Letters

Letters 07-27-2015

Next For Brownfields In regard to your recent piece on brownfield redevelopment in TC, the Randolph Street project appears to be proceeding without receiving its requested $600k in brownfield funding from the county. In response to this, the mayor is quoted as saying that the developer bought the property prior to performing an environmental assessment and had little choice but to now build it...

Defending Our Freedom This is in response to Sally MacFarlane Neal’s recent letter, “War Machines for Family Entertainment.” Wake Up! Make no mistake about it, we are at war! Even though the idiot we have for a president won’t accept the fact because he believes we can negotiate with Iran, etc., ISIS and their like make it very clear they intend to destroy the free world as we know it. If you take notice of the way are constantly destroying their own people, is that living...

What Is Far Left? Columnist Steve Tuttle, who so many lambaste as a liberal, considers Sen. Sanders a far out liberal “nearly invisible from the middle.” Has the middle really shifted that far right? Sanders has opposed endless war and the Patriot Act. Does Mr. Tuttle believe most of our citizens praise our wars and the positive results we have achieved from them? Is supporting endless war or giving up our civil liberties middle of the road...

Parking Corrected Stephen Tuttle commented on parking in the July 13 Northern Express. As Director of the Traverse City Downtown Development Authority, I feel compelled to address a couple key issues. But first, I acknowledge that  there is some consternation about parking downtown. As more people come downtown served by less parking, the pressure on what parking we have increases. Downtown serves a county with a population of 90,000 and plays host to over three million visitors annually...

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Enough with the Doom & Gloom

Robert Downes - July 7th, 2008
If ever there was a time to recall Mark Twain‘s great line on statistics, this is it, considering all the doom & gloom about the economy:
“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics.“
If you read the newspapers or follow the TV news, you‘d think the wheels were falling off America. But check the story behind the story on these widely reported downers:

• “Car sales at a 15-year low“: Are you smarter than a fifth-grader? The leaders of the Big 3 automakers aren‘t. In their quest for short-term profits, they kept churning out SUVs and pickup trucks like there was no tomorrow, and neither they (nor the dealers) had the wits to see that these gas-gobblers were doomed to extinction. Now, they have excess inventory and no buyers. Go figure.
Is that bad? Not at all. Now every car company in the world is scrambling to build smaller, energy-efficient cars. Currently, Toyota can‘t meet the demand for its Prius hybrid-electric car, or fill orders for its fuel-saving models.
That means the auto industry is on the brink of a bonanza, not a disaster, with drivers clamoring for vehicles that make more sense.

• “Unemployment on the rise“: Part of this is tied to the auto slump (which will fix itself), with unemployment at 5.5% and a general “under“ employment of 9.7% expected by 2009, according to the U.S. Labor Department.
But consider that the first wave of 75 million baby boomers are retiring. Some of them will extend their careers to make ends meet with part-time jobs, but there will still be tens of millions of boomers saying “take this job and shove it“ over the next 25 years. We‘re on the brink of a huge labor shortage and there will be plenty of jobs for young people, replacing their moms and dads in the workforce.

• “The weak dollar is sending America down the tubes“: Part of the reason gasoline costs so much is because the dollar isn‘t what it used to be. If you had purchased $10,000 in euros a few years back, you‘d have $15,870 now because the dollar has declined that much in value.
Thus, America has become a bargain basement sale for investors around the world. The Chinese and Japanese alone have invested more than $50 trillion in the U.S.A. Then there are the Brits, the Saudis, the financiers of Singapore and Hong Kong... it‘s a big list.
Tourism is on the ropes in Europe because so few Americans are headed overseas this summer. Conversely, Europeans and Asians are flocking to America because prices are at rock bottom here.
Those foreign economies can‘t afford to let America fail because they are chained to our fate.

• “Tough times for Northern Michigan:: True, the Dura Automotive plant is closing in Mancelona, losing 250 jobs. On the other hand, the $80 million Turtle Creek Casino just opened in Williamsburg, adding 200 jobs -- and the place is going gangbusters.
Despite all the pessimistic predictions, tourism is still on a roll in Northern Michigan, with major articles lauding our region in the Detroit Free Press and USA Today. Bigger, better casinos in Petoskey and Traverse City are bringing in more tourists, and we‘ll also see more Canadian visitors here, taking advantage of better exchange rates.
Other positive trends:
• Our local wine industry is booming with reports of sales increases of 20-25%.
• Currently, movie star Ray Liotta is making a film in Benzie County, with more Hollywood filmmakers on the way. As noted recently in the Express, the likes of Clint Eastwood and Johnny Depp have been spotted here, scouting the region for film projects.
• The Traverse City Film Festival continues to grow. Madonna‘s participation this year can only help boost tourism and the region‘s prestige.
• Home sales down? That means the price of housing is becoming affordable again after a decade in which real estate speculators drove prices up by “flipping“ homes for quick profits. Good news for buyers.

Much of what we think about the economy is a matter of perspective: Think of this as a time of opportunity, rather than a downturn.
And remember that even a bad economy can‘t change the fact that we‘re living in the closest thing to paradise in America. We‘re still home to some of the finest beaches in the country, fabulous festivals, and 250 million lbs. of cherries. Life is sweet in Northern Michigan -- literally a bowl of cherries -- especially this time of year.

 
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