Letters 05-23-2016

Examine The Priorities Are you disgusted about closing schools, crumbling roads and bridges, and cuts everywhere? Investigate funding priorities of legislators. In 1985 at the request of President Reagan, Grover Norquist founded Americans for Tax Reform (ATR). For 30 years Norquist asked every federal and state candidate and incumbent to sign the pledge to vote against any increase in taxes. The cost of living has risen significantly since 1985; think houses, cars, health care, college, etc...

Make TC A Community For Children Let’s be that town that invests in children actively getting themselves to school in all of our neighborhoods. Let’s be that town that supports active, healthy, ready-to-learn children in all of our neighborhoods...

Where Are Real Christian Politicians? As a practicing Christian, I was very disappointed with the Rev. Dr. William C. Myers statements concerning the current presidential primaries (May 8). Instead of using the opportunity to share the message of Christ, he focused on Old Testament prophecies. Christ gave us a new commandment: to love one another...

Not A Great Plant Pick As outreach specialist for the Northwest Michigan Invasive Species Network and a citizen concerned about the health of our region’s natural areas, I was disappointed by the recent “Listen to the Local Experts” feature. When asked for their “best native plant pick,” three of the four garden centers referenced non-native plants including myrtle, which is incredibly invasive...

Truth About Plants Your feature, “listen to the local experts” contains an error that is not helpful for the birds and butterflies that try to live in northwest Michigan. Myrtle is not a native plant. The plant is also known as vinca and periwinkle...

Ask the Real Plant Experts This letter is written to express my serious concern about a recent “Listen To Your Local Experts” article where local nurseries suggested their favorite native plant. Three of the four suggested non-native plants and one suggested is an invasive and cause of serious damage to Michigan native plants in the woods. The article is both sad and alarming...

My Plant Picks In last week’s featured article “Listen to the Local Experts,” I was shocked at the responses from the local “experts” to the question about best native plant pick. Of the four “experts” two were completely wrong and one acknowledged that their pick, gingko tree, was from East Asia, only one responded with an excellent native plant, the serviceberry tree...

NOTE: Thank you to TC-based Eagle Eye Drone Service for the cover photo, taken high over Sixth Street in Traverse City.

Home · Articles · News · Letters · Letters 4/4/11
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Letters 4/4/11

- April 4th, 2011
Save our film industry
Dear Governor Snyder: You are the nerd Michiganders elected who would
bring the state back from the brink of financial ruin. So please help me
understand your decision to cap tax credits for the film industry.
The February report of accounting firm, Ernst & Young states that for
every untaxed dollar, the film industry gave Michigan back six. In fact,
the industry grew from $2 million to $225 million in just two years,
creating 6,491 jobs. Hotels, catering services, restaurants and other
ancillary businesses reaped big monetary rewards. Maxsar Studio in Livonia
and Raleigh Studio in Pontiac, both of which may have to close, were
built. Colleges and universities increased enrollment in film writing,
editing and acting classes.
Detroit 1-8-7, a critically-acclaimed drama that promotes a positive image
of a struggling city and its people, received $19,641,435 in credits last
year, but spent $47,288,907 in Michigan. It probably won’t be back next
year thanks to your tax cap. Great movies filmed in Michigan like Gran
Torino and Up in the Air will no longer bring work here. The Avengers will
now move its production set to Ohio.
Governor, is your plan to save Michigan? Ouch.

Mary Eliowitz • Maple City

Hated Indian article
When I saw the cover of the March 14 Express, I winced. Really winced.
“The Indians in Winter -- How They Survived...” An interesting subject to
be sure, and worthy of an article.
But there are two problems with the headline and the article. First,
Indians aren’t extinct, and second, you didn’t talk with any of them.
On the first point, every single reference to Indians is in the past
tense, as one would speak of a people who no longer exist. Think about it.
If the article were about white people, there would have been references
to “our ancestors,” “our forbears,” “if we had lived in those times...”
People who no longer exist, who have been reduced to an historical
curiosity, a cultural stereotype, don’t get treated as real people. And
this can have grim consequences.
On my second point, there are many Indian people living here, some of whom
are probably your friends or acquaintances. No doubt they have family
stories which could have made your article much more interesting and
I know you meant well, and the blinders you are wearing are not unique to
you. We all have them.

Tim Joseph • Brethren

Loved Indian article
I was ecstatic about your “Indians In Winter” article.
The Odawa band has corrupted the local history, however you accurately
depicted the Ottawa. My family is very grateful. My husband is Donald
Naganashe. He remains Ottawa and was well known in the ’80s and ’90s for
his quill work on birch boxes.He was featured in the book, “Hands Across
Michigan,” by Alan Kamuda. His ancestor is Chief Ignatius Petoskey, who
was half white and half Ottawa.
The Odawa changed their name in the ’80s to seek federal recognition as
they were already recognized as Ottawa, but not give the rights for a
full-fledged casino. My husband and my family have fought this for years.
You will notice only the Odawa band in our area call themselves Odawa. The
other bands use Ottawa, as do the Oklahoma Ottawas.
Ottawa was the French pronunciation and the local chiefs were part French
and thus they called themselves Ottawa. Chief Blackbird wrote a history of
his people, the Ottawa and Chippewa. He never called himself Odawa nor did
Chief Petoskey. Odawa pronunciation is from Canada and the British
Again, thank you for depicting the truth in your article that is read by
many. And for not corrupting my husband’s heritage.

Debra Naganashe • Petoskey
Snyder budget disaster
The arrogance of the Snyder budget is appalling and alarming. For someone
who was proclaimed a “moderate,” his extreme measures which favor
corporations and big business at the expense of education and the poor are
very troubling.
Corporations are to receive an 86% reduction in taxes while the earned
income tax credit which helps the poor, will be eliminated. Schools will
be forced into massive reductions, and when financially decimated, will
have an emergency financial manager “appointed” who will have the power to
fire elected officials and eradicate approved contracts. Teachers who
strike may have their certificates removed.
Over the past 20 years we have had enormous reductions in taxes without
any evidence of job creation, yet the continuing cries of “trickle down”
smell surprisingly of class warfare.

Lou Ann McKimmy • Rapid City

Stop coddling the rich
Do you think the number of taxpayers marching at the March 19 Traverse
City rally was small? The marchers closely match the number who hold over
50% of the wealth. Just 400 people have MORE wealth than 150,000,000 of
the rest of us combined!
Michigan’s regressive taxes favor the rich and punish the poor. Yet the
rich are poor money managers, whining for more breaks. The governor and
legislature think that shared sacrifice means giving themselves and
supporters breaks while sending the bill to be shared by the weak, the
feeble, or the next generation.
If coddling the rich, polluting, and riding on the backs of the old, poor,
and disadvantaged created prosperity, Michigan’s problems would have been
fixed during the Reagan and Engler reigns.
Bullies and their buddies prey on the powerless; stealing lunch money and
spending it on their own desires. It’s a myth that they spend it on
creating jobs. Perhaps some bullies tell their moms and daughters they’re
tough nerds.
Some people misread their bracelets: It’s “What Would Jesus Do?” NOT “What
Would Judas Do?”
If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you have time to read this,
thank a union.

J. M. Walter • Suttons Bay

What is Snyder’s vision?
In recent weeks there has been a great brouhaha regarding several state
governments’ attempts to strip unions of bargaining rights.
I am not a union member, nor even an employee, for that matter. I am the
owner/operator of a (very) small business.
Let’s say, as a business owner, I had a long-term contract with a client
and arranged my finances around that expected contract work. If that
client suddenly thought he’d found a better deal and unilaterally decided
the contract was null and void, then I would be upset, to say the least.
As my livelihood hung in the balance, I too would probably seek redress by
any means available. To then imply that I, as a person supplying services,
had fewer rights than whoever paid to receive them would be doubly
But the Snyder agenda seems to reach far beyond this union issue. In the
name of “financial emergency,” a designation made solely by a governor
with murky criteria, he may dissolve entire school districts or
governmental units and dismiss the representatives elected by the people.
In their stead, a private-sector manager could be appointed, with
discretion to sell off the public’s assets into private ownership.
What is the end-game? Private academies, toll-road style municipal
services, Jellystone state parks? I don’t want to believe that Governor
Snyder intends to gut school districts and municipalities and sell off
publicly owned goods, but the machinery is now in place to do so.
This kind of legislation seems to lead to a massive shrinking of our
public sphere that was built up over many, many years. Doubtless, we are
in severe straits as a state.
The Snyder campaign last fall did not hint at this sort of usurpation of
powers. The governor needs to set out his real and complete vision of the
future; we will see if it is one that we find agreeable.

George Powell • Suttons Bay

The pressure is on...
Yes, we the readers will miss Anne Stanton, too. And we will expect the
Northern Express to find a suitable replacement. You cannot find her kind
of stories with raw or mediocre talent.
Here in the Petoskey-Boyne City area we especially appreciated her latest
effort - about Carole Hague’s tragic death on a lonely ski trail (though
you might have worked a bit harder for a photograph that showed Carole’s
beautiful eyes and smile). So, the pressure is on, editors!

George A. Colburn • Petoskey

Stop Wolverine coal plan
Last year, Wolverine Power was denied a permit for a $2 billion coal-fired
electric power plant in Rogers City. (Wolverine supplies power to Great
Lakes Energy, Presque Isle, Cherryland, and Homeworks Tri-County.) During
the public comment period, important issues were raised: Was the business
case sound? Were cleaner, cheaper alternatives explored? The Michigan
Public Service Commission (MPSC) was enlisted for appropriate review.
MPSC’s report concluded “Wolverine failed to demonstrate the need for the
proposed facility as the sole source to meet their projected capacity.”
The MPSC said a range of alternatives could have been explored. It
questioned growth estimates and said the plant “would result in an
estimated average rate increase of $77 per month for residential
customers.” This 60% rate increase would be the second highest rate in the
A firm specializing in energy economics found Wolverine badly
underestimated the cost of building and operating its proposed plant and
significantly overestimated the cost of using more wind, energy
efficiency, and other options. Michigan ranks in the bottom half of
states for wind generation, yet has the potential to be 14th in the nation
-- second in the nation when offshore wind is included.
Wolverine has already spent $22 million of co-op member funds and
continues to push for this project. In January, the Circuit Court returned
the permit to the MDEQ for reconsideration. The DEQ says it won’t appeal.
The decisions we make now are critical. This could be the most creative
and innovative time we’ve ever seen. Around 60% of Michigan’s electricity
already comes from coal. Residents and businesses spent $1.36 billion in
2008 to buy coal from other states. Michigan’s goal of generating 10% of
energy from renewable sources or credits by 2015 seems too modest. We
won’t move to sustainability overnight, but we must begin now. If we
allow Wolverine to lock us into 50 more years of coal, some will benefit
but at what cost?

Debra Hansen • Levering

Setting record straight
Traverse City Area Public School (TCAPS) appreciates the opportunity to
correct misinformation shared in the March 21 article entitled “Diving
Under the Bus” by Stephen Tuttle.
TCAPS negotiates employment contacts with three overriding principles,
including the need for fair and equitable contracts for employees, the
need for fiscally responsible contracts with limited resources coming from
the state, and the need to recruit and retain qualified and experienced
For the 2010/11 school year, the TCAPS’ Board of Education budgeted $3.2
million in employee salary and benefit reductions. The district’s
executive directors chose to lead the way by agreeing to 5% salary and
salary benefit reductions for 2010/11. These employees did not receive
this reduction after taking a 2% increase as was reported. In fact, the
2009/10 school year was the last time these and other employees received
salary increases.
In addition, while the TCAPS’ bus drivers represented by the Traverse City
Transportation Association (TCTA) agreed to changes in their union
contract, saving the district $600,000 for the 2011/12 school year, the
new contract continues to provide a medical insurance plan for employees
working 4.5 hours or more per day paid time off benefits, including sick
time, personal business time, and paid holidays; no reduction in hourly
rates for 2011/12 which range from $10.37 to $14.26 per hour, and
continuation in a state retirement system providing a pension and medical
benefit for eligible retirees.
At the contract ratification vote TCAPS bus drivers recognized the value
of these and other benefits of the new contract, and the majority of TCTA
employees supported it.
We are proud of the collaborative manner in which the TCTA and other
employees have worked to not only face, but deal with the significant
budget challenges the district faced over the past several years.

Chris Davis • Executive Director, Human Resources & Labor Relations, TCAPS

Correction Last week’s “Best of Northern Michigan” issue should have cited
Nifty Things as “most eclectic gift store” in Antrim County.

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