Letters 10-17-2016

Here’s The Truth The group Save our Downtown (SOD), which put Proposal 3 on the ballot, is ignoring the negative consequences that would result if the proposal passes. Despite the group’s name, the proposal impacts the entire city, not just downtown. Munson Medical Center, NMC, and the Grand Traverse Commons are also zoned for buildings over 60’ tall...

Keep TC As-Is In response to Lynda Prior’s letter, no one is asking the people to vote every time someone wants to build a building; Prop. 3 asks that people vote if a building is to be built over 60 feet. Traverse City will not die but will grow at a pace that keeps it the city people want to visit and/or reside; a place to raise a family. It seems people in high-density cities with tall buildings are the ones who flock to TC...

A Right To Vote I cannot understand how people living in a democracy would willingly give up the right to vote on an impactful and important issue. But that is exactly what the people who oppose Proposal 3 are advocating. They call the right to vote a “burden.” Really? Since when does voting on an important issue become a “burden?” The heart of any democracy is the right of the people to have their voice heard...

Reasons For NoI have great respect for the Prop. 3 proponents and consider them friends but in this case they’re wrong. A “yes” vote on Prop. 3 is really a “no” vote on..

Republican Observations When the Republican party sends its presidential candidates, they’re not sending their best. They’re sending people with a lot of problems. They’re sending criminals, they’re sending deviate rapists. They’re sending drug addicts. They’re sending mentally ill. And some, I assume, are good people...

Stormy Vote Florida Governor Scott warns people on his coast to evacuate because “this storm will kill you! But in response to Hillary Clinton’s suggestion that Florida’s voter registration deadline be extended because a massive evacuation could compromise voter registration and turnout, Republican Governor Scott’s response was that this storm does not necessitate any such extension...

Third Party Benefits It has been proven over and over again that electing Democrat or Republican presidents and representatives only guarantees that dysfunction, corruption and greed will prevail throughout our government. It also I believe that a fair and democratic electoral process, a simple and fair tax structure, quality health care, good education, good paying jobs, adequate affordable housing, an abundance of healthy affordable food, a solid, well maintained infrastructure, a secure social, civil and public service system, an ecologically sustainable outlook for the future and much more is obtainable for all of us...

Home · Articles · News · Other Opinions · A glass already half...
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A glass already half empty

Stephan Tuttle - November 15th, 2010
A glass already half empty
The big issue in the next 30 years, both here and around the country, will not be deficits or bailouts or stimulus packages or even war, though it may well cause more than one.
The issue will be water, and the Great Lakes, especially Lake Michigan, will be the bullseye on the target at which the water-starved will be pointing.
The world is not overflowing with potable water. We are currently witnessing, in Haiti, what happens when clean drinking water disappears.
But it isn’t just Third World countries on the brink. Some areas of the United States are already looking at a half-full glass. The starting point is the so-called Dust States – New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, west Texas and southern California – all of which are in the process of creating water crises or have such crises already in full bloom.
It won’t be next year or the year after but at some point they will want our water.
Having lived in Arizona for more than three decades until moving back here a couple of years ago, I’ve heard the hypothetical conversations among some decision-makers about finding new sources of drinking water.
Some background is in order and it might be helpful to do a little comparison of Michigan to Arizona.
Arizona is the prototype of an explosively growing state doing little to protect its water and Phoenix is ground zero for their future water catastrophe. Michigan is a state with a shrinking population base and a seemingly limitless supply of fresh water.
Arizona is more than 17,000 square miles bigger than Michigan but has only 82 lakes and only two of those are natural. Michigan has nearly 11,000 named lakes.
While Northern Michigan averages just more than 28 inches of precipitation a year, including 80 inches of snow, the Phoenix metro area historically averages about 8 inches annually but has seen a nearly 20% decline in recent years. Even worse, Arizona and the desert Southwest are into the 20th year of a nasty drought cycle.
The good news is much of central and southern Arizona sits atop a very large aquifer that provides vital water for the region. Additionally, two large rivers, the Salt and Verde, both fed by the White Mountain watershed, have been dammed, creating reservoirs that provide more water.
The bad news is it just isn’t enough. Depending on whose research you read, the Phoenix area is withdrawing somewhere between 6 and 20 times more water from the aquifer than is being recharged. As the water table recedes, sinkholes and long, deep fissures now appear in the desert.
Farther north, Lake Mead, which straddles the Arizona-Nevada border, is the largest reservoir in the United States. It is the primary source of water for the Las Vegas area. But Lake Mead is now a truly stunning 133 feet below capacity, the lowest it has been since its creation. It need not recede much farther before the water line will dip below the intake pipes, abruptly stopping the flows into Las Vegas.
To be fair, both Las Vegas and Tucson have implemented some common sense conservation programs. But Phoenix, the fifth largest city in the country and one of the fastest growing, has done almost nothing. It is a desert city with nice green lawns of water-hungry Bermuda grass all summer and even thirstier rye grass in the winter and nice flowering plants and shrubbery. You’d think you were in Minneapolis if not for the palm trees and endless string of 100+ degree days.
Residential water use in Arizona is just the tip of the iceberg. Agricultural interests use about 70% of the state’s water. Crops like cotton, citrus and winter vegetables, especially lettuce, slurp amazing amounts of water.
The aquifers are overdrawn, the rivers over-subscribed. In quiet corners and hallways, those able to read the future are already wondering about the sources of new, growth-sustaining water. Grandiose plans for pipelines are already being hypothesized.
Meanwhile, Lake Michigan, the only Great Lake completely within the United States, has a lot of water. Fresh water.
Michigan’s decision to allow Nestle to pump and bottle our ground water has already established a dangerous precedent. If groundwater can be sucked out of the ground and bottled as a product then lake water can surely be piped as a product.
Those searching for water will argue that no state or small group of states can “own” a national resource like one of the Great Lakes. (The other four Great Lakes will be a little trickier since we share them with another country.) And they will appeal to our humanitarian instincts, insisting that absent our water they face economic and human cataclysms.
Many here will think the idea of a pipeline from Lake Michigan across more than half the country to the Southwest is preposterous. Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin will surely take steps to guarantee it doesn’t happen. Treaties with Canada that recognize the interconnected nature of the Great Lakes will protect us if the Michigan Legislature does not. Nobody is going to build some crazy pipeline.
That’s what they thought in Arizona when someone suggested an aqueduct from the Colorado River all the way down to Phoenix and even farther south to Tucson. The landscape was impossible, there were tribal nations to cross, and the mere idea of it was just silly.
But build it they did. Over the rivers and through the deserts and, improbably, straight through a couple of mountains. Completed in 1993 after 20 years of construction it’s called the Central Arizona Project. It starts at Lake Havasu on the Colorado River and runs 336 miles to a point south of Tucson. And it’s already over-subscribed.
The Dust States have done a poor job of conserving their precious water and will soon be thirsty. We had best get serious about protecting ours so we won’t be.

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