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 · Letter 3/24/08
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Letter 3/24/08

- March 24th, 2008
Predatory lenders
Robert Downes shouldn’t worry too much about punitive treatment of subprime mortgage lenders (“The Foreclosure Blizzard,” 3/17). They don’t deserve his sympathy.
Those lenders are not caring people, working hard to give poor folks a break on home ownership. They are predators, looking to use unwary people for a fast buck. The lenders used schemes like misrepresenting income sources and amounts, asset values, and other facts. They loaned to people who were not likely to be able to repay. Some were simply not “credit worthy,” which is to say, they lacked the debt-to-income figures suggesting successful management of debt. Some lacked steady employment income. Some were conned into buying dwellings at unreasonably high prices. The lenders failed to tell people about interest rate variability, or misrepresented the likelihood of rate increases.
Then they charged high fees, and sold off the mortgages so somebody else would bear the risk of loss. They earned very high incomes doing this, taking advantage of buyers’ lack of knowledge, sophistication, or wariness. They are not friendly local bankers, giving Joe a break because they know he’s a man of probity despite a limited income. As in many other areas of contemporary life, the effects of the Reagan-era (and Bush-era) penchant for deregulation are coming back to haunt us.

Chris Campbell • TC

They flowed
The Holly Wren Spaulding article on the documentary that debuted at the Sundance Film Festival, “Flow, For Love of Water,” omitted mentioning two important people who are interviewed in the movie.
One is Terry Swier from Mecosta County, who has doggedly pursued Nestle since the water-bottling giant first entered Michigan and is the founder and President of Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation (MCWC). The other is Traverse City’s Jim Olson, who is the group’s legal counsel, and who has stood up to Nestle for the past six years in the courts.
I certainly hope that “Flow” will be shown in an area theatre and the real stars of this documentary, those who are fighting the water wars daily all over the world, can be recognized.

Judith Bosma • Beulah

Beware ID Act
The Real ID Act passed by Congress in 2005 was tacked on to an emergency spending bill that covered the troops in Iraq and tsunami relief. It is supposed to go into effect this year, May 2008.
What is the Real ID? It is a federal identification card that will be embedded with an (RFID) radio frequency micro-chip, which will store your name, sex, Social Security number, birthdate, etc. This will replace your existing state driver’s license.
The government is using the terminology “Enhanced Driver’s License” to make you feel like you are getting more, when in fact you will be getting less in the way of your rights of privacy and freedom.
Now raise your hand if you want the government to be able to track your every move? No -- no takers -- rightly so.
This technology is a gateway to enable our own government to monitor and control our lives. Supposedly it is in the name of safety to protect us from would be terrorists. Our government is using fear to subjugate us, taking away our privacy and civil liberties bit by bit.
What is the cost of fear? Our country is suffering in so many ways right now. The mortgage crisis, lack of jobs, fuel costs, environmental and sustainability issues, national debt, war and poverty. Terrorist is not on the list. What is a terrorist? Definition: A person who terrorizes or frightens others.
My own government frightens me -- does that make it a terrorist?
We have a National Terror Alert System, which at the time of this letter was listed as “Elevated – Yellow,” but where is the alert system that indicates the state of the people, education, employment, our health? With the above mentioned problems we are having, I would say we are in the “Orange“ – a high state of threat to the quality of our lives and our ability to live as free people, unencumbered by our government‘s corrupted, corporately controlled manipulations.
Make no mistake about, not only will this Real ID enable our government to become the Big Brother we never wanted, but greedy corporations will make millions implementing the new system and database. Ultimately these costs will be passed on to the taxpayer, you.
Christy Moore • Empire

VA good guys
During the last few months, various Veterans Administration facilities have been shown to be inadequate at best and almost criminal at worst.
I‘d like to remind weveryone that the VA hospitals and clinics differ dramatically in their level of efficiency and care. It is commonplace for the media to concentrate their efforts on the bad apples in the VA system.
As a veteran, I would like to take this opportunity to recognize a VA clinic on the opposite end of the spectrum: our own, here in Traverse City.
I consider myself very fortunate to be on the receiving end of the truly exemplary level of care this facility provides. Every, and I mean every, member of the staff shows a level of professionalism, efficiency, compassion and good humor which is unequaled, in my experience. They are all, singly and as a group, at the top of their game, and deserve a hearty “Well done!“

Steve Kaphaem • Interlochen

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