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 · Random Thoughts · The Best Place To Live
. . . .

The Best Place To Live

Robert Downes - March 24th, 2008
Rolling down M-55 between Cadillac and Manistee last week, an offbeat sign caught my eye: “Bear X-ings Next 7 Miles.” It included a picture of a mama bear and two cubs crossing the road.
How cool is that? There aren‘t many places in the country where you find wildlife coexisting with a boom in urban growth.
A big part of the fun of putting together our annual tribute to the “Best of Northern Michigan“ is driving around the region, collecting the photos and stories it takes to put one of our most popular issues together. It‘s a team effort that involves everyone at the Express, including the ad reps, office manager and delivery staff, as well as the writers. It‘s our biggest and best chance of the year to get out and circulate with those of you who make Northern Michigan such a superb place to live.
I was reminded of how great we have it here during a trip to Chicago over St. Patrick‘s Day weekend.
Downtown Chicago has gotten ridiculously expensive with most of the hotels in the $200-and-up range, so my wife and I stayed far out of town, making the 45-minute ride downtown on the “El“ train. With a sharp wind blowing down the concrete canyon of Michigan Avenue, we checked out the stores and pricey restaurants along the “Miracle Mile.“
But it wasn‘t long before I started wishing that we‘d just stayed home and had gone to the Crazy Daze celebration at Boyne instead -- a huge party at the ski resort that pulls in thousands. And, watching an Irish band called Gaelic Storm at the House of Blues, I couldn‘t help thinking that our own local Celtic outfit, Song of the Lakes, is much better.
We did see some wildlife in Chicago though, or at least my wife did: When Jeannette tried to use the lady‘s restroom at a restaurant, she found that some woman had gotten so dead drunk that she‘d fallen asleep on the toilet. The staff had to break down the door of the stall.
So, I was glad to get home and celebrate a rousing St. Patrick‘s Day with my homies at the annual pub crawl in downtown Traverse City. For once, Northern Michigan trumped Chicago as the fun place to be.
All of this is a roundabout way of saying what we already know: Northern Michigan is the “best“ place to live, and the amazing thing is that it keeps getting better.
This being a paper with a strong commitment to music and entertainment, we‘ve been cheered to learn of the many new concert opportunities by casinos throughout the region, bringing in major acts that once required traveling hundreds of miles to see.
Then too, the local music scene is revving up to new heights with bands such as Egon, Nancy‘s Fury, Three Thumbs Up and Twisted Finster putting the “roll“ back in the rock across the north.
And anyone who‘s visited downtown Traverse City in the past few months can‘t help but notice the glory of the new State Theatre, which has made hearts soar with its blend of intelligent, thought-provoking films.
And let‘s not forget those bears. Thanks to the selfless efforts and hard work of activists committed to the environment and preservation, Northern Michigan has retained the pristine quality of its forests, rivers and lakes, along with the “small town“ feel of where we live.
Think of what Northern Michigan would be without the Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore, or with golf courses planted on every scenic view. Think of what we‘d be with our skies darkened by coal and tire-burning plants. Think of the many generous citizens who‘ve donated forest tracts to our land conservancies. And of the people who‘ve built our bike paths and are seeking ‘greener‘ transportation alternatives.
Most of the people who‘ve stood up and said “no“ to exploitive, crackpot development schemes through the years have been unpaid citizen-volunteers. That‘s also true of the many who‘ve worked on our bike paths, hiking trails and conservation projects.
Because of these caring, daring and audacious champions of the good life, we‘ve got the best of both worlds here -- a home which is increasingly more cosmopolitan and stimulating, while retaining the call of the wild and the beauty of nature.
So, in this issue, we try to honor some of you who‘ve made the difference in making Northern Michigan the “Best Place to Live.“ You rock -- and we‘re proud to be able to share the good news.

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