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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. . . .


- November 8th, 2010
After the election...
In Michigan the winners have just been elected to run a state with a
$1.5 billion dollar shortfall in its budget, massive
un-and-underemployment, and the largest city dying. I’m glad I didn’t
run for anything.
But really, what are you winners going to do? Cut taxes. Yet Michigan
is 25 or 26 among the 50 states in tax burden on its citizens, so that
doesn’t sound like an oppressive rate.
They might make us a right-to-work state -- that works so well for
North Dakota. They have lots of highly paid jobs for the
undereducated. Ha! Some might consider Mississippi or South Carolina,
states that mortgaged most of their future tax dollars to attract a
few thousand jobs. I’m not sure anyone in Michigan would want that.
Also, because of our hard winters Michigan‘s infrastructure needs more
In Northern Michigan we have two major industries, agriculture and
tourism. This is as true today as it was 100 years ago and both need
good infrastructure and a clean environment. So we must find a way to
bring in more tourists without further damage to our environment. We
can’t pave the wetlands and build more four-lane roads through forests
just to allow a few more people easy access to the north. There must
be a balance between individual property rights, like sales of our
water to be bottled and shipped to Phoenix and Dallas, with our local
need for clean water.
I hope the one environmentally-sound new jobs growth engine is not
killed before it gets a chance to mature: the film industry tax
credits. This could provide healthier growth for the entire state, but
it needs time to bring in not only film crews, editors, stage
builders, electricians, etc, that every production must have behind
the scenes.
On the programs we do fund maybe we should look at them and see what
we are over spending on, like prisons. Michigan spends more money than
any other Great Lakes state. Is that because we have more crooked
residents or maybe because we have more strict laws that jail people
longer. Which is it? Along the same lines how much does the “War on
Drugs” cost us, and what is the return?
Michigan will never again be a state that has thousands of highly-paid
jobs for unskilled people. Those jobs always go where the workers are
paid the least and there are no environmental regulations. We can
develop jobs for skilled people, but that development will cost money
and take time. Have we elected the people who understand this?

Don Seman • Bellaire

No dancing for the Dead
I attended the Dark Star Orchestra performance at the TC Opera House,
excited and ready to have a great time.
I bought my ticket an hour before the show and sat at Right Brain
Brewery with some friends. Examining my ticket I saw the words “No
Dancing.” This must be a joke, I thought, nearly falling off my stool.
How twisted would that be. It would be like a bar allowing you to
enter but not to drink any beer. Incongruous and ridiculous.
At the show, we were ushered to our assigned seats (what happened to
festival seating?) and I sat through five awesome songs, tapping my
feet and slapping my knees along with the 200 others there, feeling
the good vibes from some great musicians.
But an invisible force field was holding me down. Why? On the sixth
song or so I couldn’t help myself, I knew that if I didn’t dance I
would have to kill myself. So, I got up and started dancing.
Slowly, as I looked around, about 50 others joined me, and how good it
felt, how natural. The bouncers, big burly guys, who had been standing
arms akimbo with ridiculously menacing looks on their faces, came over
and tried to get people to sit down. It took a bearded and dark-haired
character out of Hogwart‘s to intimidate mostly everybody into sitting
down. I was in the second row when he approached me and gave me “a
final warning.” He was going to kick me out for dancing at a Dead
Supposedly, the floor is damaged, although the Opera House routinely
has weddings of up to 200 people who are allowed to dance. So, next
time a show is booked at the Opera House, please allow the patrons to
do what they want, or don’t book that kind of band. Or else we should
just have bouncers at the lake shore during the summer and a sign that
says, “You can look at the water, but No Swimming.”

Michael Darigan • Suttons Bay author of backpocket e-pistles

Religion & free speech
Robert Downes (“Random Thoughts” 10/25) should be a bit tougher on
himself when writing about complex issues such as the First Amendment
(ie. the Constitution’s Establishment Clause). Like the professors and
law students responding with laughter to candidate Christine
O’Donnell’s assertion that the First Amendment does not guarantee a
“separation of church and state,” Downes apparently fails to
appreciate either the historical origin of that phrase or the fact
that it is to be found nowhere in the U.S. Constitution.
The phrase “wall of separation” was most famously contained in a
letter from Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist Association,
written in support of religious free exercise. It found its way into
Supreme Court currency via Justice Hugo Black’s opinion in the 1947
Emerson case, and has been cited ever since. The “wall of
separation,” which the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals described as both
“tiresome” and “extra-constitutional,” never literally replaced the
actual text of the Establishment Clause.
That clause still states; “Congress shall make no law respecting the
establishment of religion.” What did these words mean to those
ratifying the Constitution, and what do they mean today? Those who
ratified our Constitution were well aware of European religious wars
and also knew that the term “Congress,” as used in the Establishment
Clause, referred only to the national government. Moreover, the widely
supported existence of state, as opposed to national, religions at the
time of the ratification is an historic fact. How might all of these
facts, seriously considered, illuminate the meaning of the
Establishment Clause? Was the intent only to stop a national
government from interfering with established state religions? Does
recognition or limited support of religion equal establishment?
Rather than laughing at efforts to seek answers, law students, their
professors, and Downes should all be grappling with such questions.

Steve Francis • via email

God & government
Since Robert Downes is given a full page in your paper to spew his
left wing rants, it would be helpful to your readers that he not take
things out of context and to also research the FACTS.
The Tea Party is not a bunch of “Ding-a Lings” which he would be
easily able to find out if he cared to interview some of the members.
For him to say that Christine O’Donnell “did not have a clue as to the
meaning of the First Amendment” shows HIS ignorance.
The First Amendment reads as follows: “Congress shall make no law
respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free
exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the
press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to
petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Do you see any thing in this amendment that says there is to be a
separation of church and state? Perhaps Mr. Downes would ‘like’ it to
say that, just as our President would like to omit the reference to
our Creator from the Declaration of Independence. Perhaps the
President of our United States, has forgotten the last sentence of the
oath he took (supposedly) in 2009... “So help me GOD.”

Rebecca Carlson • Rapid City

I want to tell you how very much I enjoy the writings of Stephen
Tuttle. He says with compact, meaningful words what so many of us are
thinking. I especially liked the “Please Don’t Vote” column. He
knows how to draw you in and then get right to the point, turning it
completely around. A very thought-provoking writer, and right on.
Please continue to carry his writings.

Carol Williams • via email

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