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 · Hoffa expert weighs in on...
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Hoffa expert weighs in on Cadillac story

Anne Stanton - December 28th, 2009
Hoffa Expert Weighs in on Cadillac Story
Last week, the Express reported on Pete Smith who saw what he believes
were two suspicious Italian men in a remote woods near Cadillac two
days after Jimmy Hoffa disappeared. After they left, Smith
investigated the area and found a mound of sand, seven feet in
diameter, which appeared to be a freshly-dug grave.
Pete Smith, a former golf course developer/designer, remains convinced
that it’s the gravesite of Jimmy Hoffa. The FBI, so far, is
unconvinced and has not pursued a search warrant to dig up the spot,
marked with a large boulder. How does Smith’s story line up with the
facts? Read on …

By Anne Stanton

There is no shortage of theories to what happened to Jimmy Hoffa.
And if you weren’t around in 1975 when the Teamster president
disappeared, you might likely be wondering why you should even care.
Hoffa once led the Teamster’s Union, whose 1957-1971 tenure was
reputed for violence, fraud and underworld dealings with the Mafia. He
went to prison in 1967—still retaining his position in the union—for
illegally funneling nearly $1.7 million of union pension money and
jury tampering. President Nixon pardoned Hoffa in 1971 on the
condition that he step out of union activities until 1980, when his
prison term would have expired without the pardon.
Hoffa, however, was suing to overturn the condition, which angered the
mob, according to an article, The Missing Teamster, by
Troy Taylor.

Taylor wrote the mob wanted Hoffa out of the union permanently,
preferring to deal with the newly installed Teamsters president, Frank
Fitzsimmons, who was easier to manipulate. Fitzsimmons also had
influence in the White House, where Hoffa was persona non grata.
On July 30, 1975, Hoffa arrived at 2 p.m. at the upscale Machus Red
Fox restaurant in Bloomfield Township, where he was to meet three men
for a peace conference, including Tony Provenzano, a fellow Teamster
that had been in prison with Hoffa (they went in as friends, and left
as enemies). The lunch was intended as a meeting to settle
differences between Hoffa and Provenzano, according to a 1978 FBI
Hoffa waited at the restaurant, for about 15 minutes, and called his
wife, sounding irate that he’d been stood up. Finally, a carload of
men showed up, and he got into the back seat. That was the last anyone
ever saw of him, the report said.
Since that day, there have been so many stories of how Hoffa was
disposed of—crushed/smelted/compacted/shredded/ground up/buried—it’s
become a macabre joke. One mobster swears that Hoffa ran off to
Brazil with a go-go-dancer. The FBI reportedly has generated 16,000
pages of documents from interviews, wiretaps, and surveillance, and
still has a man assigned to the still-open Hoffa case.

Pete Smith went to the Michigan State Police in Cadillac last winter
with his story of seeing two suspicious-looking Italian at the time of
Hoffa’s disappearance — after saying nothing to law enforcement for 34
years. He eventually talked to FBI Agent Robert Birdsong in Traverse
City last summer.
Smith believes that Hoffa lies in a makeshift grave in what used to be
woods, but is now the front yard of an expensive home in a Cadillac
subdivision. The property owner doesn’t want the FBI nosing around on
the property and hired an attorney. The FBI Detroit office has decided
not to force the issue with a search warrant, believing that Smith’s
lead lacks merit.
Dan Moldea, author of Hoffa Wars: The Rise and Fall of Jimmy Hoffa,
believes the FBI should reconsider.
“I just want to see the case solved, and if your friend has
information, I’d want to see this information pursued. …. All of us
have had speculations about this, and all of us have been wrong. Let
me put it this way, there certainly has been no closure. This one is
good as anyone else’s, probably. In my experience, there are certain
checkpoints, and this one hits none of the checkpoints. But again, I’m
in the same boat; I certainly have never found the body, and I can’t
judge this information.
“My feeling is this lead is not better and no worse, including mine. I
believe it was a three-act drama: Hoffa’s picked up at the (Machus)
Red Fox, Act 1. He’s taken to a private home and murdered, Act 2. And
then he’s loaded on a Gateway transportation truck and shipped to an
unknown destination, Act 3. My sources say the truck was crushed and
smelted and no longer exists.”

Moldea said the most recent, credible lead in 2006 came from Don
Wells, “a guy who I know and respect, and gave the bit of information
about a Milford farm, which the FBI dug up. They knocked down a barn.
That was legitimate information and came from a credible source, and
he hit every checkpoint—he was in the right place, knew the right
information, was cooperating with the FBI. So I called the guy and
went to Michigan to check it out. The FBI spent millions, and the
story ends up as a scam. … I don’t know what he got of it, conning me,
wasting my time. What can we do?
“. … I just want to see this thing solved. There’s a movie coming out
with Robert DeNiro and Martin Scorsese (I Heard You Paint Houses,
based on the book of the same name) and that will shine a bright light
on it.”
Moldea said that he’s heard that ground-penetrating radar (uses an
antenna to detect electromagnetic pulses) has been used to detect
unmarked graves with minimal costs. Smith said that he discussed the
technology with the FBI, but was told it wasn’t sufficiently reliable.
Craig Jones of Kewadin would also like a bright light on this latest
theory. If the FBI won’t pursue Smith’s lead, he would like to get
involved. After reading last week’s story, he called Express with his
idea—to offer the property owner money or free floor covering to dig
up the grave.
“I would just try to offer him an olive branch, something to entice
him,” said Jones, who owns Performance Flooring, a group of floor
covering companies. “We could dig it up and put it back better than it
was before. It wouldn’t take any more than one day, two days at most.
You just owe it to the history of America to know,” he said.
Jones said a downstate acquaintance—one who is well connected with the
Mafia—said that Smith’s account sounded consistent with the mob’s
modus operandi.
“It would be great if Pete and I could come up with something. I am
like Pete—I’m a very practical person—and something is definitely
fishy about the situation. You never know; if we could dig it up and
prove it, I think it would be a great thing for this country.”
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