Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

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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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