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 · Who let the hogs out
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Who let the hogs out

Robert Downes - February 16th, 2009
Put this in your ‘One More Thing to Worry About’ file: Apparently, there are hordes of vicious wild hogs roaming the Michigan woodlands, and these pigs are in serious danger of becoming an “environmental disaster” for our state.
Who knew? I’ve been tramping around the forests of Michigan for 50 years now and count myself lucky to see an occasional woodchuck or a porcupine. But a band of up to 20 wild hogs? That would be like spotting an elephant.
This news comes from the Michigan Wildlife Conservancy (MWC), based in Bath, Michigan, which is calling for a bounty to exterminate wild hogs.
Don’t want to boar you, but here’s the skinny on a big pig of a problem, according to the Conservancy:
Apparently, these hogs are the descendants of Russian wild boars which have escaped from commercial game ranches over the past decade. They’ve been spotted in 63 of Michigan’s 83 counties and are “reproducing rapidly.”
The impudent hogs cause crop and forest damage and carry a pseudorabies virus which is “a huge threat to Michigan‘s domestic swine industry, which is already reeling from high grain prices and low market pork prices.”
Who knew there was so much drama in the pig industry?
Dennis Fijalkowski, director of the MWC, advocates going to war with the hogs. “Today, we are calling on hunters to help us kill all wild hogs in Michigan before they become an environmental disaster for our state,” he says in a release.
Fijalkowski first became aware of the hog menace while stationed in Germany with the U.S. Army, “where citizens have battled the animals for hundreds of years and where a hunter was killed by a wild boar two months ago.”
And get this: “Nationwide, wild hogs conservatively cause $800 million worth of damages annually to crops, golf
courses, lawns and forests by their
feeding and rooting habits. And they are also vicious predators of livestock,
deer fawns and ground-nesting birds,” the MWC says.
Anyway, the time to unleash hell on the hogs is now, before Michigan goes the way of Texas, “where the wild hog population bomb has already exploded.”
Like, we‘re talkin’ hog-wild here.
The MWC’s press release sounds like it would make great material for a killer hog movie on par with Anaconda or Jurassic Park 2, but it probably wouldn‘t be so funny if you were pinned down in a gulley with only a sling-shot for protection, surrounded by feral pigs with a score to settle for all the pork chops and sausage you’ve enjoyed through the years. Better practice your tree-climbing skills, folks, because you just never know...
Question: if wild hogs are causing at least $800 million in damages, that means that Michigan’s share is $16 million (if you divide by 50 states). If this is the disaster the MWC claims, wouldn‘t it be wise to shut down these commericial game ranches that unleashed this horror in the first place, and send them the bill?
Answer: pigs would fly before such a politically-incorrect solution would be put forth. Imagine the bee flying up a hog hunter’s dress at this suggestion.
Closer to home, there are tales of a coyote infestation in Northern Michigan, with the critters making off with pet cats and small dogs. I know of one hunter who recalled lying in the grass while a pack of coyotes crept past all around him. He was afraid to jump up for fear the coyotes would attack him; though I think it’s more likely that he would have scared the crap out of the unsuspecting coyotes.
Cougars? Check out the story in this issue. Hopefully, they’re not messing with anyone‘s golf course. Bears? Yeah, they’re out there too, probably causing millions of dollars in damage to our forests by eating berries, pooping in the woods, and tearing up valuable lumber.
What next? Runaway baboons? Escaped crocodiles? Killer whales in the Great Lakes?
It’s comforting to know that there actually are a few wild animals still kicking around the sterile woods of Northern Michigan, and that not every creature has been turned into roadkill or exterminated for the crime of merely existing.
Let’s look at the bright side: if some wild hog roots around in a golf course and digs a hole or two, let’s not give that pig a hard time for causing “damage.” That hog is stimulating our state’s economy by creating jobs to help fill in the holes out on the green.
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