Bernard Stover • TC

(The above was excerpted from a letter to the city commission. --ed.)

The real BATA issue

It has been quite amusing reading the output of the opponents of the downtown bus terminal, the latest being Howard Schelde’s note to the May 13th Express.
How gracefully they dance around their real gripe! How carefully they avoid mentioning the unmentionable! How creatively they launch empty and vague criticisms of the terminal when what they really object to is the people on the busses.
Since the folks in the Hall Street area are too shy, let me state the real case for them: People who ride public transit are poor. They are shiftless. They are liable to be our customers. And they stink.
Schelde is right about one thing: small business is what makes Michigan’s economy work. But that doesn’t mean small business owners are the only people who get a say. And it doesn’t mean that small business owners are the only constituency that gets served by our tax dollars.
But the prejudice against public transport and those who ride it is small-minded and short-sighted. A viable public transport system is an important part of a viable downtown district.
Of course, changing BATA’s image and making it a truly viable transport option has to be a big part of what happens now. There’s much that needs to be done, but Schelde’s nay-saying is just NIMBY, plain and simple, and reflects very little of the vision and courage he showed in building North Peak.

Oran Kelley • TC

Be sure to vote

My good friend and fellow colleague lost his son in the tragedy of 9/11. He was 26 years old, newlywed, a recent graduate of Amherst College, and from what I understand from his father and many others, one hell of a pitcher.
The pain of that day was compounded with myself and my family by such close association with one that had perished. Ironicly, my daughter‘s college friend from Michigan State, who had stayed with us for a ski weekend, lost her father on that day. What are the odds, being from a small community in Northwest Michigan?
I now have a friend and co-worker who has a son stationed on the Syrian border of Iraq.
I find myself talking with God more than I used to.
All of those that read this, make sure that you get out and vote this November.

Ray Bollman • TC
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