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 · Letters · Letters 10/03/07
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Letters 10/03/07

- October 3rd, 2007
Slow Down, Would‘ja?
During the day I love to take my dog for a walk around Traverse City to get some exercise, sunlight and fresh air. But there is a big problem in our town with cyclists endangering pedestrians on the city sidewalks. I am getting very tired of going for a nice stroll and nearly being hit by a speeding cyclist several times during my walk. This is happening even when I stay off the TART trail and stick to sidewalks only.
I’d like to remind cyclists that the proper place for you to ride is either the TART trail or the street. The sidewalks are for pedestrians only. If you absolutely MUST ride your bike on the sidewalk, I’d like to ask you to please SLOW DOWN and ring a bell, yell, or make some kind of noise when you come up behind someone walking so that they have an opportunity to move out of the way. Most of you are whizzing by so fast and so close that if a pedestrian makes any arm movement or steps over just a bit they will be hit!
Max Wolf • TC

High Cost of Imports
Last week Mattel apologized to China for sending substandard and dangerous toys to American markets.
Why? The truth is, they had no choice. There is no other source for the toys they import. And Mattel is just the tip of the iceberg; we buy things too numerous to discuss from China. Everything from T-shirts to computer parts are made there and shipped to the US.
My wife and I tried in vain to avoid Chinese products for the first couple of years that we were parents, not wanting to support prison labor or the sweat shop practices that are well known to occur in China. We managed to find some items of clothing made in Indonesia, Pakistan and some South American countries. American goods were few and far between.
At this point I would like to introduce some additional information about our relationship with our “Most Favored Trading Partners”: the trade deficit with China in 2006 was, according to US government, $232.5 Billion dollars. That is how many more dollars we sent to them than we received.
At the end of 2005 the Chinese government held some 300 billion dollars in Treasury Bonds. Treasury bonds are, in simple terms, paper sold to cover debt incurred by our government. (Any appearance that we are buying the Chinese government our debt is a coincidence.)
Somewhere in the vicinity of 7 million manufacturing jobs have been lost in the US since 1980. “Real” income has dropped, depending on whose stats one uses, by between zero and 40%.
Now the other shoe falls!
Last week, while listening to the BBC News on IPR, I heard a story about the economic situation in the UK. They were discussing interest rates, inflation and the general state of things relative to the US sub-prime mortgage troubles. It seems that the only dim spot in the economy there is a very focused inflation. Much to the dismay of the economists, the only inflationary pressures were coming from Chinese imports! (Hear it?)
Whether it’s an epiphany or a conspiracy it would appear the Chinese have figured something out.
They have a monopoly on the manufacture of a lot of the things the world depends on. When you have a monopoly, there are no price controls imposed by pesky things like “competition,“ so it would appear that price increases are in our near future. And, if we make China angry, they may stop floating our national debt.
So, next time you are at the store wondering how they can make and sell toys, shirts, shoes, TVs, computers, etc.. so cheaply, remember, the truth is:
They can’t!
J. Grant • Mesick

The Scoop on the Pointe
Anne Stanton did a great job on the Petoskey Pointe story in the Sep. 27 issue of the Northern Express. It was the best background information about the project I have read yet!
During the early controversial public hearings, no mention of any dissent was reported by the local newspaper. The reporter only interviewed the project developers and the City Manager, and the public was given a biased account of what was taking place. My husband even called the reporter and asked if he was at the same meeting that we were at. No quotes were given in the stories by anyone who was not in favor of the project. Not until a group of citizens provided over 900 signatures for a ballot referendum.
The referendum lost by as many Bay Harbor absentee votes as those who received absentee voter applications from the developer and his supporters. Many of the Petoskey residents believed the project to be all that was promised, including a two year completion date. The referendum did not hold up the project. The financing and the purchase of the bank property had not been completed at that time and still is not totally secured, even though we were told they were “ready to start.” The firm is still “arranging financing from New York City lenders who are getting the funds from Europe and Hong Kong.”
The development will not be a “hotel with condo options,” but condos with rental options and no hotel amenities. A “public open area” will also be controlled by the owners.
Tourists enjoy idly browsing the windows of the shops in the “Gaslight District” and will not come to Petoskey to shop in an indoor shopping mall that shadows the downtown area and blocks the beautiful view of Little Traverse Bay for the entire city. They can shop at an indoor mall anywhere else downstate.
Ms. Stanton quotes the city manager stating the project will provide “badly needed parking.” Actually, it will provide fewer parking spaces than before and will be underground for local shoppers. The project will be seven stories when nothing in Petoskey is higher than three stories and will be visible for miles away, similar to the Grand Traverse Resort in TC and the monster development in Destin, FL that the locals in the small “fishing village” despise.
The mayor and city manager have given “every indication” the project is still “a go”, even though they “haven’t seen anything in writing”. We have heard this for more than two years now. The mayor may “not care what the dates are” but the locals do. I don’t think the hole in the ground is any better than what was there and it is definitely more dangerous.
Project supporters want the citizens to “be patient while it works out” while the new Odawa Casino was started and completed in much less time than it took to dig the hole in the center of town.
The citizens of Petoskey are paying for the upgrading of utilities near the project. Downstate, cities have the developers pay for utility and road upgrades for their private projects. “The city gave the developer its parking lot for which it originally paid $20,000 and is now worth $970,000” doesn’t sound like a wise investment to me!
There are still too many problems and unanswered questions for me to be “confident people will be happy,” like the mayor of Petoskey.

Carolyn Bourland • Petoskey

Correction: In Rick Coates‘ RestauranTour article on Casino Cuisine, the correct name of the tribe is “The Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians,” and the wine tastings in Odawa Casino‘s Sage restaurant are on Saturdays from 3-5 pm.

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