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..

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Letters 09-24-2012

- September 24th, 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.

Defending workers’ rights

Proposal 2 on Michigan’s November ballot doesn’t force anyone to join a union or to pay union dues. Then why vote for it? Yes on 2 prevents those who want to eliminate collective bargaining from using their power to abuse workers’ rights.

Abuse of power has been demonstrated recently in Wisconsin. Governor Walker removed collective bargaining rights for a select few -- public employees who voted against him in a recall ballot.

Walker said it was about saving money, but even after the unions accepted steep pay and benefit cuts, he continued his drive to end collective bargaining, clearly favoring authoritarian rule.

The elimination of cronyism is essential to collective bargaining. Collective bargaining is founded upon the same principles of democracy that our country holds dear: the freedom of association, self-organization and the right to vote.

Through negotiation and consensus, workers can assemble to identify key issues such as adequate pay, humane hours and fair performance assessment. Assembling and voting on these issues is a democratic process.

Our country joins Afghanistan, China, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and Somalia in not yet enshrining into law the right to collective bargaining. Voting Yes on Proposal 2 is a step in the right direction.

Mary Eliowitz • TC

Appalled by article

I am appalled that a guest opinion writer in the Northern Express would insinuate Kirsten Keilitz was not qualified for a probate judge job simply because she does not have children. The probate court does not only deal with children, but elder law, estates, etc.

Many of us who have children have not yet had to deal with aging parents as Kirsten has. (And let’s be honest, many judges with families are not involved with their own children.) She is both professionally and personally qualified for the job. She is smart, sensitive, rational, and trustworthy. She is the best candidate for judge.

Colleen Shannon • via email

Oil biz targeting Obama

Why are Republicans opposed to Obama’s plan to allow taxes on very high incomes to return to where they were during the Clinton years? Have they forgotten that when Clinton raised the top tax rate, what followed was arguably the best economy in American history?

In Obama we finally have a leader who stood up to the oil and auto industries by substantially raising mileage standards. This is the only way to have a meaningful effect on gasoline prices. And, more importantly, it will greatly reduce our spending on gas simply by reducing the amount we consume.

It’s no wonder Marathon Oil chose the two months prior to the election to close their Detroit refinery. The oil industry wants Obama gone because he has the nerve to work on behalf of the people.

Fred Cepela • TC

Australians vs. Paul Ryan

I have lived in Australia for 33 years and respect their way of life. They did not go into a recession in 2008-9 because they have a good fiscal policy and bank regulation. They have an excellent national health system, a carbon tax, and educational support. Yes, there is healthy debate between right and left on policy issues but Parliamentary leaders from the major parties compromise on issues vital to the nation’s health.

The Australian media views America through this policy framework. It is not surprising that they view the Republican vice-presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan as not credible. The Australian “Financial Times” columnist Martin Wolf summed it up as follows: “Over the next decade, the Ryan plan is inadequate and incomplete. Over the long run, it is incredible. It may be good politics, it is bad policy.”

• Ryan priorities are: tax cuts benefiting the rich; spending cuts predominantly affect the poor.

• Ryan does not specify reductions in tax expenditures, which he says would generate a 19% GDP tax revenue.

• Ryan’s plans to pay for his tax cuts by slashing tax breaks for employer-provided health insurance, mortgage interest, 401(k) accounts and state/local taxes is not going to happen.

• Ryan predicts that by 2050 federal health spending will be lowered by 0.75%, despite the steady increase in seniors, simply by eliminating eligibility for over 65s in 2022. If you believe that is likely, I have a bridge to sell you.

• Ryan’s plan would raise the Federal debt by $6 trillion over the next decade.

This view from down-under is worth considering by American voters.

Peter Wolcott • Northport

Tit for tat on ID requests

On 7/17/12 I submitted a Letter to the Editor to this area’s daily newspaper. To date this letter has gone unpublished.

The letter was critical of an article which appeared criticizing “Voter ID” requirements. The article contained the standard “voter ID” hyperbole.

The same ‘newspaper’ that claims that Voter ID requirements would “disenfranchise voters,” has no problem requiring verification of identity prior to printing letters to the editor. Excuse me while I turn to my well-used Webster dictionary seeking the definition of hypocrisy!

The following comes from their website:

“We must contact you before publication to confirm you actually sent this letter, so we require your telephone and address.” They also require your name.

To date, no contact has been initiated by the newspaper for verification. In fact, three follow-up emails, and one follow-up phone call initiated by myself have gone unanswered.

I understand the paper’s right to choose what they publish, but in the interest of full disclosure they should clearly state that if a letter is critical of their opini... whoops, ‘news article’ then it will not be considered for publication.

I submit this letter to Northern Express fully understanding that they also require proof of identity, and have in the past run articles critical of “Voter ID.” I’ve previously read, in the Northern Express, letters critical of Northern Express articles. I believe this letter stands a chance of publication even in light of these facts.

The other newspaper? I’m thinking of adding a couple parakeets to our family.

Tony Melling • via email

Gravy train slowing down

In reference to “Man Without a Plan” (Letters, 9/17): Just wondering if you watch the news and have observed the uprising of the Arabic people burning our flags, chanting death to America, attacking our embassies and killing our citizens, not to mention the threat of Iran’s nuclear capabilities.

If not, then you are living in a bubble and are very misinformed as to why the military budget needs to stay intact.

Oh, and by the way, as far as I know Bush has not been president for the last three-and-a-half years, so blaming him won’t fly anymore.

Seems like most Democrats have not much to condemn Mitt Romney for, so they're grasping at anything they can find, such as his income tax, which if you check into further he has paid in the last few years.

Playing the race card is not going to work anymore either. It is not Obama’s skin color that is in question here, it is his policies that are not working to bring about jobs and his lack of strength to lead this country in times of international crisis that has many people worried.

Food and gas prices are soaring (inflation) and if you have not tried to find a job in the last three years you have no idea of how hard it is to find one. My hunch is you’re worried about the free taxpayer gravy train slowing down. What you don’t seem to understand is that a system that relies on people working to pay the taxes for the so-called “free programs” can not sustain for the long haul without people finding jobs and will eventually come crashing down.

Melody Bajema • via email

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