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 03-11-2013
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Letters 03-11-2013

- March 11th, 2013  

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.

Students defend work

Last Friday, we, writers of The Leek, the satirical page of Traverse City Central’s the Black & Gold, published an infographic describing in four steps how to “grind,” a controversial dance that has been commonplace in TCAPS schools but was recently banned.

We cannot stress enough that this graphic is satirical and in no way encourages the practice of grinding; rather, it entirely shames it. It uses hyperbole (step one states “locate victim’s hips and latch hold”) to express our belief that grinding is an inappropriate practice, especially in schools. It features one female student photoshopped dancing with herself -- purposefully avoiding any co-ed contact. Central students, our target audience, can recognize that both students pictured in the graphic are, in fact, the same person.

However, when local radio stations 106 KHQ and 104.5 Bob FM posted a picture of the graphic on Facebook, things got out of hand. They presented only a photo of the graphic without any context or our disclaimer, which affirms that The Leek is satirical.

This misrepresentation of the infographic victimized the students and their class adviser. It caused many disturbed adults to comment on how the graphic is unsuitable for a high school newspaper, one even suggesting that the students involved should be “flogged.”

Contrary to what critics have been saying, there was a rationale behind the graphic. It demonstrates how ridiculous and disgusting grinding can be, and attempts to enlighten students as to how many adults view grinding. As the practice has been banned at our school, it is not possible that students would interpret the graphic as condoning the dance.

If people think that what we did was inappropriate, good. If publishing this can open a dialogue about the place of grinding in youth culture, then we have done our job as satirists.

Scott Hardin & Alec Reznich • TC

Rough roads & TC

Michigan residents appear to agree that Michigan roads are in poor shape and in need of immediate improvement. What no-one can agree on is where we find the dollars to complete the task. To begin with, we should stop building new roads until we can maintain the roads we currently have.

Next, we need to embrace alternative transportation solutions as a means of using our roads less, thereby extending their usefulness; and only after exhausting all financing means from current taxation policies should we go to the public for the funds required to improve our roads. That means Lansing politicians must carefully review all expenses to ensure the public that Michigan cannot shift spending from other programs to assist in improving our roads.

The city of Traverse City after years of neglect, internally found the dollars needed to start required road improvements by carefully reducing other expenditures. One cannot assume the State has the same opportunity.

The Michigan Department of Transportation is doing their part in both curtailing new road construction and developing transportation alternatives. Before taxing more, the public must be assured that the legislature is not overfunding other programs such as higher education and prisons at the expense of our roads. If new funding is indeed required, we can no longer rely on regressive taxation to solve these issues.

The 2011 changes in Michigan tax policy recognized many of the inequities in the tax system which had too many breaks for retirees and an excessive taxation on small business. However Michigan missed the opportunity to establish progressive tax rates and the huge reduction in the earned income tax credit only served to advance regressive tax policy. The income disparity in Michigan households is widening at the same time that trips to food pantries are increasing at an alarming rate. Food pantry trips in Grand Traverse County have nearly double in the last five years and far too many of our newly created jobs actually pay little more than welfare. Yet our taxing policies on sales, assets and income do not consider ability to pay in the equation.

As the legislature explores new means of taxation to pay for road improvements they must expect that those of us (like myself) who drive newer, bigger and more expensive cars should pay a greater share of the cost than those who are already struggling to fillup their tanks just to get to work.

Mike Estes, Mayor • TC

Source of the sequester

In his 2/25 column, Steve Tuttle offers a reasonably fair-minded look at this sequester’s history. However, he asserts that Congress came up with “a law under which budget cuts and and tax increases will take place automatically absent a budget deal.”

However, in “Dragging Us Down With Them,” Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward wrote, “My extensive reporting for my book “The Price of Politics’” shows that the automatic spending cuts were initiated by the White House and were the brainchild of Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and White House congressional relations chief Rob Nabors.

“Obama personally approved of the plan for Lew and Nabors to propose the sequester to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid,” asserted Woodward. “They did so at 2:30 p.m. July 27, 2011, according to interviews with two senior White House aides who were directly involved.”

Even White House spokesperson Jay Carney admitted that the sequester idea came from the White House. This deal is 19 months old. In truth, our legislators are doing exactly what their constituents want. Democratic electors want more spending, and the Republican electors want less spending.

Chuck Finley • via email

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