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 · News · THE RETURN OF HENRY MORGENSTEIN
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None - August 19th, 2011  

Henry Morgenstein’s column photo from his Record-Eagle days.

TC, I Love Thee By Henry Morgenstein Between the Bays Publishing $16.99

The Traverse City Chamber of Commerce should be handing out Henry Morgenstein’s new book, “TC, I Love Thee,” to every tourist and prospective resident. Real Estate agents should buy cases of the books to give as gifts at closings. If you would like to join in a song to our beautiful area, this is that song.

Henry Morgenstein came to the United States in 1948 when he was brought to New York City from first Belgium, and then Havana, Cuba. In 1971 he moved to Traverse City, teaching English at Northwestern Michigan College for the next 30 years until his retirement in 2001.

This man loves Traverse City: unequivocally, unapologetically, wholeheartedly. He loves the area, the people, the houses, downtown, the lake. For years he’s fought for a sensible future, argued for sustainable growth, for using our resources to the best advantage, for preservation of our buildings, and for holding on to the unique character of the town.


After he came to TC, he was soon writing letters to the editor of the Record-Eagle, then eventually writing a column for the paper. After that came talks on various radio stations, including WNMC, Northwestern Michigan College’s radio station. It is these letters, essays, radio talks, and columns that are collected here, in this book. All with a common theme: the city that he loves. In “Traverse City is as close as I can come to paradise on Earth” (written in 1990) he recalls the dark tunnels of New York City.

“I lived in apartment 6C in New York City,” he writes. “A nice building at the very uppermost tip of the island of Manhattan. When I left my apartment to go anywhere I stepped outside my apartment, made sure the door was locked, walked through a dreary tunnel (long hallway) to a dank cave (elevator)…” But here, in the city he’s come to love, “I bicycle down Washington Street, State Street, Eighth Street. I bicycle all over town… What unbelievable peace and quiet reigns in this small town… Traverse City, you are close to my ideal city. How did I get so lucky?”


Never a man to steer away from controversy, one of the most telling exchanges in the book comes when the theneditor of the Record Eagle, Jim Herman, left it up to the readership, whether Henry should be given a regular column or not. Morgenstein, in his own defense, wrote “I think I am good at writing. I think I am good at clarifying an issue, at raising the various points that need to be raised. I write to make all of us aware of certain human issues—pollution, overpopulation—local issues—school buses—city streets…” He included a coupon to vote yes or no for him. Over 300 people voted and he got his column, until 1991, when he was fired for opposing the first invasion of Iraq.

One of his essays, about saving the beautiful buildings of the old state hospital, reads almost like prophecy. Although his dream of locating the college at the hospital site never materialized, many of his other wishes for the property have come true. At first, he envisioned the plan of the Palais Royal in Paris, designed in 1790:

“It included an exquisite theatre, a puppet show, a waxwork, and a theatre in which child actors performed. There were auction rooms, concert rooms, a salon for chess players, gambling clubs, purely social clubs, a Turkish bath, apartments to rent, several small hotels, numerous cafes and eating places. The upper floors were rented out.”

So, maybe some of that is still to come but he did describe great restaurants locating there . . . “Some posh apartment buildings. A building with specialty shops.”

Not bad. He suggested that the site become Traverse City’s Central Park; that the zoo be moved to the grounds; and that cars be banned in the area.

Some of that could still be in the future as the property defines itself. It might yet be Traverse City’s Central Park, cars might still be confined to the outer perimeters, and maybe the zoo animals we lost will wend their way back.


A bit of a renegade, Henry Morgenstein is definitely not a lover of cars. In “TC should walk into the future,” he champions walking or biking as the sanest means of transportation. In a not so prophetic pronouncement, he says in this 1986 essay, “Cars are not the wave of the future.” If he had his way, he would ban cars from almost all of the city, compelling residents to ride a bike as he does. A common sight in Traverse City was Henry on his bike, greeting neighbors and visitors. A one-man welcoming committee for the city he loves.

Perhaps my favorite lines from this book of elegiac, contentious, and thought provoking essays comes in “Ban all cars inside Traverse City” when he writes:

“Ban all cars inside Traverse City. When you get to our city limit you will please leave all guns, cars, and other mechanical noise-making machines at our front door. Now you may enter our world of peace, quiet, tranquility and children’s games.”

Well, maybe not during Cherry Festival, or the Film Festival, but it is something to think about.

Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli will be talking about “Dogs, Logs, and Dead Folks” at the Traverse City Library August 22, 7 pm. Her new mystery, “Dead Dogs and Englishmen,” is in bookstores now.

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