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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Up in smoke/ Stupak‘s view/ Looking ahead

Robert Downes - May 31st, 2010
Up in smoke: two proposed coal plants in Rogers City & Bay City
Plans for two new coal plants in Rogers City and Bay City were
scuttled last week, raising hope in Michigan’s environmental community
that power companies will pursue a cleaner path to producing
Last week, Gov. Jennifer Granholm denied an air quality permit for
Wolverine Power Supply Cooperative’s proposed coal burning plant in
Rogers City. The governor’s decision was based on input from the
Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment (MDNRE),
which had issues with the economic benefits of the plant, in addition
to air quality concerns.
Wolverine Power has the option of
appealing the decision.
Reaction to the news was mixed.
Tom Karas of the Michigan Energy
Alternatives Project (MEAP), which has led the fight against new coal plants in
Michigan, issued a blog noting that the
Rogers City plant would have raised electricity rates significantly.
“Wolverine’s air permit for its proposed coal plant in Rogers City
was denied because, according to the State’s letter, the plant simply
was not needed, there were cheaper options, and the power it generated
would be extremely expensive,” Karas said.
In an opinion piece from the Michigan Land Use Institute (MLUI), editor Jim
Dulzo commented on the controversy in Rogers City over the proposed
plant. The environmental and land use think tank has spent the past
three years building a case against the project.
“We found a town where most everyone fiercely supported the plant,”
Dulzo said of his initial visit to Rogers City in July, 2007.
“Desperate for economic development, they saw the 50 or 100 permanent
jobs the plant would bring as pure gold. Who could ever blame them?
“But we also found brave people willing to speak out, against
overwhelming social pressure, and say what needed to be said -- that
there was no need for the plant; that it would change Rogers City
profoundly, and for the worse; that it would, sooner or later, damage
the community’s health by harming its air and water; and that it would
greatly boost electricity rates for 200,000 Michigan families and
Dulzo added that the proposed plant would have increased the cost of
its customers’ electricity by close to 60 percent.

U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Menominee), an ardent supporter of the
proposed coal plant, blasted the State’s decision.
“Governor Granholm’s decision to deny Wolverine Power’s air permit for
a new power plant in Rogers City is a blow to Michigan’s economy and
prevents Northern Michigan from helping to establish the state as a
leader in new energy technologies,” Stupak said in a release. “This
project was an opportunity to create much-needed jobs and meet
Michigan’s energy needs, while remaining consistent with the goal of
producing cleaner energy.”
Stupak said the denial of the permit would mean the loss of an
estimated 2,800 construction jobs in addition to 50-100 permanent jobs
in Rogers City, which has one of the highest unemployment rates in the
“It also signals a continuation of
Michigan’s reliance on inefficient power plants with high rates of
pollution constructed 40 to 50 years ago,” Stupak said.
He noted that the proposed plant has been approved for funding via a
grant from the U.S. Department of Energy and has the potential of
receiving an additional $147 million in federal funding for clean
energy and job creation.
“The Wolverine Power Clean Energy Venture Project was designed to
utilize carbon capture and sequestration technologies, co-fire 20
percent of its fuel from biomass, and construct more than 50 megawatts
of clean wind energy,” Stupak said.

But Dulzo noted that the nation is trending away from coal power as an
energy option.
“The Rogers City plant is, I believe, the 107th one cancelled in the
U.S. in the last several years,” he said. “The American wind industry
now employs more people than the American coal industry. The rest of
the world -- led by China -- is headed away from coal as quickly as it
can. This is not ideology. It is not a prediction. It is a fact.
“Wolverine should invest the $1.3 billion it was going to spend on
coal on efficiency measures for all of its customers, and charge them
for it,” Dulzo added. “Everyone will save money, and lots of people
will get good, long-lasting jobs.”
Last week also brought a decision by Consumers Energy to suspend its
plans for a new coal-fired plant near Bay City.
Karas of MEAP said he hoped that
Wolverine Power would take Consumers’ decision to heart and pursue
cleaner energy projects.
“Consumers’ announcement strongly validates the MDNRE decision of May
21 to deny an air permit to Wolverine largely due to economic
realities,” Karas said in a release.
Hans Voss, executive director of the MLUI, said the decisions set the
stage for cleaner energy projects in Michigan.
“Two coal plants have fallen in less than a week,” Voss said. “Now
it’s time for Lansing to do its part, and make sure Michigan has a
clear path toward rebuilding its economy by creating jobs in energy
efficiency, wind and solar power, and other new energy technologies.”

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