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..

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- November 9th, 2009
Letters 11/09/09
Parents & responsibility
Is this article about the high costs parents pay for their children’s crimes or is it a sob story about a teen drug addict? (Re: “The High Price of Toking,” 10/26.) The fact is that teens with parents that take responsibility for their children’s actions make
better parents.
This article shows that the father, Dan, was trying to get out of paying his son’s fines rather than simply having his son, Trevor, assume some of the responsibility. The saddest part of this story is that Dan did not seem to be able to control Trevor. Even after months in rehab Trevor continued to ‘hang with the wrong crowd’ and use drugs and alcohol. Why did Dan allow this? Considering the lack of parental control in young Trevor’s life, I agree that the parents should be responsible for the fines and costs.
I feel sorry for Trevor’s mother; she seems to have had no say in what discipline Trevor received and yet she paid the fines and costs without complaint.
I am the non-custodial parent of a teenage boy (he lives with his grandmother due to the poor choices I made in the past). I have already had to pay some court costs for the choices he has made. Yet, whenever I try to suggest a different way to discipline, or voice an opinion as to the unacceptable behavior of his friends, I am reminded that I do not have custody and therefore (in their opinion) I have no say in his upbringing.
I understand how Trevor’s mother must feel, and I am sorry for her loss.

Elizabeth Fox • via email

Advice for journalists
In his column Robert Downes reflected about which stories to pursue in the Nov.
3-10 Northern Express. In that issue you carried a long story by Anne Stanton about a woman who could be brought up on a murder charge. You went through her history in painstaking detail in a manner reminiscent of Jerry Springer.
I would argue that such a story should not be featured in your newspaper. Why? Because it does not relate to larger issues that affect the public. By contrast, your piece on Dan Coddington (“The High Price of Toking”) and the justice of courts inflicting large monetary obligations upon youth and parents is totally appropriate because it lays bare state laws and law enforcement practices that could be changed.
While the difficulty in getting all the facts frequently provides a barrier to writing a story (as Downes indicates), some stories are not worth investigating simply because they have no significance outside the people directly involved. Reject the stories for which evidence cannot be found. Reject the stories that have no significance. Following those rules you should be able to do a terrific job on the rest!

Richard Fidler • TC

Juvenile justice
“The High Cost of Toking” was an awfully good, interesting, dimensioned, detailed story. Thanks for a fine read about an extremely important set of issues.
I’ve rarely seen these issues written about with such unexpected and surprising detail, or written about with human faces and identities.
Ordinarily newspapers mention these issues only in the police blotter, and never delve into or question the actual process juveniles and their families have to go through.
Clearly there is a profound disconnect between what the community wants for juveniles in criminal trouble, what the community assumes happens to them, and what really happens to them.

Bob Merkin • Chesterfield, Mass.
The party of ‘no‘
This week we have seen the Republican Party members not showing up for a committee meeting on energy legislation. What is needed is a comprehensive national energy policy that addresses clean coal, nuclear power, natural gas, wind and solar power, but GOP members decided not to show up.
The party of “NO” has also sided with private healthcare providers and are rejecting a comprehensive overhaul of the healthcare system. While Republicans “stonewall” this process, insurance premiums have tripled, co-pays and deductibles have increased, and individuals and families are left with no affordable coverage.
The GOP is also against regulations
holding banks and financial institutions responsible and making their actions transparent. These same financial institutions brought our economy into a deep recession and have a “death grip” on our economy and government.
The GOP leadership needs to decide if they are going to address and contribute to the debate and solve the many problems associated with energy policy, affordable healthcare, and regulations of financial institutions or just become extinct. If so, the party of “NO” should step aside and let the other party solve the issues that affect us all.

Ronald D. Dykstra • Beulah

Digs Jonesin‘ crossword
As a devoted Express reader, it seems to me that a glaring omission occurred when you did not herald the addition of “Jonesin‘ Crosswords” to your publication. Even if your articles were not consistently thoughtful and engaging, the red newspaper boxes would be sought for that feature alone.
Matt Jones is truly an artist. He is playful, but not at the expense of intelligence. Also of note is the fact that he is, to my knowledge, the first published crossword constructor to have crossed the blue line; but again, not at the expense of taste.
To his credit, Jones has created a unique niche for himself (and us) while escaping the stranglehold of the Will Shortz machine and the staid requirements of middle-American dailies.
Cruciverbalists! Enigmatologists! Ink users! Hear my lay -- I sing the joy of “Jonesin’ Crosswords!”

Matt Smith • TC

Prime cuts
A butcher looks at an animal and sees meat and profits in cuts. The animal has a different perspective.
When it comes to taxes I see the politicians and the power brokers who sing the praises of cuts as the butchers. They and their cabal promote cuts because they get the vast majority of the pork. The tax cuts implemented during the Bush years have cost us over $2 trillion in lost revenue. The consequences are that the butchers are very happy and the rest of us bleed. Look at our schools, our police, our fire, our roads, our jobs, our senior centers, our health care and more.
The butchers are now saying we can’t afford health care for everyone. We have to cut more. We have to tighten our belts. Yet I don’t hear any of the butchers saying they want to pay their fair share or give back any of the $2 trillion, or give up their tax paid health care.
Perspective is key. A democracy demands that We the People not be the pork.

Arnold Stieber • Grass Lake

In last week’s story about Anne Avery Miller and the mystery surrounding her son’s death, the article mistakenly stated that Anne’s mother, Joanne Szymkawiak, took bullets out of the home on January 16, 2008. In fact, the date was November 8, 2007, the day after Sam Avery died and while Anne was hospitalized (she said she wanted to prevent another suicide attempt).

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