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 · Music · Chris Smither 3/21/11
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Chris Smither 3/21/11

Rick Coates - March 21st, 2011
Time Stands Still for Chris Smither
By Rick Coates
At 67, singer/songwriter Chris Smither has not lost his passion for
performing. He plans to cut his tour schedule from 120 shows to 80 shows a
year, but it has nothing to do with his age.
“I have a six-year-old daughter and I don’t want to miss out on her
growing up,” said Smither. “I love performing, I just don’t like getting
Smither will appear at the InsideOut Gallery in the Warehouse District
this Thursday, March 24 as part of the Connemara Concert series. He is
still touring in support of his 2009 release Time Stands Still.
“I am sort of on this every three years of releasing a new album, so
sometime next year with original works,” said Smither. “Currently I am
working on some covers from late ’50s and early ’60s, essentially rock
songs that I grew up listening to. I wanted to do something different.”

He enjoys performing his new songs and getting feedback on them before he
releases new songs on his CDs.
“I love it when people say at the record table after the show, ‘Do you
have such-and-such song on a CD?’” said Smither. “I say, ‘No – that’s a
new one.’ It’s great when they start asking about it right away.”
While Smither is looking forward to going back into the studio, his
passion remains performing.
“I like the fact we are seeing the end to artists who are simply recording
phenomenons and not performers. It is going back to the paradigm of making
their living from live shows,” said Smither. 
“I think this is great -- that is what I do -- essentially, I have been on
a non-stop tour for the past 40 years. I think that is what performers
should do.”
On songwriting, Smither says in some ways it comes easier to him now than
when he started.
“Writing songs is like exercising,” said Smither. “There are certain
muscles that have to get toned up. You work for a while, and eventually
they get strong again. Eventually, once you’ve written five or six songs,
songs number seven, eight and nine come a lot quicker. You know what
you’re doing. I learn a little bit more every time I write a new batch of

Smither has seen a lot of changes in his 40-plus year career.
“I started in this business back in the days when no one made their own
records. Today with technology and the Internet, everyone is able to
self-start,” said Smither. “It is quite a change. It is
funny because the record companies finally got what they wanted -- control
over everything -- and by the time they got it, it was too late.”
While he sees some positive changes, there are some negatives such as too
much music.
“One thing that has happened with technology and the ability for virtually
anyone to record music is that there is a lot more music out there today
than when I started. But that is not to say that it is any better. The old
saying that 90% of everything
is pure crap still holds true, but to look at it in a positive way: 10% of
a million records is better than 10% of 100,000 records.”
As for where Smither falls into the equation, he remains in that top 10%
and is currently enjoying the best success of his career.  
“I am doing better today in terms of record sales, concert draws, and
general income than I have ever done in my life. The Internet is
responsible for all of that. It has given me access to a market and
audience that was denied to me in the past.”

Chris Smither will perform at the InsideOut Gallery (downtown Warehouse
District) 229 Garland Street in TC on Thursday, March 24 at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are  $20 in advance and $25 at the door and are available at the 
InsideOut Gallery, Oryana Food Cooperative, Treat Tickets. For tickets or
more information call the InsideOut Gallery at 231-929-3254.

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