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 · Other Opinions · Risky business 4/4/11
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Risky business 4/4/11

Stephen Tuttle - April 4th, 2011
Risky Business
There are three reasons Americans are skittish about nuclear power – Three
Mile Island, Chernobyl, and now, Fukushima Daiichi.
For many people, no additional evidence is required.
We got our first taste of this 32 years ago when the Three Mile Island
plant in Pennsylvania had a partial meltdown. That one was caused by a
minor mechanical glitch followed quickly by a series of human errors.
Water needed to cool the super-heated fuel rods slowly drained, exposing
the fuel which became so hot it began to melt. Radiation was released into
the air and 40,000 gallons of radiated water poured into the Susquehanna
River. As bad as that was, the catastrophe that could have happened was
prevented by good luck and the heroic efforts of plant workers who managed
to stop the chain reaction before it got even worse.
The Three Mile Island operators then established the template for
miscommunicating with the public during a crisis at a nuclear power plant
– deny there’s a problem, then tell everyone there is a problem but it’s
just an itsy-bitsy one, and then, finally, admit something really ugly has
happened and, though you’re trying, you’re not sure how to fix it.
Next up came Chernobyl in the old Soviet Union. The Soviets decided they
didn’t need no stinking containment buildings at their power plants so
when all hell broke loose during a fire at Chernobyl there was absolutely
nothing to protect the surrounding population. Twenty-five years later the
death toll is still mounting and the area around Chernobyl will be a dead
zone for the foreseeable future and beyond.
Now we have Fukushima Daiichi in Japan.
The Japanese have among the most stringent safety rules in the world for
their plants. Unfortunately, all their planning ignored the most obvious
risks. They built more than one of them on or very near active earthquake
fault lines and on a shoreline exposed to tsunamis. (We’ve made the same
mistake with nuclear power plants in California.) It turned out a 9.0
magnitude earthquake followed by a 25-foot tsunami was quite a bit more
than their plant could withstand.
Misleading the public is a lot easier than it might sound when it comes to
nuclear power plants since almost none of us understands how these things
work, how they break or how to fix them once they’re damaged.
The Japanese operators, Tokyo Electric Power Company, have been faithfully
following the script first developed at Three Mile Island – lie,
understate and obfuscate as the nightmarish cascade of problems without
solutions continues unabated.
Inevitably, the truth begins to leak out, along with the radiation, a few
days after the accident. So it is in Japan. Yes, they admit, some
radioactive steam was released but there’s nothing to worry about. Yes,
there’s some radioactivity in the surrounding soil, the surrounding
seawater, in vegetables and milk and drinking water. And, true enough,
radiation levels in water now being used to cool the fuel rods is many
times what is considered safe but, trust us, there’s nothing to worry
Of course, we know there is plenty to worry about. Exposure to not very
large levels of this invisible, tasteless, odorless menace puts you at
serious risk for a very long time. Inhaling or ingesting even small
amounts is worse.
Then there’s the waste product. Spent fuel rods continue to emit deadly
radiation for at least tens of thousands of years and some experts claim
it is hundreds of thousands of years. There is no way for anyone to know
how to keep this stuff securely locked away for a century much less for
hundreds of centuries.
We thought we had a solution to the problem when work began at Yucca
Mountain, Nevada. The idea was to burrow gigantic storage areas deep
inside and under Yucca Mountain, part of a desolate and uninhabited chunk
of high desert. But opponents have pointed out we can’t even accurately
predict that Yucca Mountain will still be geologically sound and safely
containing all that nuclear waste in 100,000 years.
Meanwhile, the United States currently has about 65,000 tons of nuclear
waste scattered in various locations, not much less than the originally
intended capacity at Yucca Mountain. Removing and transporting the fuel
rods from their far-flung reactors is also a little tricky as many
communities and some entire states have decided they don’t want truckloads
or rail car loads of the stuff rumbling through their backyards.
Nuclear power has zero carbon emissions. It produces clean, consistent
power and is not dependent on the whims of the dictators in oil-rich
countries nor the vagaries of the international oil markets. Some see it
as the solution to our energy needs despite the monumental cost associated
with constructing new plants. The industry has a reasonable safety record
with serious accidents few and far between.
Unfortunately, just a single accident can have catastrophic consequences
capable of spanning the globe and lasting for decades.
When it comes to nuclear power plants we have a trust issue. We don’t
believe anyone knows how, or can afford, to build these things in a way
that guarantees they won’t break. And once they break, or something breaks
them, we seem to have no clue how to safely get them back under control.
Even worse, no one has yet come up with a way to safely dispose of the
deadly spent fuel and keep it safe for thousands of years.
Nuclear power is completely safe until something goes wrong. Or until we
have to dispose of the waste. Then it becomes risky business for all of

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