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 · Our magic bubble
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Our magic bubble

Robert Downes - July 13th, 2009
Random Thoughts
Robert Downes 7/13/09
Our Magic Bubble
The recession doesn‘t seem to be putting much of a dent in Northern Michigan this summer, where cool weather has driven tourists off the beaches and into stores and restaurants to benefit the region‘s economy.
Anecdotally, we‘ve heard from our writers that tourism is down in some of the smaller towns around Northern Michigan, but you wouldn‘t know that in Traverse City, where we‘re recovering from the National Cherry Festival and its 500,000 visitors, while bracing for the TC Film Festival to start at the end of the month. The sidewalks in town were packed in early July as we weathered temperatures that seemed more in line with October. Rest assured, tourists, we locals also look forward to beach weather, since we‘re barely out of our winter coats.
But like the weather, the recession seems to have had a silver lining for Northern Michigan, and perhaps the state itself. Consider:
• Anne Stanton‘s recent articles on the meltdown of the local auto parts industry offered some encouraging news on the flip side of manufacturing in Michigan.
While the auto parts industry is in the ditch, local manufacturers are shifting gears to create innovative new products. Stanton‘s June 29 article, “Darwin‘s Law,“ pointed out the success of local manufacturers such as Tellurex, Opti Temp, Microline and Petoskey Plastics, who are exploring new technologies and markets that don‘t rely on the cyclical nature of the auto industry.
Consider that Michigan is packed with former auto part makers who are also thinking “outside the box“ on ways to compete globally with new technology and products. Given that, we need to think of Michigan as being in the process of reinventing itself, not down for the count.
• Our region is also becoming a magnet for the well-to-do, which will boost jobs, real estate and business. An article in this month‘s Traverse City Business News notes that private jet visits are skyrocketing at Cherry Capital Airport. Nearly 4,000 private jets or charter aircraft landed here last July, with 4,138 in August. Those jet arrivals are expected to increase this year.
Wealthy visitors and celebs are flying in to attend the month-long Horse Shows by the Bay and the TC Film Festival. Was that Oprah, Madonna and Mel Gibson we saw at last week‘s cherry pie eating contest? Probably not, but they‘ve been spotted visiting the region. As word gets around the celebrity world, perhaps Northern Michigan will turn into some version of Malibu North.
• Speaking of those festivals, Horse Shows by the Bay is bringing in 1,500 horses and riders along with thousands of support personnel from 34 states, Canada and Mexico. Up to 1,000 spectators are expected each week of the event, which runs July 8-Aug. 2. That‘s money, honey -- pumped into businesses throughout the region.
Similarly, filmmaker Michael Moore expects to exceed last year‘s mark of 80,000 admissions to the Film Festival, which celebrates its fifth anniversary July 29-Aug. 2. The festival will feature 71 films, representing more than 30 countries. Major film stars and directors will be in town for the red carpet treatment.
Bonus: the Film Festival will screen a 40th anniversary cut of the Woodstock concert film, with never-seen footage as well as appearances by some of those who performed at the 1969 event. Moore will also host the 20th anniversary screening of Roger & Me, which launched his career -- again, with special guests from the film attending. Let‘s hope former GM boss Roger Smith has been invited...
• Well, you get the picture; despite the doom & gloom in the news, we‘re privileged to live in something of a magic bubble here in Northern Michigan, where the local economy has been blessed by those who dare to innovate and create while others despair.
Here at the Express we‘re grateful to have sidestepped the ruin of the mainstream press in other parts of the country, and are thrilled to be part of this dynamic community.
But nationally, even the alternative newsweekly genre has been hit by the recession.
As an example, I traveled to Chicago and New York earlier this summer and found that the once-robust Chicago Reader, NY Press and Village Voice have become shadows of their former selves. The Chicago Reader used to be a three or four-section brick, but now it‘s about the same size as one of our summer issues. Alternative newspapers across the country are slitting their own throats by dumping cartoons and popular columns and moving their entertainment listings online. Ultimately, they give their readers fewer reasons to pick up their papers.
No worries on that score at the Express, where we‘ve added to our writing staff and have maintained our page count over prior years.
This isn‘t to say that we‘re all sailing on the Good Ship Lollipop, but a rising tide lifts all ships and ultimately, the good things happening in Northern Michigan will benefit us all.

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