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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Things learned while looking other stuff up

Robert Downes - April 26th, 2010
Things learned while looking up other stuff...
• It’s a Downer -- Literally: As a follow-up to Anne Stanton’s article,
“Up North Robbery,” in this issue about the high cost of flying to and
from Northern Michigan, consider what a round-trip flight to Chicago would
cost you this weekend from Cherry Capital Airport: According to
expedia.com, the lowest flight is $615 -- and that’s with two stops in
Detroit and Indianapolis! Or, fly direct there and back for $687.
Ouch. Consider that you can currently fly 6,700 miles to New Zealand from
Los Angeles for $758 (and that‘s round-trip). That’s only $71 more than
what it takes to fly 300 miles to the Windy City from Northern Michigan.
But as airport director Steve Cassens notes, the airlines have us over a
barrel, and the fewer people who fly out of the region only means less
service and higher rates...

• Great quote: “Now, instead of coming up north for the fall color tour,
tourists will be able to come here for a tree stump tour.” -- Lee Sprague
of the Michigan Chapter of the Sierra Club, commenting on Traverse City
Light & Power’s plan to build a new biomass plant.

• Seeking Alternatives:
NMEAC (Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council) is launching a
“Smart Community Energy Initiative” on June 10 to explore renewable energy
options for the region. You can vote for choices including nuclear, wind,
hydro and garbage incineration at nmeac.org.

• Loose Lips Sink Ships: The Tea Party reports that dastardly left-wing
activists are infiltrating their rallies. So what’s the problem?
“Provocateurs” are pretending to be sympathizers while recording some of
the less-than-intelligent utterances of tea baggers in the radical fringe
who are inclined towards racism or violence. Makes for funny content on

• Judicial Trend: A viewer reports that two out of 10 cases on the Judge
Judy Show seem to involve medical marijuana disputes these days (ie.,
growing plants or getting high in rental houses). A near second are cases
involving who should get stuck with the bill for breast implants (like a
sugar daddy who reneges on paying for his ex-girlfriend’s new C cups).

• Nike’s ‘Women Problem’: Why does Nike continue to sponsor alleged
rapist Ben Roethlisberger, the quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers?
That’s what Timothy Egan, columnist for the New York Times, wants to know.
Roethlisberger, who stands 6‘ 5“ and has been charged with sexual assault
in the past, allegedly spent an evening getting drunk at a nightclub and
then followed a 20-year-old student into a restroom and raped her. Cries
for help by her friend were reportedly ignored by Roethlisberger’s
adoring cohort of cops and bodyguards, and the resulting police work was
so sloppy that he got off scot-free.
“What, exactly does it take for Nike to dump a jock?” Egan wonders.
“Dog-fighting will do it. After Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick
pleaded guilty to running a felony dog-fighting ring, Nike took action...
But cruelty to women is O.K. I don’t know how else to read the company’s
inconsistent stand. Here is a guy who treats women like garbage, yet a
company that boasts of having humane corporate values uses him as their
front man.”

• Detroit Mayor Dave Bing has proposed bulldozing one-quarter of the city
to help get past Motown’s $300 million budget deficit. With unemployment
currently at 45-50% and thousands of people fleeing the city, Detroit has
an estimated 33,500 empty houses and 91,000 vacant lots, according to
Michael Snyder of businessinsider.com. Mayor Bing would like to bulldoze
10,000 empty buildings within the next three years to downsize the city.

• Recession R.I.P. “America is coming back stronger, better, and faster
than nearly anyone expected -- and faster than most of its international
rivals,” reports Newsweek in last week’s cover story on the economic
recovery. Newsweek notes that the Dow Jones Average has risen 70% in the
last 13 months, and this year’s 3.6% growth rate of new economic activity
will equal the Gross Domestic Product of Indonesia.
So, look for a boom in Northern Michigan as plans for new restaurants,
hotels, concert facilities, revitalized factories producing alternative
energy products, and other businesses which were stalled over the past two
years for lack of credit or investors get back on track.

• Seize Power: Affordable wind and solar kits are finally starting to hit
the market. New at Home Depot is the Sunforce 900 watt wind generator kit
for $2,498 or a 400-watt kit for $940. Meanwhile, Lowe’s is rolling out a
new “Eco Options” line of solar panels and wind turbines ranging from
1,000 to 10,000 watts. Menard’s also has wind power kits on its shelves.
Some local electricians are also offering solar and wind options, with
prices coming down as the technology improves. Check out the Alternative
Energy page at jdstrattonelectric.com for an example of where home power
is heading in the region.

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