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 · Random Thoughts · Clouded Judgement
. . . .

Clouded Judgement

Robert Downes - May 24th, 2010
Clouded Judgment
Archie Kiel, who was busted for growing too many plants under the Michigan
Medical Marihuana Act (MMMA) last August, has become a cause celebre for
marijuana activists across the state. Yet I wonder if any of the
passionate-about-pot crowd ever stops to think about how much damage they
are doing to their own cause by supporting the violation of the law from
the get-go.
And by law, I mean the trust of Michigan voters, which was granted in good
faith in November, 2008 to legalize medical marijuana.
Last July, Northern Express ran an article about Kiel and his efforts to
become a caregiver/supplier for medical marijuana patients under the new
act. The Traverse Narcotics Team (TNT) counted the number of plants in
the photos that ran with the article and noticed that Kiel was apparently
growing more pot than is legally allowed by the MMMA.
Specifically, a caregiver can grow up to 12 plants per medical marijuana
patient. That’s a generous standard, considering that a
hydroponically-grown plant averages four-and-a-half feet in height;
outdoors, a plant can grow several feet taller. Even if a patient were
only smoking the resin-filled buds of a plant, you’d think that it would
take years to smoke 12 full-grown pot plants -- either that or burn your
throat to a cinder.
Yet when TNT raided Kiel’s growing operation, they found 66 plants under
cultivation. Even if one accepts Kiel’s claim that he was entitled to grow
36 plants for himself and two other patients, that’s still 30 plants over
the legal limit.
Many marijuana activists wonder, why is this a problem? Because it’s
breaking a promise and letting the voters down.
The Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (for some reason the State uses the old
beatnik spelling) earned 63% of the popular vote in November, 2008 because
many of us agreed that the compassionate use of medical marijuana could
help relieve the pain and symptoms of cancer treatment, MS, glaucoma and
other illnesses.
No one voted, however, to enact a law with no rules or strings attached,
and betraying the public trust straight out of the gate is not the way to
reassure voters that they have done the right thing.
Consider the damage done when the letter of the law is not followed on a
controversial issue such as this. Doctors, for instance, are a cautious
bunch for good reason, and any taint of being associated with a criminal
enterprise might give any physician pause for recommending medical
marijuana as a treatment. What physician cares to be mixed up in a
situation where a grower isn’t following the law? What physician would
care to find out on the front page of a newspaper or in a TV news report
that his supplier has a ‘side’ business?
Not following the law, or arguing that it’s okay for growers and
“compassionate care-givers” to fudge the rules because their mission
offers them special protection also provides ammunition to those who wish
to rein in the MMMA, as was the case with several attempted amendments in
the State Senate last year.
I wouldn’t wish a prison term on
Archie Kiel, nor even a large fine. One might be willing to concede that
he was idealistic about the new law and got carried away. Good luck.
But he and marijuana advocates should consider what they’re doing to erode
the public trust. If it can be argued that the law is vague enough to
allow growing 30 more plants than is stipulated, then why not 100 more
plants? Why not 10,000? Ultimately, that could send Michigan voters a
message that they made the wrong decision.

Squirmy Situation
Like a monster movie where the creatures keep coming with no end in sight,
we’ve endured a horrifying onslaught of tent worms in Northern Michigan
that seems to have everyone talking.
The best comment I’ve heard on what to do about the plague is from Dennis
Bean-Larson of the Fixed Gear Gallery in TC, who says we should use the
worms to plug the oil leak in in the Gulf -- there are that many of them.
Although we have an article about camping in this issue to coincide with
Memorial Day, anyone with any sense will be sure to wear a floppy hat and
an old shirt you don‘t mind getting smeared with worm guts if you venture
into the woods, because these awful caterpillars are everywhere.
As the DNR reported last year, the summer of 2009 saw a heavy infestation
of tent worms, particularly in the region ranging from Petoskey to TC and
east to Gaylord. The caterpillar infestations run in two-to-five year
cycles, and trees which are attacked for several years in a row may die
off as a result, particularly if they are also hit by an especially hot
summer or cold winter.
Unfortunately, budget cuts in 2009 meant the State didn’t have the funds
to spray a biological insecticide called Bacillus thuringiensis, also
known as Bt. This is a naturally-occurring bacteria that eliminates
caterpillars while not harming people, birds, animals, other insects or
Since the DNR hasn’t stepped forward with a plan to spray the worms this
year either, perhaps it’s time for a coalition of the willing to launch a
fundraiser to pay for spraying the region. Every environmental group,
sportsmans organization, recreational club, chamber of commerce and
business that relies on outdoor tourism has a vested interest in squishing
a creepy-crawly problem that our state government seems unable to address.

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