Letters

Letters 08-29-2016

Religious Bigotry President Obama has been roundly criticized for his apparent unwillingness to use the term “radical Islamic terrorism.” His critics seem to suggest that through the mere use of that terminology, the defeat of ISIS would be assured...

TC DDA: Focus On Your Mission What on earth is the Traverse City DDA thinking? Purchasing land around (not within) its TIF boundaries and then offering it at a discount to developers? That is not its mission. Sadly enough, it is already falling down on the job regarding what is its mission. Crosswalks are deteriorating all around downtown, trees aren’t trimmed, sidewalks are uneven. Why can’t the DDA do a better job of maintaining what it already has? And still no public restrooms downtown, despite all the tax dollars captured since 1997. What a joke...

European-Americans Are Boring “20 Fascinating People” in northern Michigan -- and every single one is European-American? Sorry, but this is journalistically incorrect. It’s easy for editors to assign and reporters to write stories about people who are already within their personal and professional networks. It’s harder to dig up stuff about people you don’t know and have never met. Harder is better...

Be Aware Of Lawsuit While most non-Indians were sleep walking, local Odawa leaders filed a lawsuit seeking to potentially have most of Emmet County and part of Charlevoix County declared within their reservation and thus under their jurisdiction. This assertion of jurisdiction is embedded in their recently constructed constitution as documentation of their intent...

More Parking Headaches I have another comment to make about downtown TC parking following Pat Sullivan’s recent article. My hubby and I parked in a handicap spot (with a meter) behind Mackinaw Brew Pub for lunch. The handicap spot happens to be 8-10 spaces away from the payment center. Now isn’t that interesting...

Demand Change At Women’s Resource Center Change is needed for the Women’s Resource Center for the Grand Traverse Area (WRCGT). As Patrick Sullivan pointed out in his article, former employees and supporters don’t like the direction WRCGT has taken. As former employees, we are downright terrified at the direction Juliette Schultz and Ralph Soffredine have led the organization...

Home · Articles · News · Other Opinions · Time for an...
. . . .

Time for an eco-revolution

Anne Stanton - April 28th, 2008
Imagine. Dr. Howard Tanner as czar of Michigan.
Dr. Tanner was DNR director under Governor William Milliken, and he’s utterly disgusted with what’s happened since John Engler’s first day as governor. “And what I most often hear about Governor Granholm is that at least she’s not as bad as Engler,” he said.
Last week, Tanner spoke to a huge crowd, a record crowd, in fact, for the annual Earth Day celebration pulled together by the Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council.
Sounding more like a revolutionary than a retired fisheries expert. Tanner fantasized how he would save the Great Lakes if he could just be appointed czar of Michigan.
Tanner told the environmentalists—using rather blunt language—that although they have done well fighting their isolated battles, they must now unite in order to sway the folks in Lansing.
Being a fisheries guy, Tanner is most concerned about the vitality of the Great Lakes and their ability to support the fish populations. The sport fishery on Lake Huron has collapsed. Lake Michigan is headed the same way, he said.
Here’s why that’s happening.
• Five hundred million pounds of Quagga mussels (a bigger version of the Zebra mussel) are thriving in Lake Michigan and eating up plankton and bacteria (fish food) and pooping water-warming phosphorous. Scientists worry the mussels are upsetting the lake’s food web.
• Millions of Asian carp are lurking 40 miles away from Lake Michigan and quickly advancing. These carp are the sumo wrestlers of the fish world. They are huge (weighing up to 100 pounds), they are prolific, and they eat more than your teen-age son. Their numbers would positively explode in the Great Lakes if they found their way here. You can guess how the carp would affect other fish species. Tanner said the DNR’s attempts to prevent infestation are feeble at best.
• Five years ago, a viral disease causing fish to bleed to death arrived in the Great Lakes and caused massive die-offs in Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair. A brown trout in Lake Michigan was found with the virus—called viral hemorrhagic septicemia—in May of last year. The disease arrived here either by ship or bird, no one knows for sure.
At a time the natural resources are at the breaking point, the DNR and DEQ remain split (despite the promise of Governor Granholm to bind them together again). And their budgets have hit rock bottom.
“I am very critical of our state government,” Tanner said. “Before I unload, I know that in the morass of failure and non-function, there are a few good and able elected officials. But overall our state government doesn’t work.”
He then listed the “p’s” of state government. Prancing, prattle, posturing, pontificating, and procrastination.
“Everything but progress! I am sick of it! As a citizen of Michigan, I am humiliated! Above all, I am outraged. The truth is, I want to be CZAR! Not senator, not supreme court judge, not governor. BUT CZAR! “I want to rule by edict. I’ll fix it and I won’t be term limited!”
He paused. “Enough fantasy. I won’t be czar.”
He then reminded the audience, perhaps for the fifth time that evening, that government is created by the people, and owned by the people. It’s time to unify and take it back.
“One way or another we created the state government, and it exists the way it does because of our inattention to what is going on there.”
So back to the fantasy of Czar Tanner. Here’s what he’d do immediately.
1. Ban phosphates in dishwashing machine soap. (He hinted this would be a great ballot referendum.) He also noted there is phosphate-free dish soap that works just fine, and we should all use it.
2. Make water bottles and fruit drinks returnable at 10 cents apiece. Another good ballot referendum. Collecting signatures, anyone?
3. Put the DEQ and DNR back together and find a way to fund them with a secure, steady stream of money.
4. Create a citizen policy commission to give people a stronger voice in responding to the decisions of the DEQ/DNR.
5. End term limits.
6. Increase taxes to replace the eroding tax base. Use a graduated income tax.
7. Cut off access of ocean-going ships from the St. Lawrence Seaway. (Only 94 ships came from saltwater bodies last year, so it’s not as drastic as it sounds. His view is that the cost of decimating our lakes with alien species greatly exceeds the benefits of commerce.)
8. Strengthen the doctrine of public trust. In other words, put some muscle behind our legal obligation to protect our public resources—air, water, and land.
9. Be conscious of where your food comes from, and buy accordingly.
10. Get involved with Phil Power’s new group, Center for Michigan, which has growing clout with Lansing lawmakers.
Tanner said he is not our chosen leader, but did leave the audience with a closing battle cry.
“We the people!”


 
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