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 · Letters · Letters 8/6/10
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Letters 8/6/10

- August 6th, 2010
Defining Islam
I was dismayed to read Bob Jones’s letter to the Northern Express
(8/30) which was full of half-witted half-truths and outright
In spite of what Jones might have to say, Islam is not defined by its
extremes any more than Christianity is defined by the Inquisition or
Serbian militias or the Olympic Park bomber. And Islam as practiced is
no more defined by the right wing’s quote-mined Koran than
Christianity or Judaism is defined by selective quotes from the Bible.
(Stoned any crop rotators or polyester-blend wearers to death lately?
Have you noticed how few professed followers of Jesus sell all their
goods and give the proceeds to the poor as he recommends?)
Followers of Islam are defined by their practice, and the vast
majority in this country are law-abiding people who appreciate the
freedom and opportunity this country affords them. They deserve to be
left alone to do as they please in their religious life within the
law, as our forefathers spelled out. And if that means acquiring space
for a mosque a couple blocks from Ground Zero alongside the porn shops
and fast food joints that are already there, they have a right to do
that too -- without interference from the government or gap-tooth,
values-challenged yokels fixin’ on gettin’ rid of anybody diffrint.
Jesus, Allah, Jefferson, Adam Smith and/or [insert providential figure
of your choice here] be praised.
What we ought to be worried about is not Islam’s purported war with
Christianity, but Mr. Jones’s war with reality and with the
fundamental religious and economic freedoms that make this country
great. Just ask a recent immigrant if you need convincing.
If there is one legitimate complaint about mainstream Islam in this
country it is that it sometimes seems slow to condemn those who preach
hatred, so let those of us who are native-born Americans set an
example and respond appropriately to Mr. Jones: with an ounce of shame
and a pound of contempt.

Oran Kelley • TC

Nasty attack
This past glorious weekend, with its perfect skies and great
temperatures, saw our family taking a mini-vacation in the Traverse
City area. On Sunday we visited Sleeping Bear Dunes and were
mesmerized by the beauty of Glen Lake from atop the climbing dunes.
This day was perfect -- perfect that is until we arrived back at the
motel in TC, picked up the current Northern Express and read the nasty
attack on the Arab world by one terribly hateful Glen Arbor resident!
With all this wonderful stuff we’d seen around Glen Lake, it is just
so sad that there’s this person spewing forth such racist venom. The
bad taste his article left by no means cancelled the beauty we’d seen
Sunday, but it did somewhat sour a near perfect day to realize that
such mean-spirited people exist - even up here amongst all this

Bob Pritele • Cheboygan

Us & them
This letter responds to a portion of the letter Bob Jones wrote in
response to the Tuttle editorial on the possibility of an Islamic
Cultural Center being built in the neighborhood of Ground Zero.
Yes, there is a war by some Muslims on some Christians in some parts
of the world. The cultural, historical, economic, and political issues
that surround these issues are complex and not universal. Therefore,
to universalize any “Islamic” attitude towards Christians, or
Americans, is erroneous. Mr. Jones states that “Moderate Muslims are
dangerous to a free society because they are devoted to Islam first
and everyone else second-they would die for Islam before they would
die for America.” Christianity teaches devotion to Christ “first and
everyone else second” and I would “die for” Christianity before I
would die for America. Indeed, allegiance to God over and above
allegiance to nation is called for in the first of the Ten
Mr. Jones expresses concern about Muslim people being unwilling to
“conform to our American way of life.” Quite frankly, it concerns me
that so many American Christians have conformed to an “American way of
life” based on greed, consumption, and competition more than they
conform to the will and ways of Christ. This kind of “American way of
life” often does not conform to a Christian way of life and to make
the two synonymous leads to blind nationalism and watered down faith.
I am a proud American who recognizes the struggles of living in a
“free society.” It means that everything does not always go my way and
that I have to deal with realities that challenge, disturb, and even
create fear in me. This is “our American way of life” and for all its
challenges and shortcomings, I think it’s a pretty good way of life
and I am willing to take the good with the bad and not let my personal
opinions and fears interfere with the civil rights of others.

Rev. Dr. Robin L. Long
Maple City
Mixed message
I wonder sometimes if the editors read what others are writing in the Express?
Stephan Tuttle took everyone to task who disagreed to the construction
of a mosque near the area where America was attacked. He used words
like “rights” and “freedom of religion” and “the Constitution“ in
pointing out the error of their ways or opinion, and he does indeed
have valid points.
Then you sir (Robert Downes), print out an editorial that calls to
question a group of U.S. citizens “rights” and “freedoms” also found
in the Constitution, and allude to them perhaps “spraying bullets
around a downtown street packed with festival goers” because they want
to show their rights by wearing a side arm in the open.
So are we picking and choosing what parts of the Constitution we wish
to actually enforce? The builders of a mosque have the right to build
while citizens do not have the right in either the U.S. constitution
or in the Michigan Constitution to keep and bear arms?
Maybe what both the mosque builders and those who wish to show their
rights by carrying a weapon in the open should do is stop and think.
Just because you have the “right” to do something doesn’t mean it is
the right thing to do.

Don MacIntyre • Interlochen

Judgment call
On Tuesday, November 2, Grand Traverse, Antrim and Leelanau County
voters are being charged with electing a new District Court Judge to
replace the retiring Honorable John Foresman. The winner of this
election, will most likely sit at the bench passing judgment on our
tri-county citizens for many years to come.
Of the two candidates, one has an established political track record
as an extremely conservative Republican. That would be Mr.
Elsenheimer, the state representative from Antrim, Charlevoix,
Cheboygan and Otsego counties. He has never represented the people of
either Grand Traverse or Leelanau County.
A visit to Mr. Elsenheimer’s legislative website reveals an almost
mean-spirited and biased agenda against the poor and the dependent,
yet strongly supportive of the privileged. Say what he will, in this
non-partisan election, his bias and capacity to fairly judge all
people has to be suspect.
That said, Kevin is a decent, personable guy. His role as a
conservative legislator has given him a solid and vigorous voice to
his constituents. That role, however, is not a validating background
for judgeship. Judges are supposed to be non-partisan and neutral.
There is no escaping his record.
The other candidate, Mike Stepka, has spent the past 20-plus years
practicing in the 86th. As a lawyer and politician, he is a moderate
county commissioner, sits on many local boards and is noted for his
pro bono service.
The District Court is often called the People’s Court. Of the two
candidates, Mike would truly be the People’s Judge.

Bill Brown • TC

A dose of humor
I don’t understand these rants and raves from Express readers about
content. Brigita Gumsey, if you have an issue with the content in the
Express, i.e., the Wine Rack, please put down your FREE publication of
the Express and buy a Washington Post.
I read the Express for, 1. Alternative takes on the news, 2. Things to
do in Northern Michigan, 3. A little humor amidst the often somber
news reports.
So the editor feels like the Wine Rack is clever. I do too! But for
people to get angry over a product that’s just plain amusing and to
suggest beer sacks? Come on people, that’s just crude, unrealistic,
and negative. I love and wish to keep Northern Express a little risque
if I may; it keeps it interesting. Thank you NE!

Adrian Hirsch • TC

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