Letters

Letters 05-02-2016

Facts About Trails I would like to correct some misinformation provided in Kristi Kates’ article about the Shore-to-Shore Trail in your April 18 issue. The Shore-to-Shore Trail is not the longest continuous trail in the Lower Peninsula. That honor belongs to the North Country Trail (NCT), which stretches for over 400 miles in the Lower Peninsula. In fact, 100 miles of the NCT is within a 30-minute drive of Traverse City, and is maintained by the Grand Traverse Hiking Club...

North Korea Is Bluffing I eagerly read Jack Segal’s columns and attend his lectures whenever possible. However, I think his April 24th column falls into an all too common trap. He casually refers to a nuclear-armed North Korea when there is no proof whatever that North Korea has any such weapons. Sure, they have set off some underground explosions but so what? Tonga could do that. Every nuclear-armed country on Earth has carried out at least one aboveground test, just to prove they could do it if for no other reason. All we have is North Korea’s word for their supposed capabilities, which is no proof at all...

Double Dipping? In Greg Shy’s recent letter, he indicated that his Social Security benefit was being unfairly reduced simply due to the fact that he worked for the government. Somehow I think something is missing here. As I read it this law is only for those who worked for the government and are getting a pension from us generous taxpayers. Now Greg wants his pension and he also wants a full measure of Social Security benefits even though he did not pay into Social Security...

Critical Thinking Needed Our media gives ample coverage to some presidential candidates calling each other a liar and a sleaze bag. While entertaining to some, this certainly should lower one’s respect for either candidate. This race to the bottom comes as no surprise given their lack of respect for the rigors of critical thinking. The world’s esteemed scientists take great steps to preserve the integrity of their findings. Not only are their findings peer reviewed by fellow experts in their specialty, whenever possible the findings are cross-checked by independent studies...

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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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