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 · Random Thoughts · Wild Kingdom
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Wild Kingdom

Robert Downes - March 14th, 2011
Wild Kingdom
What’s the latest on Michigan’s wild hog crisis? Glad you asked.
Wild hogs were recently classified as an “invasive, exotic and prohibited
species” by the DNR. Outgoing director Rebecca Humphries signed the order
in December and it goes into effect on July 8, giving game ranches and
wild hog breeders time to give porky the boot. Over the years, these
outfits have allowed dangerous variants of the Russian boar to escape into
the wild, creating a virtual hog bomb.
The Wildlife Volunteer, a newsletter of the Michigan Wildlife Conservancy,
reports the following: “Because of those escapes, which have occurred over
the past ten years, we now have thousands of hogs that are reproducing in
the wild and destroying crops, lawns, and natural resources in many
Personally, I’m anxious to see one of these terrors out in the woods, but
from the safety of a strong tree limb. Timber Ridge ski resort here in TC
has a stuffed boar’s head up on its wall and it’s bigger (and certainly
nastier) than the snarling bear’s head that serves as its neighbor. Big
tusks on those hogs, and they roam in packs...
Here are some other updates on Northern Michigan’s wild kingdom:

CRY WOLF: Ten years ago, spotting a wolf in the Upper Peninsula was
considered a rare and remarkable sight. That’s all changed; a friend who
travels up that way says it’s not unusual to spot a wolf crossing M-77
outside Seney late at night, along with bears, bobcats and other wildlife.
In fact, last year’s wolf population in the U.P. was estimated at 557 by
wildlife biologists -- this after the wolf was driven to near extinction
and placed on the Endangered Species Act.
In a story by Associated Press reporter John Flesher of Traverse City, The
Mining Journal of Marquette reported that poaching is a growing concern in
the U.P., with six gray wolves shot thus far this year, along with 15 in
2010, 12 in 2009 and 8 in 2008.
As is the case with western ranchers who justify shooting wildlife that
drifts out of Yellowstone Park, some of the poaching is attributed to U.P.
farmers and residents who claim they are protecting livestock and pets.
But one can only imagine that most of these poachers are simply motivated
by trophy hunting, or by thrill-killing of the sort that prompted a
TC-area teen to shoot a cow with a bow and arrow last year.

STRAY CAT BLUES: Here’s an interesting theory; the DNR, which still hasn‘t
officially recognized the existence of cougars in Michigan, claims that
evidence found by its own biologists at eight sites in the U.P. over the
past three years “may represent just one wandering male from South
Again, this is from The Wildlife Volunteer, and the Michigan Wildlife
Needless to say, not everyone agrees with that stray cat theory.
Michigan’s last known cougar was killed in 1906. But retired forester Mike
Zuidema of Escanaba believes a few holdouts lived on in places like the
Huron Mountains of Marquette County, repopulating the U.P. 100 years
So, how did those U.P. cats find their way to Sleeping Bear National
Lakeshore where they’ve allegedly been spotted by park visitors? There’s a
riddle for you -- maybe that wandering cat from South Dakota dropped off
his pregnant missus here...

CARP DIEM: Latest on the Asian Carp menace is that the powers-that-be are
more content to study the problem than act on protecting the Great Lakes
from this ravenous fish.
In mid February, U.S. Rep. Dave Camp (R-Midland) proposed an amendment
that would have closed two locks in the Chicago area to prevent the carp
from migrating up a canal from its habitat in the Mississippi and Illinois
Unfortunately, Camp’s amend-ment didn’t earn enough votes in the House of
Representatives to pass. So for the time being, the fate of the Great
Lakes hangs on joint legislation that he and U.S. Senator Debbie Stebenow
(D-MI) introduced last year which would require the Army Corps of
Engineers to spend 18 months studying the idea of permanently separating
the waterways of the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River basins.
Bear in mind this legislation to study the matter hasn’t even been
approved by Congress yet. It is set to be reintroduced in the near
Somewhere, a carp is smiling...

WHERE EAGLES DARE: Here’s an interesting wildlife twist on the internet:
an Eagle Viewing Directory is offered at http://www.baldeagleinfo.com
which allows eagle spotters a chance to list their sightings by state.
Most of the Michigan sightings online are by excited bird watchers
downstate. One suspects that eagles have become so commonplace here in
Northern Michigan that we no longer utter much of a squawk when we see

ELKY SUMMER: You don’t hear much about Michigan’s elk herd these days,
but they’re out there: the herd that roams the Pigeon River Forest north
of Gaylord was estimated at 800-900 animals in 2006.
Getting back to the wolf, the elk’s experience shows why we need to keep
on top of poaching in Michigan. According to the DNR, the last of the
state’s native elk vanished in 1875. Today’s herd springs from seven elk
imported from out West back in 1918. Through the years, the herd grew to
1,500 animals by the mid 1960s when hunting was allowed. By the winter of
’75, however, there were only 200 elk left due to a variety of factors
including being “hard hit by poaching.”
Bugle on, gentle elk...

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