Letters

Letters 08-03-2015

Real Brownfields Deserve Dollars I read with interest the story on Brownfield development dollars in the July 20 issue. I applaud Dan Lathrop and other county commissioners who voted “No” on the Randolph Street project...

Hopping Mad Carlin Smith is hopping mad (“Will You Get Mad With Me?” 7-20-15). Somebody filed a fraudulent return using his identity, and he’s not alone. The AP estimates the government “pays more than $5 billion annually in fraudulent tax refunds.” Well, many of us have been hopping mad for years. This is because the number one tool Congress has used to fix this problem has been to cut the IRS budget –by $1.2 billion in the last 5 years...

Just Grumbling, No Solutions Mark Pontoni’s grumblings [recent Northern Express column] tell us much about him and virtually nothing about those he chooses to denigrate. We do learn that Pontoni may be the perfect political candidate. He’s arrogant, opinionated and obviously dimwitted...

A Racist Symbol I have to respond to Gordon Lee Dean’s letter claiming that the confederate battle flag is just a symbol of southern heritage and should not be banned from state displays. The heritage it represents was the treasonous effort to continue slavery by seceding from a democratic nation unwilling to maintain such a consummate evil...

Not So Thanks I would like to thank the individual who ran into and knocked over my Triumph motorcycle while it was parked at Lowe’s in TC on Friday the 24th. The $3,000 worth of damage was greatly appreciated. The big dent in the gas tank under the completely destroyed chrome badge was an especially nice touch...

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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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