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 · Books · Like father, like son/ Elmore &...
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Like father, like son/ Elmore & Peter Leonard

Rick Coates - June 22nd, 2009
Like Father,
Like Son
Elmore & Peter Leonard share a passion for writing

By Rick Coates 6/22/09

At the age of 83, crime novelist and pulp fiction master Elmore Leonard remains at the top of his game. Last month he released his 43rd novel, Road Dogs, that is currently on the New York Times Best Seller list. Leonard has built his 56-year writing career around his ability to let his characters “tell the story.”
Elmore Leonard will come to Northern Michigan on Sunday, June 28 as part of the new “Traverse City National Writers Series” created by author Doug Stanton and Traverse City attorney Grant Parsons. Leonard will be joined by his son Peter, who is following in his father’s footsteps. Both authors are currently touring in support of their latest novels. The evening of conversation will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the City Opera House. Proceeds will benefit the college-bound writing students in the Traverse City Area Public Schools and the Grand Traverse Area Catholic Schools.

Peter Leonard had no intention of becoming a novelist. While growing up in the household of one of the most famous writers in America, the younger Leonard decided to pursue his father’s first vocation.
“I went into advertising,” said Peter Leonard. “My dad started out as a copywriter for an ad agency. I never aspired to be a novelist, though I have always enjoyed writing.”
He ended up creating his own agency, securing several national ad campaigns. An avid reader, Peter Leonard started to feel the call to write fiction about 10 years ago.
“I wrote my first novel around six years ago. I did go to my father and he felt it was best that he not read it and instead he encouraged me to have one of his former editors read it,” said Leonard. “Well, the editor read it and came back to me and said ‘there are 27 characters in the book. Which one is the main one?’ I responded: ‘Let me get back to you,’ and I just put the manuscript away.”
Leonard went back to the writing tablet. Heeding the advice of the editor, he developed his first published novel Quiver around a central character. The novel was released in 2008 and was praised by several critics.
So what happened to that first novel?
“Well, one thing my father taught me was to never throw anything away because you might be able to use it later,” said Leonard. “That is exactly what I did. I used parts of that first work in my current work, Trust Me.”
Is the younger Leonard frustrated that his works will always be compared to his father’s?
“Not at all. Certainly I understand the obvious comparison,” said Peter Leonard. “But I have also chosen the same genre so there is going to be a comparison for anyone who writes in that style with my father.”

As for the elder Leonard, Elmore has offered his advice, somewhat sparingly.
“I remember when I gave him Quiver, he would call me with these daily updates on how many pages he had read,” said Peter.
“He gave me a couple of pointers. One of his philosophies is eliminate the parts of a novel the reader is going to skip over. On my current book he also made of couple of suggestions as well.”
Because of their father and son relationship, it is only natural to wonder if the younger Leonard is trying to emulate his father, or if he is seeking his own voice.
“My father and I have had this conversation of creating your own voice as a writer,” said Leonard. “He said it takes writing about a million words before you identify your writing voice. So I have a ways to go.”
Leonard found his advertising career both helpful and challenging to writing novels.
“In advertising you have to be able to tell a lot with a few words. For example, in print ads you have 50 to 80 words to tell a story, so from that perspective it has helped. But is has also posed a challenge, because even though I spend all day writing ad copy, I have to shift gears to write novels and it is not easy at times.”

For his first two novels, Leonard would write in the morning before work, take a break during work and then write at night before retiring to bed. He always starts his work longhand.
“I get out the yellow tablet and write and make notes about what I have written,” said Leonard. “I learned this from my father as well; he still does not have a computer. I eventually type out my work and go from there.”
So does he plan to leave the advertising business as his father did (Elmore Leonard left advertising after his novel Hombre was made into a movie starring Paul Newman) to pursue writing novels full time?
“Funny you should ask; I am leaving my advertising agency this week to pursue writing full time,” said Leonard. “It has just become too difficult to squeeze the writing in between advertising projects. I enjoy writing and so we will see where it goes if I focus on it full time. So far it has worked out with my first two books.”
One of the things Leonard is enjoying about his life as a novelist is traveling with his father for speaking engagements.
“He is 83, so I do not know how much longer we will get to do this together. We did about a half dozen trips last year and have that many scheduled already for this year,” said Leonard. “It has been a great experience for both of us.”
Elmore Leonard, who grew up in Detroit and resides in the suburbs of the Motor City has over the years used his hometown as the backdrop for his work. Both Leonards have connections to Northern Michigan, however, and are excited about coming north.
“I have several friends in the area; my mom had a place in Harbor Springs for years and one between Mackinac City and Cheboygan on Lake Huron. So I have spent a lot of time up north,” said Leonard. “We think what Doug Stanton is doing is great and are happy to be a part of it. We are looking forward to the evening, especially the questions.”
Leonard explains the format for the
“Well, both my father and I will speak about writing. We will share anecdotes about our writing lives. For me, that includes growing up around my father and meeting several famous actors who would visit him,” said Leonard. “Then we will take questions and answers from the audience. We enjoy this part as we get a lot of great questions and it is nice to know what the readers want to know.”
The Traverse City National Writers Series presents “An Evening of Great Conversation, Food, and Drink with Master Crime Novelists Elmore Leonard and Peter Leonard” June 28 at Traverse City’s Opera House, 6:30 p.m. Tickets are limited and may be purchased in advance by contacting the City Opera House Box Office at 231-941-8082. Information on both authors may be found at elmoreleonard.com and peterleonardbooks.com.

Special Treat Of the Event!
Have Elmore Leonard and Peter Leonard Name A Character After You In Their Next Book!
During the evening, people will be able to bid on the opportunity to have their name (or someone they choose) to be used as a character’s name in an upcoming Elmore Leonard or Peter Leonard novel. There will be two lucky winners of the auction-- one person for each novelist.
All proceeds from this generous gesture by the Leonards will be donated to the Traverse City National Writers Series Scholarship Fund

New: Traverse City National Writer Series

The National Writers Series, founded by Doug Stanton and Grant Parsons, is dedicated to bringing to life great conversations with today’s best-selling authors, journalists, and premier storytellers in a lively setting.
The mission of the series is to support the education of area young people seeking careers in writing and the arts. All proceeds from the regular events will be donated to a dedicated scholarship fund. Awards will be presented at an annual Traverse City National Writers Series event.
The series started last month with Doug Stanton concluding his national book tour for his bestselling book Horse Soldiers (currently #2 on the New York Times Best Seller List) at the City Opera House. Stanton and co-founder Grant Parsons are planning on six speakers a year in addition to the special annual affair.
“We plan on this being more than just authors; we will have journalists and screenwriters as well,” said Stanton. “Each guest will be someone who has enjoyed national or international success. The schedule will depend on book tours and movie promotions as that way we do not have to pay travel expenses.”
For Stanton and Parsons this series is intended to serve as inspiration for writers in the region as well as help gifted writers further their education.
“I have never forgotten that Helen Osterlin gave me a scholarship so that I might attend Interlochen,” said Stanton. “It made the difference for me, so we hope the same will come out of this.”
Stanton and Parsons are currently looking at several writers for the next event that will take place sometime in early fall. Anyone interested in supporting the series via donations is encouraged to contact Stanton and Parsons through Grant Parson’s law firm in Traverse City.

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