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..

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- March 8th, 2010
Charter accusation false
In your last issue, Jim Tompkins accused me of violating the city
charter in comments I made about the city engineer’s handling of 8th
Street. Violating the charter in the way Mr. Tompkins accuses me of is
a crime, and therefore not an accusation that should be thrown around
casually, or falsely.
The charter prohibits elected officials from directing city staff
(other than the manager) to do something. It also prohibits us from
ordering the city manager to hire or fire someone. I did none of these
things, and
Mr. Tompkins knows that.
What I did was detail how the 8th Street project got designed contrary
to the master plan. I did this after trying to resolve the matter
internally. I’m not proud to have done this, but I believed it was
necessary and now we’re hopefully on a path to improving the project.
Hopefully this will also prevent a repeat of the situation.
I did not give up my 1st Amendment right to speak freely on city
issues when I became mayor, and nothing in the charter requires me to
do so. Quite the contrary.
Finally, Mr. Tompkins repeats a common misconception that the master
plan is optional for the city to follow. The state planning statute
does say the master plan is a guidance document for the zoning
ordinance, which governs private development in the city.
But it also says the master plan is the controlling document when it
comes to capital projects – including streets – that the city builds.
The planning statute requires the location, character, and extent of
city capital projects to conform to the master plan. If we can ignore
the rules on projects the city builds, what right do we have to make
private property owners follow the rules when they build in the city?

Chris Bzdok • TC
(Chris Bzdok is mayor of Traverse City.)

Violent situation
In response to the Gary Singer opinion on prisoners early out
(3/1/10). He is no prison expert. There are too many violent offenders
that are released early. If Singer was in with these bad boys he
would be singing a different tune.
He states the crime he plead guilty to is irrelevant. It is very
relevant to your stated opinion. You did not plead guilty to a violent
crime. These violent offenders are not the type of prisoners that
should be let out on the streets early and many of the prisoners that
are slated to be let out are violent offenders.
The facts show that 50% of the felons released early return to prison
within two years.
Also, keep in mind that most plea bargain their crime down to a lesser
charge and plead guilty. That reduces their sentence before they do
any jail time. Now, Granholm wants to let these prisoners out early
giving them a double reduction to the minimum time they are to serve.
Prison reform is the answer to cost containment not early outs. They
do no work. Get the financial problems in this state corrected.
Early outs take the wrong approach to cutting the states expenses.
The counties will spend more money chasing these offenders all over
again. The early out program is just a revolving door policy. Just
ask any of the county prosecutors in this state and they will tell
you. Ask a county sheriff. Ask the victims who have been beaten,
robbed or attacked by these offenders. You will be shocked and
appalled that these offenders would even be considered for an early
A couple months ago a detective told me to protect my family, to arm
up -- that they are coming. I did get my gun permit and I am waiting.
I hope the people in charge come to their senses and I will never have
to use my pistol except at the range.

Gordon Sudz • via email

Prison solution
Major respect to Gary Singer for his article on Michigan’s prison
system. Back in the ’60s I ran a college level education program in
Joliet/Stateville Penitentiary for four years. While in prison an
inmate could earn a GED, an Associate in Arts degree, and another 30
semester hours. An inmate could come into prison not being a high
school graduate and be paroled, needing only one more year of college
to earn a Bachelors degree. Added, the only cost to the State of
Illinois was my salary as all books and tuition were covered by the
profits from the inmate commissary.
I could provide a long list of ex-cons who went on to become leaders
in fields like education, communication, law, and even acting in
Hollywood and on T.V.
Our streets and neighborhoods will be a lot safer if there are
corrections in our correction institutions instead of them being

Micheal M. Cromley • Afton

Tea Party convert
I would like to thank Mr. Tuttle for showing me the “Tea” (re:
Spectator column, 2/22/10) I wasn’t really sure what the fuss was
about, but after learning just how much the government is involved in
our everyday lives makes me feel... well... deflated! Where are we
headed? More government, more
taxes, more control, less and less free will.
Tea Party, here I come!

Jim Peters • East Jordan

Island windmills?
I was reading about the plan to put windmill generators way out in
Lake Michigan.. It seems to me that it would be cheaper to place the
windmills on land, say an island, like the Manitou or Fox islands.
Easier to erect and maintain, closer to shore, and in no one’s way.
There are windmills on the market that produce 400 watts of power that
cost less than $1,000, and that can be mounted on the side of a house,
or on rooftops like the old TV antennas. 400 watts is enough to run
your TV all day or an electric heater. Don’t forget the tax deduction.
It’s too bad the state of Michigan doesn’t get involved in donating
state land along the shore line for windmills. Like it or not, it’s

Don Stockard • Manton

Biomass bummer
Biomass? What they really are is clear-cut power plants. We who depend
on wood heat to survive will be bidding against every power company in
the state. They’ll be buying five to 10 semi loads a day per plant
year around.
As the available forests melt away the price of wood will hit the
roof. Maybe that‘s the plan, to make wood scarce and expensive and
you’ll be forced to use their gas, oil, and electricity to heat with
or freeze.
At that point I bet they’ll magically convert those plants to coal, in
the public‘s interest, of course.
Forests the world over are being leveled at an unprecedented rate.
Trees, remember, are the things that make the oxygen that makes all
life here possible. Cut enough and someday we all may be hauling
around little oxygen bottles. Probably sold to us by these same power
Stopping the biomass plants here is a start, but what we need is a
statewide moratorium. Because these forest-eating Frankensteins will
send trucks wherever there is a tree left in the state.
Coal plants with scrubbers are almost pollution free. Nationally, 100
square miles of solar panels in our southwestern states would supply
our whole country‘s energy needs. If it’s a choice between leveling
our forests or building new dams, then build the dams. Lets roll

Keith Lints • TC

Fishy idea
Using discarded Christmas trees as fish habitat? That’s what Florida’s doing.
Aquatic Services and the Florida Fish, Wildlife Conservation
Commission diverts a $1 fee from the sale of each fishing license to
fund this joint project.
Here’s how it works in Florida: in a 1?4 acre area of a lake,
Christmas trees are boated out, each base fastened to a cement block,
and sunk. Algae grows on the trees and attracts fish, increasing the
quantity of fish for sports fishermen while disposing of the trees in
an environmentally friendly way that avoids landfill.
In Michigan we could simply truck them out on the ice. With spring
melt, the trees will sink to the bottom.
Given that Michigan is known both for sports fishing and Christmas
tree plantations, isn’t this something the DNR should evaluate?

Jackie Freeman • Suttons Bay

A recent article about energy auditors should have included Brian
Johnson, owner of Applied Energy Solutions. His phone number is

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