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 6/17/04
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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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