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 6/5/03
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Letters 6/5/03

Various - June 5th, 2003
Pot’s Smokescreen
I am writing in response to the interview article titled “Marijuana Activists March On“-May 15, 2003. Here is a brief cross section of Mr. Fillmore‘s answers, and I intentionally pull these out of context. Smoking Marijuana “is a lung cleaner....and it does lift your spirits,“ “It is a definite advantage for ADHD. It allows children to rest and relax...,“ “I take anti-convulsant, anti-anxiety and anti-depressant... If Marijuana was legal I could cut my pill intake in half.“ As to how he found pot, he states, “I run sound for a band and I met a gal who turned me on to “The Emperor Wears No Clothes“ by Jake Hare. It is basically the marijuana hemp bible...“, “...I went to the hash-bash..“, “I have found that I have become a different person.“, “Like where I live I am the neighborhood psychiatrist....“.
This is obviously a man that is protesting for much more than the medicinal uses of this drug. While the “This is your brain, this is your brain on drugs“ anti-drug campaign was an obvious failure and wasted millions and millions of hard earned American tax dollars through both Republican and Democrat White Houses, so is the time and effort so poorly wasted by this mislead cult-like group. There are such greater and more needy battles to fight right here in our community.
I hate that my friends and family have to come up to beautiful Traverse City and see this motley group some of whom drag their children with them, clutter the parkway. These are the real facts, facts that Ms. Eartha Melzer and the Express irresponsibly failed to mention with this article.
In 1995, 165,000 people in the U.S. entered drug treatment programs reporting marijuana as their primary drug of addiction. Smoking marijuana causes some changes in the brain like those caused by cocaine, heroin, and alcohol. THC, one of 400 chemicals in a hemp plant suppresses neurons in the information processing system of the hippocampus, the part of the brain that is crucial for learning, memory and the integration of sensory experiences with emotions and motivation. Smoking marijuana decreases blood flow to the brain. You can get high from second hand marijuana smoke. Because it is illegal, it is a major contributor to petty crime and drug related violence. Some scientific studies have found that babies born to marijuana users were shorter, weighed less, and had smaller head sizes. Studies have shown that marijuana lowers testosterone levels and sperm count in men.
Researchers over and over have reported that marijuana cigarettes release five times as much carbon monoxide into the blood stream and three times as much tar into the lungs of smokers of tobacco cigarettes. Just go to the internet and enter “marijuana dangers.“
Predictably, Mr. Fillmore and his band of pot smokers will accuse me and even the publishers of these studies of some kind of conspiracy theory to justify his inability to cope in society. There are plenty of people out there in our community that are not getting the kind of help they need for many reasons, but supporting the legalization of a blatantly dangerous drug (as is alcohol) is not the answer.
Mr. Fillmore, I have an alternative for you as you have obviously lost your ability to take care of yourself and your own health. Before you burden the rest of us by convincing some of our children to start smoking pot and before we each pay a bit more for the healthcare costs this habit of yours will incur, try this. Get 7-10 hours of sleep each night, drink lots of water, exercise daily, and start sticking healthy foods between your lips instead of that next joint! And experience the “high“ of your life! President Bush is doing nothing to “suppress“ you. It‘s about the daily choices we each make as individuals in our community and in our bodies.

Doug Petersen • Traverse City

Nurses are the Teamsters
I feel compelled to respond to Eric Smith’s letter regarding the Teamsters.  If, as he quoted “Half the truth is the biggest lie,” then he should have gained more information before spouting.  As one of the 275 striking RN’s, I would like to point out that the nurses are the Teamsters! This seems to be a point of fact that continuously escapes the comprehension of far too many people.  We elected to have their representation but we are the ones who make the decisions in this matter.
  The decision to strike was not made by anyone but the nurses who live and work in Petoskey.  Mr. Smith’s assumption that the decision was made by people from Traverse City only proves the old adage about assumptions correct once again.  The decision to strike was not made based on the weather, but on the basis of self-respect and the unfair labor practices of a corrupt administration.
  Had Mr. Smith attended any of the so-called “bargaining sessions” between the hospital and the union preceding the strike, he would have been aware that there was more time spent discussing things like the weather, the beauty of the Petoskey area, and the unavailability of Mr. Fishman’s calendar than any relevant issues pertaining to a contract.
Mr. Smith’s statement that “if they had been smart, they could’ve announced in advance that the strike was going to be for a limited time, say 5-7 days, and then gone back to the bargaining table” is “just plain ludicrous” as we, the Teamsters of NMH have been figuratively sitting at that bargaining table for over a year waiting for the hospital to join us there.  The hospital has refused to honor us with their physical presence at that table for six months.  I fail to understand how a 5-7 day walkout would have had any meaning to anyone involved.
   In response to his statement about the number of picketers, I can only say that the number has, indeed, dwindled.  The reason behind that is the fact that the majority of us have returned to work in some form or another.  Speaking from experience, working 230 miles from home does not leave a lot of time to spend on the picket line.  When I am home I spend those precious hours with my children and fulfilling my duties to my family. 
My duty to my fellow nurses lies in the very fact that I am working 230 miles from home; that I haven’t crossed that picket line for any amount of money or any degree of hardship.  The idea that the “Teamsters are causing these difficult times” is a concept that only makes me shake my head and wonder how the facts in this matter can be so outside the grasp of so many individuals and how they feel they can comment on any part of the issue in good faith. 
My hope is that Mr. Smith never has to stand up for something he believes in that may be outside the popular public opinion.  In order to take a stand as we, the Teamsters of NMH have, one must be willing to accept responsibility for our own beliefs and actions and not point the finger of blame at inappropriate targets.  At this point in the process, the hospital’s refusal to even sit down and bargain is clearly the problem.  Thus, I implore the hospital once again, to come back to the table and resolve this strike.  We, the Teamsters of NMH, will be there waiting for you.

Karen Ann Ciccoretti, RN  
• Petoskey

Leelanau prosecutor
I am a citzen of Leelanau County. I have just had the unfortunate experience of observing our county prosecutor Sara Brubaker in action. Ms. Brubaker demonstrated a complete lack of understanding of her elected position as prosecutor.
I was charged with the crime of reckless driving based on statements not observed by law enforcement. Ms. Brubaker did not only charge me incorrectly, she failed to conduct any supplemental investigation that would have spared me the embarrassment and anguish of a trial. My attorney, Matthew Benedict, quickly demonstrated to the jury that Ms. Brubaker was not prepared nor did she understand the law and had no concept of criminal procedure. The jury returned a not guilty verdict in less than five minutes. I would have hoped the former bank employee Ms. Brubaker would have gained at least enough competence in her three years in office to do the right thing in a simple misdemeanor case.
Residents of Leelanau County deserve better and should not be punished for Ms. Brubaker‘s inexperience. I hope you, your family, friends, or neighbors never have to experience what I have recently gone through. It is horrifying that an elected official with no experience can control criminal charges and could potentially place an innocent person in jail. After three years Ms. Brubaker should know that jury members and court personnel clearly see the hollowness of her campaign promise.

Danielle Freund • Leelanau County

We the People
It is time for the citizens of Leelanau County to have a vote as to where they want their jail/govemment center to be located - the Walters farm or in Lake Leelanau.
As witnessed by many at the Suttons Bay Planning meeting on the current oversized jail, the county commissioners and the contracted builder (an architect is not being used) have many issues to resolve before being given the go-ahead and proper permits to begin. The plan so far includes an oversized road ($300,000) and does not include any plans for a courthouse. Meaning prisoners must be transported to and from Leland at additional taxpayers’ expense. Sensitive wetlands are also an issue; a 110-year-old willow tree was recently removed to make way for the 70-foot-long culvert.
To resolve the issues, responsible elected officials should insist a complete plan with all costs be put together and given to the people of this county to decide. In the past, land in Lake Leelanau was not available for a full government center; this is no longer the case as the VFW site is available. Today with growth and existing road structure, Lake Leelanau is the logical place. We could have everything in one location with utilities and existing roads already available.
Commissioners, we are asking you to make two clear plans with all costs to taxpayers unveiled so we can decide what we, as citizens, want.
Do the right thing.

Shane and Jerry Harrison
• Lake Leelanau

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