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..

Home · Articles · News · Other Opinions · The war we cannot win
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The war we cannot win

Stephen Tuttle - June 7th, 2010
The War We Cannot Win
The White House has announced they are going to take a new approach to
the country’s endless battle against drugs and drug use, focusing their
efforts on a public health approach – education and rehabilitation –
instead of continuing the futility of a criminal justice approach. Maybe
this is a good idea given that we’ve been getting our asses kicked in the
half century long “war on drugs”.
Politicians absolutely love this war on drugs. It gives them a chance,
especially those who never served in a real war, the opportunity to talk
tough, use a lot of military jargon, pose for photo-ops with various drug
task forces and posture for campaigns.
It was President Eisenhower who first mentioned waging a “war against drug
addiction” way back in 1954. That approach might have actually made some
sense but subsequent politicians wouldn’t leave well enough alone.
Richard Nixon took things up several notches with his declaration of a war
on drugs in 1969. It was primarily an over-reaction to the Woodstock
generation, which he hated and never understood. Anti-war protestors
gathering in front of the White House and on the Capital Mall as marijuana
smoke wafted through the air very nearly drove him insane as the Nixon
tapes still being released prove. His profane responses to those dirty,
long-haired hippies (he really believed we were all commies) now seem
almost comical but the consequences of his drug war have not been at all
amusing. The creation of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in
1973 didn’t help much. And any politician who stood up to the excesses of
ever more intrusive and Draconian anti-drug laws did so at the peril to
their own careers.
We started the war on drugs losing and it’s fair to say we haven’t won a
single day since.
There is little evidence we’ve done much to decrease usage of anything.
Drug-related crime is more a function of the expensive black market drug
prices than the drugs themselves. And this war has been astonishingly
expensive. No one seems to be able to put a specific price tag on it but
most everyone agrees it is in the trillions of dollars spent.
Law enforcement has been dutifully fulfilling their end of the bargain at
great risk to themselves enforcing laws they did not create and fighting a
tide they cannot stop. Nearly half our prisoners in federal custody are
there on drug related crimes. State prisons are a bit less than that but
not much. Never mind that the costs of imprisoning someone for a year are
nearly twice that of an average drug rehabilitation program. Even worse,
we typically put drug offenders in prison for several years while a decent
rehab program might take only several months. And never mind that drug
laws have allowed authorities to seize homes, bank accounts and other
property without ever charging the owners of that property with any crime
at all.
Sending folks to prison or seizing their property lets politicians be
tough on drugs while supporting rehabilitation programs makes those same
politicians vulnerable to accusations of being soft on drugs. So the
losing war rages on.
What is especially ironic in all of this is the deadliest and costliest
drugs are perfectly legal. Alcohol and nicotine together kill hundreds of
thousands every year, destroy even more lives and cost us billions and
billions of dollars annually in lost productivity and healthcare expenses.
Politicians do little about those drugs except seize the opportunity to
slap new taxes on them. Perfectly legal prescription drugs rack up more
overdose deaths every year than all the illegal drugs combined. And that
doesn’t even count the 100,000 or so annual deaths in hospitals from
accidental drug overdoses, fatal drug interactions and adverse reactions.
We should have learned our lesson from the experience of Prohibition.
That did little to curb alcohol consumption but it did give us Al
Capone and the emergence of the American Mafia, much as the war on
drugs has given us violent drug cartels and a wide variety of street
None of which is to suggest illegal drugs are benign. They most surely
are not. They are especially destructive when ingested by young people
whose brains and bodies are still developing.
But the war on drugs has been at least as bad as the drugs themselves. We
do know how to reduce usage without filling up our prisons or encouraging
drug gangs. We’ve had tremendous success with anti-tobacco efforts
through a long, steady public education effort that has finally made
tobacco use decidedly uncool. We also know that public health
interventions and rehabilitation programs do work.
This fall California will decide whether or not to legalize marijuana once
and for all and apply a significant state tax to its sale. At least part
of that money will be used in consistent public education campaigns to
discourage children from pot use and intervention and rehab programs to
help those who decide to do it anyway. It will save California billions
of dollars now being spent on the criminal justice system and earn them
hundreds of millions in tax revenues.
The public is ready to stop the futility of our war on drugs. The
politicians, as is almost always the case, still lag behind. But it is
time for the tough-talking pols to admit their rhetoric and laws have done
little and begin a strategic retreat from a war we cannot and will not

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

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