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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Wind turbines

Anne Stanton - December 20th, 2010
WIND TURBINES: Draft of discontent in Manistee and Benzie
By Anne Stanton
Winds of controversy are sure to arrive at Benzie Central High School on
Tuesday, December 21, when residents are invited to attend a panel
discussion on the industrial wind turbines planned in southern Benzie and
northern Manistee counties.
There are definitely two sides to the proposed construction of 112 wind
turbines by Duke Energy’s Gail Windpower Project -- and potentially other
energy companies -- seeking to erect wind turbines.
Many farmers are jubilant about the potential income to their struggling
farms, while some environmentalists love the idea of alternative wind
energy in their back yard. Wind energy would not only provide jobs and
local tax revenues, it’s virtually carbon free and a step toward energy
independence from troublesome and sometimes violent countries. They
believe the turbines can work with sufficient regulation and setbacks from
their neighbors.
But others have joined the grassroots group, Citizens for Responsible Wind
Development, and have expressed fear the turbines will produce noise,
shadow flicker and vibration. There’s also concern that the gigantic
490-foot structures will reduce property values, block scenic views and
affect the future of building more homes in the rural townships. Bird
lovers fear the turbines will kill migrating birds and bats.
“As may be expected, landowners in a position to potentially receive
royalties from a wind farm think the towers are beautiful, and those who
aren’t, but would have to look at them anyhow are concerned about their
negative physical and visual impact on the area,” said Brad Hopwood,
planning commission chairman for Arcadia Township.

So far, Duke Energy has gathered signed leases from about 100 property
owners living on 6,000 acres of land. The company, however, has not signed
nor filed the leases with the Register of Deeds. They will move forward on
the project only if they get a purchase power agreement from a utility
company. The company will divide a share of the revenues among the
property owners living within the 12,000-acre footprint. Owners who have
signed leases have been told they can expect to receive about $14,500 each
Meanwhile, there is much to be done in terms of zoning among the four
townships in Benzie and Manistee counties.
Currently, Arcadia Township in Manistee has a height restriction for wind
turbines of 300 feet. Pleasanton Township officials (also Manistee County)
are working on an ordinance with a targeted finish date of June 2011, when
the company will have results from a wind metering tower they set up in
the township. The draft ordinance says that a wind energy company must
reimburse property owners for any loss of value.
Joyfield Township (Benzie County) has no ordinance at all, so a wind
energy company could conceivably do anything it wants. And Blaine Township
(Benzie County) recently approved a moratorium on permits until it can
write an ordinance. Doug Carter, an Arcadia Township golf course owner who
opposes the turbines, said he hopes that all four townships adopt a
uniform ordinance. Even so, he has profound doubts that wind energy makes
any financial or environmental sense.
“Why are we giving Duke Energy tremendous federal incentives to build wind
turbines to satisfy the needs of all the inefficient lifestyles, when it’s
your money and my money? Why not give me $200 if I can show I have saved X
amount of kilowatt hours with a front-loading washer or by adding
insulation? Give the subsidy money to people who will benefit, rather than
an energy company to make us feel good.”

Rochelle Rolenhagen, who is writing the ordinance for Pleasanton Township,
said her views on wind turbines have changed. She believes the company is
intentionally preying upon poor people in an area that couldn’t profitably
produce electricity for wind if it weren’t for a 30% federal subsidy.
“A year ago, I was so pro wind you have no idea. But this is a
community-changing event because it is superimposing on our rural
residential townships a total of 112 wind turbines. Think of that. They
are 495 feet, which I equate to a 50-story building. We haven’t even
talked about the massive amount of foundation that will be put in the
ground. Twenty feet in diameter above the ground, but under the ground
it’s a 60-foot diameter concrete slab that goes in the ground. When the
turbines come down, that slab will be in the ground forever.”
 There’s also the potential for blade throw (when a blade accidentally
detaches), blade glint, and ice throw (ice flinging from the blade), she
“So we’ve got some major impacts we’re dealing with, and the more research
I do, the more health effects I see. It’s a very new industry. I think
these things need very, very far setbacks from property lines for health
and safety reasons. And that’s what zoning is all about. To protect the
health, safety and welfare of the citizenry.”
Meanwhile, an ad hoc committee from the Grand Traverse Regional Land
Conservancy has made a recommendation that wind turbines not be allowed on
the 3,800 acres known as the Arcadia Dunes. The conservancy also owns
conservation easements on 2,200 acres it bought from CMS Energy --
farmland that’s either been resold as farmland or will be resold in the
future. The conservancy will allow wind turbines on the farmland, said
Jennifer Jay, communications and outreach director.

Some people complain that they have yet to see a map of the wind turbine
footprint, but that’s because it’s a work in progress, said Greg
Efthimiou, Duke Energy’s spokesman in an email.
“There is no map of the project yet, because we are still piecing together
the footprint of the project. The project encompasses parts of Arcadia,
Pleasanton, Bear Lake, Joyfield and Blaine Townships. As a result, our
final footprint has not been finalized as we are still adding leases and
doing our upfront due diligence.”
He also emailed that they’ve begun work on the view-shed analysis, but the
target continues to shift slightly as the exact dimensions and
specifications of the wind project evolve.
“We know from firsthand experience that thoughtful upfront design work can
mitigate potential impacts on the view-shed. We’ve heard from a lot of
neighbors at our existing wind farms who were surprised over how graceful
the wind turbines actually are in appearance.”
Carter said that he’ll live with the township ordinance as long as it
protects the rights of all property owners and protects the environment.
“I will respect the decision of the township boards. I’ll just suck it up
and live with it. But I will make my opinion known before then.”

The upcoming forum is sponsored by the Benzie Soil and Water Conservation
District. It will start at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, December 21, in the Benzie
Central High School auditorium. Peter Payette of WIAA will moderate the

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