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..

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Getting our share

Robert Downes - July 21st, 2008
“May you live in exciting times.“
-- ancient Chinese curse

These certainly are exciting times in every sense. On one hand, we have war and ruin blaring in the headlines and newscasts each day. Alarms are going off over the mortgage crisis, the inflation crisis, the Madonna/A-Rod crisis...
But turn the page and you‘ll also find that titanic forces are in play to transform the earth for the better with a ‘green‘ energy movement that will benefit billions of people -- including those who get the jump on building the infrastructure of the new world.
That‘s the news we should be excited about. There‘s a sustainable-energy revolution about to explode in the coming decade and we‘ve got a front-row seat.
Consider a few articles in the July 21 issue of Newsweek:
• Billionaire oilman T. Boone Pickens says it‘s “madness“ for us to spend $700 billion on foreign oil each year. He proposes that we harness the constant winds of Texas, Oklahoma and the Great Plains to generate electricity. That way, we could run our cars on natural gas, which is presently being squandered as fuel at electrical power plants.
His plan will also provide a cleaner alternative to coal power plants.
Pickens isn‘t just talking: he‘s building a $10 billion wind farm in the Texas panhandle. Someone is going to have to build the tens of thousands of windmills that will soon dot the Earth. Who will it be?
• There‘s also an electric car revolution in the works.
Elon Musk, the co-founder of PayPal, has used his profits to launch an electric car company. He expects to produce 20,000 electric cars by 2010. The cars will run 200 miles on a charge.
Musk claims that in 30 years, most of the cars sold in the U.S. will run on electric motors, with gasoline engines being a thing of the past.
Who will build them?
He also claims that you‘ll have a 10-by-15 foot solar panel on your home which will generate enough power to run your car from 200-400 miles per week.
Who will build those panels?
Meanwhile, GM is working on the new Chevy Volt electric car. Owners will be able to drive 40 miles on a standard charge, at speeds up to 100 mph. Chrysler has its own electric car on the drawing board.
Again, someone is going to build those new vehicles. But who?
• Can‘t afford to fly? The good news is that train travel is getting back on track as an affordable alternative.
Plans are underway to revitalize Amtrak and other rail lines for commuters and to ship goods to market.
And no wonder, because the Association of American Railroads reports that a diesel train is capable of moving a ton of weight 436 miles on a single gallon of fuel.
Imagine your car being able to travel more than 400 miles on a gallon of gas... That‘s the beauty of reviving train travel.
These are just a few ideas plucked from a weekly magazine. The challenge for Northern Michigan is how do we get our piece of the action?
How do we tempt the manufacturers of solar panels, electric car parts, train technology, windmills and a thousand other elements of the green energy revolution to locate in Northern Michigan?
Well, for starters, let‘s go with what we‘ve got: a very nice place to live.
A few years back, Gov. Granholm launched the Cool Cities initiative to try to buck-up Michigan cities with new arts & culture scenes, improving downtowns and waterfronts in the hope of tempting techno-savvy hipsters and their companies to our state.
Back then, I pointed out in this column that Northern Michigan is a pretty doggone cool place already and we don‘t need any help from the State to make it more so.
We‘ve got nothing less than one of the finest locales in all of North America for scenic beauty, and one of the best places to live.
But we need to share that news if we want to get our piece of the green energy revolution. We need strong incentives to bring representatives of the new technology here for a visit. The alternative energy fair held each June in Manistee is a good start.
Perhaps what we need now is some sort of national green energy convention, with discounted airfares or a free shuttle bus from Detroit and Chicago to all who wish to attend.
We also need to encourage our own local innovators. Why not a major homegrown alternative energy company? What can we do to encourage local entrepreneurs?
Northern Michigan has all the charms needed to sell itself as a great place for sustainable energy companies to locate. But they need an invitation. They need to know we‘re here.

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