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 · Random Thoughts · Show some gumption,...
. . . .

Show some gumption, Governors

Robert Downes - July 19th, 2007
Show Some Gumption, Governors
Maybe it‘s the nature of the beast, but it sure seems like the National Governors Association (NGA) comes up with some snoozy topics for their annual meetings.
With the war in Iraq consuming our nation‘s resources, New Orleans still a wreck, and the breakdown in the rule of law in the White House and U.S. Justice Department, you‘d think that there would be a historic meeting in Traverse City this week when the NGA comes to town. You‘d think our nation‘s governors would be spreading some hellfire and brimstone.
After all, Michigan is in the fight of its life with a deficit of $800 million, and last week, Pennsylvania‘s financial woes required the shutdown of much of the state‘s government. There are crying domestic issues in America that demand action from our nation‘s governors.
Instead, roughly 35 governors will make their way to the Grand Traverse Resort to focus on “the importance of providing a quality math and science education, helping colleges and universities better prepare the workers of tomorrow and promoting investment in businesses and technologies of the future.“
Ho-hum. Now, science education and helping kids do better at math is a worthy topic, but is this the time and place for it?
Show some gumption, governors. This week you‘ll be showered with samples of our cherry pie and local wines, you‘ll hear endless tales of what a fine vacation paradise we have here in Northern Michigan -- and then you‘ll go home, ejecting all of that booster talk from your heads like the explosive bolts on the space shuttle‘s escape module. Boom!
And the gravest problems of our time will still remain, even though the mission of the NGA is supposed to be to, “identify priority issues and deal collectively with issues of public policy and governance at both the national and state level.“
So do it.
Do our governors really want to improve science and math education for our kids? Well, how about diverting the flood of cash going to the war, for starters?
Our nation has spent nearly $450 billion on a war which has now lasted longer than America‘s involvement in World War II. Soon, the five-year war in Iraq will have eclipsed even the Civil War in duration.
According to the National Priorities Project, which runs a “cost of war“ counter at www.costofwar.com, that $450 billion could have provided more than 21 million Americans with four-year scholarships to public universities. How‘s that for improving science and math in America?
The money blown on Iraq could have paid for more than 58 million kids to attend a year of Head Start programs.
Money sent to Iraq could have employed 7,659,291 additional public school teachers per year in our nation‘s schools.
It could have provided health insurance to the equivalent of 265,000,000 kids.
But suppose we wanted to spend the money in other ways? Michigan‘s share of the loot spent on Iraq would come to more than $11 billion; Pennsylvania‘s share would be nearly $17 billion; and Lousiana would have more than $3 billion to help rebuild New Orleans.
No more potholes, no worries about underfunded schools, or a lack of cops on our streets, if that money came home where it belongs.
So, yes, it would be a fine thing for the governors to talk about science and math education this week. And enjoy our cherries, wines and scenery. But don‘t ignore that long dark shadow falling over your shoulder, guv, because we need you now. America needs you.

Bill Bustance‘s Surprise Visitor
Boxing trainer Bill Bustance got the surprise of a lifetime last week when three guys riding Harley-Davidsons stopped by his Trigger Gym in Traverse City to do a little sparring.
Bill maintains a salon just off his gym, and he finished up some haircuts while his guests threw some punches around. Then, although it was closing time, he stepped in to offer some professional training advice.
One guy, a scrawny older gentleman in full boxing head gear, seemed to need a little extra attention. So Bill, who stands about 6‘ 4“ and has a Marine drill sergeant style of training, gave him the works.
“Look me in the eyes and throw a jab -- hit me! Come on, hit me!“ Bill urged, holding up his pads. The rookie got the same rough encouragement and straight talk that Bill is famous for.
Of course, the guest turned out to be Bob Dylan, who happens to be a big boxing fan.
Did Bill know? “Hell no! I thought he was just some old guy.“
But they had a nice chat and Dylan got a cool Trigger Gym t-shirt for stopping in, giving Bill and his wife Robyn free seats to his Interlochen concert, right up front...

Cherry Festival High-Five
Hats off to the National Cherry Festival, which had the best lineup of concerts ever this year. I heard many comments that the festival staff did a great job with the new layout of the Bayside Stage and food court. And the new beverage tent setup next to the concert stage made for the best jam-packed party ever.
With that said, it also felt like some of the old community spirit has gone out of the balloon, due to the cancellation of some of the “hands on“ stuff of the past.
Remember when the Captain from KHQ used to emcee the “Milk Carton Regatta“? I recall that wacky boat race of locals being one of the best things about the festival in years gone by. And what happened to the tug-of-war?
It was a mistake to get rid of the Heritage Parade, because all of those old farmers on their jaunty old tractors produced a warm, fuzzy feeling. That was the heartwarming spirit of the Cherry Festival on parade -- a good thing in a small town farm festival.
What‘s the secret of the best festivals on earth, like Rio‘s Carnival or Mardi Gras? They get thousands of people involved in wacky, corny, fun things -- things we‘re missing now, like the old Milk Carton Regatta.
So again, an A-plus grade to the Cherry Festival for the great new layout and spectacular concerts, but also a plea to bring back some of the warm-fuzzy stuff... and a place to wash your hands at the food court, please.
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5