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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Job #1: downsizing Lansing

Robert Downes - November 8th, 2010
Job #1: downsizing Lansing
There was an odd moment on TV 7&4 News last week that indicated where
we might be headed now that the balance of power has shifted in
Greg MacMaster, who ran for office on a pledge to downsize state
government, said in an interview that he has 13 new bills in mind for
his role as the new State Rep for the 105th District.
Congratulations to Greg on his win and for representing the citizens
of Antrim County. We assume that some of his bills will be aimed at
downsizing state government.
But still, 13 new bills sounds a bit much. If all 110 State Reps and
38 State Senators show up in Lansing with similar baggage... well,
you get the picture:
More government.
Or, as a popular saying in Asia goes: “Same, same, but different.”
It makes you wonder, did Michigan really need the 6,000-plus bills and
resolutions which went through the State House and Senate last year?
During this tide of anti-government fervor, wouldn’t this seem a good
time for our lawmakers to sit on their hands for a bit and resist the
urge to be, well, lawmakers?
One might argue that we could do without 75% of the bills and
resolutions introduced in Lansing and be better off for it. You can
see for yourself what our legislature is up to at
www.legislature.mi.gov. Last Wednesday, Nov. 3, for instance, there
were 37 bills and resolution in the works, including declarations of
November as Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month, along Lung Cancer
Month and Diabetes Awareness and Blood Glucose Control Month. Then
there were separate resolutions of tribute for the Honorable Deborah
Cherry and the Honorable Stevens T. Mason, and so on.
It’s nice to know that our legislators are giving a passing thought to
pancreatic cancer, lung cancer and glucose control, and that a couple
of judges are getting a scrap of paper suitable for framing to hang on
their walls.
But does Michigan really need to pay 148 lawmakers salaries of close
to $80,000 per year to fiddle around with this kind of busy-work
during such dire times? Cops and teachers are being laid off, and
kids are being denied art education and phys-ed in our schools. What
are our priorities?
We have far too many conflicting, outdated and unnecessary laws on the
books and don‘t need a raft of new ones if Michigan is going to move
As Rick Coates notes in this issue on the controversy over bringing
your own wine to restaurants, there’s such a thicket of conflicting,
contradictory laws regarding this issue that neither the cops or local
restaurants seems to know which law has precedence. Some local
restaurants report that they are being driven out of business because
customers can no longer enjoy a local vintage with dinner.
Locally, some day care providers are also grappling with updated rules
from the Department of Human Service’s Bureau of Children and Adult
Obviously, kids must be protected in day cares, but is it really
necessary to require providers to post “Exit” signs on their windows
in case of an emergency? It seems unlikely that adults would need to
search for an exit sign in their own home.
One could also argue the wisdom of requiring “No Smoking” signs in the
homes of day care providers, since that seems a bit of a no-brainer.
Or the requirement that one must report anyone in the day care
household who is involved in “breaking and entering into a tent, boat
or railroad car...”
Michigan Capitol Confidential, a publication of the Mackinac Center,
posts some of the absurd laws proposed by our legislature. Their fall
issue lists these gems:
• Senate Bill 1441 would “Allow Spartan stores (but not competitors)
to hold wine tastings.”
• House Bill 6311 would “Impose regulations on amateur mixed marital
arts competitors,” with the addition of license fees, of course.
• House Bill 5305 would increase the cost of a marriage license from
$20 to $40, with $10 of that amount going to government-funded “family
counseling services.”
Consider that Michigan, with its rapidly shrinking population base, is
one of only 11 states that have full-time legislatures. Maybe it’s
too much to ask in a situation where the foxes are guarding the
henhouse, but isn’t this revolutionary time of downsizing government
an ideal opportunity to pass a bill that would provide Michigan with a
part-time legislature? There are 17 U.S. states whose legislators meet
on a half-time basis. Why not Michigan?

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