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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- April 19th, 2010
Why not wind?
Michigan has a tremendous opportunity to help make our environment and
economy “green.” Both the lower and upper peninsulas are surrounded
by excellent to outstanding off shore and on shore areas to construct
wind farms. The wind turbine industry could create more jobs replacing
those lost in the automotive industry.
From Michigan’s Department of Labor and Economic Growth electric
generation is responsible for 36% of carbon dioxide pollution, 64% of
sulfur dioxide pollution, 26% of nitrogen oxide pollution, and 34% of
mercury pollution in the U.S.
These pollutants are not only responsible for acid rain making our
lakes and streams more acidic, but contribute significantly to global
warming. Atmospheric carbon dioxide is the principle driver of climate
change and is now one of the world‘s most predictable environmental
trends resulting from emissions that are overwhelming nature’s
capacity to absorb carbon.
It is time to put on the fast track all sources of renewable energy, and
in Michigan that is a network of wind farms. Oil wells go dry, coal
runs out, but Michigan’s wind resources cannot be depleted. Land
requirements to produce energy from wind farms are extremely efficient;
i.e. an acre of land used for a wind farm can produce $300,000 worth of
electricity per year. This same acre used to grow corn to produce
ethanol used with gasoline is worth $960.
Electricity produced by wind farms could eventually replace coal-fired
power plants. charge hybrid cars, and lower pollution levels that would
help stabilize our climate. As in WW II, when Michigan’s automotive
assembly lines produced B- 24 bombers, our idle automotive capacity
could be producing wind turbines. It is time that Michigan got serious,
and put its idle automotive assembly plants and skilled workers back
to work.

Ronald D. Dykstra • Beulah

Rethinking health reform
I’ve re-thought my position on Obamacare and I think this may work out
great for everyone.
The (maximum) $2,500 annual fine for not having insurance is a lot less
than what most people pay for insurance. And that is only if the IRS
can actually figure out how to enforce the law and collect the fine.
At the same time, since insurance companies cannot exclude you for
having a pre-existing condition, there is really no reason to buy
insurance until after you need it.
So I think the best thing for most people is going to be to drop your
health insurance. It will be cheaper to just pay cash for some routine
office visits.
If you get injured, or diagnosed with some serious illness, then go buy
insurance to cover the costs of the expensive treatment and care.
This probably puts about $10,000 a year back into your pocket compared
to maintaining health insurance you might never fully need.
This seems like such a good enough idea that I’m wondering if we might
convince our president and Democrat controlled congress to do something
similar with home, auto, and life insurance. Imagine how great it would
be if we didn’t need to buy home insurance until after our homes burned
down, or if we didn’t need to pay for auto insurance until after we were
involved in a crash. And imagine all the misery mitigated if our loved
ones could buy life insurance for us after we are already dead. “Why
yes, I would like a $1 million policy on my beloved husband’s life. He
died yesterday and I will be needing you to pay out this policy
immediately after you issue it and I make my first $150 monthly
Yup, this is a great program. What could possibly go wrong with it?

Gordon La Pointe • Williamsburg

Eye of the beholder
in response to Mike Morey’s letter regarding graffiti, dated 4/5/10:
“Defacing your neighborhood”...? Are you serious? I have worked and
played downtown for years and am astonished that you could possibly be
annoyed, much less violated by a random act of kindness, and consider
it ‘stalking’ and vandalizing. Unbelievable!
For the record, the chalk messages of affirmation, and the
spray-painted hearts are not done by the same person, although I
applaud them both equally for their wonderful efforts, and for the joy
that they‘ve given me and countless others in my daily travels on foot
in the downtown district.
In this broken world, how could this kindness be construed as offensive
to anyone? It begs the question: If you were drowning, would you tell
a person offering a lifeline to get out of the way? As for the
sidewalk “artists/authors”...please carry on with our gratitude to you!

Becky Crawford • TC

Immigration hoops
Immigration reform will very likely be a major topic on Congress’
agenda this year. This seems to be one area where the debate does not
split along party lines, particularly with respect to opposition to
undocumented immigrants.
Perhaps the most common argument is that undocumented immigrants should
pass through all the legal hoops that past immigrants have gone
I’m not an historian, but it is my understanding that prior to 1924,
there were almost no restrictions on immigration, especially from
Europe. People like my great-grandparents simply booked passage on a
boat and showed up. (There were exceptions. The Chinese, for example,
were imported for their cheap labor in the mid-1800s, then excluded
from immigrating for 61 years when they became inconvenient.) And since
1924, the chances of obtaining legal access to residency, and
citizenship, in this country overwhelmingly favored white Europeans.
(All Asians were excluded entirely for a time with this act.)
Anti-immigrant sentiment has always been strongest during an economic
downturn. I completely sympathize with the fear of losing a job, but I
don’t believe immigrants are at fault. Our high-profit, low-wage
business model views all labor as a necessary evil. It pits immigrants
against citizens, and leads to outsourcing of jobs and the depressing
of wages. Any discussion about jobs and immigration should start in an
atmosphere of respect for all workers as human beings.
On April 25, at 3 pm, Father Wayne Dzeikan will be speaking about
immigration at the Charlevoix Library. As director of the Secretariat
for Justice and Peace for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Gaylord, he has
a wealth of experience in immigrant issues. I relish the opportunity to
learn more, and have a reasoned discussion with people searching for
humane solutions.

Jean Engstrand • Ellsworth

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