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 05-19-2014
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Letters 05-19-2014

- May 19th, 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’s Real Record

In his upcoming campaign, Congressman Dan Benishek will undoubtedly use his vote for the Sleeping Bear Dunes wilderness legislation as an example of his support for environmental issues. It is worth noting that this bill was developed long before Mr. Benishek was elected. He was not the creator of the bill, only a supporter.

His environmental record is better evaluated by other votes. The League of Conservation Voters gives Benishek only a 4 percent rating on environmental issues during 2013. Of the 28 critical votes that the LCV evaluated, he voted only once to protect our environment. (http:// scorecard.lcv.org) He voted for a budget that drastically cut the budgets of the Energy and Interior departments and the Environmental Protection Agency, reducing those agencies’ ability to protect air, land and water. The same budget provided subsidies to the oil industry and supported the Keystone Pipeline. He voted to continue support for fossil fuels and cut support for renewable energy (HR 2609). He also voted to block the EPA implementation of safeguards to protect the public from coal ash contamination (HR 2218).

It’s apparent that when Benishek has a choice of voting for big business or the health and welfare of people, business wins.

Sara Jill Wellman, Cedar

Listen to the People

Recently the Traverse City planning commission listened to objections to the construction of homes the citizens felt would be out of character for the neighborhood. If only Forest Home Township in Antrim County had such a planning commission!

On May 7, the planning commission tentatively approved the construction of a distillery, tasting room and bar as a “special use permit” for property zoned agricultural. Hmmm, and I thought agriculture meant that you were growing something.

The vote of the commission was unanimous, in spite of the vehement objections of more than 50 citizens at the meeting. Forest Home Township is primarily rural, with only one concentrated housing area, called Cedar Meadows.

About 20 percent of the population lives here, two miles west of downtown Bellaire. Cedar Meadows is within one square mile of the site being prepared for the distillery. The residents became aware of the distillery when the owner began to prepare the site for building, weeks in advance of the zoning review. Hmmm, and I thought a business owner would want approval of a permit before sinking money into site.

Apparently I have a lot to learn, because the hearing seemed to have no bearing on the approval of the permit. The commission did not represent the public interest by requiring that this business would not have a negative impact because of added traffic, inadequate parking, odor, noise, water usage, or waste disposal.

Forest Home Township does not have a municipal water supply, sewage treatment plant, noise or parking ordinance; nor are there any plans to have these things in the near future. The commission made no effort to address these issues. Their approval was based on a few compliance issues so trivial (for example, allowing only one business sign), that it was obvious the planning commission intends to approve the distillery.

My advice is to be active in your local government. When citizens do not pay attention, the special interests of a few can become your worst nightmare. Like a distillery in your back yard.

Carolyn Burke, Bellaire

Of Chefs and Cooking

Kudos to Northern Express and Patrick Sullivan for the story last week about Howard Schedle.

Food preparation and service traditions are worth talking about here in this Traverse City regional “agricultural belt” because they give understanding and provide clues to the future.

I met Howard just after he arrived here in 1974. While we talked about other investments, little did I know that he would open so many restaurants and train so many good people for the business. And having a goal to get mentioned in Bon Appetit and Gourmet magazines was certainly another sign of a great entrepreneur.

By coincidence you may have seen the latest culinary trip by Anthony Bourdain to Lyon, France (on the Travel Channel). He discovers and catalogs the great chef, Mmde. La Brazier, who came to dominate French cooking. On the show, you see Mr. Bourdain dining with two of her ex-students, surrounded by several attending chefs, and he is heard to say, “I will never have a better meal in my life, and I am honored to have experienced it now.” Talk about getting excited about food...The Culinary Institute at NMC can only benefit from this kind of excitement!

Why, I get excited about making my Saturday morning eggs, sunny side up, fried in butter, with sweet onions, and topped with parmesan cheese and granulated garlic....mmm!

Dennis Stavros, Traverse City

Stop Plastic Bags

Little is mentioned on the mainstream media about efforts across the nation and around the world to reduce usage of the plastic shopping bag (PSB). Plastic shopping bags are bad from the start. The manufacture of PSBs takes much petroleum and creates toxic waste. Plastic bags photodegrade, becoming more toxic as they contaminate soils and waterways and enter the food chain (CNN/Technology 11/16/07). They also take thousands of years to break down (www.worldwatch.org/node/5565).

Why should we care? According to the Great Lakes Alliance, about 13 percent of garbage picked up along our shores are PSBs. Per the EPA, less than 5 percent of PSBs are recycled. What about the other 95? According to http:// reducing4more.wordpress.com/2008/01/19/ plastic-bags-how-much/, the average U.S. household uses 9 PSBs per week. That’s 468 bags per year. There are 34,362 households in Grand Traverse County according to the last U.S. Census. Do the math; you’ll be shocked.

Where do those millions of unrecycled PSBs go? Landfills, where they’ll leach toxins?

For more information go to the Facebook page “CHEBOYGAN FIRST IN REDUCING PLASTIC SHOPPING BAGS.” We invite you and your local communities to take up the cause. The energy of multiple towns joining in the same effort can be a powerful force. We chose this particular cause for two reasons: it’s worth our effort and it is achievable, as proven by about 100 municipalities within 17 states, and about a dozen nations (entire state of Hawaii too).

Which community in Michigan will be first? Which will be last?

Karen Martin, Cheboygan

Raise Minimum Wage

The people of Michigan have overwhelmingly (65 percent) asked for the minimum wage to be raised from its present $7.40 an hour to a decent living wage. At present workers are still below the poverty line even if they work full time. The Governor and legislature in Lansing have refused to raise the minimum wage, so there is a petition drive to get it on the ballot in November.

Let the people decide. This proposal would gradually increase the wage to $10.10 an hour over a three-year period, including tipped earners. Then it would be adjusted annually to the cost of living. The Republicans’ proposal, SB934, is meant to derail this popular petition drive by replacing the existing law by proposing the wage be raised now to $8.15, with no adjustment for cost of living. It would negate our democratic process to amend the previous law and raise the wage to $10.10. We expect our democratic rights and ask for this to be put on the ballot. We ask our representatives in Lansing not to pass another dead end wage bill that will keep workers even more in poverty. Sign our petition and tell your representatives- no-go for SB 934.

Emmy Lou Cholak, Traverse City

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