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 18th, 2010
TCL&P & the truth
The inaccurate information contained in letters by Peggy Fry and
Valorie Gibbs concerning Traverse City Light & Power (TCL&P) in the
Oct. 11 issue of the Express requires correcting.
Allegation: Not having “...aggressive energy conservation/efficiency
Correction: TCL&P has been a leader in energy conservation for several
years. Last year alone TCL&P gave away over 11,000 Compact Fluorescent
Light bulbs (CFLs) to its customers and surpassed its state mandated
conservation goals by over 70%.
Allegation: TCL&P still considering “...biomass as a potential energy source...”
Correction: At the July 21, 2010 Board Study Session it was decided
and reported that biomass was no longer an option and that hasn’t
changed. The TCL&P Board is committed to solving generation supply
issues with community input.
Allegation: “...the city had to fight TCL&P to get them to take down
the coal plant...”
Correction: The City Commission and TCL&P worked together to remove
the Bayside Coal Plant. The plant was also dismantled several years
earlier than scheduled due to the initiative of the TCL&P Board.
Allegation: “TCL&P has added almost a half million dollars annually in
newly created management positions...”
Correction: New staff has been hired to replace people who have
retired. Maintaining the same high level of customer service requires
the same number of employees.
Allegation: TCL&P sent a “...mailer endorsing board member Ralph Soffredine...”
Correction: In a recent insert, TCL&P provided a history and fact
sheet which gave community members insight as to how TCL&P came to be.
Only the facts were presented and no endorsements were made.
All of this information was openly discussed at posted board meetings
and still available for review on www.tclp.org. Where are their
TCL&P prides itself on having the lowest rates in the region, along
with outstanding reliability. It’s very disconcerting to have
individuals make up facts in an attempt to tarnish TCL&P’s exceptional

Jim Cooper • Manager of Communications and Energy Services Traverse
City Light and Power

Peak oil problem
Robert Downes seems to have completely missed the point of peak oil
warnings, and if anything it is this kind of jaded techno-optimism
that will prove the “gloomsters” right (re: Random Thoughts 10/11).
Downes’ first error is to mistake peak oil for a prediction about how
the future will be, when it is simply an alarming fact about a
resource that has become an integral part of almost all human
activity. We are rapidly running out of oil. From this point,
everything else is up in the air, but there can be no doubt that this
fact will have an astounding impact on our future no matter how we
adapt to it.
Contrary to Downes’ depiction, many peak oil theorists see this
challenge as an opportunity to redesign our world for the better. His
utopian hopes for the future aren’t far off from those of many peak
oil believers, but the difference is in Roberts’ assumption that
someone else will provide the solutions and that all will work out for
the best. Peak oil is a huge problem with endless facets and we all
should think about how we will adapt, as individuals and communities.
We may make mistakes or even fail, but this is certainly a better
response than whining, yawning or waiting for someone else to fix the
Finally, as a world traveler, Downes should know that not all people
live in his comfortable reality. His careless optimism from a
position of privilege is an insult to people around the world who are
already suffering and dying as the result of resource shortages.
Perhaps the clearest example is that of recent food shortages due to
the use of crops as biofuels instead of food, but the list goes on
almost endlessly. As a matter of fact, people in this community are
already “shivering in the dark” because they can’t afford current
energy prices.
Looking back on disproven visions of the future is amusing enough, but
it would be a terrible mistake to disregard any serious threat because
scientists or experts have cried wolf in the past. So instead of
turning away and waiting for someone else to do something, I encourage
those who share the editor’s sentiments to consider a more proactive
approach as their source of optimism.

Brenin Wertz-Roth • via email

Indefensible budget
Stephen Tuttle’s fine article “Indefensible Spending” of 11 October is
on the mark regarding wasteful military spending. He rightly
highlights the folly of the CV-22 Osprey and the F-35 Joint Strike
Fighter. Though what eclipses those weapon systems, in terms of costs
and uselessness, is the F-22 Raptor.
The Department of Defense (DoD) procured 183 F-22s for $62 billion, or
$339 million each! To focus this in more regional terms, the Michigan
budget is about $44 billion. The Traverse City budget is about $14
million or about .5% of one F-22.
This is an aircraft without an enemy; despite the ongoing wars in
Afghanistan and Iraq, the F-22 has yet seen combat. It’s DoD’s job to
request weapons and personnel to best defend the nation. It’s
Congress’ job to provide a critical review and present an executable
budget to the President. Both DoD and Congress have failed the

Dave Lannen • Vets for Peace – TC

Spending overkill
Mr. Tuttle is the best. His October 11 column sums up the seemly
sacrosanct Defense Department spending for a budget that today’s,
“just cut the budget- stop spending-cut taxes” attituder avoids.
He sends the message well, but I would add just two more items, those
that speak of “over-kill,” being that of the 18 Trident submarines and
12 Aircraft carriers. Certainly they rule the seas, but how many do we
really need in today’s wars with boots on the ground needs?
Consider each sub costs $ 3 billion to build; $ 77 million per year per sub to
operate and each Trident missile costs $60 million. The 8 subs at
Bangor, WA, carry 24 Trident I C-4 missiles as do the 10 at King’s
Bay, GA. The 8 are being upgraded with
D-5 missiles (range 6000 miles), with a cost of between $5 and $6.5 billion
The cost to build an aircraft carrier such as the USS George H.W. Bush
( CVN-77 ), is $4.6 billion. Enough said in this category.
If our nation is going to continue being the world’s policeman, let’s
at least be honest with all the politics and finger pointing and be
civil and responsible in playing the blame game.

Thomas E. Hagan • Empire

SLAPP in the face
An open letter to the supporters of Kevin Elsenheimer for District Court.
For many years my family was the
victim of a frivolous lawsuit meant to
intimidate my husband, a local township
official, into doing the bidding of Meijer, Inc. These suits are
called “SLAPP” suits, an acronym for Strategic Lawsuit Against Public
A little over two years ago, Rep. Elsenheimer announced to the local
media that he was sponsoring a bill that would protect people from
these cruel, life-destroying lawsuits. He was in the Record-Eagle,
the Northern Express, and on a couple of radio shows promoting his
crusade. He decried the bullying tactics of Meijer and vowed to
introduce a good strong law.
But what I didn’t know at the time was that he was also very busy
running for re-election to the Michigan House. Mr. Elsenheimer’s
legislation languished while he was occupied with fundraising for his
campaign. It was a very profitable season for the candidate. He
raised enormous sums from a multitude of Political Action Committees,
included among them was Meijer, PAC.
At long last, in September of 2008, just weeks before the election, he
introduced his anti-SLAPP bill. But another thing I didn’t understand
at the time was that any bill introduced that late in the legislative
session was effectively “dead in the water.” It would never get voted
on. And it didn’t. Elsenheimer had cleverly used the media, and my
family’s plight, for free campaign exposure.
To add insult to injury, Mr. Elsenheimer subsequently accepted a third
contribution from Meijer, PAC. This time, $2,500.
During his tenure in the House, he has taken money from 165 PACs
totaling a whopping $190,000.
My question to his supporters is this: “Given what we now know about
Elsenheimer, how can we trust him to remain unbiased as a judge?”
We can’t take that risk.

Amy Kerr Hardin • Williamsburg

Rx for Dan Scripps
On October 6, 2009, Dan Scripps voted in favor of Michigan House Bill
5386 that, if signed into law, would have devastated cancer care in
the state of Michigan. Fortunately, it was defeated in the Michigan
This bill would have imposed a 3% tax on the total gross receipts of
Michigan physicians without exception. The current accepted practice
in cancer treatment is for the oncologists to purchase the
chemotherapy drugs used to treat the cancer patients, then bill the
patients’ insurers for the cost of the drugs. They are very expensive.
Federal law, the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, prevents the
oncologists from profiting from the sale of the drugs to the insurers.
The revenues from the sale of the drugs to the insurers, at no
profit, make up approximately 80% of the total gross receipts of the
We are the oncologists who manage nearly all the cancer
chemotherapy in Mr. Scripps’ district. If he had succeeded in making
this physician tax into law, we would have been fiscally unable to
procure the drugs for our patients. Since 80% of cancer chemotherapy
is delivered in the physician office, it would take many months or
years for the outpatient departments of our hospitals to absorb that
kind of volume.
By his support of Michigan H.B. 5386, Mr. Scripps has proven to us
that he is not a friend of cancer care. We fear that, if given
another chance, he will again vote for this physician tax. We urge
you NOT to vote for Dan Scripps on November 2.

Richard P. Kosinski, M.D., and 7 physicians • Traverse Area Hematology
Oncology, P.C.

Scripps solution
Are you tired of the Republican “robo” calls? Do the negative mailings
of the Michigan GOP turn you off? Does the Tea Party need to drink
more coffee and “wake up” to the fact that Michigan needs solutions,
not obstructions to every piece of legislation? Then the choice is
clear: Re-elect Dan Scripps to the 101st Michigan District to
represent Benzie, Leelanau, Manistee and Mason counties.
Dan Scripps is a proven, energetic leader in the Michigan House of
Representatives. He has made tough decisions, and compromised where
necessary to get the job done. We need someone like Scripps to
represent the four counties and Michigan. Negative ads, misleading
statements and fabrications by his opponent do not get the job done.
For a more proactive positive approach to the needs of Michigan,
re-elect Dan Scripps to the 101st Michigan House.

Diane L. Wilbur • Thompsonville

Gay suicide
This morning, there was a heartbreaking story about a young man in 8th
grade who took his own life after an especially abusive incident of
bullying by classmates. Asher Brown was an all A student, a caring and
sensitive young adult. Before he committed suicide, the boy expressed
to his father that he was homosexual. His loving father accepted and
reassured his son. The next day at school, the young man was pushed
down the stairs, laughed at, jeered, and his books were kicked down
the hall. He went home and shot himself.
The family is forever plunged into loss and grief. The ignorant
mindset that sexual orientation should be subject to judgment or
ridicule or restrictive legislation festers deep within pockets of our
society. This prejudicial mindset fueled bad decisions on the part of
the young people who were the bullies. Those who participated in the
abusive behavior will forever have to live with the knowledge that
they contributed to the tragic death of their fellow student.
If we are to have a just, democratic society, equality of rights under
the law must not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any
state or by any governmental unit on account of sex and/or sexual
orientation. How sad that we need special laws to insure that all
people enjoy equal rights. I applaud and support Traverse City
Commissioner Jim Carruthers in his work to protect human rights for
all people.

JoAnne Beemon • Charlevoix

Tea? No thanks
The Republican Party including the Tea Party want to “Take Back
America.” Well, consider the last time so-called conservatives
controlled government under presidents Bush - Cheney. They ran up
record deficits, fighting two wars on a credit card. The deregulation
policies of the GOP put this country into a deep recession, letting
financial institutions and banks run unregulated and costing millions
of individuals their savings and retirements. The obstructionist
tactics of the GOP voted against loans and tax breaks for small
businesses; the same businesses that create jobs.
Republican’s would rather see 30 million people go without affordable
healthcare and let insurance and drug companies determine costs and
who gets covered. Do not let the GOP take back America; drink more
coffee and “wake up” American. It is not a “tea party” -- we need
solutions to the tough issues at hand, not go back to the days of the
Hopefully the independents and women who could control the November
election will support a candidate like Fred Johnson and send him to
Washington, representing the 2nd Congressional District.

Carroll Volpe • Honor

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