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..

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- October 4th, 2010
Mackinac’s bad plan
We are writing in regards to news reports about the City of Mackinac
Island’s efforts to purchase docks and potentially enter into a
franchise agreement with just one company, creating a monopoly on
ferry service to the island.
As elected officials, we understand the city’s efforts to ensure vital
transportation service to the island, one of our state’s most
spectacular tourist destinations. However, we would consider any
effort to achieve that security through a government-approved monopoly
inappropriate at best and devastating to the local economy at worst.
Michigan cannot afford that!
Free enterprise and robust competition among ferry operators have
served the straits region very well for many decades. They have taken
Mackinac Island from once-a-day ferries to runs as often as every 15
minutes. Without that competition, ferry service would not be what it
is today.
We believe the plan the City of Mackinac is considering would result in:
• Government interference in free enterprise;
• Government-forced monopoly;
• Destruction of healthy competition that benefits consumers;
• Destruction of a long-time local business with deep community ties;
In conclusion, we believe this plan to be needlessly and
inappropriately risky to the taxpayers and to the economy of the City
of Mackinac Island, as well as those of St. Ignace and Mackinaw City.

Michigan Senate Majority
Leader Mike Bishop &
House Speaker Andy Dillon
Who’s qualified?
Having retired after 32 years of service with Grand Traverse County
there were no medical, dental or optical benefits offered. Now a
term-limited legislator who worked in Lansing for six years receives
fully-paid benefits and a pension that we the taxpayers pay the tab
Back in February, Representative Kevin Elsenheimer co-sponsored a bill
to eliminate lifetime health benefits for those newly-elected in
November 2010. Isn’t that self-serving?
Elsenheimer now wants to be the new 86th District Court Judge. The
qualification of a House seat does not match those necessary for a
judgeship. Experience is the necessary qualification. He doesn’t
mention in his mailings that he is a Legislator. WHY NOT? He also
claims to have real, practical experience with the court. Online court
records show he was involved in 86 cases.
Vote real experience with 2000-plus cases with the courts. Mike Stepka
is the truly qualified candidate.

Thomas Schmuckal, Ret. Capt. • TC

Ticket scofflaw
A primary focus of the 86th District Court is to handle civil
infractions such as traffic violations. According to the District
Court website, Kevin Elsenheimer has had several personal experiences
with this very same court. He has earned 5 traffic tickets in the
86th District Court.
Now, many of us have been in this position before (albeit most not 5
tickets), but how many have refused to pay their tickets until they
were threatened with suspension of their license? Elsenheimer has
refused to pay his tickets three times, until faced with this threat.
He has arrogantly thumbed his nose at the very bench that he now wants
to preside over. We need a judge with experience, integrity, and
commitment and that is why I will be voting for Mike Stepka.

Eileen Jankowski • TC
Aloha from Hawaii
I happened to come across an Express editorial re: my cousin Rod
Nyland (the Hampel‘s gun shop employee who flew the U.S. flag upside
down after Barack Obama‘s election two years ago).
My cousin was quoted as saying “I have Korean cousins I love.” I’m one
of those Korean cousins he mentioned and I love him right back.
Actually, I’m “hapa” - half haole (Caucasian), half Korean.
I’ve lived all my adult life in Hawaii, but I grew up in Michigan.
I’ve known Rod since I was three years old. As someone who grew up as
a minority in a predominantly white society, I can state with complete
confidence that Rod is not a racist.
My mother, who was haole, taught in black schools and I learned from
an early age to respect all races. My boyfriend is Hawaiian/Chinese;
one of my best friends is Filipina; my neighbors are haole, Japanese,
Hawaiian, Chinese; I have gay clients and friends; my co-workers and
clients are every color in the rainbow. We all make fun of each other.
Nobody takes it seriously.
It’s apparent that Barack Obama has a huge disconnect with the average
American. He graduated from one of the most prestigious (i.e.
expensive) private schools in the nation (Punahou). On his recent
trips to Hawaii, he rented a home just a few miles from my home. I
know the property (I’m a real estate broker) and I don’t think most
Americans, especially in this economy, can grasp paying what would be
almost five times their annual salary for a one-week vacation rental.
The home sold recently for over $6 million.
I did not vote for Barack Obama, which may be a surprise since I’m
from his birth state. But I still hoped and prayed for his success in
leading our country. Almost two years later, it is obvious that he is
in way over his head. He has angered many Americans and we’re still
looking for the “transparency” he promised. I understand the
historical aspects of his presidency, but just as I wouldn’t blindly
vote for a woman simply because she was a woman, I wouldn’t support
someone just because he/she was born here.
I have a somewhat unique perspective since I know both the Honolulu
and the Chicago areas well - two areas of importance in Barack Obama’s
life. I had hoped that his presidency would show the world Hawaii’s
culture of “aloha“ and respect. Or as President John F. Kennedy once
said “Hawaii is what the rest of the world is striving to become.”

Ruth A. Gabbard • Honolulu, Hawaii

Religious insight
In response to Anne Stanton’s article, “Fighting for Gay Rights,”
9/20. Describing anyone who opposes this ordinance as a person of
“hate groups” is wrong. I would liken it to anyone who profits from
the use of Northern Express (and especially anyone who works there) as
a person of hate, in as much as the NE bashes religion. Don’t blur
freedom with hate.
I agree, discrimination is wrong, but a freely-allowed opinion against
the homosexual agenda does not equate to an agenda of hate. I would
vote in favor of this ordinance for equal rights/equal protection, but
I can still stand opposed to the homosexual agenda, none of which
should be considered hateful.
Also, I feel the interviewer tried to set up a grand slam for
Carruthers against religion, though the man himself took the higher
road to not make a bloodbath from it. Carruthers states that Jesus
“supported everyone”; that approach is understandable, but it is also
blind and presented in a tainted light. Noting that Carruthers is
clearly not a man of, or with much knowledge about the Christian
faith, I choose not to hold this claim against him. But nice try, NE,
in your continued efforts against religion.

Paul Thompson • via email

Last week’s article on the 1st Congressional District erroneously
excluded three candidates: Ellis Boal, a Green party candidate from
Charlevoix; Patrick Lambert, a U.S. Taxpayers candidate from Oscoda;
and Keith Shelton, a Libertarian from Marquette.

Unfair campaigning
Traverse City Light & Power doesn’t want to cede control of its
operations to the City Commission, fearing the public utility will be
“politicized.” This is pretty funny considering L&P’s latest bonehead
City Commissioner and Light & Power Board member Ralph Soffredine is
featured in the “Meet Your L&P Board Members” section of the October
insert going out with all 11,000 electric and water bills. The fact
that he’s running for the County Commission in the November election,
and that this might be seen as blatant electioneering seems to escape
the clueless at Light & Power. In the interest of full disclosure,
Soffredine is running for the seat I currently hold.
At the same time, Light & Power is facing its own election challenge
in the form of two referenda giving citizens and the City Commission
more input into day-to-day and power generation decisions. These
referenda were sparked by the biomass controversy plus a governing
board happily co-opted by management and out-of-touch with the public.
The remainder of the insert rehashes the 1979 campaign which
established L&P’s current independence. The message is loud and clear
... We already voted on that! We thought it was a great idea! We
love Light & Power just the way it is!
The Chamber of Commerce endorsement of the status quo is disturbing,
suggesting that the people of Traverse City cannot be trusted to run
their own city utility. It should be noted that L&P is giving the
Chamber $25,000 a year to pursue economic development. Might this be
a bit of a conflict?
Traverse City deserves better than public rate-payer funds being used
for personal political agendas. Take back Light & Power. Vote yes on
Proposals 1 and 2 on Nov. 2.

Ross Richardson
County Commission District 5

Quality of life issue
The definition of “a quality of life” is different for each of us. Yet
to be denied our basic human needs through discrimination only adds to
the challenges of these changing times. To be allowed the freedom of
being who we are, without the fear of being denied our human needs, is
essential in maintaining a sense of happiness, dignity and overall
well being. It has become painfully clear to all of us that we cannot
take anything for granted. The anti-discrimination ordinance is
simply the means to protect everyone.
The beauty of Traverse City enhances our quality of life. To tarnish
this by maintaining a narrow, fearful, view of the truth only serves
to take away the quality of life we all strive for. We are our
community, our city; to provide equality for everyone enhances the
beauty of what diversity has to offer. We all have value, we all have
something positive to add in maintaining a quality of life here in
Traverse City. Please do not deny anyone the freedom to be happy and
to live their life in peace.

Rene’ Jeffries • TC

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