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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The candidates and the issues

Sara Gay Dammann - September 22nd, 2008
So much is being written about this election and so much of what is being said is irrelevant. It’s time to close the silly season and turn the focus to issues, not gender, not race, not age. The question is whom do we think can best lead this country out of the morass of war and economic woes?
The issues are many. Here are a few:
TAXES: Obama’s tax plan would lower taxes for 95% of all taxpayers, virtually eliminate income tax for 10 million working Americans and for seniors with incomes lower than $50,000, and Obama proposes to let the Bush administration’s tax cuts for the wealthy expire and be returned to middle and low-income taxpayers in the form of tax credits to pay for health insurance.
McCain proposes further cuts in the corporate tax rate (10%) and to extend Bush’s tax cuts for those at the top of the economy.
Obama’s tax record in the Senate includes the Stop Fraud Bill and the 2007 Patriot Employer Tax Act, which provided tax credits to companies increasing workforce in the United States.
EDUCATION: Obama supports universal voluntary pre-school for all children, expanding head start, proper funding for No Child Left Behind, teacher service scholarships, improving science and math curriculums, and the American Opportunity Tax Credit to make college affordable for all students.
McCain supports school vouchers, has no college level programs and has not supported extending Pell Grants.
Obama led the fight to increase Pell Grants to $5,100 and introduced legislation to support summer learning and teacher residency programs.
ETHICS: Obama has a deep record on ethics legislation including bills to end “no bid” contracts, restricting corporate jet travel by legislators, requiring disclosure of contribution bundling by lobbyists, and has refused campaign contributions from lobbyists and PACs.
McCain, despite his rhetoric, voted against lobbying reform and has intensified his fundraising with lobbyists.
HEALTH CARE: Obama’s public health care plan is similar to the federal employees plan, which covers all essential medical services including preventive, maternity and mental health services, and covers all children. For those choosing private insurers, Obama proposes a National Health Insurance Exchange to monitor private plans, ensure they are fair and accessible and to evaluate the plans. To control costs Obama would reimburse employer health plans for catastrophic illness costs above threshold, lower prescription drug costs by permitting overseas purchases and negotiating with drug companies.
McCain’s plan calls for federal assistance for states to create high-risk pools to contracts with insurers and provide $2,500 individual tax credits. McCain has no plan that requires coverage for children.
Obama has co-sponsored several bills including the Healthy Kids Act and SCHIP reauthorization as well as legislation on women’s health issues in both Illinois and the US Senate.
MILITARY: Obama calls for an orderly transition of responsibility in Iraq from the United States military to the Iraqi government. He calls for a shift of focus to Afghanistan where Al Qaeda and the Taliban thrive.
McCain, while acknowledging the resurgence of Al Qaeda and the Taliban still argues for more troops in Iraq.
Obama has a strong record on Veteran’s Affairs and has passed legislation to cut red tape for veterans at VA hospitals, passed legislation to help homeless vets, introduced legislation to improve outreach to National Guard and reserves.
McCain skipped the vote on the bill to provide better education benefits to vets in May, 2008, and has consistently voted against increasing funding for veteran’s health care.
The differences in the two candidates are real. There is reliable information on these issues. We do not need to be misled and it is our responsibility as voters to become informed and make informed choices when choosing our next President and Vice President.
One final note: some brilliant community organizers – John Adams, John Hancock, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, founded our nation. Community organizing is the basis of a true democracy.

Sara Gay Dammann has been a writer and freelance journalist for the New York Times, Detroit News, Chicago Tribune, Time-Life and other publications. She has lived in Charlevoix for more than 40 years where she and her late husband, Tom Dammann, a nationally-known newspaperman, raised their children.

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