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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Stop looting public education 3/28/11

Mary McGee - Cullen - March 28th, 2011
Stop looting public education
By Mary McGee-Cullen
I can’t get the chants out of my head!
Exiting the bus in the afternoon sunshine, Saturday, March 12, in Madison
Wisconsin, I was overwhelmed by thousands chanting in unison, “THANK YOU!
THANK YOU! THANK YOU!” The Wisconsin 14 were surrounded by a crowd,
having themselves just arrived in the Capitol for the first time in three
Tens of thousands of workers representing farmers, police, firefighters,
educators, nurses, students, municipal employees, and clergy showed up to
protest the assault that has been perpetrated on the working class of
Wisconsin by its governor. Unfortunately, this economic coup d’etat is an
insidious problem that is occurring all across our nation.
Talking to Wisconsinites was both an exhilarating and cautionary
experience. They were extremely appreciative of our support, but they felt
we in Michigan face a much stiffer challenge. They thought our governor
was both much smarter and more politically savvy than their Governor,
Scott Walker. They are aware of the proposed legislation coming out of
Lansing, and feel it is even more draconian than the attacks on workers’
rights in Wisconsin.
During the campaign in Michigan, our governor never mentioned that in
order to deal with the so-called budget deficit, he would raise taxes on
the poor, elderly, and middle class to the tune of $1.7 billion to fund
tax breaks to big business in the amount of $1.8 billion. In addition,
Gov. Snyder is prepared to do an end-run around the democratic process by
replacing local elected officials with emergency financial managers.
Where we find ourselves today began with the passage of Proposal A by
Michigan voters in 1994. By centralizing education funding in the
legislature, local control of school budgets has disappeared. Rather than
creating equity, Proposal A has given the legislature a slush fund from
which to extract dollars to subsidize other parts of the general fund.
Gov. Snyder’s budget will steal $470 from every student in the state.
That cut on top of raiding the $600 million School Aid Fund SURPLUS
equates to a $900 million looting of K-12 education in Michigan.
Locally, TCAPS (Traverse City Area Public Schools) continues to be the
“best bang for the buck in education in the State of Michigan,” for which
it was recognized by the Traverse City Economic Development Corporation.
The fact the state enjoys a $600 million surplus in the School Aid Fund is
proof K-12 education is not living beyond its means. It is time for the
Traverse City community and our local elected officials to stand up and
flatly reject the transfer of monies from our School Aid Fund.
Our so-called budget deficit was not created by the poor, elderly, and
middle class of our country, and will not be solved by falsely blaming
them for it. And although the powers that be would like us to believe
otherwise, and quietly go home, the clear message that resonated on the
streets of Madison on that cold, clear afternoon was, “IT’S NOT OVER UNTIL
My new favorite number is 14.

Mary McGee-Cullen is a TCAPS teacher and president of the Traverse City
Education Association.

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