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 · Features · Mickey Gilley
. . . .

Mickey Gilley

Rick Coates - May 23rd, 2011
Country music legend Mickey Gilley is lucky to be living, let alone
performing. Two years ago while helping a friend move a piece of
furniture, he fell down a flight of stairs leaving himself paralyzed from
the neck down. Through a little luck and hard work Gilley is back on the
road and will kick off his first tour since his near fatal fall, this
Friday, May 27 at the Leelanau Sands Showroom. 
“I have been back performing at my theater in Branson, Missouri for a few
months now. I am excited and ready to get back out on the road,” said
Mickey Gilley. “It has been a tough road back but I have a sense of humor
about it. In fact I tell people at my show don’t call me if they want
something moved -- call Two Men and a Truck.”
Gilley’s rise to the top of the charts in the late ’70s and early ’80s
helped to usher in the “Urban Cowboy” era of the country music scene. The
popular John Travolta movie of the same name was filmed in large part at
Gilley’s honky tonk Texas bar. During a nine-year run from 1974 to 1983,
Gilley had 17 number one country songs and 39 songs in the Top 10 on the
Billboard Charts. 
“I have been in this entertainment and music business for over 50 years
but it took me 20 years before I made it,” said Gilley. “It is funny how
it works, I mean I am luckier than most having about 10 years of topping
the charts. Today I focus on entertaining and performing versus

Gilley, 75, grew up in Ferriday, Louisiana located in the heart of Delta
Blues country. As a child he would sneak off with his cousins Jimmy
Swaggert (televangelist), and one of the founders of rock and roll music
Jerry Lee Lewis, and peer into the windows of blues clubs.
“All three of us were taken in by that music; all three of us are the same
age. In fact we all started playing the piano together,” said Gilley. “Of
course Jerry Lee hit it big first and then Jimmy with his ministry. I just
kept plugging along.”
When Gilley did hit the big time he and Lewis got together several times
and performed together. Check out YouTube to see videos of them jamming. 
“I am still not able to play the piano as a result of the accident. I have
to sit down at my shows right now and sing. I do get up and sing the
duets, but someone else plays my piano parts,” said Gilley. “People have
been coming up to me and telling me that my singing is better now than
when I originally recorded these songs. I think the reason why is I don’t
have to concentrate on playing the piano.”

Gilley has no plans of giving up playing the piano forever, however.
“My goal is to be back playing the piano by fall; before that my immediate
goal is to play golf. Before the accident I was playing 18 to 36 holes a
day three or four times a week. I tried playing last week and had to quit
after one hole,” said Gilley. “But I am improving everyday. When the
accident first happened I was paralyzed from the neck down for three
months. I was so depressed that I wanted my life to end because I have
always been an active person. Now I am back performing and loving life
Gilley’s enthusiasm sounds more like a newcomer to the industry versus
that of an old-timer. 
“I am energized by the fans, since I came back they have been filling up
my theater in Branson. They have been giving me standing ovations every
night. I play three nights a week there,” said Gilley. “I am ready to get
out on tour. I plan to play as many of my hits as possible on this tour.
In fact I am shortening some of these songs so I can play more of them
each night. I feel I have a very entertaining show for the people, I will
tell some funny stories and talk about the history behind the songs.”

Gilley spent his career focusing on his piano playing, singing and
performing, leaving the songwriting to others.
“I never thought of myself as a writer and I always relied on others who
have mastered that craft,” he said. “I believe there are three elements
that go into recording a hit song.  The first is having the right song,
the second is your presentation of the song, and the third is having the
right arrangement of the song, and that all sounds easier than it really
As for Gilley, picking a favorite song of his is a tough one.
“The best song ever handed to me ‘Don’t the Girls All Get Prettier at
Closing Time.’ The song that is nearest to my heart is ‘Room Full Of
Roses,’ because after struggling in this business for 20 years I finally
had my first number one song. It broke the ice for me,” said Gilley.
“Certainly the whole ‘Urban Cowboy’ movie thing has been a highlight for
me as well.”
Gilley’s club is still going strong 40 years later, just in a new location.
“My original club, the one where Urban Cowboy was filmed in Pasadena,
Texas burned down. I reopened in Dallas and it is doing great and we have
another one in Las Vegas also doing well,” he said. “I have been
approached by a group that wants to put a couple of Gilley’s in Florida
and who knows, maybe we will open one up in Traverse City.”

Mickey Gilley was among the first of the major country stars to jump on
the Branson, Missouri country music bandwagon opening his theater there
22 years ago.
“Branson has been great. I have had a great run here. The economy and gas
prices have slowed things down the past few years but the community is
resilient and there are a lot of great shows going on there still.”
Gilley credits a commitment to physical therapy, working out three days
a week and acupuncture for his quick healing. 
“I am able to walk by myself, even walk up and down stairs,” he said. “I
am moving slow but I am getting there. While I can’t play the piano right
now I am able to sign my name. I really enjoy catching up with the people
after the show and talking to them and signing autographs.” 
Some have asked Gilley why after 50 years and his serious accident that he
hasn’t retired.
“People ask me all the time why don’t I retire and I say I don’t have
anything else I can do. This really is the only thing I know how to do, to
sing and entertain people. I am so excited to come to the Leelanau Sands
to put on a show for the people up there in Northern Michigan, it has been
a long time since I have been up that way and I know Michigan is a great
music state so I can’t wait.”

For info on Mickey Gilley go to his website www.gilleys.com and for
tickets and show information for his May 27 appearance at the Leelanau
Sands Showroom go to www.casino2win.com or call the box office at
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