Letters

Letters 10-27-2014

Paging Doctor Dan: The doctor’s promise to repeal Obamacare reminds me of the frantic restaurant owner hurrying to install an exhaust fan after the kitchen burns down. He voted 51 times to replace the ACA law; a colossal waste of money and time. It’s here to stay and he has nothing to replace it.

Evolution Is Real Science: Breathtaking inanity. That was the term used by Judge John Jones III in his elegant evisceration of creationist arguments attempting to equate it to evolutionary theory in his landmark Kitzmiller vs. Dover Board of Education decision in 2005.

U.S. No Global Police: Steven Tuttle in the October 13 issue is correct: our military, under the leadership of the President (not the Congress) is charged with protecting the country, its citizens, and its borders. It is not charged with  performing military missions in other places in the world just because they have something we want (oil), or we don’t like their form of government, or we want to force them to live by the UN or our rules.

Graffiti: Art Or Vandalism?: I walk the [Grand Traverse] Commons frequently and sometimes I include the loop up to the cistern just to go and see how the art on the cistern has evolved. Granted there is the occasional gross image or word but generally there is a flurry of color.

NMEAC Snubbed: Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) is the Grand Traverse region’s oldest grassroots environmental advocacy organization. Preserving the environment through citizen action and education is our mission.

Vote, Everyone: Election Day on November 4 is fast approaching, and now is the time to make a commitment to vote. You may be getting sick of the political ads on TV, but instead, be grateful that you live in a free country with open elections. Take the time to learn about the candidates by contacting your county parties and doing research.

Do Fluoride Research: Hydrofluorosilicic acid, H2SiF6, is a byproduct from the production of fertilizer. This liquid, not environmentally safe, is scrubbed from the chimney of the fertilizer plant, put into containers, and shipped. Now it is a ‘product’ added to the public drinking water.

Meet The Homeless: As someone who volunteers for a Traverse City organization that works with homeless people, I am appalled at what is happening at the meetings regarding the homeless shelter. The people fighting this shelter need to get to know some homeless families. They have the wrong idea about who the homeless are.

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:

Vote
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
mind.

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
affiliation.
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
Vote”.
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.

Vote-by-mail
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
required.
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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