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 · A puff of hope
. . . .

A puff of hope

Tim Madison - February 16th, 2009
A puff of hope
Tim Madison 2/16/09

During his treatment five years ago, cancer survivor Leonard Burdek sought relief from the side effects of chemotherapy through the use of marijuana.
During Burdek’s six months of chemotherapy he had to face the possibility of being arrested for possessing the marijuana which eased the pain of his symptoms. Yet, on April 4, fear of imprisonment, fines and legal bills will change, thanks to the approval of medical marijuana by voters in the recent elections.
Under the new law, patients in Michigan who have medical need and a doctor’s recommendation will be able to apply to the health department for an ID card that will entitle them to use marijuana. They’ll also be able to grow up to 12 plants, and carry up to 2.5 ounces of pot. Qualifying individuals may also select a caregiver to grow marijuana or obtain it for them. Each caregiver may have five patients and may grow 12 plants for each of them. If the caregiver is also a patient, then he or she will be able to grow up to 72 marijuana plants under the new law.

Burdek, along with Melody Carr and Bob Heflin are the organizers of the Traverse City Compassion Club, one of many so-named clubs that have been formed across the state by the Michigan Medical Marijuana Association. The clubs were formed to help individuals seeking to grow and use medical marijuana.
“The main goal of the compassion club is to to offer support to these people, so that they can have the best experience they can with the use of medical marijuana,” Burdek says. “We want to be able to support those folks. We want to be able to listen to what their needs are and do our best to fulfill those needs.”
Those who wish to apply for an ID card to use medical marijuana will have to navigate the bureaucracy of the Michigan State government and deal with a (sometimes) skeptical medical establishment. Yet, through the compassion club system, Burdek and other volunteers will be working to make the process as easy as possible.
Burdek is a strong believer in marijuana as a medical therapy.
“The nice thing about it is that in the course of about three months, this isn’t going to be a black market thing anymore,” he says. “It’s going to be in the open, and people are going to be able to educate themselves on the proper ways of growing marijuana. Most importantly, I think what’s going to come out of this is that the patient isn’t going to have to go to the ‘underground’ in order to get their medicine. They’re going to be able to stay away from the criminal element.”

The Traverse City Compassion Club is part of a network that will include at least two clinics run by The Hemp and Cannabis Foundation, which exists solely for the purpose of recommending patients for medical marijuana use. One clinic in Southfield is already open. Another is planned for Ann Arbor, and there is a possibility that the clinic will travel to Traverse City.
“The clinic has considered coming up here to Traverse City so that people don’t have to go to Southfield, if we can find 30 qualifying patients to go in for an interview with them,” Burdek says.
He adds that not everyone will qualify. “Just because they have an appointment, doesn’t mean they are going to get medical marijuana. It’s going to depend on their condition, and their last three (medical) charts.”
Burdek originally came into contact with marijuana through what he calls the “counterculture.” He says he had an “unhealthy relationship” with marijuana and was also a drinker and a smoker. “For the way that I abused tobacco and the way that I abused marijuana, I was a prime candidate to get cancer,” he says.
He intends to address health issues concerning the abuse of marijuana through his work at the compassion club. “I want to impress upon people that rolling up marijuana and smoking it is probably the least healthy way you can use it,” he says. “I also recognize that there are people who may have addiction issues -- addictive personality issues -- as opposed to an addiction to the marijuana, that are going to need some guidance so that they don’t fall into a trap with marijuana that they may have fallen into with other drugs.”

One outspoken medical marijuana advocate who goes by the name “Triple Old School,” was one of the first patients that Burdek assisted when he had difficulty getting the necessary paperwork from his doctor.
Triple Old School suffers from hepatitis C and side effects stemming from injections he received during his military service in the early 1980s. He says the injections were meant to prepare troops for nuclear, biological and chemical warfare, but had severe side effects, including liver damage. “I’d been on Oxycontin for quite some time and ended up addicted to it,” he says. “It took me a year and a half of methadone treatment to get rid of the addiction.”
He cited the lack of addictive properties as the main reason he has for choosing medical marijuana, and plans to obtain an ID card in April. “As far as the efficacy, it’s working -- it’s been really good. It’s been a wonderful substitute that’s non-addictive for me.”
During his cancer treatment, Burdek used marijuana to combat nausea, and also for pain relief from neutropenia, which causes an aching of the bones. Both are side effects of chemotherapy and Burdek felt that marijuana was a better pain-fighting alternative than addictive opiates. “I was able to really keep my use of opiates to a minimum during that time, when it was bolstered with my use of marijuana,” he says. “In that respect, I was reducing the potential harm to myself, knowing that when I was done with my treatment it would be much easier to put the marijuana down than it would be if I was using opiates and had become addicted to them.”

As a blogger on the Michigan Medical Marijuana Association’s website (michiganmedicalmarijuana.org) and as
an organizer of the TC Compassion
Club, Burdek is keenly aware of the
stigma that surrounds marijuana. “The image of the dullard kid on his
skateboard with his hoody on plays
into a lot of people’s perceptions about what a marijuana user is. We have to
break those stereotypes, because there are going to be members of the community
that are in good standing that may conceivably become patients, and that’s who we want to represent,” he says.
To people like Triple Old School, the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act is long overdue. “It’s a wonderful substitute for narcotics, and it’s a non addictive substance,” he says. “I think it should be legalized all across America, and we shouldn’t be hunting down people who are using it for medicinal purposes.”
The Traverse City Compassion Club’s next meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the Traverse City Area District Library on Monday, March 23.

For info regarding medical marijuana or the Traverse City Compassion Club,
contact Leonard Burdek at tccc@mail.com.

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