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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Illegal immigration‘s front lines

Stephen Tuttle - May 10th, 2010
Arizona has passed an anti-illegal immigration bill and all hell has
broken loose. Protests have been held, boycotts planned, the usual
suspects have crawled out from under their rocks, and Shakira has spoken
out. Shakira? Sure. Arizona was desperate for advice from a native of
that bastion of freedom and democracy, Colombia.
Don’t be too quick to judge Arizonans. As a 35-year resident of Phoenix
before returning to my native Traverse City a couple years ago, I
understand the frustration and desperation that has finally boiled over
into a terrible piece of legislation.
Most of the country has little understanding of the depth and breadth of
the illegal immigration problem in Arizona. This is not an occasional
annoyance in which a few folks have trickled into the state and taken a
few crummy jobs. What
Arizona has experienced is a human flood and it’s been going on for a long
time thanks to the inaction and incompetence of the federal government.
During the peak flows in the ’90s, when Arizona’s economy was rocketing
along, some estimate there were 2,000 illegals a day entering the state.
Day after day after day, the equivalent of the population of Traverse City
every week. They didn’t all stay, but even now the best estimates are
that more than 400,000 illegal immigrants are permanent residents of
Arizona. They have created a shadowy sub-culture accepting low-paying
jobs and trying to avoid authorities. Even worse, violent drug smugglers
have now taken over much of the human trafficking trade and made Arizona a
world-wide leader in kidnapping and a national leader in fake
identifications and identity theft.
Arizonans have been stuck with the bills including dramatic increases for
spending on education, the criminal justice system and healthcare. Just as
bad, the minimum wages -- or less -- that illegals are willing to accept
has depressed the entire unskilled job market. The feds, despite decades
of pleas from Arizona and other border states, have done little to secure
the border or provide funding for Arizona’s costs.
So Arizona has acted on its own with legislation that allows local law
enforcement to function as immigration officers. They can now attempt to
determine a person’s immigration status during the course of law
enforcement encounters. If you can’t produce your papers you go to jail
without passing “Go” or collecting $200.
The law quite likely violates both the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments
and opens the possibility of ugly racial profiling.
To be fair, most officers will simply ignore it, having other things to
worry about; but the overzealous will create problems. Since Arizona has
a large legal population of Hispanic American citizens, many of whose
families have been in the area since before Arizona became a state, the
potential for trouble is very real.
The debate about illegal immigration, like everything else, has broken
down into two intransigent camps. In one camp are the round ’em up and
ship ’em home folks. Their battle cry is “What don’t you understand about
illegal?” On the other side are the amnesty folks who like to call their
opponents racists, nativists and xenophobes. (As an aside, it’s fair to
say there is an ugly component of naked racism involved in this being
perpetrated by a very vocal minority. One need only read the blogs and
other internet postings coming out of Arizona these days to understand
There are an estimated 10 million to 14 million illegal immigrants in the
country. We don’t know their names, don’t have their descriptions, don’t
know where they live. Rounding them up is a practical impossibility.
We’d have to suspend the Constitution and start checking the papers of all
310 million U.S. residents. The costs would be astronomical.
On the other hand, blanket amnesty means citizenship for all illegals.
Though the number of evil-doers in the group is a small percentage of the
total, it is a large raw number. It would be foolish.
The real solution is for Mexico and other source countries to get their
economic and social acts together and provide the kinds of opportunities
that would encourage people to stay home; but that is extremely unlikely.
Mexico, especially, is a beneficiary. They export, among others, a chunk
of their uneducated and under-educated lower economic class, and their
countrymen in the U.S. then ship home at least $16 billion in cash
American politicians of both parties have painted themselves into corners
from which there is little room for escape. Most Republican voters
oppose any kind of amnesty. But large corporations who contribute to
Republican politicians exploit the cheap labor and like the status quo.
Democrats think amnesty will provide them with millions of new voters,
though the research indicates the new citizens will not vote as a bloc,
but split their votes about like everyone else. So we have an
intractable stalemate.
The politicians in Washington are now talking about immigration reform
legislation. Don’t hold your breath. They’ve had more than three
decades to find something workable and have done nothing. Common sense
left the building about the same time Elvis did.
So don’t count on a solution anytime soon. But be gentle when considering
my friends in Arizona. They’ve been on the front lines a long time,
they’re tired, frustrated and angry and their recent legislation, awful
and wrongheaded though it may be, was enacted based on the idea that
anything would be better than more nothing.

Stephen Tuttle is a political consultant who formerly wrote for the
Arizona Republic.

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