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 6/14/07
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Letters 6/14/07

- June 14th, 2007
Cops against prohibition
As a retired police detective from Bath Township, Michigan (near Lansing), I read with interest your idea to increase tourist dollars by legalizing/regulating and taxing marijuana (a la Amsterdam-type coffeehaus). Thank you for your courage to propose such a sensible step. May I add another, perhaps more important aspect of ending marijuana prohibition?
During my 18 years of police service I was dispatched to zero calls generated by the USE of marijuana. Its use is NOT a societal problem. I have always urged my fellow citizens to not use any mind-altering, intoxicating and addictive drug, which includes marijuana. However, having my profession still chasing the Willie Nelsons of Michigan does REDUCE public safety.

Offr. Howard J. Wooldridge (ret.)
education specialist,
Law Enforcement Against
Prohibition • Washington, DC

Present the other side
Re: Recent articles in Northern Express: “Are Our Kids Being Overdosed?” and “Is Our Pill-popping Society Losing Its Mind?”
I was taken aback by the one-sided perspectives in these recent articles, which imply that there is a concrete line between neurological “diseases” and mental health “disorders.”
The idea that I object to most significantly is that there is “no such thing as a chemical imbalance in the brain.”
The brain is a physical organ of the body, just as is the pancreas, the liver, the heart, etc. Why would someone believe that the brain is not vulnerable to physical anomalies, when we easily understand physical problems in other organs? The brain is indeed vulnerable to disorders and diseases, as well as to individual differences.
Serotonin, Dopamine, and Norepinephrine are some of the chemicals that affect the brain directly. Hormones also affect the brain in many ways.
The brain is a complicated organ, to be sure, so the research involving that organ is often more controversial than research regarding some of the other organs. But research involving the other organs is not without controversy, nor are the medications for diseases of those organs without side-effects. Psychotropic medications are not the only medications that have side-effects.
The side-effect issue is difficult and often not easily solved. The problematic symptoms must be balanced against the side-effects. One person’s tolerance for either the mental health symptom or the side-effect of the medication will vary from another person’s tolerance of the same symptom or side effect.
There is no magic pill, and patients are often encouraged to work first in therapy (my specialty), rather than relying on medications. However, there are some mental illnesses that create such difficulties for the afflicted person, that medication is life-saving and sometimes relationship-saving (either temporarily or on a longer-term basis).
It is true that some depression is triggered by the grief and loss that happen in everyone’s life. Each person must make the choice about whether (and when) he or she will seek therapy or counseling and /or consult with a physician or psychiatrist about the possibility of medical treatment (medication). These are valid choices and should be done with the understanding that there could be side-effects to the medication.
The neurological side of mental health problems is vastly complicated, just as is the environmental side of these problems. Large libraries are filled with books on both subjects. Both are valid and intertwined.

Marilyn Madison, MSW, LMSW
clinical therapist

Death with compassion
Dr. Jack Kevorkian, who claims to have helped at least 130 terminally or chronically ill people die, was paroled this month. Kevorkian has served more than eight years of a 10- to 25-year sentence for second-degree murder in the 1998 death of Michigan resident Thomas Youk, who had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Covert, clandestine aid in dying occurs every day in the U.S. It is a symptom of a national health care crisis—the unbearable suffering and violent options that many dying patients face at the end of life. Dr. Kevorkian’s notorious actions demonstrate the desperation patients feel, and the need for rational public policy on end-of-life choices. Only Oregon currently has rational policy.
Instead of being forced into considering options like Dr. Kevorkian, guns and other violent methods, patients should be able to talk with their physicians about a range of legal, safe, peaceful options for easing a painful dying process. Covert practice of aid in dying is inherently dangerous and irresponsible. The only way to protect patients, families and doctors and enforce safeguards is through laws such as Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act.
Compassion & Choices advocates that all mentally competent, terminally ill patients should have a full range of end-of-life choices, including aggressive pain and symptom management, palliative sedation, voluntarily stopping eating and drinking, forgoing life-extending interventions and aid in dying. This is the only way we can prevent future Kevorkians from preying on the desperation of those experiencing the fear, anguish and unremitting pain of prolonged terminal illness.
Seventy-eight-year-old Dr. Kevorkian suffers from diabetes and active hepatitis C. He deserves the same chance for a peaceful, dignified death that is the right of all people. Kevorkian drew the national and international spotlight to the desperation of patients whose legal choices are inadequate. But in the end Dr. Kevorkian told the Michigan Parole Board that he should have advocated for aid in dying through legal channels.
As media coverage of spectacular cases like Kevorkian and Terri Schiavo peaks and subsides, let us not forget the many Americans who each day suffer needlessly prolonged illness due to the lack of a rational policy on end of life care.

Robynn James, CFRE • assistant VP for development • Compassion & Choices • Denver, CO (Williamsburg resident)
Violence & mental illness
For the great majority of people afflicted with mental disorders, an act of violence is no more a consequence of mental disorder than is true of the general population.
This fact, despite the tragedy at Virginia Tech, points to the need for a rational understanding that people with a mental disorder are morally, spiritually, intellectually and functionally intact in some aspects of their lives, while still engaged in a constant struggle for social integration and participation.
Anti-stigma and recovery efforts are significant operations of the Northern Lakes Community Mental Health Authority.
It is incumbent on society to understand that the needs of people with a mental disorder must be met with programs of support, inclusion, prevention and early intervention, with voices raised to dispel myths and preconceptions about the nature and course of lives encumbered by antagonisms, rejection and, sometimes, neglect.
No conglomeration of agencies which serve people in need of treatment can bring better lives for mentally disordered clients without the understanding and compassion of a society which can share in bringing hope to all of its members, whatever the state of their problems in living.

Frank Tosiello, Ed.D. • TC

Prevent future Katrinas
Rebuilding New Orleans and helping the people get back on their feet is crucial, but it must not be done in a way that exposes the residents to continued danger. The levees must be rebuilt stronger and the wetlands restored, but America must also take effective action to curb our fossil fuel use and carbon dioxide emissions that are melting the polar ice and raising global sea levels. If we don’t act to stop global warming, Katrina may prove to be the beginning of a very ugly period in human history.
Hurricane Katrina did not cause the New Orleans catastrophe as much as human arrogance and ignorance did. From the channelization of the Mississippi to the destruction of barrier islands and hundreds of square miles of wetlands, to the uncontrolled burning of fossil fuels that caused the sea to rise a foot in the last century, unwise human actions set the stage for horrendous damage and loss of life blamed on Katrina. If we don’t come to understand this, we won’t have a clue what to do about it.
We need to acknowledge human responsibility and take action: stop building in lowlands and in flood plains, stop the channelization of waterways at public expense for private benefit, reverse the destruction of wetlands, and do everything in our power both as individuals and as a country, to cut back on fossil fuel use
Members of Congress should co-sponsor Rep. Waxman’s Safe Climate Act and Sen. Jeffords’ Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act. These bills are our best shots of saving ourselves from the disastrous effects of global warming - and would help prevent future “Katrinas.”
These are exactly the bold, science-based solutions we need.

Cheryl Zarn • Manistee

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