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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Trick or Treat...

Robert Downes - October 25th, 2010
Trick or Treat...
This used to be the time of year when you kept your black cat indoors
at night and peered out the window now and then to make sure that
young hoodlums weren’t out smashing pumpkins and acting up on “Devil’s
Those were the days when teens were revved up to go out tossing eggs
and toilet paper at night, spray-painting graffiti, and role-playing
in inappropriate places like cemeteries.
But these days when I peer out my window at night, it seems more
likely that I’ll catch sight of the Headless Horseman going down the
street than a juvenile delinquent. You just don’t see many teens out
rambling around at night anymore, goofing off. Seems like the action
has all gone indoors, with the mischief-makers more inclined to huddle
by the hearth of a video game.
This is not to lament the lack of juvenile delinquents, but it does
seem unfortunate that young people seem to be an increasingly
indoor-oriented bunch.
The state of Colorado just announced that deer hunting licenses are
way down this year because fewer young people care to go tramping
around in the woods these days. You get a lot cleaner kill when you’re
aiming at a Grunt with a plasma blaster in a Halo game, after all, and
there’s no heavy animal to gut and drag out of the swamp.
Haven’t seen a report on deer hunting licenses from the Michigan DNR
this year, but they were down by 40,000 in 2009. No one has laid this
at the feet of the ‘Indoor Nation’ yet, but it wouldn’t come as much
of a surprise if that trend continued.
Why is this a problem? Because if no one dares the outdoors, then no
one cares. The protection of our forests, lakes and rivers depends
upon people who grew up loving the outdoors and wild places.
Traverse City Light & Power has whipped up quite a fuss over the past
year. In addition to outrage over the utility’s proposal for a biomass
plant and the dubious nature of their public hearings, TCL&P’s recent
newsletter highlighted board member Ralph Soffredine, who happens to
be running for a seat on the Grand Traverse County Commission.
Ralph is a popular city commissioner and former police chief; he
surely didn’t need TCL&P’s extra “push,” and this blunder only added
credence to the critics’ claims that the city-owned utility should be
reined-in. Traverse City Proposal 1 would amend the city charter to
bring TCL&P’s operations back under the control of the city
commission. Apparently, the present board would assume an advisory
One might suggest, however, that there‘s already a high degree of
public oversight on TCL&P, as evidenced by the uproar over biomass and
their newsletter. As TCL&P Board Chairman Mike Coco notes in this
issue, the utility has “received the message.” (We’ll run an opposing
viewpoint in next week’s issue, by the way.)
So TC needs to ask, is it wise to put more demands on the city
commission’s workload? The recession is easing and the commission
will be faced with numerous decisions on renewed development and
issues such as roundabouts, new hotels and building projects, road
renewals and the like. Do they need the added grief of addressing
complex energy issues as we search for a greener future?
Vote no on Proposal 1.
Some of us feel that the media has been far too charitable in giving
the Tea Party the benefit of the doubt in their claims of defending
freedom under the U.S. Constitution.
You can be kind to a fault, however, and when Tea Party Ding-a-Ling in
Chief and candidate for U.S. Senator Christine O’Donnell revealed that
she didn’t have a clue as to the meaning of the First Amendment last
week, it seemed time to call a “time out” for the patriots in the
powdered wigs who apparently flunked their high school civics class.
Before an audience of (laughing) law students and professors, a
disbelieving O’Donnell said it was all news to her that the First
Amendment guarantees the separation of church and state. The First
Amendment was established by our founding fathers in part to keep
government out of the religion business, and vice-versa. In the 1700s,
the blood-bath of state-sponsored religions in Europe was still fresh
in memory and America wanted no part of it.
For the Tea Party, “the Constitution” seems to be a hazy concept that
begins and ends with the Second Amendment and a plan to kick
immigrants out of the country by scuttling the 14th Amendment. Then
there are those who believe America should be governed by readings
from the Old Testament. Like O’Donnell, some seem to be making up
their own version of the Constitution as they go along.
What‘s really dismal about the Tea Party, however, is the news in
recent weeks that it‘s funded by a handful of billionaires whose
goals are no different than those of the lobbyists steering Washington
D.C., with the aim of the rich getting richer and the further
outsourcing of jobs overseas. Poorly educated people like Christine
“I’m-not-a-witch” O’Donnell are all too easily manipulated by the Mad
Hatters who finance the Tea Party.

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