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 · Idea man Sam Porter
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Idea man Sam Porter

Rick Coates - October 12th, 2009
Idea Man Sam Porter
The dreams never stop for the visionary behind Porterhouse Productions

By Rick Coates 10/12/09

Sam Porter leans back in his chair at the Old Town Coffee & Eatery in Traverse City and sips his coffee. He pauses and smiles as he has just connected all the dots on his latest concept. At 33, Porter is still a kid at heart; and he loves to dream.
“I like to see how everything connects itself,” said Sam Porter of Porterhouse Productions. “My work is about connecting the dots which are connecting people, connecting relationships and connecting concepts. Typically, when you are connecting the dots, a dot is missing; that is what I like to do -- identify what is missing and put it into place so the dots are all connected.”
Porter grew up in Traverse City and attended Central High School, graduating in 1997. After graduation, he went to Northwestern Michigan College for a year before heading west to Bozeman, Montana to ski and attend Montana State University.
While at Montana State, he founded Porterhouse Productions and quickly started promoting concerts, film festivals, a beer festival and several other cultural events. His work out West, along with that of his wife Abby, led the two of them in 2006 to be awarded “Bozeman Heroes: Locals Creating Positive Change, Visionaries Helping to Make Bozeman, Montana, a Vibrant, Growing, and Sustainable Place to Live.”

Porter and his wife still maintain their operations in Montana but a few years ago moved to Traverse City.
“I returned for family (Porter’s mother-in-law owns Toy Harbor in downtown TC) and opportunity,” said Porter. “Traverse City and Northern Michigan have so much potential, there is a lot of good growth happening. I saw some things missing from this community and felt that I could help to facilitate some change.”
He is not coming from a perspective of arrogance, but rather from his own experience of growing up in the area and, like so many other young people, felt he had to leave to have opportunities.
“One of the concepts that we have at Porterhouse Productions is to create opportunities for young people in Northern Michigan from high school all the way to pre-school,” said Porter. “To involve them into their community at an early age so they feel a connection to it and become a promoter of it.”
This is where a big smile comes across Porter’s face as he connects the dots.
“Imagine kids from Northern Michigan heading off to college and telling their friends about all the cool things they got to do in Traverse City, from producing concerts to cultural events. Telling their friends that the region supports the arts, ideas and young people,” said Porter. “These friends who have never been to Northern Michigan are going to think, ‘wow you got to do all of that in your town. It must be cool up there. Maybe I ought to move up there after school.’ This is where the dot connecting comes in. These events and concepts are not just about the moment, they are about our future.
“I now have a production company that has high school kids from Central,” he adds. “I am always looking for other students, either high school or college who want to learn about the music business and how to produce a concert or an event.”

Okay, involving high school kids is one thing, but how do you start kids at the pre-school age in the process?
“Simple. Here is something I am working on now. I am bringing the Grammy-winning Ladysmith Black Mambazo group to Lars Hocksted Auditorium this winter,” said Porter. “I am having the pre-school kids create all of the art that will be on the stage for the performance. These kids will be sitting in the front row and will be connected to the show. They will be contributing to the performance. Regardless of their age kids can and should feel a connection to their community.”
Porter is fresh off some very successful events. His concert series at the Opera House in Traverse City has brought in several acts that have sold out, including Ani DiFranco last spring. He is preparing for Keller Williams this week, another show expected to pack the house.
He also was the mastermind behind the inaugural Traverse City Microbrew and Music Festival this past August. Porter had successfully created and produced a similar festival in Montana. Despite skeptics and dismal weather the festival exceeded expectations with a larger than anticipated crowd. Breweries sold out of beer and legions of music lovers stuck it out through the rain to dance the night away.

“There is still a buzz about this event and the wine festival the weekend before. We are so excited about next year. The long-term vision is to create an anchor event with the Microbrew and Music Festival to support a community non-profit week-long annual Epicurean Harvest Festival celebrating food and craft beverage as well as arts and culture for all ages. We also aim to raise funds to support local youth empowerment programs through the Good Work Collective (GWC) and Little Artshram.
“What we accomplished with the wine festival and the beer festival is show the community what can happen when you produce an event the right way.”
Porter lights up with enthusiasm as he connects the dots of event management.
“We have so many great venues in the region for events. My concern is that if an event is not produced right, that jeopardizes future use of these venues. I think that has happened in the past. So one of our goals is to create the model for producing events in the region so all events succeed. A poorly run event has a negative impact on all events.”
For Porter it is not about competition, it is about collaboration.
“The wine festival and beer festival on back-to-back weekends being put on by different entities is a great example of collaboration and what we are all about. We all worked together, shared resources to put these two events on. Both events were a success and now we are looking to collaborate even more. At Porterhouse Productions we make our events happen by collaborating with several independent contractors and entrepreneurs.”

So just how many concepts and ideas is Porter currently juggling?
“I don’t know at least 30, maybe more,” said Porter. “I am the type of person who needs to wake up and look forward to doing something different every day. I am working on a concept at the Barns at the Village at Grand Traverse Commons that will include an amphitheater and commercial kitchens. Also, I am working on a portable covered stage for the region. It is something we do not have, and so many events need a stage and everyone is renting one. Well, if I can find enough events to pitch in we could own one.
“I am also working a mobile convention center that would allow for large events up 10,000 people to take place anywhere. Plus, I am getting ready to put on the biggest Halloween event that Traverse City has ever seen by giving those under 21 a chance to dance with several national DJs coming in and also we are recreating the ‘Thriller’ video in tribute to Michael Jackson.”
He doesn’t stop there.
“I was down at Rothbury (the three-day music festival north of Muskegon) and there is so much energy and so many ideas coming from there. So I am looking at a post-Rothbury think-tank retreat in Northern Michigan,” said Porter. “Imagine hiking in the woods of the Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes with Ani DiFranco discussing sustainability concepts. Or being over at the Manitou Islands in a workshop with guys from the Grateful Dead talking about community based arts programs.”
It may not all make sense right now but at some point Sam Porter will figure out how to connect all the dots. He is currently taking applications, submissions and suggestions from anyone who is interested in working with him. To learn more about all the projects Sam Porter and Porterhouse Productions are working on, contact him directly go to porterhouseproductions.com or call 231.499.4968.

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