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 8/5/04
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Letters 8/5/04

Various - August 5th, 2004
Never-ending lies
I recently came across the John Ramsey article (Express, 7/15) with invitation to comment. I accept the invitation.
I could not help but notice some glaring conflicts with certain facts. Granted, the investigation (of JonBenet’s death) has been and is inept to the max, but to express or imply that the ineptness was and is unjustified focus upon the Ramseys is contrary to the facts. Over two million dollars has been spent with a large part, probably most of it, spent on many interviews and other actions taken upon the notion of intruder.
The Express article states: “...and it wasn’t until last year that a federal judge and the Boulder district attorney absolved them of any guilt.”
This was a civil hearing with Judge Carnes’ ruling derived from positing detective Lou Smit as an “expert witness” in all fields without establishing him as expert in any; nor has Boulder District Attorney Mary Keenan removed the Ramseys from under the “umbrella of suspicion.” This was so noted in a recent newspaper quote. (I think it was the Detroit Free Press, but don’t recall for sure.)
“Today, even the tabloid press agrees that the killer was most likely a male intruder who used a stun gun to subdue .....
Ramsey: Well there’s virtually no doubt that a stun gun was used.”
Lou Smit made the same statement. His “no doubt” was based upon the contention that he saw a blue line on JonBenet’s skin and was sure it was made by a stun gun. The only problem with this “evidence” is that it’s literally impossible. The blue arc seen between the electrodes of a stun gun comes from high voltage ionization of air molecules and does not transfer color any more than a blue gas flame. (This contradictory claim is typical of the claims made by Smit and Ramsey. This is the source of “evidence of an intruder.”
This suit (against FOX News) is a big, big RamseyWood mistake as will eventually be shown.
Contact Mary Keenan and see if she will confirm John’s claim (of an intruder). While you’re at it, ask her to name a single item of evidence of an intruder. Won’t happen?
You can believe and print whatever you like, but what is expressed and implied in the article does not correspond to the facts.
The unchallenged and indisputable fact is that after over seven years and millions of dollars spent, not only has no intruder been found, charged, tried and convicted, not an iota of evidence of an intruder has been found either. All the talk about DNA, recent focus upon “suspects,” etc. is the usual Ramsey-serving propaganda without a grain of truth in it.
Theoretically, this could go on for 70 years instead of seven and billions spent instead of millions, but in the end, it will be the same: No intruder.
Your article is just one of thousands exhibiting this practice. Don’t feel too badly about being taken in by the Ramseys. Many are fooled. They have made a career out of conning as shown by John’s run for office. They are very convincing - IF you don’t bother to look at the evidence and catch them in the never-ending lies.

Delmar England • via email

(We called Mary Keenan’s DA office in Boulder to get her views on the claim there was no intruder involved in JonBenet’s death. Unfortunately, she was gone for the week. Look for her response in next week’s Express. -- ed.)

Misguided Ramsey
My guess would be that most of those living in Northern Michigan are here by choice. They are living here by choice because of the beauty of the north and what this beauty offers: a unique diverse environment, clear blue lakes, clean water and air, breathtaking views, plentiful wildlife and a special quality of life.
I am encouraged by the willingness and passion of most living here to protect and preserve this environment that surrounds us.
After reading full page paid political ads by John Ramsey and Kevin Elsenheimer (candidates for Republican 105th House District), I was very disappointed that the environment up north was not included. Not one word.
What was emphasized was a non-local issue: their stand for Right to Life. (I am wondering what a Michigan State Representative can do about a Supreme Court decision.)
Please vote for those who are focused on our immediate local issues and for protecting our existing pristine environment!

Marilyn Bagdonas • Bellaire

Taking wing
Thank you so much for the wonderful article on the Aviation Program at Northwestern Michigan College (7/22). We are very proud of our students, graduates and our curriculum, so we appreciate an opportunity to share that story with others.
I’d like to add some good news to the reporter’s information. We have many graduates employed all over the world as pilots. The Industry is projecting hiring trends that are positive for pilots. In addition, the pay scale for pilots has become quite profitable. Many pilot positions pay six figure incomes from commuters, freight operations, corporate, to the major airlines.
Thanks again for sharing our story with your readers; one of them was inspired to sign up as a student. Welcome aboard!

Robert Buttleman, Director
NMC Flight Technology Program

Give peace a chance
I struggle to understand why the American people so willingly accept our government’s use of military force to assert its will upon the world. I guess in a culture whose media glorifies violence as reasonable conflict resolution to us from the time we are children, it becomes more understandable.
As a boomer born shortly after WW II, I grew up going to see movies about “the last good war” with my veteran father.
Sixty years later, Hollywood still taps that seemingly inexhaustable font of pride and glory almost yearly.
I have watched with dismay these past few decades as Americans have allowed themselves to be “marketed” on the necessity of war. Even more disturbing has been the limitations by corporate controlled media on what we are “allowed” to see. During Vietnam, we saw the body bags as well as other horrors, and anti-war did not equate with unpatriotic. Today we are accused of hating America if we don’t condone our government’s blundering savagery. I don’t hate America folks, but our leaders... greedy, wealthy men who do not value human life, much less honor nature.
When I see the crushing poverty in Afghanistan and Iraq, my heart goes out... I wish we could help these poor brothers and sisters and nurture goodwill among mankind. To see them bombed, killed and maimed, and their meager homes destroyed, I am horrified and ashamed! At last count, 17,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed. Are their lives of less value than ours? Obviously our Christian President thinks so!
We will not win the war on terror with violence. Our brutal actions serve only to make us feared and hated around the world. As the wealthiest nation on earth, surely we can do better than this. Love they neighbor, live simply, share the planet.. these are Christian values, are they America’s?

Richard Allen • Leland

No friendly caretaker
WNMC-FM is a cultural treasure of the area. It has grown to be this because of the tremendous love that literally thousands of students and community volunteers have given it over 30 years. WNMC was initially begun as a student club. Northwestern Michigan College would have the community believe that it has fostered the station’s growth and allowed it to become a “community public radio station.” Nothing could be further from the truth. The college is not an advocate of the public’s right to be informed. It is also not a friendly caretaker of community public radio.
As a past general manager and development director for the station during the ‘80s and ‘90s I struggled constantly with the college’s indifference, neglect and outright hostility.
The college administrators never supported this student organization. In fact, the college consistently attempted to frustrate fundraising and prevent the station’s growth. The college often threatened to close the station if it continued to solicit community support for increasing the station’s power. The college also held secret discussions with Central Michigan University regarding the sale of the station.
Only after the station was wrested from the control of the students (the Community Advisory Board was dissolved) and control was given over to the college’s Community Relation’s office was the station allowed to pursue an increase in its broadcast power. The cost for this increased broadcast power was the students’ and community members’ ability to participate in decisions related to programming and the long-term plans for the station.
In spite of all the college’s claims, WNMC is not a true community radio station. The college has failed to re-establish any independent community advisory board. The college arbitrarily chooses to restrict certain individuals from participating with the station. The college also acts to censor and stifle free speech and restrict individuals’ freedom of association at the station. Even though the students continue to provide a significant portion of the station’s budget through their student activity fees, no longer do they have any control or influence on the station’s operations. This is now the same treatment that community members receive for their efforts to support and sustain the station.
Recently I requested that the college allow me to see its plans for the station and asked how community members might influence the programming of the station. Their response was to claim that the “WNMC Business Draft Plan” is a secret. The college’s response is an insult to the loyal listeners and volunteers that have given the station life.
It is also a disingenuous lie to say that no plan has been set in place. Everyone knows that the station has been catering to a jazz audience for nearly four years. The opportunity for students and community volunteers to serve as DJ’s has been radically restricted. The educational opportunity for student’s to serve as managers of the station they fund has been lost entirely.
I ask for WNMC’s supporters to call the Community Relations office or write the college trustees and ask them what plans have been made for the station. I also vigorously encourage listeners to ask the trustees to re-establish a community advisory board to help direct the station’s operations and insulate the station from administrative interference and control in programming. The college is not a friendly caretaker!
Clifton Murie • TC

It‘s up to us
Michigan voters will determine the next President of the U.S., not those of us in non-battleground states. Why is Michigan so important? I was surprised to learn that your jobs/employment picture is so bleak.
In June, Michigan lost nearly 10,000 factory jobs -- the sixth month of factory job losses in ten months and the highest in nearly three years.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Michigan has lost over 57,000 jobs since the first quarter of 2002.
Michigan‘s Department of Labor & Economic Growth says in the coming years virtually all of the job growth is expected in service-producing industries. The top three occupations with largest growth: cashiers, combined food prep/service worker, including fast food and retail salespersons.
With family health care premiums increasing, school tuitions up, and gasoline prices staying high, working families are faced with higher living costs and the prospects of lower paying jobs.
If this is the case, voting to make a change in November seems obvious.

Major Robert Tormey, USAF Ret.
• Escondido, CA

Last week‘s article on the Midtown Centre incorrectly identified HomeStretch as a community outreach organization. It is in fact a private, nonprofit developer of affordable housing. HomeStretch has developed and sold nearly 30 affordable single family homes in Traverse City and the surrounding region, and 10 affordable rental units in TC.
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