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 · The Gunslingers
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The Gunslingers

Robert Downes - August 30th, 2010
The Gunslingers
You have to wonder if Second Amendment activists are going to shoot themselves in the foot in Royal Oak this weekend, because they’ve finally succeeded in pissing off even the Republican establishment, along with the business community and the average American family.
An organization called Michigan Open Carry, Inc. is encouraging gun owners to carry their holstered pistols to a family festival called Arts, Beats and Eats in downtown Royal Oak on Labor Day weekend. The festival hopes to draw 25,000 people or more.
But many families are telling the Detroit media that they’ll stay away out of fear for their safety and that of their children.
That‘s because the open-carry crowd are setting themselves up as ad hoc citizen police officers, “protecting“ the public -- although without any police training or background checks as to their level of lunacy.
An ongoing fantasy for a person inclined to carry a gun around in public is drawing down on some bad guy in a public place and being the hero of the day to an adoring crowd.
But in real life, that could mean serving as judge, jury and executioner on a mouthy bunch of teenagers, spraying bullets around a downtown street packed with festivalgoers. And you know, our hero just might be more of a Nervous Nelly than a Deadeye Dick.
On the Detroit-area blogs, even a number of gun owners who have concealed weapon permits think that parading around with a holstered pistol at a festival is a stupid idea.
The Royal Oak City Commission struggled for weeks with the legality of its ban on open-carry handguns at the festival. Ultimately, the city attorney ruled that Royal Oak had no choice but to allow gun owners to carry their weapons in plain view downtown and the city voted 4-3 to avoid a lawsuit.
That’s because under state law, any person over the age of 18 who doesn’t have a criminal record can legally carry a holstered firearm in any public place except at a bank, court, entertainment venue that seats more than 2,500 people, theater, church, sports arena, day care center, hospital, bar or federal building.
L. Brooks Patterson, the Oakland County Executive who launched the charity festival in Pontiac 10 years ago, is furious.
“These guys want to make a point and don’t give a damn about the charities the festival supports,” Patterson told the Oakland Press. “I have a problem with these gun-toting zealots.”
Patterson is no gun-control liberal. The former gubernatorial candidate is a far-right leader of the Republican Party in Michigan, who could make the legislative wind blow in a new direction in Lansing if he chooses. As in, enacting laws to repeal dingbat ideas like carrying handguns at festivals packed with thousands of people.
And Patterson is not pleased with the idea of turning a family festival into a version of the Wild West. As he puts it: “If they want to carry guns, why don’t they join the army and get their asses over to Afghanistan?”
For their part, open-carry gun owners claim they’re only trying to protect themselves in a dangerous world by wearing pistols on their belts. That’s understandable in an edgy place like suburban Royal Oak: Possibly some latté-sipping hipster could lay a sneer and a really snarky remark on a pistol-packer from behind the shelter of an iPad at one of the many coffeehouses lining the town.
So if you‘re planning to parade around Royal Oak this weekend with your .44 strapped on your hip, expect to receive a healthy dose of the evil eye and plenty of “attitude“ from people who don‘t appreciate your cowboy act.
Closer to home, Michigan Open Carry held a pistol-packing picnic at Sunset Park in Traverse City in late June -- an event which drew more yawns than criticism, possibly because they were sequestered in a small park. It will be interesting to see the local reaction when the group decides to show up at future events in the region. Will the pistoleros be welcome at the Bay Harbor Art Fair or the Cedar Polka Festival? How about the Cherry Festival turtle race?
So, chalk the open-carry movement up as another one of life’s little irritations -- like the wanna-be teen gangbangers who wear their pants down around their knees, or the yahoos who drive through town with lewd rap music blasting out of their windows. Add to that the party poops who will soon be strutting around with pistols on their belts, demonstrating how “responsible“ they are as gun owners.
The difference is that the Pistol Petes may be crossing the line on a public safety issue that Michigan citizens will no longer be willing to tolerate.

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