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 12/19/2011
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Letters 12/19/2011

- December 19th, 2011  

Email your letter to: info@northernexpress.com

Please keep your letter under 300 words (one page).

Only one letter per reader in a two month period will be accepted. Letters may be edited for length or to correct factual errors. Letters must be signed to be considered for print and a phone number is required for verification. Faxed are not accepted.

Funding family services

I find it ironic how liberals decry conservatives’ efforts to cut funding for education and family services claiming it will be harmful to children, yet they have no problem with abortion which is harmful to unborn children as it kills them. Nor do they seem concerned about the huge federal debt burden our children will face if our government does not make some changes.

What about cutting the 360,000,000 of taxpayer dollars that currently goes toward funding Planned Parenthood and using that money for education and family services?

Claire Scerbak • TC

Australia a great place

The best job I’ve had was walking dogs and sitting cats in Hobart, Tasmania, while living in Australia with my partner during 2006-2009. Australia’s minimum wage then was $14/hour. But my employer didn’t think that was a fair wage and paid her pet carers $17/hour. Such behavior here would be labeled unAmerican.

Though I can’t explain why, we didn’t find Australia nearly as costly as Robert Downes has. Imperial pints of beer were $6- $7; Breakfast for two was $20-$25. A burger with “the works” – hamburger, cheese, fried egg, tomato, lettuce, onion, pineapple, beet root – was $8-$10. (With no tipping in restaurants and pubs because the workers don’t need them!) We lived in a smallish two-bedroom apartment in the nicest suburb of Hobart, within a 10 minute walk of dozens of pubs, cafes, entertainment venues, the central business district, and with a view of the

Sydney-to-Hobart yacht race finish line on the Derwent Estuary, for $1100/month. Supermarket food was more expensive than here when we arrived but about equal in cost when we left. We bought a one year old Toyota Echo for $11,000 and sold it three years later for $10,000. Generally we found the cost of living to be 20-30% higher than here.

Aussies, of course, have universal government health insurance. Students loans are not paid back until the ex-student is earning $40,000/year and then on a sliding scale according to income. If income falls below $40,000 the payments are put on hold. While the Great Recession put America on a heart and lung machine, Australia got a sore throat. Why? Because successive governments - conservative and liberal – maintain real controls on banks and big business.

More than any country I know of, Australia comes closest to living the saying “When everyone does well, everyone does well”.

Mike Johnson • Harrisville

Tuttle off base

Stephen Tuttle argues in “We Are The 80%” (Nov. 7) that our workable class system “started breaking apart not because those at the top kept getting richer and richer. The system broke because those of us in the middle suddenly became stuck in place.” We went into debt on credit and “our jobs got shipped overseas” along with our factories, and the value of our most valuable assets – our homes – plummeted.

Tuttle then contends that the “top 1% or even the top 20% are not responsible for the mess, they just take advantage of circumstances created by politicians who decided the government shouldn’t regulate anything or help anybody.”

In Tuttle’s story, the active agents are the politicians while the rich sit passively by, reaping all the benefits of more and more wealth. This is a highly improbable account. What motivates the politicians to arrange ever-more wealth for the rich and their corporations, while the lower 80% get less and less? The obvious answer is that it is largely due to the efforts of the wealthy few by way of legal bribery in the form of huge campaign contributions and an army of lobbyists who wine and dine the politicians.

Who is largely responsible for the plight of the working and middle classes – the fact that wages have been stagnating and even declining for he past 30+ years, the lost pension funds, the lost health care coverage, the jobs and factories being shipped overseas? All this despite the fact the productivity of the U.S. worker has steadily gone up and U.S. corporate profits have been booming. It’s because many of the rich, along with their corporations, have conspired to be at war with the working and middle classes since the early 70s.

Terence M. Collins • TC

Beware mailings

I just got another one of these political mailers from some Washington, D.C.-based group I have never heard of trying (and failing) to convince me that Congressman Dan Benishek is somehow saving my Medicare.

Hogwash. Last year, then-candidate Dan Benishek said on many occasions that he wants to end Medicare and Social Security. And the first thing he did when he went to congress was to just that. Rep. Benishek voted to end Medicare and force seniors to pay $6,400 of their own money to buy private healthcare while at the same time giving even more tax breaks to the super wealthy.

So it’s clear that this mailer is flat-out misleading people into believe the opposite.

And who is behind these mailers? A group nobody has ever heard of called “Retire Safe.” A quick internet search shows that “Retire Safe” is nothing more than a Republican front group that wants to end Social Security by forcing us to invest in risky private accounts.

How can a group be called “Retire Safe” while at the same wanting to do away with our retirement safety net?

The answer is they can’t. That’s why these mailers go straight in my waste bin. It also tells me that Congressman Benishek has become cozy with the same old Washington crowd that pays for more tax breaks for the wealthy on the backs of seniors.

Lou Ann McKimmy • Rapid City

Group splits

Did you feel some disappointment or disgust reading last weeks article about the Don’t Frack Michigan group “fracturing?” So did we and we co-chair the group.

It wasn’t clear from the article that our group chose to support the bill that Representative Mark Meadows proposed only as far as it supports the move to a ban. We have made asking for a ban our total focus. The 3000 plus signatures we have gotten in our petition for a ban have made that clear.

Controversy may make for interesting journalism, but our group is not decimated by two people leaving. We wish them well. Everyone needs to keep educating the public on the real issue, the devastating practice of high volume horizontal slick water fracking that could ruin the amazing quality of life we know here. (This week the EPA finally acknowledged that fracking polluted an aquifer in Wyoming.)

Please step up and educate yourself at dontfrackmichigan.org and then do something about it. These groups are to help you do that and without your actions, this kind of fracking has the full green light. Our Michigan government is all “frack baby frack”, so let them know how you feel.

Mary Reilly and Joanne Cromley Co-Chairs, Don t Frack Michigan

Alternative energy

In regard to the proposed alternative energy resolution being considered by the Benzie County commissioners on December 20th:

We in Benzie County find placed before us an opportunity to join with communities throughout the country to address the evolving energy needs of the nation.

Due to the diverse nature of our county this task will not be simple; we have stakes in maintaining our farmland, assuring quality of life for our residents, encouraging tourism and providing stewardship for our parks, conservancies and privately owned open country.

What will be required of us at county, township and an individual level is to set aside our differences and develop a balanced alternative energy policy based on legitimate and unbiased studies.

I support passage of a resolution strongly encouraging the development of sustainable energy projects in Benzie County. Additionally, I’d like the commission to go a step further.

In order to establish expectations from the community and to clarify concerns I would have them consider a collaboration between prospective energy producers, the county, townships, our EMS, schools, fire department, law enforcement, road commission and of course our residents.

I call for an end to the animosity that has manifested itself among our friends, family and neighbors during these past several months of debate.

I would ask everyone to remember that no discussion is complete without examining with a fair and open mind the views presented by all those affected. In doing this we will find that no one is fully right and no one is fully wrong. I believe we will ultimately discover that our differences are not so great as to be insurmountable and that we all desire the same thing ... a quality and rewarding life for ourselves and our families.

Thomas Hart • Benzonia

Occupy and engage

There are some folks in our community who are apathetic, who only get information from news and entertainment programming like MSNBC and Fox, and there are others who do not want to read about or discuss the state of our world because it is “too depressing.”

However, there are many of us who are engaged and involved in making a difference. We are involved in community projects, in county government, in issues that go beyond our own communities.

We are active in Democratic, independent, and Republican organizations, the green party, men’s groups, women’s groups. We are involved and active in community service organizations and we are also involved and engaged in the Occupy Traverse City movement.

We are not jobless, hippie losers who have nothing better to do with our time. We are citizens from all walks of life who want to make a difference.

The Occupy Traverse City organization has been making a difference by enlightening our fellow citizens on how they can get involved and make a difference.

As a member of the Leelanau Independent Women for Democratic Action, I am proud to say that our group is bringing a national leader and spokesman for the Move To Amend campaign to Traverse City in January.

Move To Amend is working at the grassroots level to amend the United States

Constitution to repeal Corporate Personhood. The U.S. Supreme Court says Corporations are people and should have the same rights as individuals. We believe corporations are not people and the constitution needs to be amended to repeal this law.

If you are fed up with the current state of the country, you can do something about it.

It may seem that one voice, one person, cannot make a difference; but together, we can and we will.

Occupy Traverse City is a non-partisan, compassionate, active and friendly group that meets twice a week in an effort to change the status quo.

We stand for liberty, free speech, equality, civil discourse, and above all, helping to alleviate despair.

Betty K Bushey • TC

No more lobbying

Thank you Stephen Tuttle for your voice of reason. I’m retired. I watch the news media and the political retoric often with disgust.

I served 20 years in the military including Korea and Viet Nam wars. I’m astounded by how little real care our elected officials exibit about our country and those of us who elected them to represent them.

We seem to have no impact what so ever on their actions. We know why they flock to the Grover Norquists of the special interests. They could care less about the oath of office they took.

Their quest for wealth comes first. They are dishonest and will destroy the concept of Democracy and even free enterprise. So long as we permit lobbying by special interests, they will never vote to stop that process which brings them the greed they choose over the welfare of the people.

We need a constitutional amendment which prohibits lobbying by any elected official and all those other disgusting things they do, like insider trading and tax evasion.

Dale Chrysler • TC

Who creates jobs?

How far from the truth will corporate leaders and politicians stray to protect themselves from public scrutiny? Will more regulation mean fewer jobs from the “job creators?” Consumers are the real job creators.

The other job creator is government. We decide which widgets get made and how many weapons we want built. The more our economic operations and environmental assaults are regulated, the more peacetime jobs there will be in the future, for two reasons.

First, cleaning up after big polluters and restoring the earth as our life support system will take work, from many people. If we want a future we should be willing to promote those kinds of jobs and pay for them.

Second, without serious regulation of the polluters, crooks, and developers, none of us will have jobs because the planet will eject us. If we don’t regulate, restore, and reduce, we are doomed to a very bleak future and our children are doomed completely. We don’t need to make more stuff to have jobs, we need to grow an earth to support living systems.

We should call for more regulation, more control over corporations, and higher taxes to pay for the increased, good jobs this restoration will require.

Peggy Case • Thompsonville

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