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 · Features · The Disney Queen: Tammy...
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The Disney Queen: Tammy Sofonia

Erin Cowell - March 8th, 2010
The Disney Queen: Tammy Sofonia has been Mickey’s guest 53 times
By Erin Crowell
Tammy Sofonia knows a lot about Disney theme parks. Well, that might be an understatement, considering the Traverse City Passageways Travel agent has been to Disney World, in Orlando, 53 times. Factor in the international trips to Euro Disney and Tokyo Disney, and you’ve got an expert park hopper.
The Express talked with Sofonia—who is a graduate of the Masters College of Disney Knowledge— and got the inside scoop on what’s so alluring about a mouse with lots of real estate.

Northern Express: So how did you get started on this whole Disney kick?
Tammy Sofonia: I worked for American airlines for 13 years before coming to Passageways, so I always had the opportunity to fly; and in 1978, my grandpa took our family by motor home and we stayed in Disney World. I was hooked ever since. I’ve been to every Disney park except in Hong Kong.

NE: Are you planning a trip there soon?
Sofonia: Well, we went to Hong Kong on our honeymoon and it wasn’t built yet, so we’ll have to get back there soon. I don’t have any future plans, but I hope to one of these days.

NE: Does your husband go with you?
Sofonia: He does. He’s ventured to Florida and California… not the ones out of the country; but he has gone to Disneyland and Disneyworld. I probably overextended him lately (laughs).

NE: What do you do when you take these trips?
Sofonia: We stay there usually five to seven days, depending on what we’re doing. Being there so many times we don’t feel like we have to rush, rush rush, and get to the parks early and stay there all day. We have the opportunity to do the extra stuff like the Disney dining plan where you experience different restaurants. People that have never been there before, they don’t want to take the time to do stuff like golfing, taking a boat ride… things you wouldn’t normally think about because you’re concentrating so much on the parks.

NE: Which park is your favorite?
Sofonia: Disneyworld, definitely; because there are the four theme parks there. It’s bigger. There’s more to do. My favorite right now happens to be Hollywood Studios right in Orlando. They’ve really updated and added a lot more attractions. And, of course, there’s Magic Kingdom. That’s right up there. You have to go see the castle while you’re down there.

NE: How long have you been doing this?
Sofonia: From 1978 to the present. But I haven’t been to EuroDisney in awhile, so I want to go back and see that. And Tokyo has built a park called Tokyo Seas and China’s on the list to build the next one. Maybe I can hit Hong Kong and China in the same trip.

NE: What is it about Disney parks that draws you so much?
Sofonia: You know, you can go there with your family or go there alone. I feel safe there. I like the different hotels. I feel there’s enough to do even by yourself. You can people-watch even if you don’t go on rides. You’ve got the parades, the fireworks… you can do it all or just do a little. Of course there’s also the Disney cruise line.

NE: Have you been on that?
Sofonia: Oh yeah, of course. I’ve been on both cruises a couple times. They’ve got their next ship coming out called Disney Dream, which will just be phenomenal. Disney does it right. They’ve got all the top-line stuff.

NE: Have you seen a change in the crowds over the last couple decades?
Sofonia: The crowd level has gone down because everyone is dispersed throughout the parks. Then there’s Fast Pass which lets you get a reservation time to pretty much come back and go to the front of the line. Let’s say you see a sign at the entrance to a ride that says come back at one or two o’clock, you get a ticket, go get some dinner, then come back. Disney wants you in there spending your money on food and souvenirs. They don’t want you waiting in line.

NE: And it obviously it makes the mood a lot better.
Sofonia: For sure, but you still have the 3 o’clock crying hour when everyone’s tired…

NE: Would you call yourself a kid when you go there?
Sofonia: (Laughing) Yes. I’ve only taken a child down twice. My niece is six and so I’ve experienced it as an adult more than with children. But I’ve enjoyed reliving it through her eyes.

NE: Do you have any insider tips for first-timers?
Sofonia: Well that’s what I do here. I always bring back park maps so I can go through and show the different rides. I can say “go to this restaurant, don’t worry about this ride in the beginning…” those tips that I get, I can bring back with me. Everyone here thinks I’m totally crazy. But I just got done with a training session in January and there were 39 other girls that were way crazier than I was. Those people know everything. We train and learn and bring it back so we can say what’s new and tell you where to go, to stay, what to do.

NE: Does that make you an expert in Disney history?
Sofonia: No, not in that aspect. But I know all there is to know about the parks. I can tell you where every bathroom is (laughs). My brother is the one who can beat me on the trivia of Disney. It’s amazing at how much knowledge I do remember, when you love something so much, how much you just want to share it with other people. You probably can’t stump me on Disney theme park information.

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