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 11-25-13
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Letters 11-25-13

- November 25th, 2013  

Email letters 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. Faxed letters are not accepted.

Create a festival venue

There has been a lot of discussion about the festival issue in Traverse City recently. Festivals do draw people to the area and we don’t want to discourage that.

On the other hand we need to be sensitive to residents’ desire for a peaceful community.

Perhaps one solution would be to construct a festival venue. A couple examples would be Big Top Chautauqua in Bayfield, Wisconsin, home of Tent Show Radio and the American Players Theater in Spring Green. These are “destinations.”

Traverse City could do something similar that would allow festivals to take place and yet control traffic, noise and other concerns. Even Charlevoix has their bandshell. Let’s get creative as a community and solve this problem in a manner that serves the entire community.

Tom Speers • via email

Other festival options

All of the articles and discussion on the festival issue seem to assume that all TC festivals must be at the Open Space.

We can have BOTH festivals AND an open and attractive waterfront if the festivals are located someplace else in TC, such as the Civic Center, F&M Park, GT Commons, or on private property, such as the lot at Pine and Front, etc.

That would give TC all of the tourist advantages of festivals PLUS an open and attractive and quiet waterfront -- it’s a win-win.

The waterfront is its own attraction to tourists and does not need a festival to bring people to it. Festivals at non-waterfront venues can bring tourists to TC and/or entertain them while they’re here, and locals and tourists alike can enjoy a quiet, open Open Space, whether on foot or driving along the Parkway. Let’s separate the discussion of “keep the Open Space open” from “TC needs festivals”... we can certainly do both.

Lyn Dolson Pugh • via email

Fatbikes bad for Vasa trail

TART Trails is a great organization that does many wonderful things for the region. Pushing fatbikes onto the Vasa Pathway ski trails is not one of them.

Last winter, TART hosted demo days for shops selling fatbikes. Bikes were trucked out for people to try at the Vasa trailhead. Fatbikers kept coming. Soon the Vasa footpaths and snowshoe trails were rutted and ruined for other users. Groomed ski trails were still off limits.

This winter, TART announces “Fatbike Fridays” for the growing number of fatbikers it helped create to have access to the Vasa ski trails, which were developed and long supported by local skiers.

TART manages the trails under an agreement with the DNR and has kept hikers off groomed trails for years. But now TART says the absence of a state forest ban on fat bikes provides no authority and fat bikes are entitled. Convenient.

Groomed trails are designed for skate and classic-style skiers. Fat bikes are a third group that will damage surfaces and create the congestion and danger of collisions people take to designated ski trails to escape.

TART says this is a trial run, but the agenda seems clear.

Fatbikers, cycle-centric TART, local bike shops and dealers, and others behind this push should channel the sport’s new energy and money to develop fatbike trails and stay off ski trails.

On Wisconsin’s famous Birkebeiner – a ski trail system, organization, and race that helped inspire the Vasa -- fatbikes are allowed an annual race but otherwise banned.

That’s because, as the Birkebeiner web site states, “our priority is giving skiers the best possible experience all winter.”

Sadly, not so with TART.

Michael Roberts • Williamsburg

Cowboy mentality

Perhaps the NRA’s president thinking that the best way to deal with an active shooter is to have a good man with a gun.

Such thinking probably stems from the American myth regarding the citizen soldier. It was believed that every able body man could grab their musket off the mantle and successfully defend his community. In early days, colonists had to defend themselves against the Indians, the French, the Spanish, and during the revolutionary war against the British.

Unfortunately, the militia proved to be unreliable and untrained. Washington preferred his trained army since the militia was no match against the British.

The citizen soldier did poorly in the War of 1812 and their lawless behavior in the war against Mexico was criticized by the regular army. The belief that untrained or poorly trained citizens can defend against trained soldiers was laid to rest.

To believe that untrained citizens can effectively handle an active shooter is not only naive but ignores our poor history regarding the citizen soldier. Relying on untrained citizens to deal with an active shooter not only places their life in danger but could result in injuries to others.

Like with fires, the best way to fight fires is through prevention. Let us begin to prevent active shooters by enacting universal background checks design to keep guns out the hands of criminals and the mentally unstable.

Ronald Marshall • Petoskey

Indigents insulted

I read your “The Season of Giving” article in the Northern Express and appreciate what you conveyed in the article. I do have one comment about a term you used in the list of local agencies.

Under the Safe Harbor listing, you referred to “homeless indigents”-- first, that is rather redundant, and the word “indigent” seems harsh --accurate, maybe, but condescending, and the homeless community does read publications like yours.

We work with Safe Harbor and with homeless and low-income people at our church, and, like most people in the agencies you mentioned, we try to treat these folks as our neighbors, with as much caring and respect as possible.

Also, Safe Harbor is not an “agency” like most of the other listed organizations. Rather, it is a coalition of churches that provide shelter in the churches, rotating from church to church every one or two weeks.

Sandra McDonald • TC


A model in last week’s Northern Seen page was incorrectly identified. That was Kayla Jackson pictured at upper right with the towering hair-do. Cindy Toranzo was the stylist.

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