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 · Winning Plan? Four Winds
. . . .

Winning Plan? Four Winds

Rick Coates - April 5th, 2010
If you are looking for signs that the economy may be on the road to
recovery, look no further than the Four Winns operation in Cadillac.
Literally on life support just two months ago, as the recreational
boat manufacturer was in bankruptcy, they now find themselves in the
throes of becoming one of the largest employers in Northern Michigan
and possibly one of the catalysts to reviving the region’s economy.
In February of this year, California-based Platinum Equity purchased
Four Winns and several other leading boat brands previously under the
Genmar boat manufacturing umbrella.
Four Winns was established in 1962 as the Saf-T-Mate Boat Corporation
which was bought in 1975 by the Winn family (father and three sons) of
Cadillac. The Winn family operated Four Winns for 20 years, serving as
one of the anchors to a successful manufacturing community in Cadillac
that -- along with tourism -- contributed to a successful year-round

Four Winns, as have other manufacturing operations in Michigan,
eventually became a victim to global competition and the economy.
There was speculation that they may not get out of bankruptcy and that
operations in Cadillac would close. That has all changed with Platinum
Equity now in the picture.
“We are thrilled with this outcome and are excited about the
opportunity that Platinum’s ownership presents for our employees,
dealers, suppliers and other business partners,” said Four Winns
President Jeff Olson. “It was clear to us that the group had done
their research and saw Four Winns as a true leader of the recreational
boating industry.”
Last week Governor Jennifer Granholm visited Cadillac and during a
meeting with Four Winn’s management, Platinum officials and current
employees of Four Winn’s she unveiled a $27.1 million tax credit over
eight years. The tax credit package that was assembled by the Michigan
Economic Development Corporation, the Cadillac Industrial Fund and the
Granholm administration, paves the way for Four Winns manufacturing
facilities to grow to accommodate the production of additional boat
manufacturing facilities  from recent acquisitions made by Platinum
“We’re trying to build a new Michigan here—trying to hold on to the
fantastic workforce we have and to grow our industries,” said Governor
Granholm. “We have the potential to add up to 2,000 new jobs and to
make Cadillac the center of excellence for boat building.”

Platinum Equity plans to invest $62 million in expanding operations in
Cadillac over the next eight years resulting in the possibility of
2,300 new jobs. Area leaders point to an economic spin off as a
“We are seeing a lot of interest in the real estate market in the area
as a result of this,” said Sheila Richardson of Exit Realty of Greater
Cadillac and president of the Paul Bunyan Board of Realtors. “People
from outside the area are starting to inquire about homes and real
estate; there is a lot of speculation buying going on as a result.
There is no question this Four Winns deal is going to have a major
impact on several sectors of our business community.”
Platinum Equity has a track record of taking over ailing corporations
that are challenged with cash flow issues and turning them around.
According to company vice president Dan Whelan (his mom is from
Traverse City), “Platinum specializes in the merger, acquisition and
operation of companies that provide services and solutions to
customers in a broad range of business markets, including information
technology, telecommunications, logistics, metals services,
manufacturing and distribution. Since its founding in 1995 by Tom
Gores, Platinum Equity has completed nearly 100 acquisitions with more
than $27.5 billion in aggregate annual revenue at the time of

A big factor in the acquisition and the commitment to keep operations
in Cadillac was the workforce in the community.
“We are excited about the excellent workforce that resides here in
Cadillac,” said Platinum Equity representative Louis Samson. “By
producing these three great brands in one facility, we have the
potential to become the largest boating manufacturing location in the
United States. The founder of Platinum Equity, Tom Gores, and his
wife, are both Michigan natives. It was important to them to be part
of rebuilding Michigan; we hope this is just the first step.”
Those three brands include Four Winns, Wellcraft (production moved
from Florida to Cadillac two years ago) and Glastron that is currently
being manaufactured in Minnesota but will move to Cadillac this
Since Platinum’s acquisition, Four Winns has “recalled 100 laid-off
workers, expanded production from one to three production lines and
when the Glastron production moves this summer, several additional
laid off Four Winns employees will return to work, a spokesman said.
Platinum has built their success on in-depth research, and they see
several factors that suggest the demand for recreational marine craft
will be on the rise in the coming years. The company felt Four Winn’s
would position them best in that marketplace.
“The marine industry has enormous potential, and we’re very excited to
be part of it,” said Samson. “We are excited about Four Winns’
position as a leading provider of recreational boats and we are very
optimistic about the brand’s growth potential with its strong dealer
network, comprehensive product line and innovative culture.”

Samson said he and his team from Platinum were “impressed with what
they saw in Cadillac at Four Winns,” and felt that the Platinum
formula would be a good fit.
 “Our goal is to bring out the best in each company we acquire by
giving them the tools and operational support they need to be
successful,” said Samson.  “We also recognize the importance of
personal relationships in this business and we look forward to working
closely with dealers and other business partners to create a
successful enterprise in which everyone can share.”
Four Winns President Jeff Olson says Platinum was quick to put any
uncertainties about their intentions to rest.
“Over the past few months, our team has developed a close working
relationship with the Platinum organization,” said Olson. “We have
gained significant respect for their commitment to our business, our
community and their goal of being successful in our industry.”
Governor Granholm echoed those sentiments.
“When met with Platinum CEO and Founder Tom Gores I found out that
both he and his wife were Michigan natives, that he grew up in Flint,
went to Michigan State University, and I could hear the sincerity in
his voice about how important his home state is to him,” said
Granholm. “He was very passionate about contributing to reviving
Michigan’s economy. He believes in this state, he believes in the
workforce here.”

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5