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 03-05-2012
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Letters 03-05-2012

- March 5th, 2012  

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. 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 letters are not accepted.

Tuttle right on

Stephen Tuttle’s column in the February 6 issue nailed it. The systematic disassembling of our Bill of Rights, through the endless prying into our personal business and matters, will be the undoing of our society.

Sadly, many, if not most of us blindly go along with it because it is always presented in an “in the interest of national security” frame of reference.

In the last month, I have had a personal package that was sent via Fed/Ex ripped open all the way down to and including the wedding card that we had sent to a former exchange student, and endured the senseless searching and seizing that doubles as Homeland Security throughout our commercial airline system.

In neither case did anyone have a shred of probable cause to investigate, yet everything I sent and everything that was traveling was violated.

How do we stop this? Thanks to Mr. Tuttle for his words on the issue, a few more people will realize that its gone way too far.

Robert E. Ford • Elk Rapids

Right to work not working

The State legislature is now considering Right to Work (for less) legislation for Michigan. The usual conservative misinformation campaign is underway, trying to make this an issue of both individual liberty and attracting new jobs. It is neither. I served as the NLRB General Counsel from 1999 to 2001. Section 14(b) of the National Labor Relations Act permits states to void (privately negotiated) union shop labor agreements.

The real objective of RTW is simply to weaken unions financially, so they have greater difficulty organizing and representing workers. In union-shop states like Michigan, even when a majority of employees select union representation, no one is required to join a union under the 1988 Supreme Court decision in Beck v. CWA.

However, all union shop employees must at least pay reduced fees for the costs directly related to collective bargaining, since they are legally entitled to receive both labor agreement benefits and union representation under the grievance procedure.

Michiganders thus already enjoy the “freedom” not to belong to a union.

In RTW states, employees get these same union benefits, but pay no dues or fees. Why then should they get union benefits for free? It’s like demanding the right not to pay any taxes because your candidate is not the governor.

Understandably, RTW states have lower labor costs and costs of living. When you are trying to be like Mississippi, you get all such “benefits” of an underpaid workforce. The recent Economic Policy Institute paper by Gordon Lafer entitled “Does RTW create Jobs?” establishes that wage earners in RTW states can expect to earn 15% less for the same work, with much poorer odds of getting health insurance or pension benefits.

Since Oklahoma adopted RTW a decade ago, the number of manufacturing jobs has declined a third. Michigan wage earners do not need to join this race to the bottom.

Leonard Page • Cheboygan

Bridge technology old

There was a short story in the latest express by Mr. Chuck Shepherd (News of the Weird) about a bridge. This bridge was built on shore and then slid over the gap. He called it “new technology.”

This is not new technology. We built bridges like this when I was in the 809th engineers in the Army in 1967. We called it the “panel bridge” or more exactly, the “Bailey bridge.”

Nolan Kerry • Manistee

Ruining the planet

Most of the world’s carbon is locked up thousands of feet down in the rock. Humans as a species are of uniquely limited use to the planet, but we mostly concentrate on extravagant restoration of past hydrocarbons into air, land and sea.

Every time I fill up with gas I am further convinced that humans have one remaining earthly function, to release as much carbon into the atmosphere as we can. Geologic happenstance has placed the future of the next dominant life form in our hands.

Nature, at some point, will have sufficient carbon to produce a replacement species, humans being hell-bent on driving to perdition rather than awaiting rapture. I am encouraged by our absent winters and warm seas, knowing that instead of ancestors, I will have produced antecedents. Where, now, is my old Chevy 450 V8?

Tom Dolembo • Kewadin

Civil vs. state religion

As we know from history, New England was settled by the Puritan separatists who left England, first for Holland and then for America. Although there were other strains of religious belief, early colonial America was dramatically a Puritan society.

By 1776, an estimate 85 percent of the European population held reformed, usually Puritan, views.

This fact makes America in this period arguably the most thoroughly Protestant nation in the history of the world.

Given this history, it is no wonder that the American psyche is based on Puritan foundations. The Puritans placed repeated emphasis on America and Americans as God’s elect.

We often hear in political dialogue about America's specialness. Even the doctrine of Manifest Destiny has Puritan roots. The Puritans so greatly affected the formation of the American spirit that even our political life has religious dimension.

America has a uniquely civil religion. The basic idea of this civil religion is that America has a higher goal or purpose. Several themes are prevalent in this American civil religion.

The first is the providential history of the United States. George Washington felt America was part of God’s plan and even our only Catholic president, John Kennedy, used this theme.

The second theme is a strong notion of covenant that comes out of the Hebrew bible. There is an implicit pact with God in the founding of America. With this belief, America shows the entire world the possibilities. Abraham Lincoln saw the Civil War as a test of this covenant.

Given the above, it is a wonder that our founding fathers had the wisdom to create the constitutional separation of church and state, which ensured that no single denomination would dominate all others and become a state religion.

Ron Marshall • Petoskey

No butts here

To all the smoking masochists that still inhabit northern Michigan: STOP throwing your cigarette butts out your windows and littering our streets!!! What is the matter with you people? Did your parents give you the OK to throw your trash out the window when you were a kid?

Why can’t you just take your cigarette butt home and throw it in your trash? Is that really too hard to do?

There are many local residents that are working diligently and tirelessly to make Traverse City and Northern Michigan a beautiful place to live, and to see people throw their spent cigs out the window just pisses me off.

If you feel the urge to throw your crap out your car window, then PLEASE do all who live here a favor and relocate to another state.

Jason Kasper • TC

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