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 · Let Them Eat Cake
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Let Them Eat Cake

Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli - January 19th, 2009
Let Them Eat Cake
New York is abuzz in One Fifth Avenue

By Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli

One Fifth Avenue
By Candace Bushnell
Hyperion Press

Ahh—how I miss the scheming, the sex, the petty jealousies, the back-biting, the shameless snobbery, the hangers-on, and the social climbing, now that Sex and the City, has moved to rerun heaven.
I’m lost without my obsession with $900 Manolo Blahnik shoes, with $1000 Prada boots, and YSL bags at $1399. Take me back, oh Candace Bushnell! Take me back to the time of full-blown collagen lips and plastic noses. I want to feel, once again, how deprived I am because I don’t live in New York City, reside at one of the better addresses, buy clothes more expensive than my first house, and have friends who would drop me at the first hint of a pay cut or a loss of status.
Luckily One Fifth Avenue (Hyperion Press) is out. Candace Bushnell, who wrote the book Sex and the City, from which the TV show sprang, has penned a just-in-the-nick-of time novel about the uber-wealthy with feet of clay; the famous and the infamous. For a moment now I can go back to that place where all is luxury, vice is rampant, and Prada reigns supreme.
In the novel everyone at One Fifth Avenue, one of the best addresses in New York City, has a secret. Some can’t really afford to live there; others can but shouldn’t; others have dark personal flaws. Nobody is happy. Even the one kid in the book harbors a secret that could land him in jail.
So, shall we begin?
The jacket says, “One Fifth Avenue, the Art Deco beauty towering over one of Manhattan’s oldest and most historically hip neighborhoods, is a one-of-a-kind address, the sort of building you have to earn your way into—one way or another.”

The story begins much as Mary Poppins begins, with a big wind coming to town. People are blown off their feet. One old lady dies.
The death of Louise Houghton provides an empty apartment at One Fifth, and the battles for the apartment begin, the $20 million price tag hardly being a blip in the checkbook to the folks vying for this pad. A billionaire (after all we are no longer impressed with mere millions), Paul Rice, and his wife, Annalisa, want the apartment. He will pay anything, bribe anyone, bully anyone, to get what he wants and, therefore, gets it. Well, ‘gets it’ in more ways than one.
The wife, Annalisa Rice is introduced to Billy Litchfield, a Truman Capote bon vivant type. Billy is a friend and who need direction as to how to decorate their homes, whom to invite to parties, what to wear—all of those most pressing human necessities of life.
So Paul and Annalisa Rice move into One Fifth and immediately begin to change the building. He wants air conditioners stuck through the walls. He fills the elegant ballroom with banks of computers and a monstrous fish tank filled with $10,000 (each) fish.
Seems this is where the morality play kicks in: Daring to change what New York society values is the greatest sacrilege to the money worshippers. That he is rude and ill-bred only adds to his outsider-ness. Paul will receive certain comeuppance. All outsiders seem to, except a lovely movie star, whose fame protects her.

Schiffer Diamond, the movie star, is in love with Philip Oakland, another building occupant and a screen writer. Middle-aged Philip, unfortunately, chooses to have an affair with Lola Fabricant, a much younger southern deb transplant, who has come to New York to become famous as a fashion designer or as an actress, whichever is easier. She finds trading sex for a fancy home and other favors less stressful than holding down an actual job. Since this screen writer, with his apartment at One Fifth, is famous, Lola decides she might as well marry him. But the movie star is in love with him, too.
Considering that the best laid…well, you get the idea.
And then we have Mindy Gooch, president of the condo association, who takes the care of One Fifth to her heart much as someone else might view holy orders. Of course, the awful Paul Rice and Mindy Gooch clash, with reverberations ringing from apartment to apartment. Almost as if cracks were opening in the walls themselves, noises are heard from floor to floor, lives are affected, people die and people change. One Fifth Avenue goes on. The noises are soon gone, peace settles, and the aristocracy continues.
Why does all of this sound like the machinations of the court of Louis XVI? Why does it have the ring of history about it? “Let them eat cake,” Marie Antoinette famously cried out when told the populous had no bread to eat. That bit of insensitivity tilted France toward revolution and dear Marie toward the guillotine. But wasn’t it during the Great Depression that light comedies and frivolous musicals grew to be popular? Maybe there is something satisfying, after all, to tales of kings and queens and golden touches.
Anyway, for all my posturing, I liked the book. So there.

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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