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 · Features · Hit and Run: GM shakes small...
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Hit and Run: GM shakes small town dealers

Anne Stanton - June 15th, 2009
Hit & Run
GM Shakes Up Small Town Auto Dealers

By Anne Stanton 6/15/09

Wanna’ test drive a Cadillac?
If you live in Traverse City, you’re in luck. But it won’t be so easy—down the road—if you’re in Harbor Springs, Ludington, Manistee, Petoskey, or the Upper Peninsula.
“I was told that from Muskegon all the way to Traverse City, dealers are losing their Cadillac franchises. That’s a pretty big area,” said Bob Yates, a dealer in Manistee who will continue to sell Chevrolets, but lose his Cadillac franchise in October of 2010.
“My customers—if they’re adamant about buying a Cadillac—will have to drive 100 miles south or 65 miles north to accomplish that feat. That’s the reality. That’s the crux of it.”
Meanwhile, the survivors of this month’s shake-out will be expected to razzle-dazzle customers with stand-alone showrooms (meaning a single line of cars). The intent is to showcase the fleet of General Motors, a company in which the American people now have a vested interest.
Cherry Capital Cadillac Subaru is the lucky survivor in the Cadillac shake-out. Rumor is that it will have to sell Cadillacs in a stand-alone showroom, so Subaru will have to find a place of its own.
“Every dealer that’s signed to play ball with General Motors and go forward with this process is going to be required to do what McDonald’s has done—create a façade in a stand-alone building with a trademark image. And you’re going to have to commit to that. I have the letter right in front of me,” said Joe Godfrey of Godfrey Chevrolet Buick in Cadillac.

Here’s a brief rundown of what dealers heard last week.
• Fletch’s of Petoskey will keep Buick and GMC, but phase out Jeeps and Pontiacs.
• Dave Kring’s dealership in Petoskey will keep Chevrolet, but lose Cadillac.
• Highpoint Auto and Truck Center in Cadillac will lose Cadillac and Pontiacs, but will likely get Buick and GMC, which the dealership considers a plus.
• Joe Godfrey’s dealership in Cadillac will keep Chevy, but lose Buick—a loss he’s contesting.
• Rumor has it that only one GM dealership will remain in the Upper Peninsula and that Marquette stood as victor.
• Bill Marsh and Williams Chevrolet in Traverse City are status quo, although Pontiacs will be phased out as elsewhere in the nation. “We’re fortunate and we’re thankful,” said George Chichester, Williams’ general manager.
• Ted Benchley of Benchley Buick Pontiac GMC in Manistee said he has heard no information, good or bad, at this point.
• Fox Charlevoix heard the worst news; it will lose its entire General Motors franchise (Chevy, Pontiac, Buick and Cadillac) on October 31 unless it wins its appeal to remain open. The dealership is owned by Dan DeVos, a multi-millionaire who works and resides in Grand Rapids.
In an internal memo to employees, DeVos wrote he was “shocked” at the news that GM was not renewing its dealer agreements with the Charlevoix dealership, along with another in Alpine Township.

The dealership closings are part of an effort to make Chrysler and GM profitable again. Chrysler has moved to slash 800 dealerships, while GM plans to eliminate 2,600 of its 6,200 dealerships.
Dealers, interviewed by Express, tried to be upbeat for the record, but a few puzzled over the logic of closing dealerships. A dealer adds to the bottom line, while charging nothing for its showroom overhead. And the closure of dealerships will make buying a car a lot tougher for those living in rural areas.
Yates has been a Cadillac dealer for 29 years, selling about 25 cars a year. He acknowledged that his volume isn’t high enough to sustain a stand-alone dealership, but his Cadillac sales have been an asset to GM.
“In my mind I’ve done a good job,” said Yates, who wants to reassure customers that he will continue to sell Chevrolets and service Cadillacs. “I don’t argue that we’re not high volume, but I also think my customers will tell you that we are service oriented. And that’s what people want when they deal with that kind of a car. For a lot of customers, we pick up a car and deliver it to them. The new logistics won’t permit that kind of special treatment.”
Wealthier customers who buy Cadillacs are also rather demanding customers, in general, for whom time is money. That’s why dealers wonder if a Harbor Springs resident will bother to drive two hours down to Traverse City to buy a Cadillac. Or will they opt for convenience and buy a Ford Lincoln from the much closer Brown Motors in Petoskey? Dealers complain that this first decision by the Obama team doesn’t bode well for General Motors.

Otto Belovich, owner of Cherry Capital, suggested that if you feel some of these changes will be a hardship for rural areas, to call your Congressional representatives and let them know. In fact, U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak held a sub-committee hearing on June 12 to discuss the closings.
“Even though discussions on auto industry restructuring have been occurring for months, most dealers, local communities and members of Congress were caught off guard by the recent dealership closures and particularly the abrupt timeline for the closures,” he said in a press release.
Joe Godfrey believes that the decision to tighten up the dealerships is a mostly positive one. He points out that GM will still have more sales outlets than foreign cars, and getting cars serviced will remain accessible.
“And every single dealer that’s going to make it is going to work harder and smarter than they ever have,” he said. “This is a continuing process. What their objective is, in all fairness to GM, is to get the strongest dealers and build. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build the strongest corporation that they possibly can, and it’s inevitable. They had to reinvent GM and Obama is doing it at lightning speed. And he’s doing it 100 percent.
“I don’t know why Buick was taken away from me—it’s a shame, and I’m contesting it. But Chevrolet will be the franchise to have, and it will compete neck-and-neck with Toyota,” said Godfrey, pointing out that the 2008 Chevy Malibu was North American Car of the Year.
Bill Marsh Jr. said that that the bankruptcy was good for Chrysler, in part, because people don’t like uncertainty. “We had one of our best Chrysler months of the year in May.”

Dealers hope that a proposed rebate plan called “cash for clunkers” will help fuel sales. Customers will receive a $4,500 rebate when they trade in their gas guzzler for a fuel-efficient car.
During a long interview, Godfrey, the consummate salesmen, couldn’t resist inviting Express readers to come into their nearest dealership and test drive the latest models.
“My suggestion if you haven’t driven a GM vehicle in awhile, give us a shot. Come into the dealerships and talk to me. What we have now is fabulous, fabulous! And you’re talking to a guy, who used to sell Toyota,” said Godfrey, who also urged people to read the book, Why GM Matters, which outlines the positive impact of buying domestic, even in a global economy.
Steve Brown of Brown Motors said that if you’ve driven a foreign model for the last decade, it’s time to see how far Ford has come. Ford’s slogan, “Have you driven a Ford lately” has taken on new meaning, he said.
Randy McClure, a retired General Motors worker living in Traverse City, believes Americans need to understand the job impact of buying a domestic car, but they also have the right to expect competitive products.
“I believe GM is really coming back, but they have this image problem as do the other domestic companies, and they earned it back in the ‘60s and ‘70s. If they had a smart person, they’d find a way to get around that image. That’s what’s holding them back.”

To find out which car purchase supports the most American jobs, go to www.levelfieldinstitute.org.
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