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 · Random Thoughts · Seeking a new direction
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Seeking a new direction

Robert Downes - May 4th, 2009
Seeking a new direction
Robert Downes 5/4/09

Rick Snyder, the surprise Republican candidate for governor in 2010, strikes you as the kind of guy who could save the Grumpy Old Party from going down the path to extinction.
With an open expression, a youthful demeanor and an emphatic way of listening, Snyder thinks of himself as a “green” Republican, interested in preserving the environment and promoting alternative energy as avenues for solving Michigan’s job crisis. An Ann Arbor venture capitalist with the firm Ardesta, he served as the interim CEO of Gateway Computers a few years back, offering credence that he may be the sort of person with big ideas and business savvy to turn our state around.
Snyder stopped by the
Express offices last week as part of his statewide listening tour. “I’ve been visiting communities across the state to hear what people have to say about jobs and Michigan’s direction,” he said.
Much of what he’s heard has been pretty gloomy, especially coming direct to Traverse City from the Upper Peninsula, where unemployment is above 20 percent, with not much hope on the horizon.
So we were quick to point out that life seems to be much brighter here in the ‘magic bubble’ of northwestern Michigan, where various windpower projects are starting to take root, along with our robust tourism and agricultural industries. We pointed out that the Grand Traverse Commons renovation project in Traverse City is going like gangbusters and that our region is percolating with ideas for festivals, downtown destinations and new manufacturing schemes.
Not surprisingly, Snyder feels that Michigan suffers from a leadership crisis. This is what every Republican candidate for governor might be expected to say, including U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra of Holland, State Attorney General Mike Cox, Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land, and Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson -- one of whom will face off against Lt. Governor John Cherry in the next election.
But what may set Snyder apart from that pack is that he doesn’t come off as an “ideological” Republican of the sort that has knee-capped the party with a hard-right slant.
That, of course, may also be what does him in, because members of his own party have already smeared him as being a “moderate” -- pariahs which the GOP has sought to rip out root-and-branch from their so-called “Big Tent” of inclusion (and if ever there was an oxymoron, it’s the Big Tent metaphor of this aging white mens‘ party).
In March, the Grand Rapids Press wrote about Snyder’s struggle to avoid being tarred as a moderate by the Right to Life crowd. He was singled out for giving $1,000 to the Republican Leadership Council, which is deemed to be too “liberal” on social causes, and he backed last November’s successful embryonic stem cell initiative with a $2,000 donation to Cure Michigan.
His campaign adviser, John Yob, rushed to assert that Snyder is a pro-life candidate, which apparently sets the bar for all Republicans who hope to make it in the party.
Message? Republican candidates are expected to get in line on issues that are out of touch with mainstream America if they hope to get on the ballot.
Consider what the Republican Party has come to these days. Each night on television we see President Obama and the Democrats taking bold action on health care, the economy, Afghanistan, torture, the banking crisis, mortgages, jobs, the auto industry... Who knows? They may be screwing up, but they’re doing something. And there following right behind is some nagging Republican naysayer, taking shots and obstructing progress without offering any plausible way out of our nation’s troubles.
Then there’s the party’s de facto leader, Rush Limbaugh, who actually huffs like a baboon or an alpha male gorilla in his TV appearances (check out Animal Planet and see) and has put RNC Chairman Michael Steele (and other top Republicans) into the cravenly role of apologizing for pointing out that he seems to be off his meds most of the time.
That’s not leadership. Someone in the GOP needs to give this bully a hard and very public slap the way Bill Clinton put left-wing activist Sistah Souljah in her place during his first presidential campaign.
Last week, a poll claimed that only 21 percent of Americans identify themselves as Republicans these days, and there was much head-scratching on the talk shows as to why there’s not a single Republican congressman in New England. And why, oh why, did Senator Arlen Specter defect from the party after 29 years on the Republican side of the aisle?
Specter provided the answer in a press conference: “Since my election in 1980, as part of the Reagan Big Tent, the Republican Party has moved far to the right. Last year, more than 200,000 Republicans in Pennsylvania changed their registration to become Democrats. I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans.”
That perhaps, is why more moderate candidates like Rick Snyder could be the salvation of the Republican Party. The winning GOP issues and constituencies of the past: right-to-life, fundamentalist religion, tax cuts for the rich, opposing stem cell research and universal health care, denying global warming, opposition to gay rights, and launching a war with no exit strategy -- to name a few -- are a losing hand. As many commentators have noted, the Republican Party is shrinking into the party of the Old Confederacy, both geographically and socially.
But that could turn on a dime -- just as it did for the Democrats.
If you’ll recall, less than 10 years ago, Karl Rove was predicting a “permanent majority” for the Republican Party, with America becoming a virtual one-party nation.
It was only because of a series of spectacular blunders on the part of the Bush administration that we avoided getting on that train. That, and the unexpected appearance of conservative and centrist Democrats on the national scene who swept the 2006 congressional elections with new ideas.
So, don’t write the Republican Party off... unless of course, they keep following their same old talk radio recipe for failure. If they can get a few more moderates in the party like Rick Snyder -- who seem to be a bit more clued in on what mainstream Americans want these days -- you’ll see a big resurgence.
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