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The dictator of Detroit
Detroit may well join the great Mayan cities of Mexico & Guatemala, as cities no longer fulfilling their function. Countless military, commercial and cultural centers have come and gone in our planet’s history.
In his Random Thoughts of the July 22-28 edition of Northern Express, Robert Downes wrote “given the situation where 40% of the street lights don’t work and only a dozen or so of the city’s 36 broken-down ambulances have been in service this year, it seems odd that anyone objected to Governor Snyder’s push to appoint emergency financial managers for (Detroit), along with Pontiac, Benton Harbor and Flint.”
Why are objections “odd”? Governor Snyder is declaring the equivalent of martial law in Detroit and other cities. He suspends the authority and activities of elected governments, something we all should find objectionable.
Elected government is replaced by a financial manager with dictatorial powers to perform a community’s governmental functions. This dictator is free to sell assets owned by the community, obliterate contractual obligations of the municipality, and determine what (if any) services to provide to the community.
This dictator is appointed by the Governor, and is not answerable to the citizens of the community. The dictator is free to put the interests of creditors ahead of the interests of the community.
No matter how dysfunctional Congress gets, is our President allowed to appoint a legislative manager to ensure that our country’s legislative needs are met? Mr. Downes, should our President be able to replace Congress with a legislative manager to ensure that our government doesn’t grind to a halt because Congress refuses to pass legislation required to keep it functioning?
Daniel Robbins • Mackinaw City
Cyclists: beware of police
Last week while bicycling to work I was pulled over by a Traverse City police officer in his cruiser on Front Street! I was guilty of “running a red light.”
Actually running a red light on a bike would be reckless and stupid. I stopped at the light (at Front & Park), looked both ways for traffic, and continued on my way. I also do this at pedestrian cross walks; I’m guilty of jay walking as well.
The officer pulled me over at Front & Cass and asked me for my license (um, my bike license?). When he looked up my pristine record he must have felt an obligation to society to penalize me, for he presented me with a ticket for $130 and 3 points on my license. I didn’t argue, he clearly meant business.
I’m not trying to be a rebel cyclist (it’s a one-speed cruiser bike for Christ’s sake), I’m just trying to get to work the fastest way possible. I run a business, work full-time and I have a 5-year-old and a 6-month-old baby to get ready for school and daycare before I go to work. I did not appreciate the pull over or the ticket. A stern warning would have been sufficient.
Seriously? Traverse City Police don’t have anything better to do than fine a local business owner who commutes to work? Why don’t you go after the people making meth labs? How about the people who drive down Front Street the wrong way? Or, how about the people who almost run me over EVERY SINGLE DAY at Division & Grandview Parkway? I risk my life at those crosswalks!
When I presented my case in front of the magistrate, she was not sympathetic. Based on recent events... follow the rules of the road... yes, yes, I get it. A ticket on a bicycle is actually $75 and no points. I paid my fine and thought “$75... that’s a lot of donuts.”
Susan V. Ruoff, president of Venus beauty boutique • TC
Unions are everywhere
To those who continue to oppose any labor groups; attempt to organize a union, let us look at the description of the word, “union.” It can be a bloc, club, guild, alliance, marriage, fellowship, and any coalition of groups.
Now let us look at unions not objected to in a negative view: The AMA, ABA, chambers of commerce, religious groups, and of course, our own Congress.
Why is it that so much negative effort is continually being applied to dissuade any labor group trying to organize a union? Forming a union is a 1st Amendment right for workers.
Those individuals who exploit Third World countries with sweatshops use this leverage to bring down our middle class.
It’s time to change the direction our society is heading in. We've got to pull together to save our earned pensions and stop the government from looting our Social Security. “It’s our money.”
John Sanchez • TC
Health costs gone wild
Are we being doctored! Health care costs, Medicare, and Medicaid are out of control.
Drug companies bombard us with commercials for medications. They urge us to ask for these pills, as they ask our doctors to prescribe them.
The drug companies make up ailments, then formulate medications, not to cure us, but for us to take forever. Can we even trust their recommended immunizations? What about a flu shot that works 10% of the time? They urge us to get our children on drugs to control their behavior. And we as adults reach for a pill every time we have the slightest discomfort, setting an example for our children to do the same thing, but often with illegal drugs.
Don’t we need to take control and make sure that what the health care industry does is in our best interest? Not just another test or procedure that they feel necessary to protect themselves from another malpractice suite.
For those of us who are getting older, several of the tests and screenings often recommended are not worth the risk. Isn’t it up to each of us to make sure that we discuss the situation openly with our doctors and make your own decisions?
Walt Lund • via email