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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- February 14th, 2011
Library uproar
I am writing as a retired librarian from the NMC Library, and as a tax-paying citizen for 30 years of Traverse City. I am so glad, and usually proud, to be a resident of this town with so many assets and so many fine people.
What makes an effective library? The answer is pretty simple: a good staff with skills to cooperatively build the collection and serve the patrons. Technology and even the building itself are tools created by the staff.
There is a reason why the Traverse Area District Library (TADL) has become one of several cherished gathering places in Traverse City. We are comfortable and find our friends and neighbors at TADL, as we do at Horizon Books and the State Theatre. Building that sense of community takes a long time and is extremely hard to ‘create’, making that place all the more valuable.
There is a reason why many of us show visiting friends the beautiful building housing the library that we cherish.
There is a reason why we all recognize that TADL has had a superlative staff. And this is a reason that we usually find the materials we need when we use the collection.
Such a library doesn’t just happen. It grows gradually through the cooperative efforts of skilled, hard working and dedicated people.
I am concerned about a governance system that has no resource for an appeal for a professional librarian and general staff. Remember, a librarian has usually earned a Master’s degree. As a librarian, if I had a concern about the library, I had the option of going to my director’s boss, the president or dean of the colleges I served. I used that option on one occasion in 22 years as a librarian. At TADL, apparently, the librarians and other staff have only their director. They are apparently not allowed any “higher” authority. When that director may be the problem there is no recourse. That seems like a very poor governance model to me.

June Thaden • TC

The cuts in Congress
It should be no surprise that our nation has a serious financial crisis.
Never before has this country gone to war without raising taxes to pay for it. The cost, in monetary terms alone, is currently over $3 trillion. It is being funded by debt. Yet, Congress only sees “cuts” as the way to pay for the war debt. As everyone knows, you can’t cut your way to financial solvency. You also have to increase revenue. The top 25 hedge fund managers each made over $1 billion last year. Yet they paid little, if any, income tax. During the Eisenhower years these people would have paid 90%. Even at that rate, they’d still have $100 million left. Most of us could make it on that.
It’s a myth that the richest create jobs. The richest typically send their money overseas for investments, or to hide it. Yet, the richest apparently control our government because they’ve convinced the politicians that they can’t survive on $100 million.
If our politicians were truly for WE THE PEOPLE, they would listen to the 98% of us who aren’t the richest. They’d not only roll back the Bush tax cuts for the richest, they’d roll back the Reagan tax cuts as well. They’d close tax loop holes, and stop giving tax incentives for moving jobs off shore. They’d look at the nation’s income statement before going to war.
A country run on debt will soon be bankrupt, and like war, the people at the bottom will suffer the most.

Arnold Stieber • Grass Lake

Autism fraud revealed
Recently, the British Medical Journal accused a doctor of fraud. Dr. Wakefield (an anti-vaccine hero who was stripped of his medical license) faked data in his attempt to link vaccines with autism. In publishing this report, the Journal has endorsed the findings of investigative reporter Brian Deer. The article suggests that this false autism/MMR link has been a distraction -- which diverted funds and energy from true autism research. Additional societal costs include: reformulating vaccines, outbreaks, and deaths.
For more:
www.nytimes.com (“Autism Fraud”)
www.washingtonpost.com (“Vaccine’s link to autism is discredited again” and “Wakefield tried to capitalize on autism-vaccine link”)

Rebecca Peterson
Elk Rapids

Road to nowhere
I have read with dismay several articles on Wings of Wonder (WOW), a raptor education, rehabilitation and research center just off Gilbert Road in south Leelanau County, which is just emerging from a horrendous battering by the Leelanau County Road Commission, chaired by Lee A Bowen.
The autonomous commission, accountable to no one, suddenly, and without any apparent interest for 20 years, decided that the private easement that ran through the WOW property should now be made public. This would seriously disturb the recovering raptors.
The bullying began and continued nonstop throughout the commission’s law suit against the non-profit center. The outcome of the litigation stated among other things, that the Don and Rebecca Lessard family would get to keep the two-track through their sanctuary; but to add insult to injury, would be required to pay the commission $8,000 toward a new replacement road.
WOW has had overwhelming public support, which apparently was of no concern to the commission. So now the taxpayers will have a brand spankin‘ new road to nowhere, with the attendant permanent loss of habitat and a ton of legal fees. I wonder who the next victim will be.
The unanswered question in this whole taxpayer funded fiasco is WHY? Why do they suddenly want this new road? Who has an interest?

Sally MacFarlane-Neal • via email

A recent article on Palette Bistro in Petoskey listed the wrong builder. JR Construction Building and Design deserved credit for remodeling the restaurant.

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