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 11/24/08
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Letters 11/24/08

- November 24th, 2008
Remembering Lori
Our little town is filled with voices: listen. Ours are the thousand beautiful voices of filmmakers and actors, authors and broadcasters, activists and
office-holders, musicians and painters and sculptors.
We lost one of those beloved voices on Wednesday. Lori Hall Steele was a writer, a journalist and essayist. She wrote about us, both from us and to us. She wrote about the heart and the hearth. She wrote about helping her toddler shovel tricycle trails in the snow. She wrote about the children who joined her “playing in the dirt” to plant flowers. “Bright crazy things were living,” she wrote, “and they helped.” She wrote about Phil Murray’s chocolate. She wrote about the re-birth of the old State Hospital. She wrote about the value of strong neighborhood schools.
Lori lived and worked from the center of this community. She wrote stories that pleased and provoked and moved us because she knew us. She cared about what mattered to us. She promoted the changes that are good for us. On fine days, she and her laptop would sit at a table outside Horizon Books. She must have gotten some writing done there, but it seems that she spent most of her time listening and responding as folks stopped to talk about the big issues, the small issues, and everything in between. Lori dwelled in the center of this community.
When her illness compelled her to ask for help, help arrived in abundance - and no wonder. It wasn’t just that we knew Lori. It wasn’t just that we loved Lori. We cherished Lori. Selfishly, we had to try to make her well, to restore her to the health that gave us those warm thoughts, those sparkling words, those big bright compassionate eyes... and oh, those dimples!
As Lori got sicker, we hoped for a miracle that didn’t come. Now that she’s gone, we’re left to do what her writings always invited us to do. Pay attention to the everyday miracles that do come. Appreciate the snowflakes, and the neighborhood sounds that float in through the windows. See the genie summoned when we polish our grandmother’s silver. Hear the love in our mother’s absent-minded chatter: “Your uncle called and we should take yoga class and how do you make apple crisp?...”
Lori Hall Steele was a vibrant voice, and it’s a sorrowful void of silence she leaves behind.

Bonnie Deigh • TC

Great Lakes cash cow?
If you doubt that Great Lakes water is at risk, see the full-page Morgan
Stanley ad on page 49 of the November 17 New Yorker magazine. Picture a gigantic water bottle superimposed on a gigantic city being built in a desert, and saying:
“WORLD WISE: Demand for water is growing twice as fast as the population. New methods of sourcing, purifying and transporting water will be essential to meet these demands. But what could these innovations mean for you? Speak to your Morgan Stanley Financial Advisor about where potential opportunities may lie. To find the smart investments today, you need to be world wise.”
Where else but in the world’s greatest supply of fresh water, the Great Lakes, would investors first look for the “sourcing” of water? We must support the efforts of Bart Stupak and the Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation to amend the Great Lakes Compact to prevent sales of our water as “products” for investors’ profits.
Anita Abbott • Northport
Churches & politics
In a letter to the Northern Express (November 10-16, 2008), Anahata Balance stated that “Since churches are listed as 501C [sic] organizations with the IRS, by law they are not able to participate in politics, nor officially protest.” The letter-writer is partially correct.
According to Publication 1828, the IRS Tax Guide for Churches and Religious Organizations, 501(c)(3) organizations are “absolutely prohibited” from endorsing or opposing a particular candidate for public office. However, they may engage in some lobbying on legislative actions (including ballot initiatives), as long as they do not “devote a substantial part of their activities to attempting to influence legislation.” Violating these restrictions may jeopardize the tax-exempt status of a church or religious organization.
If a church is to live its faith actively in the world, it must sometimes participate in the public square, especially to protest against injustice. While I disagree with the Catholic churches’ stand against embryonic stem cell research, I am glad that my country permits churches to have some voice in public life, and I am very glad that this voice is carefully limited.
My religious denomination – Unitarian Universalism – has a strong history of working passionately in favor of legislation that is just and non-discriminatory, from the 15th and 19th Amendments, to the civil rights movement of the 1960s, to the current struggle to ensure that all American citizens have equal rights to marriage and family.

Karen McCarthy • TC

TC‘s new manager
For too long, our city managers have lacked vision, expertise, advanced education in the field or knowledge of city planning. The poverty of skill and experience in the city manager position in Traverse City is made only more obvious by the necessity of The Grand Vision.
Now, after 17 years of Richard Lewis’ leadership the city still has no long-term plan and continues to react to developers’ demands and the changing demographics of the region rather than proactively charting its own course.
After saying that, I would love to say that the city has finally cast its net wide enough and found a truly qualified candidate for city manager. I can’t. The city chose R. Ben Bifoss.
While working as Manistee’s city manager Bifoss sold city-owned waterfront land so that Abonmarce Consultants could develop exclusive condominiums. Bifoss then left his position in city government to become a project manager for that same company, Abonmarche Consultants.
Does Traverse City need more of this nonsense? I encourage everyone to look into Mr. Bifoss’ actual accomplishments including the Harbor Village condominiums in Manistee, an architecturally bland real estate development, and ask themselves if this is what they want for Traverse City.

Kevin Summers • TC

Make a donation
This time of year, everyone donates. But listen, I work at a service company and have heard from several families that the Detroit area can’t handle all of the homeless so they are telling them to go North. I’m serious. No lie.
How sad to have to move and be homeless, and feel all alone.
My suggestion is that if you don’t need a “generous” donation this year - refuse it. Send it to someone that really needs it. Give food. Even the Grand Rapids area has had to close food pantries because they are empty. Food will be accepted with open arms.
Let’s take care of each other this year, with honesty, until life gets better for our state. There is a real need out there for our neighbors. Let’s be real Christians, and only take what you need, and GIVE all that you can.

Barb Lardie • via email

Advice for Democrats
Democrats should not take this election as a shift to the left, by the populace at large. I believe it was a repudiation of the Bush (and the Republican party’s) economic policies, intensified by his tremendous incompetence. These policies are wrongheaded and short sighted, and are long overdue to be discontinued. The country needs to move away from policies that shift the fruits of our economy strictly to the wealthy. We need a large and successful middle class and a safety net for the lowest members of society that for one reason or another are unable to function in our system. The people at the top will prosper anyway.
But it was a repudiation spurred by a disastrous financial collapse, not a sudden realization that things were going in the wrong direction. The electorate has a short memory about things like this. When the general public again feels that things are going in the right direction, they will turn back to their other concerns, right or wrong.
My largest frustration with Republican voters is that because they support one (or more) of the party’s positions, they feel they MUST support every position of their party, even if it’s to the detriment of society at large. Whether the issue is guns, religion, abortion (issues that good people can disagree on) or even something like racism or homophobia, I do not understand why the Republican rank and file support economic policies which are not good for them or the country.
If you look at the people who have been successful over the last eight years, the intentions of the Bush administration (and the Republican party) are clear. Oil company profits are obscene. Defense contractors like Blackwater and Halliburton are doing very well. Wal-mart - a purveyor of cheap junk from overseas and low paying jobs - prospers. Auto makers, with large groups of union workers, don’t prosper. The well being of 90 percent of the population is not even a concern.
The Democratic party needs to concentrate on getting our economic house in order. They should not immediately reach too far to correct the inequities they see under the Republicans.
Proceed carefully in correcting the many social inequities that exist in this country. You MUST succeed to insure the stability of the country and the stability of the Democratic Party.

Alan Petrie • East Jordan
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