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 · Features · Bill Palladino 4/4/11
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Bill Palladino 4/4/11

Robert Downes - April 4th, 2011
The Car-Free Life: Bill Palladino is on a roll year-round
By Robert Downes
“When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race.”
-- H.G. Wells
At a time when most of us are just starting to think about getting our bicycles out of storage, Bill Palladino is looking back on another year of riding all winter long.
Two years ago, Palladino, 52, gave up his vehicle in favor of commuting by bicycle, which has been his preferred way of getting around since his teen years.
“I had a Saturn SUV, but the car sat in the parking lot most of the time. I only used it occasionally,” he recalls. “Then my nephew called and said he needed a car. I thought about it for a bit and then flew him up from Florida and gave him the keys -- the decision was made that fast for me.
“I’m part of the pedestrian and cycling advocacy community,” he adds. “And it seemed to me that giving up my car was one more step toward ‘walking the walk’ and ‘talking the talk’ for what I believe in.”

Palladino wears a lot of hats. He owns Krios Consulting in Traverse City, a leadership development firm which helps businesses, non-profits and municipalities to improve their management strategies. He also partners with the International Thought Leader Network in Dallas, which has flown him to motivational seminars all over the world, including Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Europe and Africa.
He also serves as executive director of On the Ground, the Traverse City nonprofit which recently raised $206,000 in the Run Across Ethiopia to establish new schools in the east African country. Additionally, he’s one of the organizers of the 3rd Coast Bike Festival, a nine-day extravaganza that includes racing, workshops, films and more, returning to Traverse City this Aug. 12-21.
But there’s another side to Palladino that’s all about having a good time -- the bike warrior who loves road racing, riding with the Cherry Capital Cycle Club each week, or taking on a 100-mile ride on summer weekends.
“I grew up in the Bronx in New York, so public transportation has always been my forte,” he says, adding that when his parents moved across town in his teen years, he began riding his bike eight miles back and forth to stay at his old high school. In his late teens, he began cycling the 50 miles on weekends up to Bear Mountain State Park, north of New York City. He also took on his first job as a bicycle messenger in the mid-’70s, a decade before Kevin Bacon made that sort of thing cool in the film, “Quicksilver.”
“It forged in me a love of biking that’s lasted my whole life. At the age of 16 or 17, I knew New York City as well as any taxi driver. And the great thing about it is that when you’re on a bike, you travel in slow motion -- you’re able to witness your community and interact with people.”

On that score, Palladino says cycling builds a more sociable community. “Its an effective and efficient way to get around Traverse City, but at the same time you’re likely to run into someone along the way and have a talk with them.”
By contrast, he feels that traveling in a vehicle tends to encourage feelings that are both protective and aggressive -- with drivers taking on ugly personas. “Especially with men, you find yourself yelling at the cars in front of you to get out of the way. What we don’t realize is that kind of behavior is aggression, with a 6,000-pound weapon in your hands.”
Palladino is an advocate of the Complete Streets program, which requires every community in Michigan to consider the needs of pedestrians, cyclists and children -- as well as vehicles -- on all future road projects.
That outlook is already in place in communities such as Manhattan and Toronto, which aren’t in the fix of ‘tacking on’ improvements such as bike lanes or safe crosswalks. “They started thinking about pedestrians back in the days when there were still horses in town,” he says.
“Growing up in New York with mass transit, it never struck me that I even needed a car,” he notes, adding that his parents didn’t own one.
He says that while Northern Michigan has established a good network of bike paths, those are essentially recreational trails which are often packed with runners, kids and roller-bladers. “To have real bicycle commuting here, we need to improve our roads so that cyclists can travel quickly across town, the same as people driving cars.”

Given his professional gifts for analysis and management, Palladino has some persuasive reasons for choosing a bicycle over a car as his mode of transportation.
“The average American spends $7,500 per year on a car and its maintenance, and with gasoline going up, that cost is only going to rise. Last year I did the math, and even with owning and maintaining three bikes to get around on and renting a car when I needed one, I still couldn’t come up with $2,000 I had spent for the year.”
Not owning a car has also saved Palladino money by removing the temptation to go shopping.
“Cars are all about convenience,” he says. “They make it convenient for us to do things that are both good and bad. They feed our boredom and prompt us to go shopping at places like Meijer’s or Best Buy. But by riding a bike, I have a lot more control over where my money goes. I only spend what I need by riding to places that are near my home, such as Oryana Food Coop or downtown.” He adds that he has been to Meijer’s in Traverse City only once in the past year, and he rode his bike to get there.

So what kind of iron does Palladino ride? His “pickup truck,” pictured here, is an Xtra Cycle with an extended rear platform that’s capable of carrying up to 250 lbs. Assembled from a kit and an old frame, the bike can accommodate two child seats or an adult passenger. “I use it to shop,” he says.
He also has a road bike, a mountain bike and a tandem, as well as a couple of fixed gear bikes that he’s built himself.
Palladino stands over 6’ and takes care to wear bright clothing when he rides. He’s been struck by cars three times in his life and feels that it’s better to ride assertively in the middle of a lane -- even on busy Division Street in TC -- so he can’t be ignored by drivers who whiz past cyclists hugging the curb.
What about the cold and the snow?
“Some of the most joyful bike rides I’ve had have been on winter days when it’s snowing heavily and you’re struggling to keep the bike up,” he responds. “You might fall, but you’re laughing the whole way. I remember riding with no hands in a snowstorm one night this winter, with my head back and catching snowflakes with my tongue.”
Needless to say, he’s in great physical shape, but riding plays an additional role in his health: Palladino was diagnosed with leukemia in 2006, and today he measures his progress on his bike as a gauge of how well he’s doing. He rides every day and even takes a folding bike along on business trips.
“I’m proactive about my health,” he says. “When I came out the other side of my diagnosis, I promised myself that I would ride every day for the rest of my life, no matter the weather, no matter the hurry -- I would ride my bike.”
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