Letters 08-31-2015

Inalienable Rights This is a response to the “No More State Theatre” in your August 24th edition. I think I will not be the only response to this pathetic and narrow-minded letter that seems rather out of place in the northern Michigan that I know. To think we will not be getting your 25 cents for the movie you refused to see, but more importantly we will be without your “two cents” on your thoughts of a marriage at the State Theatre...

Enthusiastically Democratic Since I was one of the approximately 160 people present at when Senator Debbie Stabenow spoke on August 14 in Charlevoix, I was surprised to read in a letter to Northern Express that there was a “rather muted” response to Debbie’s announcement that she has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president...

Not Hurting I surely think the State Theatre will survive not having the homophobic presence of Colleen Smith and her family attend any matinees. I think “Ms.” Smith might also want to make sure that any medical personnel, bank staff, grocery store staff, waiters and/or waitress, etc. are not homosexual before accepting any service or product from them...

Stay Home I did not know whether to laugh or cry when I read the letter of the extremely homophobic, “disgusted” writer. She now refuses to patronize the State Theatre because she evidently feels that its confines have been poisoned by the gay wedding ceremony held there...

Keep Away In response to Colleen Smith of Cadillac who refused to bring her family to the State Theatre because there was a gay wedding there: Keep your 25 cents and your family out of Traverse City...

Celebrating Moore And A Theatre I was 10 years old when I had the privilege to see my first film at the State Theatre. I will never forget that experience. The screen was almost the size of my bedroom I shared with my older sister. The bursting sounds made me believe I was part of the film...

Outdated Thinking This letter is in response to Colleen Smith. She made public her choice to no longer go to the State Theater due to the fact that “some homosexuals” got married there. I’m not outraged by her choice; we don’t need any more hateful, self-righteous bigots in our town. She can keep her 25 cents...

Mackinac Pipeline Must Be Shut Down Crude oil flowing through Enbridge’s 60-yearold pipeline beneath the Mackinac Straits and the largest collection of fresh water on the planet should be a serious concern for every resident of the USA and Canada. Enbridge has a very “accident” prone track record...

Your Rights To Colleen, who wrote about the State Theatre: Let me thank you for sharing your views; I think most of us are well in support of the first amendment, because as you know- it gives everyone the opportunity to express their opinions. I also wanted to thank Northern Express for not shutting down these types of letters right at the source but rather giving the community a platform for education...

No Role Model [Fascinating Person from last week’s issue] Jada quoted: “I want to be a role model for girls who are interested in being in the outdoors.” I enjoy being in the outdoors, but I don’t want to kill animals for trophy...

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Bart, we feel your pain/No free lunch

Robert Downes - April 19th, 2010
Bart, we feel your pain
There’s a pundit on TV in the early evening hours who specializes in
painting anyone in public office as a knucklehead.
Permanently saddled with a world-weary expression, he answers emails
from cynical viewers with rolling eyes, a “tch-tch,” and an exasperated
“I told ya so” before delivering the inevitable punchline about the
jerks in Washington pulling the strings of the hard-workin’ American
middle class.
His name isn’t important, because he’s more like an automatic cynicism
program -- he might as well be a Pixar computer animation.
But the message is always the same and you hear it on all of the cable
news stations, spreading the infection of cynicism about our public
servants to viewers of every political stripe. Why? because it’s a lot
easier to tear someone down with slogans and stereotypes than it is to
do the hard work of shaping progress from the muck of complicated
So who can blame U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak for saying take this job and
shove it last week after 18 years of serving the citizens of Michigan’s
1st Congressional District?
Can you imagine how difficult it must be to serve a district that’s
more than 600 miles across in one of the most remote corners of the
United States? Can you imagine how expensive it is to pay Stupak’s
out-of-pocket airfares to Washington D.C. from his home in far off Iron
Let’s give the man a little respect. Bart Stupak is one of the most
notable leaders in Congress and represents the gold standard of
integrity, passion and intelligence in Northern Michigan. He led the
fight to protect the Great Lakes from water diversion and brought an
inestimable number of federal dollars to his district to provide jobs
in a region that’s on par with Appalachia.
No one ever came close to beating Stupak in an election and political
pundits as astute as George Weeks feel he would have won re-election
this year if he had chosen to run, despite whatever the Tea Party might
claim. He would make a fine governor, and if anything, it‘s a shame
he‘s not running for that office.
Stupak also held to his right-to-life principles, shaping the health
care reform legislation while casting a heroic vote on its behalf.
That will mean health coverage for 38,000 uninsured citizens in his
district, along with lower costs and better protection for 197,000.
And, as he says, his vote for health reform means you will “no longer
have to live in fear of being one illness or injury away from
I don’t personally know Bart Stupak, but have observed through the
years at his public appearances and through his writings and actions
that he is a man of courage who “tells it like it is” whatever the
consequences. What more could a cynic ask for?
Good luck to Rep. Bart Stupak on whatever path he chooses to follow.
He will surely be missed.

No free lunch

Recently, the Grand Rapids Press hosted a panel of experts to ponder the
idea of establishing new tolls to pay for highway funding in Michigan.
Michigan’s roads are literally on a highway to hell, owing to their
deterioration and a lack of tax dollars to repair them. Over Drive, a
magazine for truckers, surveyed its readership and found that our
roads are considered to be among the worst in the country, just ahead
of the potholed highways of Pennsylvania and Louisiana.
Although the State of Michigan spends about $3 billion per year on
highway improvements, with funds drawn from federal and state fuel
taxes, that’s apparently not enough to get ‘er done.
Plus, an estimated $140 million of those gas tax dollars are diverted
to other state agencies that have nothing to do with roads, such as the
Secretary of State and the Department of Treasury, according to Mike
Nystrom, vice president of the Michigan Infrastructure and
Transportation Association.
So what are the options for getting our roads back on track? The Press
reports that the legislature is considering up to 13 bills to increase
fuel taxes and license fees over the next five years to raise an extra
$1.5 billion per year.
But new taxes are poison doo-doo for politicians these days, so there’s
growing support for toll roads as an alternative.
This is partly because increasing fuel taxes may prove to be
ineffective in the long run, considering that more of us are switching
to hybrid or high-mileage vehicles. And what happens when we go
electric? Those gas tax revenues will evaporate.
Plus, it has been noted that neighboring states, including Ohio,
Illinois and Indiana, all rely on toll roads to keep their highways in
good condition, as do many southern states.
The Michigan Chamber of Commerce is opposed to any tax hikes in
general, but notes that “true user fees are sometimes necessary and
appropriate for essential services like transportation.”
In other words, toll roads.
Personally, I hate paying tolls whenever driving through Ohio, Illinois
or Pennsylvania. Paying $20 or so to drive through the dreary plains
of Ohio seems un-American. And if you’ve ever had the misfortune of
driving the roads outside Orlando, Florida, the experience of getting
ripped off by numerous toll booths every few miles seems positively
On the other hand, road tolls certainly fit the zeitgeist of the times:
people don’t wish to pay more taxes, but there’s no free lunch when it
comes to keeping our roads up to snuff, so heavy users should ‘pay the
freight’ on fixing our roads, so to speak.
In its essence, it’s a libertarian idea: those of us who rarely drive
(especially on freeways) shouldn‘t have to pay for those who are heavy
users of our highways.
So perhaps someday soon we’ll get the equivalent of a new tax in the
form of road tolls. Will that mean a decrease in our present gas taxes
and license fees? Probably not. It will be just one more tax, albeit
packaged in a libertarian philosophy that’s in step with the times.
Let’s take it a step further and charge an admission fee to get into
the paradise of Northern Michigan.

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