Letters

Letters 08-03-2015

Real Brownfields Deserve Dollars I read with interest the story on Brownfield development dollars in the July 20 issue. I applaud Dan Lathrop and other county commissioners who voted “No” on the Randolph Street project...

Hopping Mad Carlin Smith is hopping mad (“Will You Get Mad With Me?” 7-20-15). Somebody filed a fraudulent return using his identity, and he’s not alone. The AP estimates the government “pays more than $5 billion annually in fraudulent tax refunds.” Well, many of us have been hopping mad for years. This is because the number one tool Congress has used to fix this problem has been to cut the IRS budget –by $1.2 billion in the last 5 years...

Just Grumbling, No Solutions Mark Pontoni’s grumblings [recent Northern Express column] tell us much about him and virtually nothing about those he chooses to denigrate. We do learn that Pontoni may be the perfect political candidate. He’s arrogant, opinionated and obviously dimwitted...

A Racist Symbol I have to respond to Gordon Lee Dean’s letter claiming that the confederate battle flag is just a symbol of southern heritage and should not be banned from state displays. The heritage it represents was the treasonous effort to continue slavery by seceding from a democratic nation unwilling to maintain such a consummate evil...

Not So Thanks I would like to thank the individual who ran into and knocked over my Triumph motorcycle while it was parked at Lowe’s in TC on Friday the 24th. The $3,000 worth of damage was greatly appreciated. The big dent in the gas tank under the completely destroyed chrome badge was an especially nice touch...

Home · Articles · News · Letters · Letters 03-24-2014
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Letters 03-24-2014

- March 24th, 2014  

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.

Homestead’s Position Disputed

Thank you to the Express for the recent news item about ten local, state, and national organizations that joined together in a statement calling on The Homestead Resort and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to work together to correct the problem of incompletelytreated wastewater spray blowing into an area of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, rendering it unavailable for public use.

Here is just one clarification: the article notes that the groups are concerned that the incompletely-treated wastewater is a threat to public health, but The Homestead claims that it is “highly-treated and does not threaten health.”

The matter is thoroughly discussed at HomesteadSewage.org, a website that welcomes and contains the views of all concerned, including The Homestead. In short, the Park Service public health expert has recommended that employees wear masks and suits when exposure to the drifting spray is possible. The DEQ has stated that “sewage spray poses a hazard that justifies restricted access.”

In any case, the DEQ rates the substance as unsafe for consumption, as occurs when people breathe it as it blows across public parklands. Hence, the park areas near to the spray areas have had to be posted with warning signs and are unavailable for their intended purpose of public enjoyment.

The Homestead’s sewage system needs to be changed so all of our National Lakeshore can be open for enjoyment by its owners, the public — not just given over to benefit one private company.

Tom Van Zoeren • Maple City

Done With Snyder

Governor Snyder lowered taxes on welloff businesses while raising nearly everyone else’s taxes, undermining both education and the labor movement, which together created Michigan’s strong middle class. His actions also dismantled protections for our priceless Great Lakes shorelines.

Despite these mistakes, I tolerated the governor because he had some good ideas and occasionally vetoed misguided legislation passed by extremist legislators such as our own Ray Franz. However, Snyder has now signed legislation ensuring the funding sources of certain political ads will not have to be disclosed. I call this the “License to Lie” law. People will continue to air dishonest ads, such as those attacking Gary Peters regarding Obamacare, if the funders’ identities can be kept secret. To make matters worse, Snyder had previously promised to increase transparency in elections. Worse yet, his excuse for this flipflop was to simply parrot the lies of radical propagandists who claim that transparency infringes on the 1st Amendment.

Snyder undoubtedly knows that even the current conservative Supreme Court majority has not only upheld the constitutionality of disclosure requirements, but has in fact encouraged them. I have lost all faith in our governor.

Fred Cepela • Traverse City

Gerrymandering is Alive

I have major disagreements with Stephen Tuttle’s column from March 17th. Let’s start with an agreement that conservatives do control the majority of the congressional districts and state legislatures, but let’s also tell the real reason. It has little to do with political message and more to do with who was in control of the redistricting process after the 2010 census. One million more people voted for Democratic congressional candidates than Republicans in the last election, yet the Republicans control Congress. The process known as gerrymandering lives and, because of it, the Republicans were able to fix the game. When good people don’t vote, conservatives win.

Another issue brought up was the demise of the Social Security/Medicare Fund (Medicaid is a different problem). No matter what Mr. Tuttle says, there is a tax change that could help Social Security: remove the cap on income that pays social security taxes without increasing payment levels. You now stop paying social security taxes once you make about $110,000 a year. Let’s increase this tax limit to $1 million, since money paid out in Social Security benefits goes right back into the economy (rather than offshore bank accounts).

It is better for all of us to keep Social Security healthy. The same is true for Medicare, but we could also put a means test on it. Let’s face it, Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly shouldn’t ever need our help paying medical bills, but our neighbors might need that help.

No one suggests taking all the income from the 1 percent, but it would be nice to think they would be willing to help the other 99 percent with maintaining a decent lifestyle.

Don Seman • Bellaire

Benishek No Environmentalist

For Dan Benishek to say he is responsible for preserving a natural wonder (Sleeping Bear Preservation Act) is akin to Al Gore saying he invented the Internet.

Both men were present at the end, but had nothing to do with its formation. Sleeping Bear Preservation Act was begun twelve years go by various Michigan environmental activists and legislators and for Benishek, whose voting record on the environment is abysmal, to claim credit is disingenuous at best.

A look at Benishek’s environmental voting record will show that he voted to:

• Increase mercury in our water

• Allow oil companies to self regulate and self report violations

• Expand oil and gas exploration (fracking) in environmentally sensitive areas

• Offer higher tax incentives to oil and coal companies while refusing to offer incentives to wind, solar, or geothermal industries

• Expand roads and pump stations on federal parkland

• Alleviate industry from being sued for environmental catastrophes

• Allow more fertilizers to be washed into freshwater lakes and rivers

• And allow coal plants to obtain exceptions from air pollution standards

Oh yeah, Benishek took over a quarter of a million dollars in “contributions” from the oil, gas, and coal industries. What a shocker!

Gary Powell, Traverse City

CORRECTION:

In the March 17 issue, we mistakenly identified the Holiday Inn as “best deck scene” in the Traverse City Best area listings. In fact, their new name is West Bay Beach, a Holiday Inn Resort.

 
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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