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 · Features · Urban Kayaking
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Urban Kayaking

Mike Morey - September 20th, 2007
I was dragging my kayak across the parking lot between the fish weir and InsideOut Gallery in Traverse City one day, when a friend yelled out, “Yo, Morey – urban kayaking!” I laughed and then thought, yeah it is. Urban kayaking Northern Michigan style.
Somebody had told me that I needed bigger arms, and I figured kayaking would be a fun and easy way to get them. I don’t know what I needed bigger arms for, but I’m always up for physical/psychological/spiritual improvement so I didn’t question it. Also, I’d think that the action-figure version of me would probably have big arms. So with that prodding I went shopping for a kayak that fit my style. I consider style a key element when making purchases and usually rate it higher than function.
The kayak I ended up with has a removable pod, a built-in seat and a long low pointed bow. It’s orange and red, a color scheme I’m not thrilled about, but the other option was chartreuse and turquoise. When you sit in it you aren’t plugged into a hole looking like a doofus. It’s casual, and also a lot of fun when the water’s rough. It’s built for the ocean, the surf.

I live in town, in between water, so kayaking is ideal for what I had in mind, which was a daily routine. I decided I’d travel the Boardman River in between Boardman Lake and the bay, easy and convenient. You get to enjoy what I like to call the... well, other end of Traverse City, the watery passage that leads from the sewage plant out into the bay.
I start out at the Hull Park boat ramp on Boardman Lake. I hang a right and paddle past the sewage treatment facility. The sewage plant used to stink badly, but doesn’t seem to anymore - maybe because they put lids on the tanks.
This stretch is sometimes difficult depending on wind strength and direction. I like it when the wind’s blasting from the south; the short ride is rough, but then you surf the waves easily into the river mouth and under the train trestle. I like the trestle, as well; it’s old and surrounded by rotted pilings. The surrounding area is mostly a brush-covered steep embankment. It’s a timeless place within the city; no buildings or cars are visible. On the shore underneath the tracks there’s always a little residual trash from nocturnal goings-on. Moldy blankets, empty bottles and discarded clothing.
The next structure you pass under is the Eighth Street Bridge. It’s quiet and pretty clean, although occasionally you’ll see a bedroll signifying that someone lives there. Someone has painted “Disappear Here” on the East wall - otherwise it’s clean of graffiti. The Government Center and the jail come up on the right bank while the condos of the Midtown project populate the left. I’d find it disagreeable to live in one of those, as they resemble double-wide trailers stacked one on top of the other. The north side also has condos but the bank is left pretty much natural. I’ve never seen much in the way of wildlife along this stretch, just the occasional pack of mallards. No fish at all, although that changes on the other side of the dam.

The portage over the dam above Union Street is an awkward venture and the options are limited.
I go ashore on the other side of the pond, where there’s a partially submerged concrete walkway with an ancient iron railing. To get down to the semi-submerged walkway you have to drag or carry the kayak across the dam and down the grassy knoll to the edge of the pond where the water re-enters the river. As long as there are no fishermen to get past, this is pretty easy.
It’s a nice stretch of river past Union Street. It’s pretty, and the water moves along nicely. This is where you see the occasional fish, although I generally figure them to be either carp or suckers.
The old library and surrounding park pass by on the left. The trees hanging over the water are strung with fishing line. Chances are you’ll pass a picnic table full of drinkers who may or may not yell something at you. I always assume that they’ve said something friendly and wave back. Coming up on the right is another high-rise; no one’s ever around.
Under the Front Street Bridge you experience some mini-rapids as the water gets shallow and the bottom rocky. The excitement is short-lived as the river widens, and you focus on the passage through the fish weir up ahead. This is a metal walkway with poles going down into the water at about four-foot intervals. The water is still swift here so you’re going to want to line up between the poles where the going is easiest and chances of jamming up are slim. Regardless of my tack, I always scrape the sides a bit.

After the fish weir you enter the truly urban part of the trip and, oddly enough, this is where you may spot the most critters. Mostly ducks and gulls, but I did witness a loon twice; I assumed it was the same one both times.
I like the stretch between Union and Park. You have the parking lot on one side and an old cement wall on the other. Once again, there’s evidence of people living under the bridges; bedding, stray garments, bottles, even food. I came across a bum one day curled up on a slab of cement. I floated over and poked him with my paddle just to make sure he wasn’t dead. There was a half-empty fifth near his hand.
After the Park Street Bridge the wall is no longer there and the river widens. A pond forms just on the other side of the Belstone Gallery on East Front Street. Soon the river is lined on each side by rusted steel breakwalls as it turns to the north, passes under the Parkway Bridge and empties into the bay. The choice at this point is either to turn back, return upstream, or to continue out into the bay. Depends on the wave action really, and how soggy you’re willing to get. I usually head across the bay regardless; I find it either relaxing if calm, or great exercise if it’s rough.
I learn about myself traveling across the bay. I’m no longer as perturbed by the jet ski noise and the beerheads lolling about on their waterborne SUVs. I just smile and wave. And I’m friendlier due to kayaking through town. I don’t know if my arms are any bigger though - I should’ve measured them when I started.

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