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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- May 3rd, 2010
Research defended
We appreciate Stephen Tuttle’s attention to the research services
provided to Traverse City Light & Power (Spectator column, 5/3).
However, his interpretation of the research results led to undue
criticism of our research methodology. Mr. Tuttle states there are
“serious flaws in the way the numbers are weighted.” In fact, results
were not weighted.
Data on each survey variable is clearly presented by customer type,
with residential, commercial and primary results delineated. Our
report outlines survey methodology, explaining that customers were
randomly selected and pulled from separate residential, commercial and
primary customer data bases, allowing for reference to desired
confidence level and margin of error by each customer type. This
methodology and presentation of the data do not result in “the
reduction of residential customers and inflation of commercial and
primary user numbers,” as he claims.
In addition, his assessment of survey content does not recognize that
questions addressing reasons for lack of support for the biomass
initiative were also included. All responses cited (including
sustainability, desire for use of wind, solar or hydro, emissions,
etc.) were recorded and openly presented.
The data shows that 51% of residential respondents and 56% of
commercial respondents expressed some level of support for the biomass
initiative; while 25% and 18% of respondents rated themselves somewhat
or very unsupportive, respectively. All levels of support were
addressed and detailed in our presentation to the Traverse City Light
& Power Board and are included in the final report.
We share Tuttle’s regard for accurate, non-biased survey methods and
uphold this standard when conducting research on behalf of our
clients. We ask that those who review survey findings do so with a
full understanding of the methods used, in order to draw a complete
picture of the results.

Cathlyn Sommerfield, Ph.D
Northwestern Michigan College
Research Services Director

Racist handiwork
Last Saturday evening a friend and I were driving on 3 Mile Road in
Traverse City when we saw some young men changing the letters on a
sign which has movable letters and proudly taking pictures of their
“handiwork.” They had changed the sign to a racist saying directed
towards African Americans.
By the time we had stopped and returned to the sign, the men were
gone, so we removed the letters. We felt that our neighborhood had
been violated and feared that the business owner would suffer had
anyone seen the sign. What these young men had done was not a prank,
nor was it exercising freedom of speech. It was trespassing,
vandalism, and a racially-motivated hate crime.
It was easily remedied, but that is not the point. Racially-motivated
crimes, including vandalism, should not be tolerated in Traverse City.
We, as a city and as individuals, need to keep moving forward on a
path toward eradication of prejudice and its harmful effects to
achieve equality in society. The city will be a more pleasant place to
live in—one without fear and embarrassment.

Nadine Dolan • TC

Polarized biodebate
I am disappointed and deeply concerned by the inflammatory language
that has been sailing around regarding the TCLP proposed biomass
plant. Not only is the volume of misinformation and misleading
information of concern to me. More so is the unwillingness of people
to have a civil conversation among themselves.
Rather than attacking each others’ statements, we should be asking the
important questions, and then consider solutions, pieces of
information that we need to add to the picture, and real science.
Where has biomass gasification been done before? What are the
emissions data from similar plants that are operating in Europe? What
are some other possible fuels? Algae? Hemp? (I wish!) How can wood
chips be stored to avoid mildewing and foul odors? Where can I get
more information on the destruction of forests in Europe by
overcutting? The criteria for sustainable forestry are clear; how can
citizens draft regulations that require TCLP to adhere stringently to
those criteria?
I use these questions as examples, because I think people need to sit
down together and have civil conversations around issues like this
without attacking, talking over, and running to conclusions on
insufficient data.
I am sick and tired of polarized rhetoric. It’s horrible, and
probably not possible to rein in at the national level, especially
with the likes of Rush Limbaugh adding fuel to the fire. But if we
can’t have civil conversations among ourselves at the local level,
where there is real hope of working together to solve the very real
problems in energy and environment, then I give up all hope of ever
finding agreeable solutions.

Alison Hein • TC

Save the Boardman dams
Who knows better than Garfield and East Bay Township citizens whether
the dams on the Boardman River in their jurisdictions should be
removed or retained?
Who knows better than the Garfield and East Bay Township citizens if
the dams should be restored to once again produce clean, renewable,
green energy on demand 24-7 for the benefit of all?
So let’s ask those citizens what they want done with the dams in their
jurisdictions. Their elected representatives have not had the
opportunity to speak for the citizens they represent.
One of the precepts of natural law is man’s right to the possession
and the use of his property. That right is being ripped from our
citizens, friends and neighbors and we do nothing to stop it. This
attack on their property rights is actually an attack on our freedom.
The Boardman and Brown Bridge Ponds have been treated as part of a
common pool of public wealth. Yet the property owners on Boardman
Pond have been paying waterfront rates on their property when they
bought it and when it was appraised for taxes. Not as part of a
common pool, but an individual one, and not from the public’s wealth
but their’s and their’s alone. Year after year.
State government must begin to withdraw from a series of programs that
are outside its constitutional mandate and can be better performed by
lower levels of government, or by private institutions or individuals
like Charles Petersen (an entrepreneur who has offered to operate the
Boardman dam). I suggest a rigid timetable for a staged withdrawal
from this matter of the dams on the Boardman River where the State‘s
participation is undesirable and unnecessary.
The State has increased its contribution to over half a million
dollars to the “public process” called the Boardman River Dams
Committee, which was public in theory only and we didn’t even grumble
about excessive government spending. The effect was felt later when we
lost our freedom to decide the fate of the Boardman River dams for

Norbert Tutlis • via email

In a letter entitled “Biomass enablers” last week, the term
“negawatts” used to describe megawatts that are not used in power
generation was mistakenly changed to “megawatts.”

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