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 bittersweet season
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The bittersweet season

Robert Downes - September 20th, 2010
The bittersweet season
Fall is that time of year when we “get our life back” here in Northern Michigan.
I’m always amazed at the hush that falls over the region just after
Labor Day Weekend. Suddenly, the road along the bay looks less like
the Daytona 500 and more like a country lane. As the smog and
automotive roar of the tourist migration dissipates, you can start to
see something of that small town we remember from way back when -- a
place more like Lake Woebegone than the Vegas Strip. Fall reminds us
that life here isn’t all just a cabaret, old chum... we get our sense
of home back.
By August, our heads are ringing from attending the summer-long
avalanche of festivals, starting in May with the Zoo-de-Mac and
running through the Leland Wine Festival and Spirit of the Woods in
June; the Cedar Polka Fest, Cherry Festival, BlissFest, PaellaFest and
TC Film Fest in July; the new Wine & Microbrew festivals in August;
Bay Harbor Vintage Car & Boat Fest, Festival by the Bay, Dunegrass,
Hoxieville, FarmFest, Forest Fest, Venetian Fest, Alpenfest,
Harborfest, and all of the dozens of other mini-fests punctuating the
summer. Not to mention art fairs -- you could spend the whole summer
hopscotching to different art fairs each weekend, filling your home
with thousands of loon carvings, Petoskey stone lamps and old barn
Attend all of summer’s events and you turn yourself into a human
pinata, knocked silly from one commitment to the next -- call it
“minifest destiny.” Unfortunately, this gives the sensation of
speeding up time as your event calendar becomes a mandatory checklist
year after year. Here in TC, for instance, summer becomes a blazing
downhill run after we’ve finished the Cherry Festival, and yet the
season seems barely just begun.
Going to festivals, concerts and gallery openings is an occupational
hazard at Northern Express and I wouldn’t trade them for all the green
cheese on the moon; but by fall I’m ready for a slower pace, along
with the news that the only big thing happening in town is a high
school football game. Thankfully, I’ve been to some of those many
years ago and don’t feel the need to attend.
So festival fatigue eases in the fall and there are fewer events
around to drain the swamp of your wallet (or desert as the case may
be). Amen to that, because before you know it, it will be Halloween
and the Christmas shopping season will be sprung full-blown upon us
along with another round of parties, visitors and expense.
Fall has its own rewards: the air is crisp enough to make for good
sleeping and snuggling weather at night, but not cold enough to hear
the costly rumble of the furnace kicking on. Hikes in the country
replace days at the beach, and soups replace salads as the days grow
cooler. Men huddle around electronic fires to squint at football
games, raising the same grunts and yells as their caveman forebears
20,000 years ago. Cider mills carry us back to our roots, reminding us
that there’s something better to quaff than the carmelized,
carbonated, caffeinated bilge in polyethylene terephthalate bottles
that we trashed ourselves with last summer. And of course, the blaze
of changing leaves reminds us that life is short & sweet, so better
grab all of it that you can while it lasts.
Before you know it, we’ll be rummaging around in our closets,
wondering where the heck we put all of the scarves, hats and gloves we
packed away last spring. Dimly, we’ll recall that it’s time to get
the snowblower tuned up, like we forget to do every fall until it’s
too late. And we’ll find ourselves putting things away: patio chairs
and tiki torches, swimsuits and soaker hoses. We won’t be seeing any
more knobby knees and hairy legs in plaid shorts downtown, but neither
will we enjoy the sight of pretty women in mini skirts and halter
tops. We’ll savor the goo of caramel apples, but maybe lose a tooth
in the process. Fall is the bittersweet season.

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