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 · 5 Ways to improve...
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5 Ways to improve elections

Stephen Tuttle - August 2nd, 2010
5 Ways to Improve Elections
We can do so much better. It isn’t that we’re about to nominate the
wrong candidates, though that is always a distinct possibility. It’s
more that the entire election process could be a lot better with a few
minor improvements. For example:

It would be helpful if people actually voted. Primary election
turnouts in Michigan and around the country are embarrassing. If past
trends hold true, significantly less than half of Michigan’s voters
will bother to vote Tuesday. The farther down the ballot we travel,
the fewer votes will be cast. In some primary elections with more than
two candidates in each party, victory can be had for less than 20% of
registered voters. That’s obscene and not what the Founders had in

Non-partisan elections
Quick now, explain all the good things partisanship has brought us in
the last few years. Exactly. Political parties are an anachronism
whose time has come and long since gone.
Individual candidates can easily articulate positions, liberal or
conservative or anywhere in between, without slapping an R or D after
their names. Those who cannot campaign without the pitiful crutch of a
“party platform” should never run for office. Voters are perfectly
capable of making decisions based on actual issues instead of party
The ugliness of partisanship is now in full view in Washington, D.C.
despite our best efforts to shield our eyes from it. Non-partisan
elections will help us at least start to cleanse the putrid stench
that now emanates from both Lansing and Washington.

Full disclosure
There is something out there known as a third-party independent
campaign in which some group or groups not tied directly to a
particular candidate nevertheless run commercials or send out direct
mail advocating the election of that candidate. The disclaimers
inevitably indicate the advocacy has been paid for by some group with
a clever name like “Americans for Righteousness and Decency” or
“Citizens Who Love Their Mothers” or “The Committee to Tell You How to
Voters have absolutely no clue who the hell those groups are or who
contributed the money that allows them to be on the air or in our
mailboxes. It’s shadow campaigning and for all we know the funding has
been provided by shadowy folks.
Getting involved in elections is a good thing. But if it’s unions or a
handful of rich people or some business interests buying the ads, we
should know. The disclaimers should provide that information by
including the names of the groups or individuals who provide the major
funding. The disclaimers should be big enough to be easily read and,
in the case of television commercials, on screen long enough for us to
actually read them.

There are now 28 states that offer voters a vote-by-mail option for
most or all elections. Unfortunately, Michigan is stuck in the middle
of the 20th century with an old-fashioned absentee ballot system.
Vote-by-mail is as simple as it sounds – voters request ballots (some
states now provide voters the opportunity to be on a permanent
vote-by-mail list), they are mailed to voters, typically two to four
weeks before a given election, and voters fill them out and return
them, by mail, prior to election day.
Signature cards are required and must be checked by election officials
when ballots are mailed in. Ballots are secured and counting is
completed on the same kind of machines used at the polls. This is
especially easy with optical scanning ballots and machines.
There has been no greater incidence of fraud with vote-by-mail
programs than with poll voting, it increases turn-out, gives voters
the opportunity to study ballots as campaigns progress and actually
saves money in the long run. And it eliminates almost every excuse
for not voting.

Fewer numbskull candidates
I confess this is a suggestion with little hope of coming to fruition.
Generally, those willing to put their name on the ballot should be
admired and praised. Few voters understand how incredibly difficult
it is to run for public office or the level of real commitment
But, come on. Both major parties have fielded candidates this year,
both here and around the country, who talk as if they graduated from
the University of Perpetual and Terminal Nincompoopery.
Here in Michigan, specificity left the building months ago and is now
incognito. Those constantly suggesting less government and lower
taxes should tell us exactly what level of government is appropriate
and exactly how low taxes should be. And for all the job growers out
there, someone should give us the specifics on how they intend to do
that. And specific specifics not platitudinous specifics. On the other
side, if we’re going to help teachers and save services and repair the
infrastructure someone might explain specifically how we’re going to
pay for all that.
No moment is more important for us than an election. Our future is
quite literally dependent on the outcome. Michigan needs to improve
the process if we really want to improve the results.

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