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 08-19-13
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Letters 08-19-13

- August 19th, 2013  

The leakers & freedom

Stephen Tuttle’s writing exemplifies the confusion surrounding Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden.

You say that names of Afghan and Chinese nationals have been released? The list please. You write that “they’ve exposed nothing illegal under current law.” If one looks at what Wikileaks published thanks to Mr Manning (http://www.bradleymanning.org/learn-more/ what-did-wikileaks-reveal), then one may be exposed to revelations describing what should be illegal acts.

Here is a partial list: “official policy to ignore torture in Iraq,” including torture of Iraqi civilians by U.S. soldiers. “U.S. officials were told to cover up evidence of child abuse by contractors in Afghanistan.” “U.S. military officials withheld information about the indiscriminate killing of Reuters journalists and innocent Iraqi civilians.”

If there is just ONE example of illegal activity revealed by Wikileaks and thanks to Mr Manning or Mr Snowden then what, Mr Tuttle?

Bill Williston • TC

Exposing the insanity

I have to disagree with Stephen Tuttle about the comparison between Manning, Snowden and Daniel Ellsberg (who released The Pentagon Papers).

Ellsberg had the support of the New York Times and a country that was sick of the war in Southeast Asia. The people that supported us were doomed at the end of the war. The same thing will happen in Iraq and Afghanistan.

(Unlike Ellsberg) Manning and Snowden would have been locked up never to be heard from again. Of course, like Nixon and Kissinger, the real criminals will never be punished. We need more of these people to expose the insanity of our politicians.

Byron Williams • via email

She’s following the rules

Dear Fellow Cyclists/Commuters: I am surprised and dismayed at your anger towards me and I feel you missed the point of my letter in the August 5 issue.

I DO NOT feel that I am in any way above the law. I also knew that I was at fault and admitted my actions. My anger was towards the police officer who gave me a motor vehicle ticket for a bicycle offense. I also felt that the punishment was far greater than the offense deserved.

My girlfriend was pulled over last week for going through a red light with her car and she only received a warning. I simply felt that I was unfairly punished for a minor violation. $75 is a lot of money to me. It's 3 1⁄2 cans of baby formula, a tank of gas, an adult education class, etc. But do not worry fellow cyclists, I am now clearly stopping at all stop signs and traffic lights.

Susan V. Ruoff • TC

Violations everywhere

I have taken a week since reading the letter to the editor about being ticketed for running a red light in downtown Traverse City. I was so filled with different emotions as I read it that I needed to take some time to sort through it all.

First off, thank you, city PD, for ticketing ANYONE who breaks the rules. Daily I see all manner of problems: cars not stopping for people in crosswalks; bikes riding the wrong way on one way streets and riding on the wrong side of streets; running stop signs by everyone; jaywalking when there’s a legal cross walk just steps away; double-parking for that 5-minute trip into the store.... and much more.

I ride a bike for many reasons. I have a commuter bike, a mountain bike (my first love) and a road bike. Every time I use a bike, I wear a helmet. I know it makes my hair look like crap, but I’d much rather have bad hair than a dead brain.

Every time I ride my bike I follow the rules of the road as if I were driving a car. No exceptions. My life depends upon following the rules. As a society we tend to want to bend rules as much as possible. Why? Are we all just too busy to follow the rules? Is that acceptable?

As a business owner, a mom, a wife (almost) and a member of two boards of directors, I am busy too. But I stop at red lights. It’s just as red if you’re on a bike as in a car. But maybe that’s not the problem.

Before you drive a car you have to take classes and have a license. When you buy a bike, it’s unfortunate there isn’t any requirement for education or a helmet. As a cyclist who educated herself before she got on the bike, I’m begging others to do the same.

I carry several copies of the League of Michigan Bicyclist’s book, “What Every Michigan Bicyclist Must Know” in my car. My intent is to share these when I see people not riding in a lawful or safe manner. It’s free to view online (http://www.lmb.org/index. php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2 0&Itemid=41). Many local bike shops have them and if they don’t, ask why not.

Kim Dittmar • TC

By the book

Far too often cyclists violate traffic laws with little regard for drivers. I’m not saying that all cyclists are bad drivers and that I support this form of transportation. I wish I had the ability to ride a bike to work as Susan Ruoff does.

I would like to direct all cyclists to Michigan Vehicle Code 257.657 that states (paraphrasing) “anyone operating a bicycle on a public roadway shall be considered a vehicle and shall be subject to the same driving laws.”

PLEASE cyclists, learn the rules and obey them. We can certainly share the road, but only if we all follow the same rules. Thank you Susan for riding your bike and protecting our environment.

Tom Speers • via email

Reckless riders

I live in TC and the behavior of some cyclists is quite frankly scary. Running red lights, wearing dark clothes without any lights and only minimal reflectors at night, riding three abreast taking up the entire street, riding on the wrong side of the road, weaving from one side of the road to the other, not signaling turns, not stopping at crosswalks when riding on the sidewalk, cutting in front of cars and jumping from riding on the sidewalk to riding on the street are all things I have seen cyclists do in the past two weeks.

I wish they had all gotten tickets, perhaps it would have helped to change their behavior.

I know many responsible cyclists who obey the rules of the road and I thank them for making it safer for all of us on the roads. There are responsible and irresponsible parties on both sides of the wheel.

It does not matter how many wheels you are using, if you are using the streets you need to obey the traffic laws, being a business owner and busy parent is no excuse. We do not have different rules of the road for different classes of people.

Mrs. Ruoff, $75 seems relatively inexpensive for running a red light, hopefully you have learned your lesson. Sorry for the loss of your “pristine” record, but I am grateful that you were not injured while running a red light. That would have bee a horrible thing, both for you and the operator of the other vehicle.

Jeannie Cole • TC

Negligent motorists

The recent bevy of hostile letters directed at cyclists (Letters-8/11) has me convinced that there is more going on here than just frustration over how long a cyclist sits at a red light.

First of all, if the drivers of motorized vehicles that require licensing and insurance convey this much hostility in a letter, I, as a cyclist, certainly don’t want to share any road with you.

Second, is it possible that there are some jealous feelings about the possible benefit of cycles vs. cars, that have nothing to do with the rules of the road?

After all, cyclists don’t have to insure their vehicles, or pay for gas or parking. The maintenance costs for a bicycle are also far less than for a motor vehicle. In that regard, it must seem like a pretty sweet deal.

But let’s stop to consider that for every benefit of commuting on a bicycle, there is a trade-off. If you’ve ever been caught cycling in a sudden storm, you can understand this.

Consider that a fair number of cyclists commute because car ownership is not financially viable. If the costs of car maintenance, insurance, and gas leave you feeling embittered, consider what it would be like to not be able to afford that.

How is it fair to demand that cyclists pay insurance on a 0% carbon producing, selfpowered vehicle that has little to no impact on roads, air quality, and other vehicles, structures, and drivers, should there be a collision?

Most cyclists do follow the rules of the road because it’s in our best interest. Mainly, we’re not interested in getting run over by an angry or inattentive motorist.

I want to share what I often see whenever I head out on my bike: people behind the wheel, devoting far more attention to their cell phone, coffee, food, or whatever other task they feel inclined to do while driving. The key recommendation is PAY ATTENTION. Not to a phone, or food. THE ROAD. YOUR SPEED.

I sometimes wish that I didn’t even have to interact with people driving motor vehicles when I’m out on my bike, because of the apparent negligence of about 20% of them. Sadly, that’s not how it works.

Fortunately, most drivers do accept that cyclists are a part of their reality, and do not act with animosity.

In conclusion, if you see a cyclist in your path, or one that will soon be in it, consider that they’re just trying to get where they are going, just like you, without incident, and cut them some slack. If they are wearing a helmet, looking at signs and traffic signals, and other indications that they do indeed follow the rules of the road, that’s the least they deserve.

Annaka Dodd • via email

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