Letters 12-05-2016

Trump going back on promises I’m beginning to suspect that we’ve been conned by our new president. He’s backpedaling on nearly every campaign promise he made to us...

This Christmas, think before you speak Now that Trump has won the election, a lot of folks who call themselves Christians seem to believe they have a mandate to force their beliefs on the rest of us. Think about doing this before you start yelling about people saying “happy holidays,” whining about Starbucks coffee cup image(s), complaining about other’s lifestyles…

First Amendment protects prayer (Re: Atheist Gary Singer’s contribution to the Crossed column titled “What will it take to make America great again?” in the Nov. 21 edition of Northern Express.) Mr. Singer, the First Amendment states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …”

Evidence of global warming Two basic facts underlay climate science: first, carbon dioxide was known to be a heat-trapping gas as early as 1850; and second, humans are significantly increasing the amount of CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels and other activities. We are in fact well on our way to doubling the CO2 concentrations in our atmosphere...

Other community backpack programs I just read your article in the Nov. 28 issue titled “Beneficial backpacks: Two local programs help children.” It is a good article, but there are at least two other such programs in the Traverse City area that I am aware of...

A ‘fox’ in the schoolhouse Trump’s proposed secretary of education, Betsy DeVos (“the fox” in Dutch), is a right-wing billionaire; relentless promoter of unlimited, unregulated charter schools and vouchers; and enemy of public schooling...

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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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