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 11-18-13
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Letters 11-18-13

- November 18th, 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.

‘Big problem’ in TC

Today Traverse City Police sent two officers in separate cars to search downtown for me. An officer approached me while I was sitting on a chair in the hallway of a store with a sleeping baby in my lap, and said, “You’re the one I’m looking for... if you sit on Talbots’ ledge or smoke within 15 feet of the store, you and I will have a big problem.”

It seems strange to be singled out, even searched for, especially since officers never witnessed the so-called crime and downtown is full of smokers “breaking law.” Perhaps we all need reminding, Traverse City has bigger problems.

Maria Housden • via email

He’s not so old...

I just finished reading your article about my father; 61 years old is not OLD! Many people have told me that they were offended at the description of my father’s attempted burglary. In this day and age, 61 is not old. It would be easy for many 61-year-old men to defend themselves against a young man.

Jonquil Norman • via email

A black eye for millage

I have called Traverse City home now for 14 years. I have witnessed many wonderful, progressive and positive things over the course of time. My family has a deep passion for our community.

This brings up an issue that is a bit mind boggling. I got up this morning to hear the school millage had gone down in defeat. This came as a shock to learn this, chiefly because this millage was for basic improvements for the future of our schools and not for administrative costs.

It’s also hard to fathom that nearly 50% of TCAPS parents are not registered voters. This millage would have cost the average household nearly $29 a year! I’m guessing a typical family probably throws away this much in food in an average week.

I don’t want to ever have to witness the bewilderment and confusion on my daughter’s face after telling her that today a majority of voters opted to put a black eye on nearly 10,000 of our kids and their future.

Chris Oblinger • TC

Hoarders take note

A front page article in the October 11 edition of the Record Eagle read, “Hoarder found dead after home fire.” The fire took place in the Cherryland Mobile Home Park in the early morning of October 10. It took the life of the mobile home’s sole resident, John Norberg.

To me, the article seems to insinuate that Norberg, whom a nearby neighbor described as a ‘pack rat,’ fell victim to his habit of collecting items that he liked to tinker with. Apparently, his mobile home was packed so full of ‘boxes upon boxes’ of items, that it thwarted any attempt that Norberg may have made to escape the fire.

My questions: do you know anyone who could easily be described as a ‘packrat'? So much so that the person thus can be considered a ‘hoarder’? (And is that person, in fact, you?) I find it very sad that it comes down to a person losing his life to shed light on the issue of hoarding. It’s sad to walk past a place right in my own neighborhood in Garfield Township with my preschool daughter, explaining to her for the first time that fires can kill.

But hoarding DOES NOT have to contribute to your demise... there may very well be help from the mental health community. Ask a local psychologist if your collecting habit has gotten to the point of “hoarding disorder,” with information available at the library. Reach out and help someone, especially if that someone is you.

Joe Connolly • Garfield Township

Straitjacket education

A well-researched article in the Christian Science Monitor reviews the International Student Assessment (PISA) scores of U. S. students as 30th in math literacy, 20th in science and 14th in reading.

This seems troubling; however, studies by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), an international consortium of 400 researchers, consistently rates the U.S. as excelling in entrepreneurship which, of course, requires free thinking, innovation and action.

The article further states that scholars have noticed an inverse relationship between GEM scores (entrepreneurship) and PISA scores ( academic).

Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak is cited as saying that a company like Apple would not emerge in a structured country like Singapore, “because that would require a society with great artists, musicians and writers,” which they do not have. They have great PISA scores, but no creativity.

An on-line short biography on the other cofounder of Apple, Steve Jobs, indicates that he dropped out of Reed College after 6 months, and for the next 18 months sat in on creative courses of his choice, thereby designing his own educational program as a base for his phenomenal success.

Because he was a college dropout, should we consider him a bad statistic?

A companion article in the Monitor details Singapore’s realization of the importance of the arts, now considering them “crucial to Singapore’s growing innovationdriven economy.” Major changes are being instituted.

Our statistics-loving bureaucrats and educators are pushing for national standardized education with standardized tests as an absolute measure of “success.” This will be restrictive and intense academics. No room for individual thought or the arts. This can be called Straitjacket Education.

Goodbye creativity and entrepreneurship. Congratulations Singapore.

Bernard Hanchett • TC

Quack diagnosis?

I see that Dr. Benishek has described global warming as “some sort of scam.”

Congressman Benishek is a physician; he has no formal training or education in the environmental sciences. So his characterization of global warming as a “scam” would be as valid as the environmental scientists calling him a “quack.”

You do not want an environmental scientist to diagnose your cancer, and neither do you want a physician to diagnose global warming.

George Wellman • Cedar

Helping the homeless

Homeless Awareness Week is Nov. 17-23, so I decided to take a few moments to share optimistic news about homelessness for Grand Traverse, despite the HUD data that indicated roughly 350 people are homeless in the five-county area.

Northwest Michigan Supportive Housing (NMSH) is the only local nonprofit organization that makes its mission housing homeless individuals and families with mental health needs in Permanent Supportive Housing.

Supportive housing results in our tenants’ decreased use of homeless shelters, hospitals, emergency rooms, jails and prisons. NMSH boasts a 92% success rate for people who stay in housing.

Over the last 13 years, the Greater Grand Traverse Area Continuum of Care (of which NMSH is a member) has been awarded upward of $14 million in federal funds to support local organizations serving the homeless. The Grand Traverse community should be very proud of itself, the work of the Continuum of Care and NMSH. As a community, we are setting a great example.

Emilee Syrewicze Executive Director NW Michigan Supportive Housing

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