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 · Art · The hopeful photography of Chip...
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The hopeful photography of Chip Duncan

Kristi Kates - September 14th, 2009
The Hopeful Photography
of Chip Duncan
Photojournalist’s humanitarian images featured at Crooked Tree
By Kristi Kates 9/14/09

Photographer and photojournalist Chip Duncan spent the early ‘80s garnering experience as a TV news reporter at an NBC affiliate, a job that he says helped him “understand the range of experience and challenges facing journalists and photographers.”
During the past 10 years, Duncan’s filmmaking has been aimed more towards the national public television audience; his work through his own Duncan Group documentary company has seen his productions air everywhere from PBS and the Discovery Channel to the Travel Channel and HBO.
His most recent documentary production, a one-hour biography on President Herbert Hoover, will air nationally on PBS on October 26, and his most recent photography exhibition will visit Petoskey from September to mid-November at the Crooked Tree Arts Center.

Duncan says that shooting still photography was a natural progression for him; he began shooting motion (film/video) in 1980, and moved into stills in 2003, lately making the transition from film to digital photography.
“The shooting style and equipment may change, but it’s still photojournalism,” he explains. “Film is not going the way of the dinosaur; but still photographers are now being exposed to the same technologies and options that have been in place in the TV and motion picture industry for years.”
Much of Duncan’s still works focus on portraits of people in the developing world; it’s the interaction with people who are living under difficult circumstances that fuels his interest, and his hope as far as the impact of his work is to break stereotypes while shedding light on the similarities between cultures and people.
“I believe that most people are innately good, and that most of us are simply trying to get through our lives in a meaningful, interesting, healthy, and fulfilling way,” Duncan says. “Most people do not want nor do they invite conflict. The idea that the average Afghan or Iraqi is any more of an extremist than the American is simply false. There are very few extremists in the USA or elsewhere. That said, they can be found anywhere and they often do everything within their means to create chaos and to have their voices heard. My own way to navigate the world is to spend time searching for hope, reinforcing the good, and using my professional or personal resources to help give a voice to people or situations that, for whatever reason, lack the resources to do it themselves. I try not to make value judgments about cultures, religions or governments I don’t know or haven’t experienced; I try not to view extremism in the developing world differently than I view it at home. Terrorism has been around for thousands of years. It’s not going away any time soon.”

Crooked Tree Visual Arts Director and Gallery Manager Gail DeMeyere met Duncan at last year’s Bobby Kennedy exhibition, and found his work immediately riveting.
“The most striking thing about the photography of Chip Duncan is the honesty with which he tells his story,” DeMeyere explains. “some of these images are not pretty. Some are painful to imagine. Yet there is the core human experience that connects his work. People in the end want certain basic things: dignity, joy, purpose of being and hope for a better world for the next generation. Chip is clear in his mission to reveal that through his Images of Humanity and Hope, there are common threads that weave cultures together.”
While Duncan’s favorite place to film or shoot images is Peru (“I’ve been there a dozen times, and it keeps growing on me,” he enthuses), he says that the most difficult place to shoot was Darfur, in part due to security concerns and government and infrastructure restrictions, but more so because he feels there are fewer options for the people who are suffering.
“Until the international community - and by that I mean governments - decides to take on the issue in a meaningful way, the people of Darfur will continue to be marginalized - which in the case of Darfur means relocation and refugee camps, poverty, suffering, and worse. If it were not for NGOs such as Relief International (www.ri.org for more info), there would be no help at all.”

Duncan’s latest exhibition - the one Petoskey and Northern Michigan residents will get a chance to view - will likely serve as a thought-provoking reminder that not everyone around the world is as fortunate as many of us living in relative safety here. But the commonality continues that no matter where one’s residence might be, the basic needs of people are the same no matter where in the world you might go.
“It’s hard to say what a viewer will experience when they come to the exhibition,” Duncan ponders, “my sense is that they’ll get a better understanding of how similar people are and how many of us value the same things - family, work, humor. I also think the exhibition helps to break down stereotypes about Muslim men. My experience suggests that fear is often irrational and often causes unnecessary problems.
“Many of the pictures of Muslim men in the exhibition show them in a very different way than they’re portrayed in various news media. And certainly, they are not the same images our government wanted us to see after 9/11. People are people - and I’ve met many, many good people all over the world.”
DeMeyere agrees, and hopes that Duncan’s photographs will also encourage people to help others.
“As much as we are different, we are really more the same,” she says. “life has a beginning, a middle and an end, and if you are privileged to live a life less challenging tham the people who appear in these images, perhaps you can take away from the exhibition gratitude, perspective and, through relief organizations, the desire to contribute to those less fortunate than us living here in Northern Michigan.”

The official opening for Chip Duncan’s Images of Humanity and Hope will be held on Friday, September 18 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Crooked Tree Arts Center in downtown Petoskey. Chip Duncan will give a Coffee at Ten presentation of his work on September 18 at 10 a.m. Other programming for this exhibition will be announced; the exhibition itself runs through November 11. For more information on Duncan’s work, visit

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