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 · The White Hurricane
. . . .

The White Hurricane

Robert Downes - December 13th, 2010
Only a fool would try to predict the weather, but let’s get a little
wild & crazy here and give it a go anyway: It’s going to snow this
Ha-ha. If any of us had worries about not celebrating a white
Christmas this year, they were put to rest by last week’s dump,
courtesy of a lake effect snowstorm that blew the white stuff all the
way to Tennessee. Midway through last week, we had already received 4
feet, with buckets of snowflakes still falling.
So how much can we expect this year?
“A lot,” according to those in the know, owing to the fact that Lake
Michigan and Lake Superior reached some of their highest temperatures
ever last summer. This has created ideal conditions for lake effect
snow. Cold air passing over all that warm water forms the endless gray
clouds and snowfall that blankets the Michigan coast.
The Farmers’ Almanac is terse in its prediction for the coming winter:
“Cold and very snowy.” No surprise there.
We have a high bar to reach if we hope to hit a record for snowfall
this year, however. That was set in the winter of 1978-’79 when 391.9
inches of snow fell on the town of Delaware in the U.P.
By contrast, Michigan usually averages 30-150 inches in the lower
peninsula and 150-plus above the Bridge.
This year, we could see more snow than usual because of two factors.
The first is due to the record warmth of the Great Lakes. According
to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 2010
was the fourth hottest summer on record in the United States. 2010
also tied with 1998 as the hottest year on record for the entire
world. The resulting forest fires in Russia reportedly killed
thousands of people.
Over here, the surface temperature of Lake Michigan reached 80 degrees
last summer, within a degree of the record. Those high temperatures
produce the bands of lake effect snow which were so familiar on the
weather reports last week.
The second factor driving more snow our way is that of what the
National Weather Service (NWS) calls “borderline strong La Nina
conditions” in the tropical Pacific Ocean. In other words, a large
mass of colder-than-usual water that influences the weather up our
The NWS claims that below-average temperatures in “a very large area”
of the southern Pacific will mean colder temperatures than usual in
Alaska and the Western United States, all the way through the Great
Lakes. The NWS also predicts higher than average snowfall. So pop the
champagne corks if skiing and snowmobiling are your thing.
Obviously, it’s hard to second-guess the weather. Following the
record warm year of 1998, Michigan suffered one of its snowiest
Januaries ever. The Blizzard of 1999 resulted in a snow emergency
declaration by President Clinton, with 29 Michigan counties eligible
for federal disaster assistance. The NWS reports it was the second
worst blizzard to hit Chicago in the 20th century. Temperatures hit
-20 and 73 people died.
But Michigan has been through many other big storms, such as the
“White Hurricane” of 1913, also called “The Big Blow.” That storm,
from Nov. 7-10, 1913 “may have been the worst U.S. winter storm on
record,” according to epicdisasters.com. “It killed more than 250,
primarily from ships that were sunk. Five of the 12 ships downed by
the storm were never found.”
During the White Hurricane, cyclonic winds of 60-90 mph lasted up to
16 hours, with waves on the Great Lakes reaching 35 feet in a November
gale similar to the one that sank the Edmund Fitzgerald in 1975.
Whiteouts covered the Midwest and Ontario. “The cyclonic system, with
its counterclockwise winds, was, in fact, a hurricane,” claims
Will we have another White Hurricane this winter? Only Jack Frost
knows for sure, but it might not be a bad idea to lay in a little
extra firewood and a few cans of beans, just in case.

• Coldest temperature ever recorded in Michigan: -51 at Vanderbilt on
Feb. 9, 1994.
• Cost of a new snowplow truck: $170,000.
• Gallons of fuel used by a typical snowplow truck in a 24-hour period: 200.
• Number of trucks in the Grand Traverse County Road Commission fleet: 55.
• Cost to put all GTCRC trucks in service during a 24-hour period: $75,000.
• Gallons of gas and diesel fuel used by the GTCRC in 2008: 241,684.

-- statistics courtesy of GTCRC.org

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