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 2/4/08
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Letters 2/4/08

- February 4th, 2008
Making the grade
Thank you for exploring and writing about the issues surrounding the fatal shooting of a local citizen by a law enforcement employee (“The Story of Craig Carlson,” 1/21).
I work with head injury victims in accessing benefits and have learned that it is not uncommon for individuals suffering from head injury to have occasional bouts of serious depression and/or disorientation with accompanying symptoms. Some of the symptoms are brought on directly by the head injury, other symptoms are the results of medication that needs adjusting, and/or unanticipated life stressors or other factors.
When an individual with a head injury is experiencing an exacerbation of symptoms, it may be better for family members and individuals to contact physicians, mental health care providers, an ambulance or the local ER (unless a police agency has a protocol in place to work with family and mental health professionals during crisis times).
As mentioned at the end of your article, Third Level Crisis Center is most helpful 24/7 in this region.
Our community should be on the alert for more of these types of situations in the future. As a member of a variety of national health concern list-serves, I am acutely aware that thousands of our Iraq veterans will be returning with repetitive concussive head injuries from exposure to powerful, constant blasting that creates environmental vibration acute and significant enough to damage the brain without visible external injury.
It is my hope that our regional health programs that work with head injury victims will also reach out to police agencies to cooperate in these situations in the future – and that police agencies will reach out to the regional health care programs. There are training programs and instructors that could be called upon to help educate our local service providers.
Cooperation among agencies is critical to avoiding such tragedies in the future. I shudder to think about how many of our young, injured veterans all over the country will be returning home from the traumas of war only to face a sniper in their own living room due to lack of agency foresight, cooperation and preparedness.
Can our community learn from this horrible tragedy and work cooperatively in the future when these crisis situations arise?
I hope and pray so.
I feel for the family who is grieving; and I also feel for the police, health, and non-profit agencies that are overburdened and under-funded during these times of great need.

Sharon Neumann • TC

Why no Americans?
In response to “The Missing“ by Robert Downes (Random Thoughts, 12/31):

I couldn’t agree more with Mr. Downes‘ sentiments. There aren’t enough Americans who get off the “beaten path.” I do meet an occasional one here in India, but most are embassy workers or investors or here on some cushy job or another. There aren’t too many real travelers, and I agree that it’s because we fear much of the world. I often have the very same conversation with my fellow travelers: Why are there so few Americans out there exploring?
Is it because we’re so isolated from the rest of the world? That’s the easy explanation, but look at Australia or New Zealand! At least half the travelers I meet are from one of those two countries, and they’re so far from South America, Europe, and India that they might as well head off to the moon for their kicks. That leaves us to conclude that there must be some sort of cultural aversion to exploration, to seeing and trying new things out in the world, and absolutely I believe the media is intimately responsible for that fear. The only news we get from the rest of the world in our mainstream media outlets has to do with natural disasters, plane crashes, bouts of civil unrest, etc... and that creates fear.
But if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that the more scared you are of a place, the more important it is to go, visit, and see it for yourself (assuming there isn’t a war on). More often than not you’ll find that your fears are unjustified.
On the topic of hiding behind the guise of a Canadian flag, or claiming to be from another country, I have never once done this in my travels and I never will. I’m proud to be from the States, and even if I think GWB is an incompetent doofus, he’s still my president, and I never stand for another traveler bashing my country on account of his blunders. Not that I’ll defend the guy himself, but I won’t let someone drag the USA through the mud because we’ve been hijacked temporarily by those without others’ best interest in mind.
What Downes says is true: most locals are overjoyed to meet an American, especially after spending their days listening to our music, and watching our movies and TV shows. They want to know what we’re really like, they want to compare the messages and images we spread across the world to the real thing. To wit, some of my best friends here in Delhi are Baghdad-born-and-raised. An American Jew and Iraqi Muslims? Sounds like a joke; but it’s not. It’s just how things really work out here in the world.

Adam Fivenson • Delhi, India

Coal by the numbers
Since 2000, 150 coal plants have been proposed across the U.S. The majority of those came during the last three years. However, in 2007 alone, 59 proposals were denied, abandoned, or withdrawn. Of the 59, 44 proposals were withdrawn voluntarily by the utilities themselves. The reason most often sited for withdrawal is increasing cost of construction making electric rates economically unfeasible.
In a recently released economic report, the cost of electricity from the Rogers City coal plant project, will be .17 to .19 cents per kilowatt-hour. In Michigan, residential customers pay an average of .07 per kwh. Construction costs, transportation costs for coal delivery, and the increasing cost of coal fuel were the major reasons for electricity coming from a new coal plant to be nearly triple your current rate.
The number of coal plant proposals floating around Michigan at this moment is seven. And four permit applications have been filed with the DEQ for Rogers City, Midland, Bay City, and Marquette. Public comment period for the Rogers City plant is slated to begin this spring. Besides contacting your elected officials, participation in the DEQ comment period is a great way to let your voice be heard on this issue.
Coal power plants are the single greatest emitter of CO2 pollution, the largest by volume of greenhouse gases. Coal produces more CO2 than the entire transportation sector of the economy. Coal produces more CO2 than the energy needed to operate all residential, commercial, and industrial buildings in this country.
Scientists had believed that the threshold number of CO2 in the atmosphere was 450 parts per million (ppm). But with the growing evidence of significant environmental effects already upon us, they have downgraded their threshold number to 350 ppm. Over 350 ppm of CO2 and the globe may well face irreversible climate changes.
The atmosphere that we share with all of our neighbors on this planet is already saturated to 368 parts per million of CO2. There is still time and opportunity to bring down the deadly concentration of carbon in the air. But we must attack the rush for new coal power plants. Then we must create a new generation of power sources for our collective future.
On Wednesday, February 6 at 7 p.m., there will be a public presentation and discussion at the Unitarian Universalist Church on Center Road in Traverse City. All are welcome; a potluck dinner begins at 6 that evening as well.
Let’s all understand the numbers, and DO THE MATH.

Tom Karas • Michigan Energy Alternatives Project

Brutal mushers
Last year while observing the Iditarod with her young son and some of her students, Alaska grade school teacher Maude Paniptchuk watched in horror as a musher beat his collapsed dogs in an effort to get the exhausted animals back up and running. One of the dogs later died, joining six others who have died during this race in the last two years. The exact death toll is unknown since no one kept track in the early days, but it’s estimated that more than 120 dogs have paid with their lives. Teachers who “follow” or sponsor an Iditarod racer in their classrooms are sending the message to their students that running dogs into the ground is acceptable.
If our students knew how profoundly dogs suffer in the Iditarod, they would never agree that mushers are worthy of interest or support. Teachers who encourage students to celebrate the abusive treatment of animals in this race should be given a failing grade.

Kathleen Fullerton
• Virginia Beach, VA

Dogs in distress
So many dogs are suffering from being chained outside and freezing in the elements. Please help rescue these silent victims.
I’ve observed many dogs chained up to a tree/dog pen that appear to be neglected and/or forgotten.
I do my best and contact the proper authorities. However, it is likely there are more defenseless creatures out there that I have not gotten to.
Please go to this site: www.dogsdeservebetter.org
Dogs Deserve Better is a nationwide organization committed to freeing and rescuing chained animals.
DDB is not only devoted to unchaining creatures, but it is also helping implement legislation to recognize dogs as more than just a possession.

Genie Aldrich • Suttons Bay

(Check out Kristi Kates‘ story, “Help for Pets“ on page 15 to safeguard animals in winter.. -- ed.)

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