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 04-14-14
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Letters 04-14-14

- April 14th, 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.

Benishek Inching

Regarding “Benishek No Environmentalist” I agree with Mr. Powell’s letter to the editor/ opinion of Congressman Dan Benishek’s poor environmental record and his penchant for putting corporate interests ahead of his constituents’. I have written letters to the Congressman to make him aware of my stance on climate issues, in particular my strong support for carbon tax legislation. While I do not expect a sea change in Mr. Benishek’s position, I have noted a slight, almost imperceptible shift in his responses.

He seems to be inching away from climate change skepticism and toward accepting the reality of climate change, while arguing about an effective solution. And while I disagree with his proposed solutions, I choose to take this subtle shift in rhetoric as a positive sign. The jury is decidedly “in” on the causes and effects of global warming. As carbon fueled environmental disasters and human suffering escalate, we no longer have the luxury of arguing the finer points of the cause of the crisis, and our legislators are beginning to grasp this. We can’t wait for, nor do we need our elected representatives to be persuaded on the dangers of climate change. We only need them to be persuaded on the political will of those who put them in office. Great moments of change throughout history - civil rights, women’s suffrage, emancipation - did not come about because those in power suddenly “saw the light,”but rather because they saw the will of the people and the writing on the wall. It is time for those of us who want change to make change, with our voices and our votes.

Cathye Williams Thompsonville

Climate Change Warning

Currently there are three assaults on climate change. The first is on the integrity of the scientists who support human activity in climate change. Second is that humans are not capable of affecting the climate. Lastly, that the science is not settled. Many opponents of climate change indicate that the whole thing is a hoax or a conspiracy.

This would mean that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the National Academy of Scientists, the American Metrological Society, and the American Geophysical Union, which when taken all together include over a thousand scientists, have formed a conspiracy or hoax on the public.

These challenges have misrepresented evidence, only selected research to support their position, and used skeptics who are supported by industry. Regarding human activity, back in 1987, while the Reagan administration sided with the industryfriendly ozone skeptics, the EPA administrator refused to cite scientific uncertainty to justify inaction on the issue. His action regarding the ozone depletion crisis, especially the discovery of the Antarctic ozone “hole,” led to international cooperation to eliminate man-made halocarbon. Without action, the ozone “hole” would have expanded to eventually encircle the entire earth.

Regarding climate change being unsettled science, this type of opposition began in 2003 under the guise of “sound science” by a conservative-leaning group funded in part by industry. To the right, “sound science” or “settled science” means requiring a higher burden of proof before action can be taken to protect the public and the environment. This approach has been used to delay or prevent regulations regarding ozone depletion, secondhand smoke, and endangered species. When objections were answered with new studies, they just wanted more and more proof. The only absolute proof is to wait until it happens, but by then it will be too late to stop the catastrophic changes.

Ronald Marshall, Petoskey

Fed Up About Roads

It has gotten to the point where I cringe when I have to drive around this area. There are areas in Traverse City that look like a war zone. When you have to spend more time viewing potholes instead on concentrating on the road, accidents are bound to happen. Of course, Traverse City does the same thing every spring: cheap, ineffective covering of potholes which lasts a few days -- then it’s war zone city again. It will only be a matter of time when the tourists who drive along the bay everyday get sick of these horrific roads and move on. Funny...how this town always has enough money for another parking deck or Cherry Festival improvements, but when it comes to fixing our roads there is no money for that. Of course we know why: because there’s NO MONEY TO BE MADE!

James Weider, Traverse City

Don’t Blame the IRS

I have not heard much about the reason for the IRS getting itself entangled with the scrutiny of certain conservative 501(c) groups (not for profit) seeking tax exemption. Groups seeking tax relief must be organizations that are operated “primarily for the purpose of bringing about civic betterment and social improvements.” The IRS has to determine if groups are using that definition to disguise political action activity. That was particularly true when, in 2010, the Supreme Court overturned previous restrictions on political spending and permitted nearly unlimited and anonymous spending by corporations and other groups to influence elections. Tax exempt groups spent in excess of $100 million that year, more than double the expenditure four years earlier.

That year, most of the 501(c) groups spending TV advertising dollars did so for Republican candidates. Yet both parties found this an avenue for funding campaigns, as

long as they could say they were promoting “civic betterment.” Those are squishy terms. The IRS is swamped with hundreds of new organizations suddenly for “social improvements.” Legislators on both sides cried “foul,” and wanted the IRS to be certain these groups were legitimate. You might not like the way they tried to do that, or complain that those examined were mostly conservative groups, but you might blame the Supreme Court for opening the door for such promiscuous activity.

Bob McQuilkin, Frankfort

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