Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

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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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