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 8/17/09
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Letters 8/17/09

- August 17th, 2009
Letters 8/17/09
Missed the point
In response to Mike McGee’s comments in the 8/10 - 8/16 edition:
I heartily disagree with your response to Marsha Minervini’s parking comments from the 8/3 - 8/9 edition. I went back and reread her piece and I think you missed the point altogether. Furthermore, the condescending nature of your reply is unhelpful to the discussion, and disrespectful towards one of TC’s most generous champions who politely raised a valid issue.
Marsha was right on the money with the two-hour meter comment. It discourages folks from hanging around downtown after a show because by the time they retrace their steps back to the car to reload the meter (hopefully before it expires), it’s really easy to leave (especially if you’re out of change).
At this point, an open-minded true gentleman would issue Marsha a sincere apology and restore their good standing and dignity.
As for TC, it appears there’s a more zealous attitude towards parking enforcement during the festivals. For example, when visiting in town I often park along Bay Street and have never been ticketed in over 10 years of the habit. However during the festivals, at certain times you can walk down Bay Street and observe a slew of yellow envelopes decorating windshields for the offense of, “parking on the grass” (a $25 fine). I don’t know how the interpretation is made about where grass begins and ends, but it used to be safe to assume that if you parked parallel to the road and was only off far enough to allow traffic to navigate, you’re okay.
It’s been said that first impressions are lasting impressions. However, last impressions are remembered the longest of all. It is a huge turn-off for an otherwise wholly law-abiding visitor to depart Traverse City with a yellow envelope as a parting gift.

David Page • TC

Mean-spirited letter
A recent letter published by Mike McGee seemed a little harsh.
Marsha Minervini’s point was, let’s not give out $5 parking tickets during the Traverse City Film Festival week as a goodwill gesture. It’s not a bad idea. It doesn’t mean, as Mr. McGee suggested, that Marsha has never “attempted the simple exercise known as walking” or drives a “gas guzzler.”
Mr. McGee wrote that he lives in Los Angeles, home of the least pedestrian friendly city I can imagine. I’m assuming he doesn’t know Marsha and her husband, Ray. They are in a class by themselves, having committed their lives toward renovating the former Traverse City State Hospital into what’s now known as the Village of Grand Traverse Commons. Through their efforts, a multitude of buildings that were destined for the bulldozer have been renovated. Their development was built around the concept of a “walkable community.” They are also sponsors of the Film Festival, and sponsors make the Film Festival possible.
I’d suggest a little research before making errant assumptions about someone.

Anne Stanton • TC

Hand surgery led to a
lesson in health care
I had the unfortunate experience of accidentally cutting two of my fingers on my left hand while using a table saw. To say the least, for me it was by far the most traumatic experience I have ever had.
I would like to publicly thank Dr. Paul Jacobson of Hand Surgeon Northern Michigan and the Emergency Room staff at Munson Medical Center for their incredible care, expertise, and positive attitude that I received.
Dr. Jacobson was able to repair the damage that I had caused to my fingers, which I considered to be a lot. Dr. Jacobson reassured me and his calm demeanor made a bad situation a lot better.
I am one of the nearly 46 million people living in the United States who do not have health insurance coverage. I was not able to afford the rising health care premiums on my policy and my policy lapsed approximately six years ago. I have applied for several policies since this time but have been declined coverage due to a back injury that I had 16 years ago. I have been able to find coverage from an insurance provider that is state-mandated to accept all applications, but the premiums quoted were higher than I could afford ($900 a month), double the amount of my rent payment.
I have nobody to blame but myself for my current financial predicament, but I cringe every time I hear a story on the news about unruly public debates on health care. The country seems to be very divided on whether a government one-payer health coverage system makes sense or not. Words such as socialized medicine, government controlled, and television propaganda advertisements with testimonies from Canadians saying how bad their nationally controlled health care system is.
I honestly didn’t know if the commercials were accurate in expressing the sentiments of the majority of Canadian citizens. After doing a few quick fact checks on the Internet and listening to other radio and television news shows, I found that the vast majority of Canadians do like their health care system.
The point being is that our health care system, in my opinion, is wrecked, and badly at that. When a typical 30-something, in average health, cannot find or afford health care coverage in a country that is considered to be among the very best, there is a problem.
I personally know many people that cannot afford health coverage and routinely go without annual checkups or see a doctor when they are sick. How many of those people in the United States are becoming more ill or even dying because they cannot afford to see a doctor?
My greatest scare in cutting my fingers severely was how I was going to pay for this mess I just created. I was as upset, if not more so with the fact that I just sunk myself financially deeper in debt and that any hopes of being able to promote/advertise a newly created business as a photographer was lost.
I sincerely hope that this country can unite in some form of agreement on health care coverage because the current system is not working. It is not only consumers who are upset with the current health care coverage, but also physicians as well. There is a problem in this country and as its citizens we can solve it. I don’t have all the answers but I do know that a country divided and shouting criticisms from both sides of the aisle are not going to solve any problems and only divide this country even further.
Thank you Dr. Jacobson for doing a great job and being a true doctor, one that cares and understands that the hand or fingers you are working on are attached to a real living person, with or without health care insurance.

Noah Creamer • TC

What about Medicare?
Concerning national health care, I am confused by the Republican folks who aim to disrupt true dialogue on an important and long-time-coming debate. Many whom I speak with that adamantly oppose single-payer national health care are senior citizens who enjoy a socialist program called Medicare. It is fine that they enjoy single-payer socialist health care, but what of my two laid-off young adult children with zero health care options? Let‘s be frank, Medicare is a welfare program. If it is good for some, why not all?
Secondly, most Republicans profess to be “pro-life.” If Republicans are so “pro-life” wouldn’t one assume that that meant all living people, not just the unborn?
We have welfare for farmers, welfare for billionaires, and welfare for corporations; isn’t that socialism?
Lastly, the Republicans boast of their pro-business support. How many people do you know that would exercise their entrepreneurial spirit and start their own business if they did not have to worry about health care and its present costs?
What troubles me is that we already have an efficient and good social medicine program in place that works well called Medicare. Why not just welcome all American citizens into this program?

Mark Greening • Kaleva

Our freedom to choose
I would like to respond to two letters from 8/10/09.
First to T. Galoi and “Rubbish to ‘radical’ tag.” I agree, it is inappropriate to label anyone un-American just because of opposing views. I did not like it at all when labeled un-patriotic when rallying against the war in Iraq. However, I do not understand your implication of: “We who work every day and take care of our family and our future are getting a raw deal...”.
I too work every day and provide for my family and my future, yet I do not have health insurance. Have you read the President‘s health plan? How do you know that it “shoves health reform” down your throat? Or takes away any of your rights to health care? Is this a bias based on fact or one schemed up by insurance companies who makes billions of dollars refusing health services, and spend billions of dollars convincing you “the president has turned his back on the people”?
And second, to Jill Congdon and “No abortion, please.” The right to abortion is a legal precedent. One you may not agree with but unfortunately must abide by. The nation may stand divided however, the courts do not.
For many, abortion is essential, unless you are willing to adopt the babies that others cannot care for. Plus, if it were legal to refuse your tax dollars be spent on matters you disagree with, I would be first in line to exclude mine from funding wars. However, we are not allowed to discern where our tax dollars are spent. Furthermore, abortion is about choice.
Choosing what is right for yourself, just like cancer patients are allowed to choose dangerous therapies, or one is allowed to chose their religion. That is what our country is based on, a democracy, giving people the choice.
Be careful what choices you allow the government to make for you. First, they may decide in your favor, like illegalizing abortion. But someday they may decide to your detriment, and allow only one child per family.

Breanne Russell • TC

Misinformation campaign
Once again the mainstream media has demonstrated their utter lack of journalistic integrity by allowing Republicans to freely wage another misinformation campaign. Last time it was Weapons of Mass Destruction, this time it’s health care reform.
The television “news” is the most egregious offender. Clueless and slack-jawed, their vacuous, yet beautiful “reporters” are endlessly telling stories that even the skankiest of British tabloids would grow weary of. (You may not of heard, but apparently Michael Jackson died, and we are, as a nation, instructed to be deeply concerned about the drug habits of narcissistic celebrities. It’s a crisis! Save the celebrities from themselves! The poor dears.)
Network executives defend themselves by admitting that they are shamelessly catering to their demographic. It would appear their demographic is dumber than a box of rocks.
The situation is particularly disheartening because as television news self-destructs there are thousands of earnest and professional print media reporters that want nothing more than to do solid shoe leather journalism, but instead find themselves among the unemployed. As so many local papers fall by the wayside, those left standing are experiencing a certain fluffification, giving us cavity-inducing headlines and editorials: “Kittens are softer than Puppies!”
There is a very real health care crisis, with no one out there to report on it. A crisis in itself.
Amy Kerr Hardin • Acme

Another banking story...
Your Random Thoughts (“Banking Promises Broken,“ 8/10) pretty much told the situation faced by me and millions of Americans.
My mortgage was through Chase (you remember their CFO told reporters he didn’t have to tell anyone how they spent their bailout dollars.)
Last year they did “modify” my mortgage; it took over six months to get it done because you can’t do anything locally (their rules). They did lower my mortgage payment from $1,100 per month to $600, adding $200 for my escrow account. Then my first mortgage payment came due and it was $1400 per month, $300 a month more than I had been paying before the re-mortgage.
Since I was not able to deal with the local branches (Chase‘s modification rules) I called the 800 number and they said it was the extra escrow money I needed in my account. They were charging me $800 per month in escrow payments.
I explained my account was up to date and that my taxes and insurance barely equaled $200. No matter how many times I called and faxed them my insurance and tax figures they said that was my payment, period, and if I didn’t like it I could move. So I did.
I have a file several inches thick with all my notes and correspondence with Chase Bank: names, dates, conversations of the three years I tried to deal with the bank.
Over the six years I had that house I was never late with a payment. That‘s how Chase Bank thanks their customers, and from the stories I heard most of the major banks (all of which received bailout money, our money) behave. They don’t care about keeping people in their homes whatsoever. It‘s only the bottom line that counts.
Of course, they wouldn’t need the bailout money if they were that good at their business. I wish the government would have directly bailed out the homeowners and left those banks who took the bailout money fail.

Lynn K. Gerow • TC

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