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 · For gay people, a...
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For gay people, a dangerous world

Robert Downes - October 18th, 2010
For gay people, a dangerous world
When an anti-discrimination ordinance for gay and lesbian citizens was
considered by the Traverse City Commission last month, some locals
wondered why such a measure would even be necessary in this day and
age in America.
Hopefully, you read the enlightening article on that issue by Anne
Stanton in our September 20 issue. Anne reported that discrimination
is still a fact of life for local gay persons, and some have lost
their jobs after being outed.
To its credit, the Traverse
City Commission voted unan-imously to approve an ordinance which bans
discrimination against gay, lesbian and transgender citizens, similar
to that adopted by Kalamazoo and about 20 other Michigan communities.
But if you still have any doubts about the need to extend full civil
rights for gay and lesbian persons, consider the news from last week

• For Zach Harrington, the hatred of an anti-gay world finally got to
be too much to bear. Harrington, 19, took his own life after attending
a city council meeting in Oklahoma and sitting through three hours of
anti-gay rants and bigotry.
He was at the meeting to request that his town recognize Gay, Lesbian,
Bisexual and Transgender History Month. Although the council voted in
favor of the proclamation, Zach’s parents said their son got such a
toxic overload of hatred from the crowd over issues such as gay
marriage and “infiltrating” the school system that he couldn’t take it
anymore and killed himself.
• This was on the heels of the death of Tyler Clementi, 18, a Rutgers
University freshman who committed suicide by jumping off a bridge
after his roommate videotaped him having sex with a male student and
broadcast the act online.
• Michigan Assistant Attorney General Andrew Shirvell was discovered
to have a 24/7 online stalking obsession with the gay president of
U-M’s student council, blogging that 18-year-old student Chris
Armstrong is a “pervert,” “Satan‘s representative” and “promoting a
radical homosexual agenda.” Not to mention superimposing a Nazi
swastika on the student’s face.
• At a riot in Belgrade, 100 police and marchers were injured by
hundreds of rock and bomb-throwing hooligans at a gay pride parade.
The protesters chanted “Death to homosexuals!” and many Serbian gays
stayed home for fear of being targeted.
• New York City was shaken by the news that a gang of nine thugs in
the Bronx had kidnapped and tortured a gay man and two gay
• Tea Party Republican and New York candidate for governor Carl
Paladino went off on a gay-bashing rant, claiming there is “nothing to
be proud of in being a dysfunctional homosexual.” Paladino’s gay
nephew Jeff Hannon, 23, said he was “deeply offended” by his uncle’s
homophobia and quit his campaign.
• And the biggest story of the week: a federal judge ordered the
immediate suspension of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” ban on being
openly gay or lesbian in the Armed Forces.

The struggle over the last item makes you question the sincerity of
the freedoms we claim to champion in America under the Constitution,
versus the reality of institutionalized, anti-gay hatred.
As U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips noted, “Don’t Ask, Don’t
Tell” is unconstitutional because the policy, “violates due process
rights, freedom of speech and the right to petition the government for
redress of grievances guaranteed by the First Amendment.”
In other words, it’s a gag rule violating the most fundamental
American right to speak your mind and declare who and what you stand
It seems amazing that an estimated 66,000 gay and lesbian members of
the Armed Forces have had to hide their sexual orientation while
defending the U.S. Constitution and the principle of free speech. Yet
13,500 servicemen have been discharged under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”
since the law was enacted in 1993.
Despite the fact that a lawsuit against this policy was brought to the
federal courts by the Log Cabin Republicans -- a gay rights group made
up of 19,000 members -- in September, all 40 Republican members of the
U.S. Senate voted against a Defense Department bill that would have
repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
All of the above is evidence that gay and lesbian persons still live
in a world of institutionalized violence and injustice.
Consider that one-third of all teenagers who commit suicide are gay.
And kids who fear being rejected by their parents for coming out are
said to be eight times more likely to attempt suicide.
This is a passive form of culturally-encouraged genocide: gay teens
are haunted by the stigma and censure of their classmates and bullied
to a breaking point.
“Young gay individuals realize that they must hide their identity for
fear of social and legal consequences which can destroy their lives,”
states an article on “Stopping Gay Teen Suicide” by Ciara Torres at
www.healthyplace.com. “Homosexuals can be fired, evicted, kept from
their own biological children, restricted from adopting children, and
imprisoned for sodomy. The homosexuality of historical figures has
been systematically left out of education in the public schools,
giving gay youth the false impression that gays have never affected
history in a positive way.”
Today, although the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s is some 50
years in the past, gay and lesbian Americans have no legal protection
from employment or housing discrimination in 42 states. And there are
still laws on the books dating back to Colonial times which
criminalize same-sex acts in 45 states.
As for marriage, it seems odd that even heterosexuals who have poorer
parenting skills than barnyard animals can get married or divorced on
a drunken whim, all with the blessing of religious fundamentalists who
go ballistic when homosexual citizens seek to sanctify their own
When the Jews of East Europe faced extermination and ethnic cleansing
in the early 20th century, many did a sensible thing and emigrated to
America, Palestine and other safe havens. The Jews were able to create
their own fortress/sanctuary in the state of Israel.
Yet gay and lesbian persons have no “Israel” to retreat to from a
hostile world. They are at best “hidden in plain sight,” and often
poorly so at that. Yet they too have been subjected to injustice, hate
crimes, and the kind of bullying that encourages suicide in young
people at a fragile age.
We can be proud of Traverse City for supporting the principle of
“liberty and justice for all,” and should encourage every com-munity
in Northern Michigan to follow suit.

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