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 · Other Opinions · The gas crunch, Rep. D....
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The gas crunch, Rep. D. Camp, Rep/ B. Stupek

Sen. C. Levin - May 19th, 2008
The Gas Crunch
Elected officials offer their views on $4-per-gallon dilemma

The following views are drawn from a mix of essays and press releases from our elected representatives:

Congress needs
to take action

Rep. Dave Camp, R-Midland

In the last two weeks Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has had us voting on World Glaucoma Day, recognizing 2008 as the International Year of the Reef, and putting the House on record as supporting a National Watermelon Month. Now, we didn’t actually create a National Watermelon Month; we just said there should be one.
There is serious work to do, but it is not being done by this Congress. No wonder Americans are frustrated with Congress. So am I.
Of course, when she was in the minority, Pelosi promised big things...she promised a plan to immediately lower gas prices. Well, that plan has remained a secret these past 16 months and gas prices have shot up $1.20 since she and the Democrats took over Congress. That’s right...the nationwide price for gas has gone up $1.20 since January 1, 2007. Call it the Pelosi Premium.
We need to eliminate the Pelosi Premium, which has added an extra $25 every time you fill up your car. A decade ago, I began pushing alternative energy in the auto industry because transportation makes up 75 percent of our oil consumption. We are now just beginning to see the impact of alternative fuel and hybrid vehicles. But that is only part of the solution.
I believe there are a number of fairly simple, straightforward approaches we can take, if we had the political courage to do so, to lower gas prices in America.
1. Use domestic oil before buying oil from the Middle East.
We have 50 years worth of energy in Alaska and the deep waters of the Outer Continental Shelf. We can tap these in environmentally friendly ways and we should do it today!
2. Increase the number of refineries in the United States.
In 1981, 324 refineries were operating in the United States. In 2005, that number stands at 148 – less than half! Unless we increase domestic production, prices will not drop. And we can do that by cutting the red tape, streamlining the permitting process and utilizing federal property – like old military bases – to build new facilities.
3. Get the Alma Energy Park up and running.
The oil wells in Alma at the old Total refinery can help stabilize prices right here in the region. Experts suggest that by using new technology that blasts CO2 into the old wells (sort of like shaking up a pop bottle) we could get as much as half the oil that is still down there.
4. Continue to promote alternative fuels, vehicles, and infrastructure.
Ethanol is a bridge to the future, but it is not the sole solution. I have authored a new law that provides consumers with a tax credit for the purchase of a new hybrid, lean burn diesel, or other clean fuel car or truck. My plan also provides incentives for gasoline retailers who convert their traditional fuel pumps and tanks to those using clean fuels.
If we can get some of this done, we will start to change the direction we are heading in.

Stop filling Strategic
Petroleum Reserve

Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Menominee

The U.S. House of Representatives has voted on to suspend filling the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) through the end of the year if the price of crude oil remains above $75 a barrel. The action would inject an additional 70,000 barrels of oil per day into the U.S. market to help stabilize the U.S. oil supply and provide some relief at the pump for consumers.
Oil economists estimate suspending the flow of oil into the SPR could lower gas prices by 5 to 24 cents per gallon.
I have long advocated for this action and am a cosponsor of H.R. 6022, which passed the House by a veto-proof majority of 385-25.
Filling the Strategic Petroleum Reserve didn’t make sense when gas prices were approaching $2 a gallon in 2005 and it certainly doesn’t make sense today with prices hovering around $4.
The president has the authority to suspend SPR deliveries without congressional action but – despite repeated bipartisan calls to do so – has refused to take action to address the current energy crisis.
Bush has threatened to veto the House bill if it reaches his desk and the White House has stated that the administration plans to expand the size of the SPR.
With the reserve 97 percent full and oil at an all-time high, now is not the time to continue filling the SPR.
At current prices, the Department of Energy spends more than $8.5 million a day to stockpile oil which, in turn, drives up demand. It’s the families in Northern Michigan and across the country struggling to fill their gas tanks who ultimately pay the price for these policies.
The SPR is an emergency stockpile of petroleum maintained by the U.S. Department of Energy. Congress created the SPR in 1975 in order to protect from future supply disruptions after oil supplies were cut off during the 1973-74 oil embargo. The SPR is the largest emergency stockpile of oil in the world, with the capacity to hold up to 727 million barrels of crude oil. The SPR currently contains more oil than it ever has. With 703 million barrels of oil, it is at 97 percent of its total capacity and contains enough oil to meet U.S. demand for 58 days if oil imports were cut off completely.

Police oil companies
& tax windfall profits

Senator Carl Levin, D-Michigan

Because the Bush Administration has proved itself unable and unwilling to make the necessary changes in its economic, foreign, and energy policies to provide affordable energy supplies to the American people, it is up to the Congress to try to jumpstart a comprehensive solution to skyrocketing energy prices.
The Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, which I chair, has conducted four separate investigations into how our energy markets can be made to work better. As a result of these investigations and hearings, I have advocated the following four measures:
• Put a cop back on the beat in the energy markets to ensure these markets are free from excessive speculation and manipulation;
• Stop filling the Strategic Petroleum Reserve until prices are lower;
• Develop alternatives to fossil fuels to lessen our dependence on oil; and
• Impose a windfall profits tax on oil companies that have profited from the unjustified price increases.

Suspend state gas tax

State Rep. Kevin Elsenheimer

Rep. Kevin Elsenheimer will be at the Marathon Gas Station in Mackinaw City on Monday, May 19 at 2 p.m. to unveil an initiative to temporarily eliminate the 6-percent state sales tax on gasoline through Labor Day, to help drivers during the summer months.
“These costs add up quick on family budgets that are already being stretched to the limits for many Northern Michigan households,” Elsenheimer said. “We’re encouraging people to adapt their driving habits where they can, and suspending the state’s gas sales tax can help while people make adjustments to our current situation. Every bit helps.”
The price for a gallon of gas is now over $4 a gallon in many areas up north. The cost for a gallon of gas at $4 includes 61.5 cents in taxes per gallon - 18.5 cents Federal Gas Tax, 19 cents State Gas Tax and 24 cents sales tax.
Elsenheimer sent a letter to the House Transportation Committee almost a year ago asking for immediate action to be taken on similar legislation to that would lower gas prices overnight. “We can talk about long term strategies to solve our energy crisis until we’re blue in the face,” said Elsenheimer. “Everyone supports alternative technologies, but unfortunately these technologies won’t help us today, what we need now is immediate relief at the pump and there is only one simple way to get that, reduce taxes. Why should the state profiteer off high gas prices?”

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