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 · Features · Marijuana Activists March On:...
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Marijuana Activists March On: Interview: Jeff Fillmore on the Medicinal Side of Cannabis

Eartha Melzer - May 15th, 2003
Between the War on Drugs and the War on Terror it‘s not often that the benefits of marijuana make the news. In an effort to get this message out people in hundreds of cities participated in a Global March for Cannabis Liberation on May 3. Jeff
Fillmore is an organizer with the Michigan Cannabis Action Network (MCAN) which sponsored the Millennium Marijuana March in Traverse City.

NE: What is the Cannabis Action Network?
Fillmore: The Michigan Cannabis Action Network is a group that is trying to educate the people about the use of cannabis, be it marijuana or hemp, and the laws that apply to it.

NE: What are some of the projects of the MICAN?
Fillmore: We register voters. We go to festivals and we organize marches. Basically, we are an information group and we share in the effort to try to change the laws here in Michigan. We work closely with Benzie County NORML.

NE: Can you give me any statistics on what the drug war is costing our area?
Fillmore: In our area, no I couldn‘t. Basically, my angle on this is medicinal and that is where I put most of my interest.

NE: OK. Can you tell me some about the medical angles?
Fillmore: I was just reading today that over in England scientists have discovered that cannibadiol that comes into your brain from smoking marijuana could slow down the aging process in the brain. It‘s one of the news things -- they are discovering new uses for the plant all the time. They are basically calling it the new aspirin because of its many uses.

NE: Do you know anyone who has had legal problems because of their medicinal use of marijuana?
Fillmore: My friend Renee Emery Wolf is well known -- she is from Ann Arbor and
she has been jailed. Dr. Joan Bello, she is an author. She uses it for her son for seizure related problems and her and her husband have been jailed numerous times. Basically what it comes down to is people who try to use it in a positive way
can still go to jail and that should not be.

NE: Some states have legalized medical marijuana,
Fillmore: Yes. I think seven states have and the federal government says they can over ride it, they can override states rights. Last year we protested the DEA down in Saginaw because the DEA on June 6th last year went and raided the compassionate cannabis clubs in California that give away this product to people that have a

NE: I have read that a federal management office gave the DEA got a zero for effectiveness. How do you feel/think about the DEA‘s approach to managing drugs?
Fillmore: To be honest with you, I think that they should reevaluate some drugs, basically marijuana, and change the ruling on that. I am against highly addictive recreational use drugs such as cocaine and heroine. I hate to see people ruin
their lives. The same with alcohol. The point is that it is a civil rights thing. We should be able to do it. It is our bodies.

NE: Can you tell me more about why people would want to use marijuana medically?
Fillmore: Prevention of seizures, in multiple sclerosis it helps to stop muscles spasms. It is also a lung cleaner, believe it or not, even though you are
inhaling smoke... it is a lung cleaner. It‘s good for chronic pain. It is really good for, as you know, cancer and AIDS patients, it helps them to gain weight and be able to eat (while undergoing chemotherapy)... mental well being, a sense of hope -- it does lift your sprits.

NE: What are you hoping will be the outcome of this march?
Fillmore: I hope this will interest more people in speaking up. We would like to get it in on the ballot so that people can vote on it.

NE: Are you discouraged at all by the ballot measures that have failed recently?
Fillmore: No. We have to expect ups and downs.

NE: Maybe there will be some parents reading this article wondering how they ought to look at their kids experimenting with marijuana. From a health standpoint, should this be a matter of concern?
Fillmore: Personally, I don‘t think children should be allowed to smoke it unless it is used in a medical manner such as for ADHD.

Fillmore: It is a definite advantage for ADHD. It allows the children to rest, relax -- they‘re not as hyper and it also allows them to channel their thoughts. You find many ADHD children are extremely brilliant. When they get interested in
something they learn everything about it.

NE: I imagine this therapy isn‘t available for people in this area.
Fillmore: Unfortunately. I don‘t like that idea of pumping kids full of synthetics drugs. All that is going to do is ruin the insides of their bodies as
they go down the road of life. It gives them a head start on liver and kidney disease.
Natural drugs like marijuana, personally I think that
is really the safest way to go. I take anti-convulsant, anti-anxiety and anti-depressant... if was legal I could cut my pill intake in half.

NE: How long have you needed to take these drugs?
Fillmore: I started having seizures in ‘91... it‘s been a long hard road... I didn‘t know much about it for a long time.

NE: How did you first learn about the possibility that cannabis could be useful for your condition?

Fillmore: I run sound for a band and I met a gal who turned me on to “The Emperor Wears No Clothes“ by Jack Hare. It is basically the marijuana/hemp Bible. I went through and read about the medicinal aspects of it. I went to the Hash bash and I met Dr. Joan Bello and her son who has not had a seizure in the 20 years he has been using marijuana medicinally.
When I was younger and I went to rallies I always thought that it was just about ‘legalize marijuana everybody, let‘s get stoned!‘ and flower children but it is not about that. In fact it is really a personal subject; to a lot of marijuana users
it is a spiritual thing

NE: Tell me about that.
Fillmore: It allows you to look at things in different perspectives to a point of another perspective, more accepting, less judgmental. Since I‘ve started using it again I have found that I have become a different person.

NE: How so?
Fillmore: Like where I live, I am the neighborhood psychiatrist in a lot of ways; people come to me and they talk to me and they feel comfortable. I don‘t think that is what they would‘ve seen years ago because I was stressing out. I‘m really relaxed now and that gives me time to look at things.

NE: So you feel like you have become more of an asset to the community through your marijuana use?
Fillmore: Yes, I really do.

NE: That is quite the contrast with the message that the government puts out.
Fillmore: Right. I am more concerned now with what is going on for everybody than I am just for myself. It has given me a chance to open my eyes and take a look around.

NE: Do you think that the laws will change soon or do you think peoples? attitudes are going to change? Do you think with all the other wars going on they will let up on the marijuana, what do you think is going to happen?
Fillmore: With the current dictator right now?

NE: In the next, yeah, couple years.
Fillmore: You‘ll have to pardon my French, but under dictator Bush I don‘t see anything changing. This guy wants to clamp down on the country and build a wall around it and suppress the people. I don‘t see anything really going anywhere
right now in the United States.
Other countries are showing the way. European countries and Canada all started with hemp and now they are easing up on their marijuana laws and they are not having any problems. You‘ll find that if you ease up on marijuana laws you see a decrease in the use of harder drugs. If marijuana is there and you can use it at your leisure whether it be in the privacy of your home or in an establishment like a coffeehouse or bar type place, not walking around in public, I don‘t think that is a good idea...

NE: You think that if people could use marijuana in a safe, regulated atmosphere they would be less likely to take things like cocaine and heroine?
Fillmore: Yes. In the countries that have eased the laws you see less people taking drugs, even less people smoking marijuana because the taboo is gone and for kids, it has nothing to do with rebelling.

NE: What do you think about those ads that say that if you are buying marijuana you are supporting terrorists?
Fillmore: I think if the government would allow people to buy marijuana it wouldn‘t be a problem. I still don‘t think marijuana supports terrorism. The United States government might support terrorism. Flying jets into the World Trade Center, that has to do with the government and not with smoking marijuana.

NE: Why is the government so interested in trying to keep people from using marijuana?
Fillmore: Marijuana and its sister plant hemp. With the hemp plant, anything you can make out of petroleum you can make out of hemp oil, so there‘s one big hurdle. Wood and paper products are another hurdle. When you get to marijuana the pharmaceutical companies don‘t want it because they would loose billions. No more Prozac. No more Ritalin. Industry stands to lose but a lot of people stand to gain, especially farmers. This is a weed; you don‘t have to worry about dumping tons of chemical and giving it to the public and killing your topsoil.

NE: What did you think about this business with Judge Gilbert? (District Judge Thomas Gilbert sought treatment for alcohol abuse after admitting he smoked marijuana at a Rolling Stones concert last Fall.)
Fillmore: My opinion is that if they are going to let him back in then I think that he should have to take random urine tests and I think that he should have to blow before work, after lunch and after work.
And I think that should hold true for all judges, people in the court system and police officers. Yes. We pay their wages. If you were to do a job for the government then you would have to be tested. Now these are government employees, how come
they are not required to be tested?

NE: Why do you think?
Fillmore: I know why... (he laughs)... they are not going to do that.

NE: Because they want to be free to use drugs?
Fillmore: Yes, I really think so, plus it would crumble the governmental infrastructure if they had to get rid of half the people in it because half the
people show positive.
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