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 · National Writers Series
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National Writers Series

- December 28th, 2009
National Writers Series offers 2010 lineup
When author Doug Stanton was growing up in Traverse City, he wondered
if it would be possible to bring nationally-known writers to his
hometown to talk about what they knew. This year, he’ll make that
dream happen, bringing some of the brightest celebrities of the
literary world to downtown Traverse City.
The National Writers Series, now in its second season, will bring 17
best-selling authors, journalists, and storytellers to town in 2010.
The goal? Raise $50,000 in five years for aspiring writers to pursue
writing in college.
“I’ve asked the best of the best in American letters to come to
Traverse City and help us,” says Stanton. The response to the
year-round book festival, says Stanton, has been “fantastic.”
Founded in 2009 by New York Times best-selling author Stanton (Horse
Soldiers), Traverse City attorney Grant Parsons, and Northern Express
reporter Anne Stanton, the National Writers Series will bring the
following luminaries to town over the coming year, with dates to be
• News anchor and author Tom Brokaw (The Greatest Generation, Boom!
Voices of the Sixties);
• Memoirist Mary Karr (The Liar’s Club and Lit, which was chosen by
the New York Times as one of the “10 Best books of 2009”);
• Best-selling author and historian James Bradley (Flags Of Our
Fathers and Imperial Cruise);
• New York Times and Time magazine book reviewer and best-selling
author Walter Kirn (Lost in the Meritocracy and Up In The Air);
• World-renowned chef and author Mario Batali (Food Network Iron
Chefs; Malto Italiano cookbook);
• Golden Globe-nominated actor Woody Harrelson (The Messenger and Defendor);
• Author, activist, and blogger Colin Beavan (No Impact Man);
• Nationally syndicated advice columnist and humorist Amy Alkon (I See
Rude People);
• Memoirist Rhoda Janzen (Mennonite In A Little Black Dress);
• Washington Post correspondent and Pulitzer Prize-winning author
David Finkel (The Good Soldiers, which was chosen by the New York
Times as one of the “10 Best Books of 2009”);
• Fresh from Afghanistan and the Pentagon, Washington Post
correspondent Greg Jaffe (The Fourth Star);
• Emmy-nominated television producers Betsy Beers (Grey’s Anatomy
and Private Practice) and Janet Leahy (Cosby, Boston Legal and Life
• Novelist, television writer and producer Elwood Reid (What Salmon
Know; D.B.; and CBS’ Cold Case);
• Poet and National Book Award nominated author Thomas Lynch (Still
Life In Milford and the forthcoming Apparition & Other Fictions);
• Crime novelist and Pulitzer prize-winning Wall Street Journal
reporter and bureau chief Bryan Gruley (Starvation Lake and the
forthcoming The Hanging Tree);
• Naturalist, activist, and two-time National Book Award-winning
author Peter Matthiessen (The Snow Leopard and Shadow Country; Peter
is also a founder of the United States’ most esteemed literary
magazine, The Paris Review).

Each month a new author will appear in downtown Traverse City for an
“up close and personal” evening of food and discussion about
literature and storytelling.
To make this happen, Stanton has called on the friends and colleagues
he’s met in the course of his national literary career. He’s also
enlisting the help of local supporters to assist with planning,
hosting, or fund-raising efforts, including Horizon Books, Michigan
Writers, City Opera House, Foreword Magazine, FIM Group, Up North 2
TV, the Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation, Traverse City
Friends Of The Library, book clubs, and numerous businesses and
volunteers. “These people are what make the Series happen,” says
The Series kicked off in 2009, hosting Stanton as he talked with a
standing room-only audience about his book Horse Soldiers, and was
followed by “An Evening with Masters Of Crime, Elmore Leonard and
Peter Leonard,” who delighted a packed Traverse City Opera House with
stories about the craft of writing.
All proceeds from Series events are donated to a scholarship fund
established at the Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation. “I
was helped by a similar grant when I was growing up in Traverse City,
and it meant the world to me,” says Stanton.
Stanton says the Series has been long in planning, “ever since I was a
teenager, in 1977, and met Jim Harrison in downtown Traverse City, and
he helped guide me on my way as a writer. We’re bringing important
writers to town to rub shoulders with young writers. The Series is
dedicated to supporting writers of all ages and experience.”

Brokaw, Batali, Harrelson, Karr, and other visiting writers are
waiving their normal public-speaking fees to appear in the series.
Proceeds will fund college scholarships for local high school writers.
Scholarships of $1,000, $500 and $250 will be presented at a multi-day
gala event during the 2010-2011 series. They will be awarded to the
students by a nationally prominent writer, in time for this accolade
to become part of the students’ college applications.
“We’ve formed a blue-ribbon scholarship committee -- a panel of judges
-- headed by local writers,” says Parsons, “and this is going to be a
merit-based, national award. It’s our hope that when a young writer
applies to college and lists the ‘Traverse City National Writers
Series Award,’ it will be part of what propels that writer ahead.”
The Series will work with area schools and teachers as the students
submit work in fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Winning entries will
be published in the Dunes Review, one of the best literary journals in
the Midwest. The scholarship program encompasses students in the
five-county area of Grand Traverse, Leelanau, Benzie, Antrim and

Stanton refined the idea of the Series last year during a national
tour to promote Horse Soldiers. He’s presently being asked to speak at
some of the top book festivals in the U.S., and is taking the best
aspects of each and incorporating these into the National Writers’
“I realized the paradigm for selling books -- and for the culture of
letters generally -- has changed,” says Stanton. “After my book tour,
I came back to Traverse City, and with my wife, Anne Stanton, and a
few friends, like Louise Marks and Rodger Shomo, and with the generous
support of local businesses and groups like the Friends of the
Library, we mapped out our dream event.
“It was one of those Aha! moments. People didn’t want to hear writers
drone through a reading. People wanted to meet great writers, ask
questions and share a drink, and writers wanted to entertain. ‘Make it
live’ is the Series’ motto.’ These evenings are like great
conversations at dinner parties.
“The death of the written word is widely reported, and it’s false,”
Stanton adds. “The world of words is what we’re bringing to life
Stanton says the year-round festival will showcase all genres of
writing. “We’ll plan a ‘Crime Weekend,’ featuring the best crime
writers in the country. We’ll host events with the best young-adult
authors publishing today. I’m planning a fascinating ‘Politics &
Prose’ event with some of the smartest and most literate writers
working today.
“And we’ll feature poets. I didn’t write much prose until I got my
first job writing at Esquire magazine. Before that, I’d only studied
and written poetry. As a poet once said, ‘Poetry is the purest form of
Stanton says that literary fiction and non-fiction will also be a
staple of the Series. “Walter Kirn, our friend, is a perfect example
of a tremendously successful literary writer who has reached a wide
audience, especially with his novel Up In The Air.”

The book festival will also support writers in Northern Michigan by
showcasing their talent and work at Series events. Stanton says this
includes both student writers and writers further along in their lives
who are seriously working at their craft.
In addition to being entertaining, the Series is also designed to sell
books for the authors. “We heavily promote the events to a wide
variety of people, and we are committed to keeping these evenings
affordable,” says Stanton.
How will it work? Authors will talk for 20 minutes and take part in a
Q&A about their writing, books, and career, followed by a reception
with food and drink. Organizers plan for audiences of 500 people, with
an aim toward selling 200 books to a bookstore reporting to the New
York Times list.
“We think the Series will become a premier literary event in the
Midwest,” says Stanton.

For more information, or to volunteer, contact Doug and Anne Stanton
at (231) 631-1551. Find Traverse City National Writers’ Series on
Look for nationally syndicated ‘Advice Goddess’ and humorist Amy Alkon
at a Valentine’s Day event at the Traverse City Opera House, February

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