Letters 12-05-2016

Trump going back on promises I’m beginning to suspect that we’ve been conned by our new president. He’s backpedaling on nearly every campaign promise he made to us...

This Christmas, think before you speak Now that Trump has won the election, a lot of folks who call themselves Christians seem to believe they have a mandate to force their beliefs on the rest of us. Think about doing this before you start yelling about people saying “happy holidays,” whining about Starbucks coffee cup image(s), complaining about other’s lifestyles…

First Amendment protects prayer (Re: Atheist Gary Singer’s contribution to the Crossed column titled “What will it take to make America great again?” in the Nov. 21 edition of Northern Express.) Mr. Singer, the First Amendment states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …”

Evidence of global warming Two basic facts underlay climate science: first, carbon dioxide was known to be a heat-trapping gas as early as 1850; and second, humans are significantly increasing the amount of CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels and other activities. We are in fact well on our way to doubling the CO2 concentrations in our atmosphere...

Other community backpack programs I just read your article in the Nov. 28 issue titled “Beneficial backpacks: Two local programs help children.” It is a good article, but there are at least two other such programs in the Traverse City area that I am aware of...

A ‘fox’ in the schoolhouse Trump’s proposed secretary of education, Betsy DeVos (“the fox” in Dutch), is a right-wing billionaire; relentless promoter of unlimited, unregulated charter schools and vouchers; and enemy of public schooling...

Home · Articles · News · Letters · Letters 4/25/11
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Letters 4/25/11

- April 25th, 2011
What’s the end game?
It seems to me with all of the Republican and Tea Party ideas about the
budget floating around out there, we need to ask ourselves some basic
questions. Mainly, what is the end game here?
What does our society look like with a reduced deficit? With taxed
pensions? With no health care plan, reduced Medicare and limited or no
Social Security? So we’re out of debt, big corporations have increased tax
incentives and there are no unions. Is this what we want, Republicans?
What does our society look like when all this happens? Are there more
jobs? Is the middle class suddenly expanded? Are we all better off? Tell
me, what is it we’re aiming for?
I completely support reduced deficits and taxes and a society that doesn’t
have to rely on the government to support people in need. But tell me,
what does this look like? How do you plan to get there?
Are corporations going to take care of us by providing the jobs we need at
a sustainable wage? Who will take care of our aging citizens as their
Medicare is reduced? How long will we have to work to provide for our own
social security? I might be inclined to listen if I knew what your vision
is. Do YOU know?

Tom Speers • Fife Lake

Who’s pitching in?
Re: “Seniors need to pitch in too,” Express, 4/4).
Once again we hear, this time from former TC mayor Mike Estes, the
constant drumbeat from the right that the cause of our economic woes are
seniors and unions.
Beyond the accusatory tone and petty name-calling, no mention is made of
the fact that the wealthiest 1% of Americans now take home one-quarter of
the nation’s income and control 40% of its wealth. Mr. Estes thinks it is
time for seniors to “pitch in.” I, like him, am a senior too, and would
have no problem “pitching in” as long as everyone is. Does he think the
wealthiest 1% are “pitching in”? He calls seniors a “privileged tax class”
and mentions underfunded government pensions. Much of the underfunding,
and in fact most of blame, for the entire financial crisis is legal theft
of trillions of dollars by Wall Street.
If there is a privileged tax class in the U.S., it’s hedge fund managers
on Wall Street. Is Wall Street “pitching in”?
No mention either of continued billions in subsidies to corporations
including oil companies who post record profits, or the fact that in the
last decade the top 10 medical insurance companies have seen their profits
increase by a staggering 428%.
All the carping about corporate tax rates inhibiting the business
environment are meaningless since the largest corporations pay little or
no taxes. General Electric, in a textbook example of how to avoid paying
taxes, received $3 billion from the American taxpayer last year. Any
“pitching in here”? Give me a break.
My father’s legacy, like Mr. Estes’, was to leave a better world than the
one he was born into. But my father was also a blue collar union worker
and he would be shocked and saddened at attempts to vilify his decades of
hard work as selfish. The right would do away with labor unions and
collective bargaining completely. The 100th anniversary of the Triangle
Shirt Factory fire should be cause enough for reflection on a labor force
with no voice.
I have no problem with the concept of shared sacrifice, if it were truly
shared by all. Funding tax breaks for corporations by eliminating the
Earned Income Tax Credit for the working poor is not “pitching in.”

David Opatik • TC

Good exhibit
In response to Keith Lints’ letter on “Bodies Human.” (Letters 4/18).
I am a massage therapist and greatly appreciate the exhibit at the
Dennos. Is it art? Maybe not, but what a great way to show the human body.
I personally felt great respect for the people whose bodies were on
display and do not find it distasteful at all. I am so glad that the
Dennos would host such an exhibit

Deb Edwards • via email

Bodies in question
Mr. Lint’s comments about the “Bodies Human” exhibition at the Dennos
Museum Center are very puzzling. Is he concerned about the ethnicity of
the bodies on display? Is he shocked that other countries do things
differently than the United States? Who’d have thought?
Is he really lobbying for equality? If so, perhaps he could consider
donating his own body for artistic and scientific purposes, since he’s
crying out for less “poor Chinese (Taiwanese in reality) hunting trophies”
and more “rich Caucasian” hunting trophies.
Finally, is Mr. Lint just uncomfortable with the human body in general? Or
his own body? What has he to fear but mortality itself? The ruins of the
ancient worlds are enjoyed and preserved, so why not the temple that is
the human body? Keep the exhibit going!

Kristy Phillips • art major

Fair play for young adults
Let’s be fair to these kids! There are many high school students out
there searching for employment, some are lucky enough to find them. Many
of these young adults are trying to raise money before heading off to
college. We need to have better business practices when hiring these
young adults.
Originally I thought this was an isolated case, but soon learned that this
is common practice at (a local restaurant). Schedules are posted,
normally with extra employees scheduled. This way they will not be caught
I talked to two high school students recently who were scheduled for their
shifts. One was sent home after 12 minutes and the other after one hour.
One young employee drove 30 minutes to work recently and was told that
they were not needed that evening. Besides being required to pay for
their uniforms and name badge in advance, now they have to pay for gas,
while their services are not needed. Come on, you can do better than

Greg Keller • TC

Support the Benzie Bus
Re: Mike Nicholl’s letter, “Ditch the Benzie bus,” 4/18:
As a “frequent flier” on the Benzie Bus, I have nothing but the highest
praise for this service. They are always on time, regardless of the
weather. They are always courteous, and go out of their way to help the
handicapped and the elderly citizens of Benzie County boarding and with
their groceries.
How many government services can you name that do that for a dime a day?
Many people who ride the bus are going to work and back, so they can
continue to be productive taxpayers. What are these folks going to do when
gas prices rise beyond their budgets? Stop working and paying taxes?
There certainly exists a great deal of government waste, but there is
nothing wasteful with a service that benefits so many people.
In too many cases, taxpayer discontent at the state and national level
results in the defeat of many local millages which are more beneficial to
the local citizenry, such as improvements to police, fire, water
treatment, schools, etc.
This millage request is not an increase in taxes -- it is simply a renewal
of the existing funding. For a dime a day, I strongly urge a “Yes” vote
on the Benzie Bus millage.

John R. Joslyn • Honor

Get on the bus
The League of Women Voters – Grand Traverse Area Benzie Unit -- supports
the millage renewal for the Benzie Bus that will continue to fund public
transportation in Benzie County.
Energy-efficient and environmentally sound public transportation systems
provide all citizens with convenient access to affordable housing, jobs,
education, health services, shopping and cultural/recreation
opportunities, while helping to preserve the environment by having fewer
cars on the road.
In response to the growing need for public transportation in Benzie
County, the LWV-GTA encourages a YES vote on May 3 for the Benzie Bus!

Pat Laarman • League of Women Voters – Grand Traverse Area

Property rights at risk
My concern is preserving a rare stretch of pristine Northern Michigan
lakefront; your concern should be that this story could happen to you.
Imagine waking up one morning to learn that your neighbor had begun
building a home on the best part of your property AND had gotten several
weeks’ head start while you were gone.
A precedent set on Crystal Lake may soon mean that 24/7 video surveillance
is the only way to keep a neighbor from acquiring your property.
In low-budget townships lacking the resources to research title and
ownership issues, it is actually possible to get a permit and start
construction simply by claiming a desired parcel exists, and most
importantly, getting it started while the owners of record are out of
This astonishing strategy appears to be succeeding in Benzie County’s Lake
Township, where construction nears completion on a project that is being
challenged in a court in Grand Rapids.
The building site in question is on a one-third mile beach parcel
“dedicated to the common use” of plat owners in 1904. Like all parcels
granting shared ownership, access or easements, it had been protected from
development by the deliberate difficulty involved in getting a building
permit for any significant structure by any legal means.
On a lake ringed with wall-to-wall cottages, this prime beachfront had
remained undeveloped except for a few docks and windowless storage sheds -
the very reason many bought the 18 lots just across the road. The natural
environment was vigorously guarded by an active plat association that had
threatened lawsuits against the few who claimed to own part of the beach
and longed for residential development.
Though the parcel has 36 owners listed at the county courthouse, a local
couple obtained the opinion of an attorney that they own the 85-foot
section of beach in front of their lot. A 560-square-foot boathouse was
torn down and a 1,000-plus square-foot architect-designed cottage began to
arise on the beach, soon after most local owners had left for the season.
The two story, dry-walled “boathouse” with picture windows, central heat,
a new septic system, kitchen, living room and full bath and was fully
usable as a two bedroom four-season beachfront cottage, with a small area
reserved for very short “boats” facing the road, not the lake.
Our property rights are at serious risk if “the opinion of an
attorney,” a fictitious lot, surprise construction, and huge legal
fees needed to fight a pro-development township become a new way to
acquire property in Michigan. The township board will be questioned at
the May 5, 7 p.m. monthly meeting at 5153 Scenic Hwy, Honor; public
input is welcome.
See “Save Crystal Shoreline” on Facebook for photos, more information and

Harvard Vallance • Kalamazoo

Stand up for workers
I have been fortunate to have been part of two groups who have gone down
to Lansing in the past few weeks to visit OUR capital and exercise OUR
constitutionally guaranteed right to peaceful assembly. The first trip
was as a guest of Michael Moore and a local initiative which grew into a
bus load of concerned and curious citizens. The second trip was courtesy
of the Sheet Metal Workers International Association and affiliates. That
trip included two buses and, when we arrived in Lansing there were at
least 60 buses parked all around the Capital and thousands of the curious
and concerned. We also managed to get State Sen. Howard Walker and State
Rep. Wayne Schmidt here for a town hall meeting attended by well over 400
folks. Much to my surprise and dismay, our local media, with the
exception of TV 7&4, has shown little interest in any of this.
Regarding the “financial crisis.” For the politicians to talk about us
all having to share the burden of the deficit and then turn around and
basically shift a $1.5 billion tax burden off the shoulders of businesses
and put it on the backs of the retired and working poor is not only bad
math but is short-sighted and truly mean-spirited.
This shift does nothing but take money from one pocket and put it in
another. Meanwhile, we still have the deficit. Come on Mr. Governor, you
are a CPA. And the argument that the cause of our deficit is because for
the past 50 or 60 years working people have gained financial ground and
stability is just plain stupid. We all know where the money went. It
went to crooks and bankers; it went into political graft and Wall Street
garbage paper like credit default swaps. We essentially wrapped it up and
shifted it overseas.
Michigan is a state rich in natural and human resources. Unfortunately,
with this global economy, the wealthy can live here but make and sell
their goods overseas. Business neither needs American labor or American
buyers to make money.
The wealthy can go right on making more without the old middleman of the
American worker. But they didn’t get that money first without the help
and protection of teachers, cops, firefighters, construction specialists,
corrections professionals and the rest of us common workers. Fair play is
fair play.
Follow the money. It’s not coming back into Michigan. Well, except for a

Bill Brown • TC

Legislator cutbacks
In response to a letter by Wally Juall (“Share the pain“ 4/11), I did
contact our state legislator and found many errors in that letter. In
fact, legislative salaries were cut as part of a Senate Concurrent
Resolution No. 11. in which they voted to cut their own salaries by 10%.
The legislators now receive $71,685. The legislators also took a 10% cut
on their legislative expense and living allowance, now receiving $900.
Also, legislators who began after March of 1997 do not receive lifetime
benefits as misrepresented in the letter. Legislators pay a premium for
their health and life insurance while in office and also have incurred
increased co-pay.
Surprisingly all of this information was available on their web site and
also listed on the State of Michigan web site at
http://www.house.michigan.gov/ in the financial tab. With all of this
information available in an easy search, I wonder if Mr. Juall has
actually contacted his legislator’s office.

Anna Mouser • Williamsburg

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