Letters 11-28-2016

Trump should avoid self-dealing President-elect Donald Trump plans to turn over running of The Trump Organization to his children, who are also involved in the transition and will probably be informal advisers during his administration. This is not a “blind trust.” In this scenario Trump and family could make decisions based on what’s best for them rather than what’s best for the country...

Trump the change we need?  I have had a couple of weeks to digest the results of this election and reflect. There is no way the selection of Trump as POTUS could ever come close to being normal. It is not normal to have a president-elect settle a fraud case for millions a couple of months before the inauguration. It is not normal to have racists considered for cabinet posts. It is not normal for a president-elect tweet outrageous comments on his Twitter feed to respond to supposed insults at all hours of the early morning...

Health care system should benefit all It is no secret that the health insurance situation in our country is controversial. Some say the Affordable Care Act is “the most terrible thing that has happened to our country in years”; others are thrilled that, “for the first time in years I can get and afford health insurance.” Those who have not been closely involved in the medical field cannot be expected to understand how precarious the previous medical insurance structure was...

Christmas tradition needs change The Christmas light we need most is the divine, and to receive it we do not need electricity, probably only prayers and good deeds. But not everyone has this understanding, as we see in the energy waste that follows with the Christmas decorations...


A story in last week’s edition about parasailing businesses on East Grand Traverse Bay mistakenly described Grand Traverse Parasail as a business that is affiliated with the ParkShore Resort. It operates from a beach club two doors down from the resort. The story also should have noted that prior to the filing of a civil lawsuit in federal court by Saburi Boyer and Traverse Bay Parasail against Bryan Punturo and the ParkShore Resort, a similar lawsuit was dismissed from 13th Circuit Court in Traverse City upon a motion from the defendant’s attorney. Express regrets the error and omission.

A story in last week’s edition about The Fillmore restaurant in Manistee misstated Jacob Slonecki’s job at Arcadia Bluffs Golf Course. He was a cook. Express regrets the error.

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- November 1st, 2010
Time to choose sides
How many readers have themselves, or a friend, neighbor, or family
member, been laid off, downsized, or saw their job outsourced?
And how many victims of this economy, inherited from the previous
administration, are lazy, lack a work ethic, are not interested in
gainful employment, and simply waiting for handouts from the
government to live a carefree lifestyle? Not many, if any, I would
On November 2, I hope people will remember our candidates who support
remedies like extending unemployment insurance, reforming health care,
reforming the student loan system, tax credits for small business, and
yes, the stimulus package — as well as those who turned their backs,
citing the deficits or “socialism” as their rationale.
Most economists insist that deficit spending is necessary in a
depressed economy, and that helping families survive by providing
temporary funds for food, housing, school supplies, or subsidizing the
jobs of fire fighters and teachers helps to build the economy.
Yet, naysayers, mostly Republicans, support continuing tax cuts for
the wealthiest Americans that are not paid for and add trillions to
the deficit -- a policy that not only didn’t create jobs but lost jobs
in the last decade.
Compounding this hypocrisy, these tax cutters have railed against
bank bailouts while cynically voting against the Financial Reform
Bill, which imposed much-needed regulations on Wall Street.
Despite the angry rhetoric of the tea partiers, throwing out all the
‘bums’ in Congress and our State Legislature is simplistic and
nonsensical—it is a false populism. Look carefully at the records of
those in office and those aspiring to office – those who will truly
look out for the interests of average citizens, and who will not, and
then vote.

Mary M. Easthope • Lake Leelanau
Half-baked tea party ideas
Although the media is full of coverage on the tea party, it remains
unclear where this movement stands on many specific issues regarding
taxation and the role of government. Key tenets seem to be “getting
government out of the way,” “relieving government regulation so
business can thrive,” and “reducing taxes” or perhaps getting rid of
them altogether.
Does the movement therefore support abolition of all health,
environmental and safety regulations? Should the decades-old ban on
DDT be repealed even if that results in majestic species, such as
peregrine falcons and bald eagles being permanently wiped out?
If tea party proponents gain power, do they plan to allow companies,
individuals and local governments to discharge endless quantities of
raw sewage and deadly chemicals into rivers, lakes and the air?
The term “socialism” is constantly bandied about. Do tea party
supporters consider the national park system to be a virulent form of
socialism? After all, the government uses tax dollars to provide vast
natural areas equally to all its citizens, regardless of economic
class. Would the tea party propose having government get out of the
way of economic development by selling Yosemite, Yellowstone, Sleeping
Bear National Lakeshore, etc. to the highest bidder to mine, build on,
commercialize, use for toxic waste dumping, or whatever they choose,
in the name of freedom and defending the Constitution?
What about the tax-funded Food and Drug Administration? Should its
doors be shut so we can return to the good old days when more soldiers
in the Spanish American war died from tainted meat from the Chicago
stockyards than in battle?
Does the tea party propose shutting down the Centers for Disease
Control and leaving monitoring and containing diseases to the private
sector? Should government repeal all laws relating to child labor,
living wages and workplace safety?
A large portion of tax dollars go to the military and defending our
freedom. Does the tea party envision an unpaid army of volunteer
citizens who show up brandishing their own muskets?
Why should tax dollars be spent on building and maintaining an
interstate highway system? Shouldn’t private industry and individuals
provide that for themselves, instead of government getting in the way?
Does the tea party plan to eliminate Social Security, since this is a
system that workers are forced to pay into to provide a survival
income to the elderly?
These questions could go on for many pages. Espousing political
philosophy through slogans, such as “getting government out of the
way” is the easy part. Applying such slogans to real life is much more
complex. If the tea party truly envisions a world with virtually no
federal government role in health, safety and the environment, and
would answer yes to all the questions above and many more, then it
should unabashedly say so in specific terms.

James A. Bransky • via email

Davis & Langford-Morris for Supreme Court
Clients and friends often ask lawyers including myself, for a
recommendation as to who would serve us well and fairly in various
judicial offices. If you are in doubt about this year’s Supreme Court
race, I would offer that this is one of the most important Supreme
Court elections in recent history.
Will the Michigan Chamber and the money interests buy the court once
again or will each of us have a fair chance at justice? John Rawls, a
legal philosopher and author of “A Theory of Justice“ posited the
question of what form or system of justice serves all of us equally?
His answer was simply, one that you would agree to join and be part
of, blind to whatever role you or others would play in it. Meaning,
you would agree to be subjected to it, not knowing whether you would
be a defendant, a prosecutor, a civil litigant, a defense lawyer, a
witness or a judge. All roles would be equally just in expectation.
Unfortunately, in recent history, that has not been the case in
Michigan. In the last election, the tide started to turn with the
defeat of Justice Clifford Taylor.
This year, the people of Michigan have an opportunity to turn away
sitting Justice Robert Young. We cannot underestimate the importance
of moving him to retirement. We need to elect humble individuals who
serve each of us regardless of our status in life, our bank account or
our political beliefs.
Our Supreme Court, as all our courts, need to be based upon concepts
and principles of fundamental fairness. Please vote the non-partisan
ballot and please vote for Justice Tom Davis and candidate Judge
Denise Langford Morris. Each of these individuals reflect the
philosophy of John Rawls, each live lives of fundamental fairness.
Please do not underestimate how important this vote is to you and to
the people of Michigan.

Michael H. Dettmer • TC

TCL&P: Proposal 1

Vote YES
I have had the pleasure of probably attending more Traverse City Light
& Power (TCL&P) board meetings than anyone else in the public over the
past few years. More of you should show up and get involved: public
participation is important. The board needs to know you are interested
and paying attention, and they also need to value your input.
For the most part I have found board members to be intelligent,
hardworking, and dedicated to the goals of TCL&P. No one should
criticize them unless you are ready to take their place and do the
immense amount of homework required to do this job. It’s not easy
work and I commend them for their effort.
But the overall process could be better. There are legitimate
questions of transparency and reacting to the public they serve. I
believe there is a role for the Traverse City Commission to play in
guaranteeing that the work of this public utility is carried out in
And I believe there is a role for the existing board to continue their
fine work in grinding through the due diligence process and making
policy recommendations to the city commission so that elected
officials become the place where the buck stops. It is unfair for the
existing appointed board to face harsh criticism that should be
reserved for elected officials.
I base my opinion on personal experience, but also in speaking with
two municipal utility professionals. Glenn Cannon was the former head
of the American Public Power Association and the CEO of a municipal
utility in Iowa. Glen reported to me that about half of the muni’s in
the country work under a commission and half are independent. Some of
the independents have elected board members that create that level of
ultimate accountability. What this says to me is that more municipal
utilities have elected officials as the final decision-makers.
I also spoke with Pageen Hanrahan, former mayor of Gainesville
Florida, where the municipal utility answers directly to the city
commission. Pageen firmly believes that in order to get the best
performance out of a municipal utility, elected officials have to be
the final decision makers. Gainesville leads the southeast part of the
country in energy deficiency measures and their Feed-in Tariff program
is gaining international notoriety, not to mention tremendous local
economic benefits. And their programs enjoy a 79% approval rating
from the residents.
TCL&P ratepayers should vote to support Proposal 1, and they should
support TCL&P. Having a municipal utility in your town is a
tremendous asset. It has the ability to provide a level of service far
above that of any other form of utility. Adding another layer of real
accountability while maintaining the role of the existing board is one
more step to being a world-class utility in a world-class community.

Tom Karas • Michigan Energy Alternatives Project.

Vote NO
Slogans might sound noble, but attaching ideas to them does not
somehow make them accurate. Shrewd politicians will use them as hype
to hook people.
Look past the emotional catchphrase to discover that reality is far
different from what the author of “power to the people” proposals 1&
2, would like you to believe. Having lived and worked in the Traverse
City region, I find it surprising you are considering a ballot
initiative to re-write a portion of the city charter, which could be
quite divisive.
Petition signers were not told they were disenfranchising at least 33%
of TCL&P customers just by getting these proposals on the ballot.
They were also not told that the author of proposals 1 and 2 admitted
to having a grudge with the TCL&P board stemming from an incident in
the 1990s. (Traverse the Magazine, Nov. 2010)
Were you also unaware that the checks and balances in place now, will
be replaced by a system where 4 of 7 city commissioners will be the
ones deciding your utilities everyday future. ( 5 of which think
these proposals are a bad idea -The Record Eagle; Oct. 17, 2010).
So the voting choice is clear:
Voting yes means that a local politician’s grudge gives management of
your utility to a city commission that doesn’t want it, while
depriving 4,000 customers the influence they currently have with city
resident voters.
Voting no means all customers remain equal owners and participants of
their community utility. The community process has worked time after
time and should not be scuttled.
Vote NO on proposals 1 and 2, and “don’t fix what’s not broken”...
how’s that for a slogan?

Ronald Cobley Former TC resident

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