Letters

Letters 12-14-2014

Come Together There is a time-honored war strategy known as “divide and conquer,” and never has it been more effective than now. The enemy is using it against us through television, internet and other social media. I opened a Facebook account a couple of years back to gain more entries in local contests. Since then I had fallen under its spell; I rushed into judgment on several social issues based on information found on those pages

Quiet The Phones! This weekend we attended two beautiful Christmas musical events and the enjoyment of both were significantly diminished by self-absorbed boors holding their stupid iPhones high overhead to capture extremely crucial and highly needed photos. We too own iPhones, but during a public concert we possess the decency and manners to leave them turned off and/or at home. Today’s performance, the annual Messiah Sing at Traverse City’s Central Methodist Church, was a new low: we watched as Mr. Self-Absorbed not only took several photos but then afterwards immediately posted them to his Facebook page. We were dumbfounded.

A Torturous Defense In defense of the C.I.A.’s use of torture in a mostly fruitless search for vital information, some suggest that the dire situation facing us after 9-11, justified the use of torture even at the expense of the potential loss of much of our nation’s moral authority.

Home · Articles · News · Letters · Letters 6/17/04
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Letters 6/17/04

Various - June 17th, 2004
Repeat offender?
Well folks, the story of my legal troubles continues… For those of you who don’t remember, I was sentenced eight months ago today, for use of marijuana. My probation has been successful in every way. I’ve attended the required classes, paid the required fines and costs of the paper shufflers on Washington Street, and I haven’t missed, or failed, a urine screen to this day. And yet, disregarding all of this, I was arrested on Mother’s Day for a violation of my probation: a dilute urine screen. To all those who are in the dark, this means that I drank entirely too much water on that day. I spent a night in jail for the crime of being too clean. Here’s a history of the facts…
By the time I reached 27 years on this rock, I had passed three kidney stones. My doctor told me to stop drinking Mountain Dew, and start drinking water. I am well hydrated. I currently work in a kitchen, in front of a 500-degree oven. I stay well hydrated. On evenings when I have to leave work to satisfy the state’s desire for my urine, I make sure that I can perform on command whenever my boss says that I have time to take a break. I am very well hydrated, so that I can use my break time most efficiently. I was arrested, jailed, and reprimanded by the judge, for drinking water.
Subsequently, I went in to the courthouse and I paid the balance of my fines with an extra $100 added, because of the aforementioned bench warrant. (Spending a night in jail, for nothing, obviously wasn’t enough.) I did this final payment of all fines in hopes that I could put my probation behind me, and leave this state for better prospects in New York City. I told my probation officer this, and after some convincing (maybe begging and pleading), she told me that she’d “ask the judge next week.” It’s been more than a week. I’ve called back, left messages, stayed clean, and still no word back. I feel as though I’m being kept a prisoner of Traverse City. A prison with no walls and a beautiful landscape, but a prison nonetheless. The powers that be are forcing me to stay here, and they even tried to tell me to mail Alcoholics Anonymous attendance sheets to them, from New York! I don’t want, or need, this beurocratic nonsense following me from state to state. Be done with me, please. You can get no more blood money from me.
I’m sorry to say that this town has sucked all of the energy out of my soul. It has choked the creativity out of me, and put me in a stranglehold that I can’t fight my way out of. This town, full of piranhas in uniform, no longer deserves my time, my presence, my energy, my intellect, or my money. I will be leaving and it makes me sad that I won’t miss this place at all. Good luck all of you peaceful non-violent offenders; you are still dirty, disgusting criminals that deserve to be in jail, where you can be called “stupid” by ignorant turn-keys with a napoleonic, domination complex.
Just think of the great day when all pot smokers are incarcerated, and the whole of society is shut down because of it. So beautiful, no shops, no hotels, no restaurants or bars, and even less culture than we have now. Then, finally, the cops in this town will really and truly have nothing to do.

Robert L. Pierce • TC

Help wanted in Benzie
Persons wishing to unseat Benzie Sheriff Robert A. Blank in the upcoming November 2 general election must file the correct nominating petitions with Benzie County’s clerk shortly.
Candidates without party affiliation must file at least 40 valid signatures by July 15 to be certified and appear on the November 2 ballot. Partisan candidates’ opportunity to make the ballot has passed, though they also may still register as an independent.
Sheriff Blank has recently testified, under oath, that he authorizes his employees to consume illegal narcotics to assist in furthering investigations or to effect arrests. Yes that’s what I said. And, yes, it’s highly illegal! Even for Benzie County cops who’ve always believed they’re above the law. I invite you to view Sheriff Blank when he testifies, under oath, about this new, unconventional approach in law enforcement he’s been pioneering.
Sheriff Blank has a distinct history of utilizing these unlawful entrapment methods. In 1978, Michigan’s Court of Appeals ruled that Blank could be prosecuted for consuming a controlled substance (hashish). Blank now cites that very situation -- when he was smoking hash while working undercover -- to justify his current policy which allows officers to freely and openly violate the same drug laws they’re selectively enforcing. What is he thinking?
As reported by the Traverse City Record-Eagle, on April 20, 2004, “Lawsuits against the sheriff’s department - over issues ranging from police misconduct to sexual assault at the jail- cost the county and its insurance company more than $529,000 to defend and another $760,000 to settle over the past three years. Two lawsuits that allege officer misconduct are currently pending against the department.”
The recent barrage of civil rights lawsuits filed against the sheriff‘s department are destined to continue if drastic changes are not made to its law enforcement philosophies. And, our county’s liability insurance premiums will continue to endlessly skyrocket.

Eric L. VanDussen • Beulah



Cross Village park threat
At present Cross Village has a modest size public beach park facing Lake Michigan. With the recent lake levels, it is made up of about eight acres of mixed wetlands, firm land, and sand bars with approximately 700 feet of lake frontage. Out of the total eight acres, about five acres are being considered for dedication as “land conservancy.” A recently upgraded public boat launch ramp already exists in the part of the park in current use. The Cross Village Beach Park was created on property given to Cross Village Township in several parts over the last 54 years. The deed for transfer of the original gift to the Township in 1950 states (in part) about the intended use for the land: “ … to provide for a park and for recreational purposes.”
Now it appears that activities by the Cross Village Township Board place this community resource at risk. Proposed plans for a substantial makeover of the park have been prepared by the engineering firm United Design of Cheboygan at the request of the township board. Redevelopment of the property according to these plans, which have just recently become accessible to the public, calls for the construction of a permanent, sizeable, double-well boat launch facility.
Lake frontage that would be left after this construction is so small as to be inadequate for purposes of use as a community beach (indeed, the area designated as beach would essentially disappear with rising lake levels!). Increased boat traffic that could be expected with the major new launch facility (it has been touted as a future “commercial fishing port”) would make the area unsafe for swimming in any case.
Thus, the proposed redevelopment of the beach park would result in the sacrifice
of facilities for swimming and family summer outings in order to convenience a narrow
set of users by construction of a boat launch facility for larger boats. We feel that these proposed changes to the Cross Village Beach/Port Park are not entirely in keeping with uses favored by the local community.
On a separate issue, we question the process that led to hiring of an engineering firm and the production by them of complete construction prints for the proposed changes to the Cross Village Beach/Port Park. If any change in use of the park is to be considered, the proposed changes should be aired in public gatherings, where all views on the subject can be heard in a neutral setting. Of course, this provision for public sentiment to be taken into account should precede any action toward creation of a plan for construction.
It should go without saying that the responsibility of the Cross Village Township Board would then be to act according to the wishes of the local community at large. As it stands, the design work was done at the request of the Township Board without benefit of involvement of an informed “public at large.”
Given the circumstances it would seem appropriate for the Cross Village Township Board to cease all activities related to plans for permitting, financing, and construction of the redevelopment project, at least for the time being. And the board should institute truly public procedures for review of any alterations to the Beach Park, procedures designed properly to encourage involvement by all members of the community.

John Taylor • Cross Village Shores


Withdraw from Iraq
Were the real reasons for a war with Iraq ever discussed and debated?
Weren’t WMD, removal of Saddam, conversion to democracy, Iraqi freedom and linking 9/11 to Iraq really marketing reasons to win public support?
When will we learn the real reasons for the Iraq “war”? Probably never? As President Bush said, most of us will not be here when history makes its judgment.
The reasons were no doubt an eclectic collection from an association of strange bedfellows. Just maybe one of the catalysts for the Iraqi experiment stems from
an organization established in 1997 called
the Project for the New American Century. This organization was a nonprofit, educational organization whose mission was to develop a study to promote American global leadership.
Many of those associated with the organization were some former 1970s liberals who referred to themselves as neoconservatives. The organization published a report, “Rebuilding America’s Defenses... Strategy, Forces and Resources For a New Century.” It appears that this report may have served as the initial philosophical blueprint for the Iraqi invasion.
There was an absence of honest and open public debate and no focus as to the real reasons for invading Iraq; there was only self-deception that led to poor planning. Thus the Iraq “war” was doomed to failure from the very start. It was not really a war: it was a grandiose social and cultural experiment to be imposed by military force.
It is not the first time that the leaders of other nations have dictated cultural change that has resulted in great upheaval accompanied by substantial prestige, social and monetary costs. Unfortunately, in this case the costs involve the citizens of two countries.
Now we must have the integrity, the self realization and the cajones to admit that America’s strategy to change Iraq is flawed. The right course of action is to admit failure and have an open and honest debate as to how to withdraw the military at the earliest possible time. At the end of the Civil War General Lee said, as he surveyed the carnage on the battlefield, “It was failure of leadership.” We should not continue to compound our failure in Iraq.

Harold D. Adams • Bloomfield Hills


A personal note...
During World War II, protecting the locks at Sault St. Marie was vital to national security. Many residents of Leland fulfilled our duty for the war effort standing watch for planes in the little lookout at the top of the old courthouse. I felt very proud, at age 14, to be called upon to be part of that. I also grew up in a business that depended on the traffic to and from the courthouse for our livelihood, particularly when court was in session. My parents, at the Bluebird, provided wonderful noon dinners for all concerned with court proceedings. We depended upon the court and many employees of the courthouse for our survival in business.
Do not move our county seat!
The present location is perfect. Once the jail is gone and the street between jail and courthouse is closed, the potential for a fine new or renovated courthouse will be in place.
I can’t imagine anyone thinking otherwise. The courthouse is vital to the Leland community and needs to stay where it is. Those Leland residents “pro” moving the county seat to a rural location need to examine their loyalties to our precious communities.

Eloise Fahs • Leland

 
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