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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- January 31st, 2011
America’s Accomplishment
The civic role of religion has resulted in large part, from the unique
constitutional status afforded religion. The first Amendment to the
U.S. Constitution states that Congress will not endorse, or
“establish” a religion. In the immediate wake of the nation’s
founding, this clause did not preclude states from supporting
particular denominations by, for example, allowing clergy to be paid
out of the public purse. By the early 1800’s, all such public
subsidies for religion ended and the no establishment was taken to
mean that all levels of government are precluded from providing
financial support to any particular religion. Likewise, the U.S.
Constitution also prohibits religious tests for public office.  At the
time of founding, it was a significant issue, given that England had
employed the Test Acts to limit public office to members of the Church
of England.
No founding father is more closely associated with religious liberty
than Thomas Jefferson who summarized the way many Americans think
about religious differences: “It does me no injury for my neighbor to
say there are twenty gods, or no gods.” Americans today hold to
Jefferson‘s philosophy. 85% agree,” that morality is a personal matter
and society should not force anyone to follow one standard”.
Americans have gone beyond the Jeffersonian conception of religion as
personal and private. Americans endorse religious diversity for its
own sake. 84% of Americans agree, “Religious diversity has been good
for more America”. Even among the most religious, 74% see the good in
religious diversity.
Unfortunately, when one listens to the media one does not get the
impression that there is religious acceptance of others, but rather
one of religious intolerance.  This view of religious intolerance only
describes 11% of all adults. Our country has come a long way in
overcoming religious intolerance. Perhaps our media needs to reflect
the American endorsement of religious diversity as our redeeming

Ronald Marshall • Petoskey

The Sky is Still Falling
In your Jan. 24th issue, Stephen Tuttle inundates us with the bad news
about “The Sorry State of Our States,” yet offers no real insight as
to how we as individual States within the Union might begin to
extricate ourselves from the quagmire of spiraling debt. Perhaps what
Mr. Tuttle had in mind was a bit of shock therapy intended for those
who still have their heads in the sand. If so, I think it’s a little
late for that, although I was comparatively un-displeased to see that
our own State of Michigan, while indeed one of 46 states operating on
a budget deficit, was less than 10% off the mark.
I find it interesting that there is so much State-baiting, i.e., “My
State’s better than yours,” going on in the country right now.
Perhaps this has always been the case, but never has it been made so
evident as lately, e.g. Arizona, with its political violence/gun
control issues and border problems; Nevada, with its real estate and
water crisis; Alaska, with its controversial ex-governor - I could go
on and on.
What I find of unusual interest regarding the state-of-our-States is
readers’ commentary on internet sports stories. For example, many
Yahoo Sports respondents thought new U of M football coach Brady Hoke
was foolish to leave San Diego State because, as one reader believes,
“compared to California, Michigan is the armpit of the nation.”
Comment threads following other sports such as basketball and hockey
are eerily similar, focusing on each others’ States in a hateful
manner not so much about sports as about everything else: Cities,
environmental issues, economic hardship, social class, and that old
standby, race.
Clearly many individual States of the U.S.A. are having serious
self-esteem issues, primarily because of the several contributing
factors Mr. Tuttle outlines. But what to do about them?
If Mr. Tuttle would care to read through the paper to which he
contributes, he might find some ideas; first off, I suggest he read
astrologist Rob Breszny’s advice to Sagittarians in the same issue of
NE in which Breszny quotes 20th-century British philosopher Bertrand
“The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in such
a way that will allow a solution.”
With that in mind, instead of beating the old Chicken Licken “Sky Is
Falling” horse, I suggest Mr. Tuttle research some of the concrete
ways in which the State of Michigan is actually addressing its
economic woes - such as the Film Industry incentive program (it was
announced today, for example, that Disney Films will most likely be
producing its prequel to “The Wizard of Oz,” starring Johnny Depp, in
Pontiac - to the State film industry record tune of $105 million), or
the Wind Power initiative currently being investigated along the Lake
Michigan coastline.
Surely each and every State in this Union possesses unique and
uniquely sustainable resources, either natural or intellectual, that
can be developed and brought to bear on their economic woes. All we
need to do is what Americans have always done when the going gets
tough: Brainstorm and get to work. Is there really any other choice?

Michael Nunn • Traverse City

If It Quacks Like a Duck...
I had to chuckle out loud when I read Mr. Paul Nepote’s letter in the
last edition of the Northern Express.  It’s like a child crying when
he gets their hand slapped, after being caught in the cookie jar!
 I remember my conservative grandfather telling me as a child, “if it
walks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks likes a duck, IT IS A
DUCK”!  Well, I appreciate him trying to wrap his warped idea of
patriotism around his bigotry; however, the reality is, “if you preach
hate like a bigot, encourage discrimination like a bigot, and squawk
bigotry, YOU ARE A BIGOT”!  He choose his actions and they clearly
show his bigoted, homophobic, and hatred of diversity; by fighting an
anti-discrimination ordinance.  Sorry Paul, it is just the
consequences of your actions and your choosing.
 I will pray for you Paul.

Brian Simerson • Traverse City

Gas Pains
I’m writing to comment on Robert Downes recent Random Thoughts column
on Natural Gas drilling and mineral rights.
The financing is obviously fishy. There is a much greater concern
people should have regarding this potential gas bonanza Up North. And
that is disaterous pollution potential.
The process for accessing the new found natural gas is called
Hydraulic Fracturing, or Fracking. This involves drilling down to
sometimes 10,000 feet, then possibly horizontal drilling another 5,000
feet. This is then pressure flooded with ground water mixed with a
secret combination of chemicals, many of them carcinogens (the exact
chemicals are a trade secret). Roughly half the mixture is then
removed and disposed of, well, where exactly? Right now injection
wells in Antrim county are a good bet, but that is still in process.
But every well drilled will need that now tainted water taken away,
and that can be up to millions of gallons per well. Multiply that by
hundreds, maybe thousands of wells thru our part of the state. Divide
that by 9000 gallons per tanker truck, and that is using a big tanker
truck. Do the math - now you have thousands of big trucks continously
hauling tainted water. Add to that lost forest/farm area and noise
from the operation, and maybe you could reconsider the value of that
cash windfall.
There have been problems nationwide. Go on line and check outDimock,
Pennsylvania. Look up articles in Vanity Fair and Audubon. Check your
local theatres for presentation of a movie called Gasland. Do your
homework before you go along with Fracking.
Contact natural resource groups near you. Many are getting behind
increased oversight of these businesses.
Clean water is a greater natural resource than natural gas. Let’s protect it.

Mark Contrucci • Boyne City

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