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 · Region Watch · Standish: Gitmo of the...
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Standish: Gitmo of the North? Benefit for bass player Jason Kott

Express Staff/ Rick Coates - August 10th, 2009
Standish: ‘Gitmo North‘?
Small town would reap 340 jobs & $100 million makeover

Some residents of the small Lake Huron town of Standish say they’re more afraid of losing their jobs than the threat of housing 229 Guantanamo Bay prisoners at the Standish Maximum Correctional Facility, which is in imminent danger of closing.
Throughout the town, handmade signs saying: “Save Our Town, Save Standish Max” have reportedly been popping up in the windows of local stores, restaurants and outside the prison itself.
Last week, U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Menominee) announced that the 640-bed prison is being considered as a possible destination for the detainees who’ve been held at Guantanamo, Cuba for the past seven years. The other site being considered by the Obama administration is Fort Leavenworth, a military penitentiary in Kansas.
If Standish is approved, it would mean upgrading the prison to the tune of $100 million, according to published reports.
“I have spoken with local officials, who have indicated a willingness to listen to a proposal the administration might put forward,” Stupak said in a release, adding that officials from the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security and Justice will be visiting sites under consideration over the next few weeks.
“It is important to remember that Standish is just one option under consideration and no decision has been made,” Stupak added. “Any proposal must have a comprehensive security analysis and economic and job creation implications. I will work with local and state officials to gauge their level of support before a final decision is made.”

The Saginaw media reports that area residents are generally supportive of moving the Gitmo prisoners to Standish, a town of 1,500, where 340 jobs are at stake. A one-industry ‘prison town,’ Standish is located about 150 miles southeast of Traverse City in Arenac County, where unemployment is currently at 17.3 percent. Water and sewer fees from the prison account for 25 percent of the town’s municipal budget.
Standish Max is one of three prisons and five correctional camps that have been targeted for closure in Michigan this year due to budget cuts. The prison got a ‘stay of execution’ last month when Michigan State officials made a pitch to turn it into a medium-security prison to house up to 1,100 prisoners from California.
Michigan’s Corrections Department notes that the Level 5 maximum security prison is designed for the most dangerous, violent criminals, with one cell per inmate. Standish Max is surrounded by 16-foot-high double chain link fences topped with razor wire and monitored by electronic detection systems. Five gun towers overlook the prison’s interior and a patrol vehicle with armed guards constantly patrols the perimeter.

Odd couple opponents include Republican lawmakers and Democratic Governor Jennifer Granholm, who are trying to scuttle the plan as being too risky.
The governor’s press secretary released the following statement on the matter: “Gov. Granholm continues to have concerns about the homeland security implications of relocating Guantanamo detainees to Michigan. The governor’s top priority is for the safety and security of Michigan citizens. Until the federal government can address the Governor’s concerns, she is not in favor of moving detainees to Michigan.”
Rep. Peter Hoekstra, R-Holland, who is running for governor next year, has made an issue of the matter, saying: “I intend to do everything possible to prevent it from happening.
“The detention facility in Cuba was built for a specific type of prisoner with unique challenges,” Hoekstra said. “They are some of the most dangerous people in the world who pose a major threat to U.S. national security.”
Ironically, the transfer of the Guantanamo detainees has been endorsed by former Michigan governor John Engler, a conservative Republican who was once considered as a presidential running mate.

Benefit for bass
player Jason Kott

Bass player and Traverse City resident Jason Kott was in a serious car accident two weeks ago, suffering major injuries that will keep him from performing for awhile. Kott has performed with several bands in the region and is regarded by many as among the top if not the best bass player around.
His music colleagues, many of whom he has performed with over the years, will be coming together Sunday August 16 at 2 p.m. for a benefit concert to help Kott with medical expenses. The concert will go into the evening and will take place at Union Street Station. Scheduled to perform are the Ron Getz Trio, Zeke and Robbie from Bloodshot Victory, Al Jankowski & Friends, Jeff Bihlman & The Trio of Doom, Guilty Plesures, Egon, T.S.P., Mike Moran, and Four Finger Five.
“Jason has been a big supporter of the Northern Michigan music scene. He is looked up to by many not only for his talents but for the type of person he is,” said Tim Miller of the Great Lakes Guitar Company. “Jason has always been a giver of his talents to other musicians and to the community, donating his time to numerous good causes. Now his musician friends are calling on others to give to Jason. I know he doesn’t want us to because that is the kind of guy he is, but we all agreed that we are going to anyways.”
For details, or to make a donation, contact Union Street Station at 231.041.1930 or myspace.com/unionstreetstation -- Rick Coates.

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