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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- March 1st, 2010
Mayor violated charter
In the 2/15/10 article “Blunt Bzdok,” Traverse City Mayor Chris Bzdok
asked the question “who’s in charge here?” concerning the engineering
plans for reconstruction of Eighth Street from Garfield to Barlow.
The short answer is that the city manager is responsible for the city
administrative staff. The last paragraph in Sec. 37 of the City
Charter, reads in part: “The City Commission and its members shall
deal with the administrative service solely through the City Manager.”
Sec. 48 entitled “City Engineer” reads in part: “and such other duties
as may be required of him by the City Manager.”
In other words, Mr. Bzdok is violating the charter by publicly
criticizing city engineer, Tim Lodge through the local media and also
on his Internet blog. In addition, he has publicly accused Mr. Lodge
of interfering with obtaining a second opinion on the Eighth Street
project. I don’t know upon what he based the accusation, which is a
very serious charge.
In the article the mayor seemed to be saying that the city manager is
too busy to monitor his staff. I would suggest that Mr. Bzdok read the
City Charter to review the limits to his authority and also review the
proper way to deal with city staff through the city manager. He also
needs to understand that a Master Plan is a guide to what is ideal and
cannot realistically always be followed precisely.
Widening Eighth Street has not been envisioned, but Gosling Czubek
indicated bike paths could be included provided if certain sections
were widened.
We need bike paths on Eighth Street - but temper outbursts by the
mayor against the city engineer in violation of the charter is not the
way to get there. Mayor Bzdok owes Mr. Lodge an apology.
Jim Tompkins • TC

(Jim Tompkins is a former city clerk, city commissioner and three-time mayor.)

Justice for all?
I don’t for a minute believe that TC police officer J. Soffredine was
sober at the time of his one-car crash. No person in a rational state
of mind would destroy their vehicle in an effort to flee an accident
A normal, sober, person would call for a tow truck. The deputies that
responded were not only remiss and neglect in their duties and may
also have committed a criminal act in helping cover up a crime.
The Michigan State Police should take over the investigation. Perhaps
officer Soffredine’s credit or debit card records could shed some
light on his activities that evening. Any other person would have
been given a field sobriety test for a 3:20 a.m. single-vehicle
accident. Such “professional courtesy” may have been the norm decades
ago and is alive and well in D.C., but we law-abiding citizens of
Northern Michigan deserve and expect better.
What if someone had been injured or killed? What if the fire had
spread and damaged or destroyed homes? Joseph Soffredine may be well
connected in local politics but he is no Teddy Kennedy and this is not
Chappaquiddick in 1969.
Charles Russell • Williamsburg

Light pollution
Turn off those darn traffic lights at night.
I don’t know about you, but I am sick and tired of sitting at traffic
lights at 11 p.m. wasting fuel. All over Traverse City there are
lights that should be flashing after 8 p.m. I mean cripes, what do we
need a traffic light at the Toyota Dealer on Garfield at 11 p.m.? Or
for that matter, maybe the city engineer should rethink 50% of all the
green arrows and every traffic light for traffic flow. What happened
to all the technology? Can’t lights be automatically turned on and off
with sensors as they are needed?
Next time you are sitting at the Park Street and Munson light for
three minutes, think about it. Hmm. All over Traverse City every day
how many gallons of fuel are wasted waiting for the cross traffic that
never comes? How many tons of CO2 are emitted into our air by idling
engines at useless signals? If they don’t turn them off how about
decriminalizing running red lights (after stopping) when no cross
traffic is present?

Patricia Robb • Suttons Bay

Good ideas
In response to Daniel Oberski’s article “How to Save our Kids,” I must
say that I totally agree with his outlook. His views are simple and
to the point, reflecting how many children feel about how they should
be treated well and respected. Being a teenager myself, his rule
about withholding judgment particularly spoke to me. If I think that I
will be punished for something I say, I will not talk. However, if I
know I will not be judged, I will. This is exactly what Oberski is
I am currently a freshman and when he talks about how we are
encouraged to plan out career goals, I can’t help but think that this
planning of our lives is more of being pushed than being encouraged.
The pressure of having to find a good college in a couple of years
beats down on me and can cause me to make mistakes. Many of his other
rules also appealed to me like being consistent and being willing to
compromise, since both of them are about treating children with the
respect they deserve.

Theo Koda • via email

Crude comment
In the past I have enjoyed Mike Terrell’s articles and if he “cleans
up his act” I hope to do so again. I am referring to his “My Top Five
Outdoor Adventures for 2010” article which I was reading with interest
until I ran into the word “cougar” as a derogatory remark in regard to
“predatory middle-aged women.”
Not being overly prudish, I read on, but again -- ran into another
reference to “the middle-aged women who prowl bars and remain
hopeful.” Now, perhaps Terrell is an especially fine specimen of
manhood, or he’s running into some particularly lonely women (or
spending too much time in bars).
My father’s idea of taking care of me some weekends, while mother was
at work, was to take me to a bar and restaurant where I would hear, at
times, men‘s’ negative comments about women (especially as they got
“in their cups”).
However, even these mostly working-class men knew the where and when
such crudeness, insults and vulgarity were out of bounds. Terrell may
have been reaching for clever, or cute, with an analogy that I can see
has some humor from his side of the gender divide.
Women, if they so choose, have a right to frequent bars and even
approach men, as the latter have always felt free to do with women.
While not supporting a right to “prey” (seize and/or devour),
“plunder” or “exploit” by anyone, perhaps a perceptive male would come
to understand what females have put up with for millennia. A
suggestion: tell the unwanted to take their hands off your body and
“just say no.”
Lois Golightly • TC

Sales tax solution
I’m writing regarding Governor Granholm’s service tax proposals. The
best way to deal with state taxes would to just have a sales tax,
period. No income tax. This would save taxpayers and the state
hundreds of thousands of dollars in filling and overseeing cost.
Texas does this and they have an 8% sales tax that everyone gladly
pays so as not to deal with quarterly and yearly state taxes. A tax
on services is going to hit the lower income families, and those
providing services a lot harder than an overall sales tax.

Jodi Doak • Elmira

Corporate personhood
In response to the letter by Charles Finlay on the recent U.S. Supreme
Court decision:
First, on the whole issue of freedom of speech, I personally don’t
think our Founding Fathers ever dreamt that future generations would
morph the original intent and extend personhood to corporations.
Second, let me point out that in the 2008 elections corporations
outspent unions by a ratio of 17 to 1, and under the new Supreme Court
rules this disparity in spending will likely increase enormously in
favor of corporations. In terms of actual revenue streams available to
each side, the ratio is more like a million to one (sales of all
corporations vs. dues receipts).
Finally, what we really should move towards is banning both corporate
and union funding of elections and replace with public financing.
Other countries have figured this out, why do we lag behind?

Karen Martin • Cheboygan

Photo credit for a shot of Cadillac‘s biomass power plant is due to
M‘Lynn Hartwell, not Jeff Gibbs, as stated in a recent listing.
Also, a recent letter from R. K. Barton about concealed weapons meant
to state that “no weapons are to be allowed within non-secure areas
in any public airport in the US.“

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