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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- February 22nd, 2010
Our corporate citizens
Karen Martin seems to think that the
Constitution is just kidding when it says that Congress shall make no law
abridging freedom of speech (re: letters 2/8/10). She is appalled that the
U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that corporations be afforded freedom of
political speech. Oddly, she voices no concerns over labor unions’ having
the same freedom.
Both corporations and labor unions are typically wealthy and powerful
organizations comprised of thousands of individual Americans. Both
corporations and labor unions have political lobbyists who promote their
agendas. To restrict the political freedom of speech of one of these
groups and not the other cannot be lawfully justified.

Charles Finley • Beulah

National debt blues
The reason for our national debt is not due to careless spending by
Congress but rather from the following: waging two wars without increasing
taxes to pay for them, spiraling health care costs which the government
pays 50% of the health care cost, and the economic collapse in 2008. While
I am not endorsing our congressional spending, it is not the main reason
for our deficits. We certainly could reduce/eliminate government waste and
political pork, but unfortunately would not do much to reduce our national
debt. In the short run, the economy is too weak to curtail our debt, but
in the long run changes need to be made.
The cost of two wars has added significantly to our national debt. At the
same time, our government lowered taxes which further increased our debt.
Unfortunately, raising taxes now would not be very prudent, since it could
lead back to another recession.
Besides the significant debt accumulated by two wars, spiraling health
care costs are significantly adding to our national debt. Our health care
costs are twice as high as other developed countries (France, Germany, and
Japan) which have similar health care systems. Heath care reform is
necessary to reduce our national debt. The aforementioned countries
control their health care costs by only allowing not-for-profit health
insurance companies, streamlining administrative costs, and setting
national price rates.
The last factor contributing to our national debt was our collapsed
economy. In order to avoid another depression, the government poured
significant amounts of borrowed money into our economy. The lead
indicators indicate that the recession is over, but the lag indicator of
unemployment is still being felt. As the economy improves the percentage
of our national debt to national economy will decrease.
Currently, Congress is looking at ways to stimulate employment.
Unfortunately, such stimulus money will add to our national debt. Perhaps
we could minimize our borrowing by taxing the speculators and others who
contribute to the economic crisis.

Ronald Marshall • Petoskey

The ‘X‘ factor
With regard to the article on Dan Oberski, who runs a school for expelled
kids: Please tell me he is not telling these vulnerable kids Malcolm X
was a positive role model? Martin Luther King, Jr. yes, but from what I
know about Malcolm X he was a bitter, vengeful man.

Claire Scerbak • TC

Vandalizing truth
Vandalism usually happens to things like cars, mailboxes, etc. But it can
also happen to something less tangible, like truth. It’s amazing how easy
it is to start a rumor just by circulating misinformation.
Recently articles have been published that state either outright or by
implication that HB 5319, sponsored by Representative Dan Scripps, would
tax our private well-water and is therefore an example of government
“take-over” of our “private property”. In fact, the bill does just the
opposite. It empowers us as citizens to maintain the control we have
always enjoyed over our water, whether in lakes and streams or
underground. Water is a public trust and is held in trust by us all as a
common good. Therefore, it should not be privatized and sold for private
profit for the benefit of the few, leaving the rest of us “high and dry,”
as our watershed is depleted of this precious resource.
Let’s stop vandalizing the truth. HB 5319 is not about intrusive
government “taking away private property rights.” Rather, it provides
protection for the water with which we here in Michigan are so richly
blessed. If you desire further clarification, call Representative Scripps.
You will find him to be a very approachable, dedicated public servant.

Bill Hansen • Williamsburg

Armed response
I am writing in response to the February 1 article about Christine
Blackledge and the two letters to the editor in the February 8 issue.
I have had a concealed carry permit for about 10 years now. I do not carry
everywhere I go but I have carried a weapon quite a bit. Every time I
holster a firearm before leaving the house I consider my actions and weigh
my options. Where am I going, what might I face and what my
responsibilities will be. I NEVER take these responsibilities lightly.
I always (whether armed or not) evaluate my surroundings and those people
in it. I have been taught to do this in order to avoid any dangerous
situation and it has worked. I am not some sort of “gun nut” just waiting
for the chance to wave a gun around and play hero, or have some sort of
“wild-west style shootout” in the streets. My fondest hope is to never
have to point a gun at another human being again.
That’s right, I have pointed a weapon at a fellow human and I didn’t like
the feeling one bit. Before I had a concealed weapon permit, I did own
two rifles and one handgun that I took out to target shoot with. Then one
evening a little more than 10 years ago, someone entered my home, someone
that I didn’t invite in but wanted to “ have it out with me.” In that
moment the house phone seemed 100 yards away and the police on the other
end of it 100 miles away. I pulled my handgun from its case and pointed it
at this person. In this instance, I am a true believer of the saying “a
kind word and a gun will get you further that just a kind word.”
That pointed gun stopped the person from advancing but didn’t drive them
out of the house. I spent the next 90 minutes talking to the person to
defuse the situation; no violence or threats of retribution on my part,
but without that gun there to make the person stop and consider their
actions, who knows what would have happened. After that 90 minutes the
person left my home and has never bothered me or my family again. Even
though there was never a problem with that person again, I said “NEVER
Shortly after that I paid for and took the required courses in handgun
safety and personal protection and applied for a concealed carry permit.
The courses I took didn’t just train me on how to properly use and care
for a weapon but to also assess my situation and proactively take steps to
avoid confrontation and danger for both me and my family.
In closing, Ms. Blackledge please pay more attention to your situation,
your responsibilities and learn from your mistakes. This is an awesome
responsibility that you have; prove to yourself and all of us that you
deserve it. And to (letter writer) Chris Campbell, not all problems are
caused by guns, not all guns are out of the “lawless west.” And lastly,
guns do protect when they are in the hands of someone who knows and
accepts the responsibilities when they slide that gun into that holster.
Whether that person wears the badge of the State or local police or just
carry a concealed permit, the life they save in the future may be your

David Lakos • Manistee

Peter Wandoff deserves credit for shooting the photos in a recent story on
“Shoe and Snacks for Backpacks.”

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