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 · Letters · Letters 4/11/11
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Letters 4/11/11

- April 11th, 2011
Less talk, more action
To all of you who write in and talk about the crisis that is going on
in Michigan and specifically regarding Rick Snyder, the Governor --
what are you doing other than writing letters to the editor?
I can understand where it might give you a venue to vent your
frustrations but what else are you actually doing? Have you written to
the governor or to your senators or representatives? Have you
participated in a rally either here or in Lansing? Do you vote on
various websites expressing your thoughts?
There are ways to make changes other than writing a letter to your
local newspapers which I don’t see as resulting in any changes. I
would like to see people become outraged at what is happening in our
state and across the nation and to do something about it in a peaceful
constructive manner.
For instance -- if you are against the war(s) come to a meeting of
Veterans For Peace. They meet the third Saturday of every month at
10:30 a.m. downstairs at Horizon Books. After the meeting, there is a
peaceful march around downtown Traverse City. You do not have to be a
veteran. This is only one of many, many ways that you can get involved
in the political scene and try to make a difference.

Tom Emmott • TC

Unwarranted attack
To be attractive to new employers, Michigan needs a strong revenue
stream to meet its infrastructure requirements. The service sector is
50% of our economy. We must consider some tax on this large portion of
our economy in order to protect our education system and provide a
safety net for low-income individuals.
We need to consider taxing some portion of senior pensions, but it
needs to be well crafted and avoid a negative impact on low-income
We do not need to expand the corporate welfare that is being proposed in
the current budget discussion. After 20 years of tax cuts favoring the
business community, we have not experienced the promised improvement in
the jobs picture.
Cutting unemployment benefits, reducing the homestead tax credit for
seniors, eliminating the earned income tax credits and taxing low income
senior citizens is an unwarranted attack on the lowest level income
persons in our communities.
If we are going to be strong again we need to balance our tax policies,
include seniors, the service sector and a responsible contribution from
the business community.
We should be proud of people who dedicate their careers to public
service and not expect them to be the first line of cuts when times are
We are all in this together and should share the responsibility to
improve the quality of life in Michigan.

James A. McKimmy • via email

Controlled by elites
As I reflect on this tax season, I marvel at how well the elites have
convinced us that they, the upper 5%, have the absolute right to rule
our country. It reminds me of the feudalism that controlled Europe
for 600 years.
The elites, via their media, and well-paid serfs, tell us that what is
good for them is good for us. They branded the estate tax as a “death
tax.” So, a tax that only affected the top 2% was eliminated.
Billions were removed from our revenue stream. Income taxes are bad
they say. So taxes on the richest are branded “repressive” and
massively cut. Billions were removed from our revenue stream.
Medical bills are the leading cause of bankruptcy in this country but
universal health care is bad they say. So it’s branded “death panels”
and never considered because the elites want to protect the billions
they make from insurance and drugs.
We have wars and our kids suffer and die, but the war contractor elite
brand it “fighting for freedom” and make billions in profits from our
tax dollars, and pay virtually no taxes.
No amount of program “cuts” will improve this nation. We need to
expand programs to help We The People, and thus we need more revenue.
During the Eisenhower years the elites were taxed at 90%. They survived
and the nation prospered.
We have, I believe, feudalism wrapped in red, white and blue and
branded “democracy.”

Arnold Stieber • Grass Lake

GOP‘s Good Old Days
It is clear that certain politicians of a party (that shall be
mercifully nameless) that this is their agenda to take us back to the
good old days:
1) Do away with labor unions;
2) Do away with income taxes and estate taxes;
3) Shut down Medicare;
4) End Social Security and other forms of welfare;
5) End women’s suffrage;
6) End child labor laws (bring back 8-year-olds in the mines and mills);
7) End the minimum wage, let workers be happy with a dollar a day;
8) End the 40-hour week and paid vacations, bring back the 60-hour week;
9) Reinstate indentured servitude.
All those social programs to be eliminated were instigated by liberals,
enemies of unbridled capitalism. Are you ready for the Good Old Days?

Harley Sachs • Houghton

Attack on working people
What’s happening to our state governments?
Wisconsin is curtailing collective bargaining rights for state workers.
Ohio has substantially reduced the power of unionized state workers.
Florida’s governor is requiring new state workers to be drug tested by a
company in which his wife owns controlling shares. Maine has removed a
mural depicting working class people from the state’s Department of Labor
and is trying to increase hours for child labor. New Jersey cut $1
billion to schools.
Under Governor Snyder, Michigan became the first state to curtail aid
to the unemployed. Now we have an amended Emergency Financial Manager
bill allowing public employee contracts to be broken. His proposed
budget includes steep cuts to higher education and new taxation of
pensions and IRA deductions. He’s demanding “shared sacrifice” and
touting “public-private partnerships.”
This pattern of right-wing anti-unionism, austere budgets demanding
public ‘sacrifice’ while supporting big business, is taken directly
from ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, a ‘public-private
partnership.’ For membership, corporations like Exxon and Mobil pay $6
million annually while state legislators pay only $50. The companies
and legislators write model bills together. Cozy.
Please don’t take my word for it. Google American Association for
Justice: ALEC. You‘ll be shocked.

Sam Eliowitz • Maple City

Out of bounds
After reading the best of Northern Michigan issue of the Express today I
was disappointed to see that the best band went to My Dear Disco.
Although the band is well liked and deservedly so, the last time I
checked, Ann Arbor (where the band is from) is in southern Michigan. If
you are expanding this poll to groups that simply tour in Northern
Michigan, then why not include Willie Nelson or Bob Dylan who have both
played in the area?
It just seems that there is plenty of hard working talent right here in
Northern Michigan that you could spotlight without having to search

Adam Sleder • via email

(Good point Adam. We fudged the rules for three reasons: My Dear
Disco bass player Joe Dart is from Harbor Springs and the band plays
the region as often as many local bands. Normally, those reasons
wouldn‘t be enough to matter; what tipped the tide was the overwhelming
number of reader votes. We agree, however, that it would be best to
require solid Northern Michigan credentials in next year‘s issue. -

Share the pain
It is interesting to see that when “shared sacrifice” is discussed, our
federal and state elected officials escape the “sacrifice.”
The cost of our inefficient state legislature is over $100 million a
year. Each legislator makes a salary of $79,650, has a $1,000 monthly
stipend for expenses, a reimbursement for mileage and a stipend for
staff. This comes to over $100,000 a year.
A unicameral legislature, by eliminating our state senate, could save
the taxpayers $50 million a year. Will this happen? Wishful thinking.
I suggest a 20% pay cut for each legislator and halving the stipend
for expenses, staff and health care benefits. This is something that
can happen now.
Contact your legislators and demand their sacrifice NOW. If they don’t
sacrifice, let’s vote them out the next election. Time for reform is
long overdue.

Wally Juall • Kewadin

Don‘t call him Patty
This year I noticed local newspapers using a ‘nickname‘ for St.
Patrick, the beloved Irish saint. Then I saw at least two of your
advertisers had committed the same error.
The saint is not “Patty“ as in peppermint, or hamburger patty, or even
the shortened girl‘s name of Patricia.
I believe they need to say Paddy, a variation of Padraic or Patrick.
If St. Patrick is to be honored by his own day and many celebrations,
please don‘t call him Patty!

Lela Russell • Kalkaska

On the trail of lone wolves
Good article on the “Indians in Winter“ -- excellent research (3/14/11).
As far as your other article on the cougar and the wolf, the wolves
simply stalk the deer trails from the U.P. across the Straits of
I‘ve walked both shores in the dead of winter and deer tracks are
abundant. You can also see them out and back to Bois Blanc Island.
The large tracks that look like dog tracks are your wolf. You see many
solo tracks as these are “lone wolves.“
As for cougars in northern lower Michigan, my opinion only, but they
are here. Maybe they are rogue males, which in time die off, but the
National Lakeshore employee who saw one years ago was correct.

John Colvin • TC
Seniors hit hard by Snyder
In the last couple of months it has become clear what Governor Snyder’s
plan is to “fix” our state. His plan is not to reduce the budget but
transfer monies from the poor and the middle class to corporations by
taxing retirees’s pensions, eliminating the $2,300 over-age 65
exemption, taxing dividends and interest, cutting the $600 child
exemption and cutting many social programs including funds to public
Giving more tax breaks to corporations does not necessarily mean more
jobs. The majority of large corporations do not pay taxes because of
many loopholes enacted over the last several decades. The Reagan
“trickle down” tax cuts to the rich did not work; now his answer is to
try “creep-up” economics which is take from the poor and middle class
and give to the corporations.
Employee unions, public and private, are not the cause of our fiscal
There is little talk about the unjust wars paid for by borrowing money,
or the tax cuts to the rich and the corruption of the Wall Street
bankers, who instead of going to jail are receiving record bonuses.
Fixed-income retirees are being squeezed by increasing gas and food
prices. Coupled with frozen Social Security payments, many retirees are
Pensions often do not have a cost of living clause, and even
tax-deferred 401k plans are not providing the retirement income many
recent retirees anticipated. Retirees, generally low to middle income
class folks, now pay almost twice as much in total taxes as a
percentage of their income than the top income level in Michigan.
To be more fair, Gov. Snyder, might consider a graduated income tax,
exempting low income folks from being taxed on their pension income.
Some states do not have a state income tax, and the many that do have a
graduated state income tax. Michigan is one of the few states that has
a regressive fixed-income tax.
Let’s not solve our budget problems on the backs of the poor and middle
class. Let’s keep our retirees in Michigan.

Bill Hoff • Suttons Bay

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