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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- December 6th, 2010
Gestapo tactics
After reading the Express article “Nightmare on the Border,” I found
myself wondering if I’m living in the United States or Nazi Germany.
The methods and treatment in “rounding up” illegals is akin to the
tactics practiced by the Gestapo against the Jews.
Are the Mexicans the Jews of America? As an American I’m embarrassed
by the treatment that Liz Larios received. Nazi Germany can never
happen here, or can it?

Don Strzynski • TC

(The Express will be following up on Liz Larios’ story and that of
other border sweeps in upcoming issues, including the double standard
Mexican nationals face in becoming U.S. citizens. -- ed.)

Rethinking Christmas
In our family, the insanity of rushing out on Black Friday or any
other day to do Christmas shopping doesn’t exist. In less than an
hour, olive trees are sponsored, children’s camps supported, and
funds for the homeless added plus a few more. I am often saddened by
the idea that shopping as a means of celebrating the birth of Christ
seems acceptable. Finding an article from 2009 by George Will, I can
happily join the scrooges knowing that buying via guilt is not only
stupid but not an economic benefit to the country.
At least the Christmas stimulus strengthens the economy, right? Wrong,
says economist Joel Waldfogel. If all spending justified itself, we
would pay people to dig holes and then refill them -- or build bridges
to unpopulated Alaskan islands. Spending is good if the purchaser, or
the recipient of a gift, values the commodity more than he does the
money it costs. Otherwise, there is a subtraction from society’s store
of value.
Furthermore, he says, there are some goods -- e.g., Spam -- that
people spend less on as they become richer, and there are other things
on which people spend larger portions of their incomes as their
incomes rise. These are called luxuries. One such is charity. So,
particularly for the rich or ascetic person who has everything he or
she wants, why not gift cards usable only for charities? Some
organizations (e.g., CharityNavigator.org and
Charitygiftcertificates.org) facilitate this. (“The Gift of Not
Giving,” George Will, November 2009.)
So stay at home, enjoy the quiet, and know you haven’t contributed to
the insanity.

Barbara Young • Bear Lake

Catholic view on gays
On November 2, 2011, the voters of Traverse City will vote on an
amendment to the Ordinances of the City of Traverse City relating to
the definition of “discriminate” and “discrimination” as those terms
are used in the city’s Employment and Fair Housing Law.
The definitions would be expanded to prohibit the denial of housing to
persons because of among other classifications, their “gender, gender
expression, and gender identity.”
While decent housing is a right everyone should enjoy, and while
citizens of Traverse City assert that persons with a homosexual
orientation should not be subject to unjust discrimination, the
expansion of the definition of discrimination as contained in the
proposed ordinance is cause for concern.
If the ordinance passes, sexual orientation will be elevated to the
status of race and religion in our constitutionally protected classes.
In 1992 the (Catholic Vatican) Congregation for the Doctrine of the
Faith in Rome addressed this issue with the following observations:
“Homosexual persons have the same rights as all persons, including the
right of not being treated in a manner which offends their personal
dignity. Among other rights, all persons have the right to work, to
housing, etc, (No 12).
However, “including ‘homosexual orientation’ among the considerations
on the basis of which it is illegal to discriminate can easily to
regarding homosexuality as a positive source of human rights. The
passage from the recognition of homosexuality as a factor on which
basis it is illegal to discriminate can easily lead to the legislative
protection and promotion of homosexuality. A person’s homosexuality
would be invoked in opposition to alleged dis crimination, and thus
the exercise of rights would be defended precisely via the affirmation
of the homosexual condition instead of in terms of a violation of
basic human rights” (No 13).
“Sexual orientation does not constitute a quality comparable to race,
ethnic background, etc., in suspect to non-discrimination” (No 10).
The concerns expressed by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the
Faith are valid. Careful consideration needs to be given to the
effect that passage of such laws will have on family life, understood
on the basis of the marriage of one man and one woman, and the public
morality of the entire civil society on the basis of fundamental moral
These concerns should cause all Traverse City voters to seriously
question the appropriateness of the proposed legislation.

Paul Nepote • TC

Getting it straight
Re: voting rights mentioned in Klaus Hergt’s letter, 11/29/2010.
My understanding of the history of voting rights is as follows: In
1870, the 15th Amendment gave African Americans the right to vote,
excluding women.
Women, black and white, didn’t get the vote until 1920 with the
passage of the 19th Amendment. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 outlawed
discriminatory practices that prevented African Americans from
exercising their right to vote, but technically black men had the
right 50 years before all American women.

Kate Mosher • via email

-- The “Operation Save Liz” bank account mentioned in last week‘s
story about Liz Larios’ deportation has been moved from Members Credit
Union to Fifth Third Bank by her fiance, Russell Horn.
-- Last week’s article on SmartLipo incorrectly identified Courtney
Sumpter as a physician; she is a physicians assistant.
-- Also, a guest opinion about high school drug sweeps erroneously
stated that an ACLU talk was given at a local school; it was given at
the TC District Library.

A Reminder: Northern Express Weekly does not accept
unsigned letters (except under extraordinary
circumstances) or those using assumed names.

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