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 · Random Thoughts · The Great Unknowns
. . . .

The Great Unknowns

Robert Downes - March 22nd, 2010
Our annual “Best of Northern Michigan” survey produced some
interesting results in the politics department this year. Out of
approximately 75 questions, the one with the fewest responses was: Who
Michigan pick for governor in 2010?
Judging by the feeble responses, most
Express readers don’t seem to have a clue, even though our demographic
studies show that you tend to have a higher level of education than
most in Northern Michigan.
On the other hand, when we asked the question: “What’s the best plan
for bringing jobs to Michigan?” quite a few people responded that
getting rid of Gov. Jennifer
Granholm would do the trick.
So perhaps there’s an element of our readership that is keenly aware
of the goings on in Lansing and why Gov. Granholm is directly
responsible for Michigan’s job losses... yet still doesn’t have much
of a clue as to who’s running for office this November -- especially
on the Democrat side of the aisle.
Actually, there’s a good reason that most citizens don’t know who’s
running for governor. As noted by Detroit Free Press Lansing Bureau
Chief Chris
Christoff in a recent article, the State Campaign Fund has been hit in
recent years, and there is only $2.1 million available for candidates
running in the
Democratic and Republican primaries. That’s chicken feed when it comes
to buying expensive TV advertising.
Christoff notes that in 2007, the Legislature “took $7.2 million from
the campaign fund to balance the state budget. Meanwhile, fewer
taxpayers are donating $3 on their state income tax forms.”
Candidates are also having a tough time raising campaign funds in this economy.
It was (ostensibly) for this reason that Lt. Gov. John Cherry dropped
out as the front-runner for the Democrats earlier this winter. Cherry
could only raise $1 million and believed he needed double that. Of
course, many felt the real reason he dropped out was because he lacked
the charisma and leadership chops needed to win the hearts of voters.
Following are the candidates in a nutshell, along with my biased viewpoint.
• U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Holland) is the top Republican on the
House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
Hoekstra strikes me as an odd choice for governor and dead wrong for
Michigan, Why? Because his chief attribute -- if you can call it that
-- is that of a complainer.
I read Hoekstra’s press releases each week, and they are chiefly an
endless litany of complaints and blame directed at the Democrats. In
his news releases, at least, Hoekstra seldom seems to have an original
idea for taking Michigan forward; his shtick is complaining,
blame-gaming and nit-picking every move of the Obama administration or
his counterparts in Congress.
Fair enough for an ideological congressman bottled up in D.C., but how
would that approach help Michigan if he were governor? We’ve got
enough gridlock in state government already, not to mention the damage
a highly-partisan governor might have on Michigan‘s relations with the
Obama administration.
As an example of what “Governor”
Hoekstra might do for Michigan, recently,
he led the charge in scuttling the chances of
a prison in Standish being turned into a federal Supermax to house
prisoners from Guantanamo under the ‘fraidy-cat rationale that a
relatively small number of prisoners would prove far too dangerous for
Michigan. Result: a $145 million purchase and tens of millions in
construction contracts, along with scores of jobs, went to a prison in
And what happened in Standish? The prison closed in October, shutting
down Arenac County’s biggest employer. If that’s what we could expect
from Hoekstra as governor, someone ought to be making it a campaign
• Rick Snyder, the former venture capitalist from Ann Arbor, has come
from behind to earn second place in contending the Republican
primaries. His self-deprecating TV commercials identifying him as “one
tough nerd” have rocketed him from the back of the pack in name
recognition, but Snyder has also paid his dues in terms of
barnstorming the state for months, visiting voters, newspapers and
small towns.
It’s hard not to like Snyder, a former top executive at Gateway
Computers, who brings an entrepreneurial approach to getting Michigan
back on its feet. And even liberal voters will be happy to learn that
he’s supportive of protecting Michigan’s environment as well as
promoting alternative energy.
A poll by Booth Newspapers shows Michigan Attorney
General Mike Cox in third place in terms of name recognition, followed
by Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard and State Senator Tom
In general, the Republican candidates have a “one size fits all”
approach to fixing Michigan that seems more of an ideology or wishful
thinking than something that will shoot us over the goal posts: Their
idea is simply to eliminate the Michigan Business Tax in favor of a
lower, less complicated tax. That, and trimming back the benefits of
state workers and teachers.
Fine, let’s do it and see if it works. But that approach ignores the
800 lb. gorilla on the table, representing the wreck of the Big 3 auto
companies, which is the true engine of job growth in Michigan. One
doubts that simply eliminating Michigan’s Single Business Tax alone
will result in a jobs bonanza.
Running for the Democrats:
• Andy Dillon is Speaker of the
Michigan House of Representatives. This state rep from Wayne County
has been in the Legislature since 2004. Since he just announced for
the governor’s race on Feb. 28, we don’t have a handle on what
remedies he’d have for Michigan. But chances are, voters are looking
for someone who’s not part of the status quo this year.
• Verg Bernero, mayor of Lansing, has had a well-rounded career,
serving as a county commissioner as well as a state representative and
state senator. He frequently appears as “America’s Mayor” on The Ed
Show on MSNBC, offering common-sense opinions on how to fix Michigan
and the nation. He’s a forceful speaker with no-nonsense ideas in the
Jesse Ventura mode. Conservatives who like the Ted Nugent approach
would perhaps like Bernero as well.
Bernero also has a heart: he’s been a strong advocate for protecting
citizens who have mental health issues. As mayor of Lansing, his
administration claims to have brought $500 million in new investment
to the city.
• State Rep. Alma Wheeler Smith hails from Ypsilanti. Her website
notes that if she were elected governor, she would seek “full access
to health care for each resident, equal education access and
opportunity from preschool to grad school, a safe and clean
environment, vital urban centers, a healthy business sector,
protection for civil rights and civil liberties and full inclusion for
each citizen in Michigan’s benefits and opportunities.”
Good luck, candidates.

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