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 30th, 2009
Escape from Afghanistan
The best way to get rid of a good idea is to give it to a committee that never meets.
Some people are growing impatient with President Obama for not making a decision about sending more troops to Afghanistan. What he’s doing is waiting for the whole idea of having troops there to die on the vine, and for good reason.
There is no definition of victory in Afghanistan. We are not going to convert Afghans to Christianity or turn them into Republicans and Democrats. An authority on what it would take for Karzai to equip and maintain a militia to hold onto power in the country estimates it would cost four billion a year, while the entire gross national product of the country is only one billion. It is not going to happen.
The Taliban are not the enemy of the
United States, though we are converting them fast to hate us. Our enemy is al Qaeda, an invisible, international group of fanatic terrorists with no borders and no uniforms. The Soviets had 300,000 troops in Afghanistan and lost. The country has been the death of empires that tried to subdue those fighting folks. You don’t go to bed with rattlesnakes.
So what’s the exist strategy? Simple: convene a conference of all countries that have their troops there and admit that the Taliban versus Karzai’s government is an internal conflict and none of our business. The U.S. cannot simply back out unilaterally without looking like a bunch of quitters and wimps, but if the consensus of the countries contributing troops is that there is no definition of victory, shutting down the effort is smart.
Sure, it will leave Karzai twisting in the wind, which he surely will at the end of a rope when the Taliban retake control of their country but remember: it is their country. We are interlopers, invaders, even crusaders if you will. We can offer Mr. Karzai asylum to save his hide, but that’s just a small factor in the end game.
With half of our own children dependent on food stamps and millions unemployed we have no business pumping money into a corrupt government where everyone steals and we stand to gain nothing but enemies whose culture believes in revenge, not reconciliation.
Keep on waiting, President Obama. Let the committee decide.

Harley Sachs • Houghton, MI

Huntin‘ camp blues
Almost 50 years ago a couple of us put together a 12‘x16‘ portable hunting shack using 4‘x8‘ sections with a tubing framed tarp roof. For several years we took it up to the U.P. and set up a deer camp. Made lots of precious memories.
Then it got put up in the barn for several years until about 10 years ago we got it out and set up the first “Old Farts Deer Camp” up by Devils Creek. We have set it up every year since but have moved it around to different sites. Each time being very careful to leave the site in better shape than we found it.
Well this year we had a new experience. We all know about the old 15-day rule for camp sites on State Property that was originally put in place so that the sites would be promptly cleaned up after use and not left from year to year. We set the camp up this year on November 1. It takes a little longer now than it used to. Several of us have passed on and several of us aren’t much help anymore (we all grew up here). On November 15 a young DNR officer comes to camp and tells us that our 15 days is up and that we have to move out. We tried to talk some common sense into him but without any luck.
Today our camp has been moved a couple miles and set up again but we will never feel quite the same about our DNR. We have always questioned their methods but like most law abiding citizens have tolerated them. Do you remember the old “game warden” who would actually make major decisions like “they ain’t botherin’ nobody --- let’s leave em alone”?
Don’t you think that in these days of “aging government” that it’s time for us to put all of our laws to the “common sense test”? There are laws against almost everything today and new ones made every day. But is one ever taken off the books? Our freedoms are slowly being taken away from us. Isn’t it time to use some common sense and do our duty as a citizen and not necessarily question authority, but at least question where it comes from?

Walt Lund • Kalkaska

Life in the balance
Anne Stanton asks Representative Stupak if his bill is not in effect trading the lives of 18,000-plus citizens who die from lack of health care each year for the lives of the unborn (re: “Stupak‘s Risky Strategy,” 11/17). She emphasizes her point by pointing out that 41 representatives have signed a letter stating their intent to vote against the bill if the Stupak language is included.
How would it not be equally fair, then, to ask if those 41 representatives are not willing to trade those 18,000 lives for the premise of having taxpayers pay for the termination of the lives of untold thousands of the unborn?

John M. Casteel • TC

Fresh Food clarification
I was pleased to see an article spotlighting Sandra Svec and the Community Meals program by Rick Coates in the Northern Express. Sandra works tirelessly in our community to serve people in need and she deserves recognition for her work. However, I would like to make one correction in the article. The Fresh Food Partnership is a partnership of local non-profit organizations that work with the Northwest Food Coalition and the region’s food pantries. The caption for the picture of Sandra states that farmers “come from all over” to donate items. Actually, the produce at the monthly meetings, as well as the produce we deliver to the pantries is purchased from the farmers and donated to the pantry representatives by the Fresh Food Partnership.
The Fresh Food Partnership raises money through donations, gifts and grants to purchase food at fair market value from local farms, giving them direct financial support. In this way, we assure that people in need have high-quality, fresh produce to eat and we support the success of local agriculture. While many farmers also provide generous donations to the community through our program, that is not our primary source of produce.
In short, our efforts go beyond simply quelling hunger. We want to assure that people in emergency situations receive locally grown fresh foods that support healthy living. We also believe in reinvesting dollars in the Grand Traverse region and thereby strengthening the area’s agricultural economy. Your readers can visit our website at www.freshfoodpartnership.org to learn more about what we do in our community.

Dianne Navarro, RN • Program Coordinator, Fresh Food Partnership

(The photo caption was the error of the editor and not Rick Coates. -- ed.)

Slick idea: recycled oil
Thank you for your recent article on re-refined oil (“Pretty Slick,” 11/23). With all the discussion about peak oil, climate change, and dependence on foreign oil, this is truly a product whose time has come.
Combined with alternative energy sources, re-refined oil can save this country millions of gallons of imported oil every year. When one considers that it takes 42 gallons of crude oil to produce what can be produced from one gallon of used oil, the annual refinery production of approximately 22 million gallons with about a 76% yield of lubricant base stocks has the potential of saving 702,240,000 gallons of crude oil every year.
I encourage everyone to use re-refined oil. I do. If it is not convenient to visit the locations mentioned in your article, ask your current service provider to carry it.

John S. Owsley • Empire

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