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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- July 29th, 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.

Cast not the first stone...

The Defense of Marriage Act was stuck down. It’s a bitter pill for many Christians who believe that homosexuality is narrowly defined as a sexual act devoid of human emotion.

They contend that gayness is a choice. They believe that acceptance of homosexuality is the ruination of America; to the exclusion of poverty, exploitation, greed and the violence we visit upon each other and the people of other nations.

It’s not as if Christians have not erred in the judgment of others. They ethnically cleansed Native Americans. They believed black slaves were genetically equal to animals. They fought interracial marriage.

Time and time again throughout history some Christians have denounced “others” as morally and mentally inferior, denying them liberty, respect and acceptance.

Martin Luther King Jr. once described the depth of love God asked of us to show towards our neighbors as well as our enemies. “It is a love that seeks nothing in return. It is an overflowing love; it’s what theologians would call the love of God working in the lives of men. And when you rise to love on this level, you begin to love men, not because they are likeable, but because God loves them. You look at every man, and you love him because you know God loves him.”

To those who believe that gay marriage is a bridge too far, your feelings have been heard and duly noted. You are free to stand alone in judgment before God and confess you tried to stop it, socially stigmatizing homosexuals, fostering an atmosphere of discrimination, bullying, suicides and murder. God have mercy on you. Ezekiel writes God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because of pride, haughtiness, excess food and prosperous ease, inhospitality towards strangers and indifference to the poor; ironically a perfect description of the U.S today.

Julie A Racine • Marion

The coming water wars

Water is a finite resource. All the fresh water there ever was, or will be, is on Earth now, and 20% of it is in the Great Lakes Watershed .

Threats to our precious water are already here. Pollution and invasive species are a part of this. Climate change, diversion and extraction are depleting the availability of clean water in Pure Michigan.

We allow the taking of up to 30 million gallons per well for the hydro-fracking process, poison it with numerous chemicals that don’t have to be disclosed, and it is then forever unusable.

What will that do to the needs of people and the ecosystems that support us? What will happen to our Pure Michigan economy, one that is based on tourism and agriculture?

We need a change of consciousness.

Think about it.

Ann Rogers • TC

A must-see film

I would like to thank Gary Howe for sponsoring the important film, “The Human Scale,” on Wednesday, 7/31 at Milliken Auditorium and on Thursday, 8/1 at the Bijou by the Bay. The film is about designing the future around people rather than letting cars cause such a mess. So many of our current problems, from global warming to childhood obesity are exacerbated by car-centric design. Jan Gehl’s ideas and leadership deserve our attention.

Mark Nixon • TC

A liberal definition

Fascinated by recent attempts to create definitions of “liberal” and “conservative,” I, a proud liberal, feel compelled to offer a fact-based definition.

“Liberalism (from the Latin liberalis) is a political philosophy or worldview founded on ideas of liberty and equality. In Spain, the Liberales were the first group to use the liberal label in a political context, and that is the reason why it is currently used.

Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but generally they support ideas such as free and fair elections, civil rights, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, free trade, and private property (Wikipedia).”

Of course we liberals want everyone to agree with us but a main theme of liberalism is protecting the rights of all people and all opinions (even if we think those opinions are antediluvian).

One attribute of liberals is the time taken to explain complex positions and ideas. Too much of the current political conversation involves attacks on everything from Medicare, Social Security, public schools and voting rights, to nasty personal attacks on President Obama.

To me one of the burdens of being “liberal” is to be open and intellectually honest. It is ideas and the course of our nation we need to discuss, in a thoughtful manner.

One of the discouraging aspects of our current political climate is the vitriol, the misconstruction of the other’s position, a lot of outright falsification, and just plain rudeness.

And so, this is one “liberal’s” plea for honest discussion, not distortion.

Sara Gay Dammann • via email

Supreme arrogance

I’m usually in nearly total agreement with anything Stephen Tuttle writes, but I want to take slight exception to his apparent view of our current Supreme Court in “On Life Support.”

He implies in a recent column that they are a bit doddering, that they have lost touch with reality, that “Their America and the one in which the rest of us live don’t seem to be the same place,” that they have “drifted away” from us, that they “(live) in a world in which the past no longer needs to inform the present ...”

I think Roberts and Co. know exactly what they are doing. It’s all about power. In direct contradiction to Chief Justice Roberts’ promises during his confirmation, the Court has taken nearly every opportunity –-even, in Citizens United, throwing judicial restraint aside and MANUFACTURING an opportunity—to increase corporate power. And in its most important directly political case the Court threw precedent AND evidence aside to gut the Voting Rights Act, thus almost certainly increasing Republican political power. Its main “liberal” rulings --on upholding ObamaCare and striking down federal restrictions on marriage equality—have little to do with power, and in my opinion aim to create a sense of judicial even-handedness, to keep the Court from being seen for what it is, an extremely conservative and activist Court.

Of course, who knows what those five Republican-appointed justices are really thinking. But given their record on important cases, is there any question about where they want to take us? About which side of the political and corporate scales they have their thumbs on?

Ron Tschudy, Central Lake

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