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 · Books · Dave Dempsey‘s Great Lakes...
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Dave Dempsey‘s Great Lakes for sale

Rick Coates - August 18th, 2008
Dave Dempsey’s
Great Lakes for Sale
Great Lakes for Sale
The University of Michigan Press
128 pages

As the final beach days wind down for 2008, consider taking Great Lakes For Sale From Whitecaps to Bottlecaps along with you for that final beach read.
Now at first glance this might seem a little bit of a heavy read for a leisurely afternoon at the beach. But there is really no better place to read this book than gazing over the miles of Lake Michigan.
First of all, author Dave Dempsey has taken one of the most challenging and often misunderstood issues in Michigan and the surrounding Great Lake states and put it all in layman terms. Dempsey has made this an easy read, not one full of scientific mumbo-jumbo, but rather he has written a 100-page essay (easy to read in an afternoon) that puts forward the issues at hand and offers solutions as well.
Dempsey is one of the leading advocates and experts for the future of the Great Lakes Water Basin. He is a senior policy advisor for the Michigan Environmental Council and well known for his writings on environmental issues in the Great Lakes region. He is author of Ruin and Recovery: Michigan’s Rise as a Conservation Leader and William G. Milliken: Michigan’s Passionate Moderate.
Despite recent challenges, Michigan may find itself soon in economic renaissance and the Great Lakes will probably be at the heart of the revival. But as fresh water supplies in other regions of the country become more limited, Dempsey poses several questions as to what is in the best interest of the Great Lakes in meeting the future water needs of the rest of the country.
What Dempsey does early for the reader is put in perspective the true mass of the Great Lakes. A surface view and even statistics point to this massive water system as being endless; but is it? For example, the Great Lakes hold 18% of the world’s available surface freshwater and 95% of the United States’ available surface freshwater. Throw in the fact that they comprise six quadrillion gallons of water, and if you spread it over the continental United States the lakes would create a 9.5-foot-deep swimming pool.
At the heart of the author’s thesis is the belief that the Great Lakes should not be put up for sale to the highest bidder. And that the potential commercialization of the Great Lakes to corporations would have long lasting negative impact, both environmentally and economically to those communities along the shoreline.
“It’s difficult to understate the importance of the Great Lakes water system -- economically, environmentally, or from a public-health perspective,” Dempsey writes. “The Great Lakes support a year-round sport fishery, they provide a route for commercial and recreational navigation, and they supply many communities with drinking water. Water means jobs and life in the Great Lakes region. And, while residents of this huge region revel in a seemingly limitless quantity of fresh water today, it’s likely that the future will see that same fresh water grow ever more scarce as well as become a source of contention between thirsty communities---and corporations -- further afield and those who live in this giant watershed.”

Dempsey drives home his point:
“It’s not simply a matter of how much water in the short term is removed; the long-term threat is control of water and the possibility that non-Great Lakes interests will assert ownership of the very substance of the Great Lakes.”
If Great Lakes For Sale has any shortcomings it would be that Dempsey does not address the waterways for alternative energy usage, either as a positive or a negative. His primary focus is the use of the Great Lakes water basin solely for bottle water usage and for the potential diverting to other regions. While these make strong arguments for protective measures, one has to wonder what sort of impact alternative energy initiatives would have as well.
One of the great attributes in Dempsey’s work is his willingness to accurately portray both sides of the issue. He presents the reader (who may be unaware of the commercial bottling company’s positions) with the arguments for the commercialization of the Great Lakes water basin.
Dempsey even recounts one surreal moment when he was debating the spokesperson for the water bottling industry on the Ron Jolly Show on WTCM-AM when they went to commercial break, only to have that commercial be for a new children’s book “The Day The Great Lakes Drained Away.”
Overall Dave Dempsey in a concise and easy to read format has made a compelling argument in support of his final chapter “Great Lakes Not For Sale.” This is a must read for anyone at all concerned about the future of the Great Lakes.

(In the cause of full disclosure, it should be noted that Express contributing editor Rick Coates was Dave Dempsey’s paperboy 35 years ago.)

The Fight for the Lakes:

Excerpt from Dave Dempsey’s Great Lakes for Sale: From Whitecaps to Bottlecaps:

“…The fight is not about hoarding or denying or even, in the end, keeping the Great Lakes as they are. Should some catastrophic need arise, few will stand in the way of an emergency transfusion of water to save lives far away. But under what terms, for whom, and for how long? The words ‘short-term humanitarian emergency’ may be the most important yet least well-defined of the many in the Great Lakes compact. They deserve more consideration and thought. And the Great Lakes will definitely not stay the same: as they always have, they will continue to transform themselves.
The fight is about something much bigger than that. It is about democracy and public interest. For when have the people, or their duly elected representatives at any level of government, after open debate in front of the citizenry and with full consciousness of their own actions, and with the assent of the same citizenry, authorized the taking of Great Lakes water for private profit by constitutional amendment, statute or rule?
They have not as of this writing. And until they do the waters of the Great Lakes belong to all the people and are held in trust by the governments charged with protecting their interests…”

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