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 · Moving On
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Moving On

Robert Downes - January 5th, 2009
Met a young guy over the holidays who is moving to Australia this week to take on a new job.
“How’s the economy doing there?” I asked.
“Not all that great, but better than here,” he said.
It sounds like a pretty sweet deal, working as an accountant in Brisbane, which is a city on Australia’s “Gold Coast” of spectacular beaches and tropical skies. Brad said he planned to learn how to surf and would be making frequent trips to New Zealand and New Guinea to audit businesses on behalf of the firm that is sending him Down Under.
Although he‘s from Florida, Brad‘s story made me think of all the people in Michigan who are moving on in search of a job.
Consider this astounding fact: According to the Detroit News, 109,257 people moved out of Michigan between 2007 and 2008. Factoring in births and the 16,627 brave souls who actually moved to Michigan last year, our population dropped by 46,000 in total. But the number of those moving on continues to rise: more than 260,000 have left since 2005 for places like Texas and Arizona. Our state‘s population is dipping below 10 million.
That‘s not all bad, because when the economy turns around, there will be work for those who stuck it out in the Wolverine State, but still...
It calls to mind the exodus of the early ‘80s when many laid-off auto workers fled the “Rust Belt” for western horizons. Michigan license plates were a common sight in Texas in 1982, and a popular bumper sticker from those days was “Last One Out of Michigan, Turn Out the Lights.”
Now those times have come again, and everyone seems to know someone who’s left for Atlanta, Colorado, Oregon, Houston -- anywhere that jobs are available. It’s not all the “Grapes of Wrath” -- some are happy to experience the excitement of a new beginning.
Someone commented over the holidays as to how sad it was that so many people are leaving Michigan, but you can also see moving on as a good thing. Moving on to new horizons is as old as the human race. Virtually everyone who lives in America has ancestors who came here as the result of economic hardship or social pressure in some long-lost land. People didn‘t forsake their families in the Old World on a lark: they were driven here by the depressions, wars and famines that swept countries such as Germany, Ireland and Sweden. The same applies to more recent newcomers from Laos, Vietnam, Guatemala, Mexico and China. Even the Indian tribes living in the region migrated here from other parts of North America.
But it must be a fearful decision to move on, because not everyone’s got a sure deal laid out for them in faraway Australia. How do you know where the jobs are? And how do you wrap up your obligations at a time when it seems impossible to sell your home?
Some don’t leave gracefully. In the metro Detroit area, my brother tells of a neighbor in his 30s who walked out on his mortgage and his home. He didn’t bother to shut off the water in the house, and when the heat was cut off, the pipes burst and wrecked the place. Needless to say, his credit is screwed forever.
There are a lot of stories like that going around -- people taking out their rage and frustration over a foreclosure by wrecking what they’ve left behind -- kicking holes in walls, busting toilets and sinks. It doesn’t sound like a good kharma way to move on.
You also hear sad stories of people who are paralyzed by their circumstances. On public radio over the weekend, I heard the story of a woman in Chillicothe, Ohio, whose husband had lost his job. The guy stood five hours in line for an interview, hoping to get a job at a new Menard’s store in town. If that didn’t come through, the family didn’t know what they’d do.
What to do? Move on. There are many different ways to leave your old life behind: go to college, seek out a new career, move to Australia, join a commune... the important thing is to take action -- do something -- seize the day.

Five ideas for Obama
The guy hasn‘t even taken office yet and already the pundits are fretting over how Barack Obama will handle two wars, the mess in the Mideast and the biggest recession since the Great Depression.
Well, here are a few ideas off the top of my head that Obama can borrow starting Jan. 21. No charge, dude!

1. Recognize Cuba and begin trade immediately. Fidel Castro has stepped down as el presidente and it‘s time for us to get over it. Trade with Cuba will spark up to economies of both our countries.
2. Close Guantanamo. It costs $118 million to run the Gitmo prison to house 200-300 prisoners. Give the really bad guys a one-way ticket to Greenland and send the rest home. And send the money we‘ll save to Detroit.
3. Start pulling out of Iraq tomorrow. And give the guy who threw his shoes at Bush a new job in the Iraqi army to help maintain order while we pull out.
4. Put Israel on a “time out.“ This works well for kindergartners and could do wonders for our irritating ally. As in, no more foreign aid until they stop bombing civilians. What about those rocket attacks? Simple. Move the Israeli settlements out of range.
5. Don‘t worry, be happy. The best thing President Obama can do is project confidence and leadership -- qualities we haven‘t seen over the past few years.

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