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Home · Articles · News · Letters · Letters 9/12/02
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Letters 9/12/02

Various - September 12th, 2002
Stop the swap

I am writing to express my opposition to the proposed land swap between the Sleeping Bear Dunes and the Homestead Resort.
I have started this letter several times, only to scrap it because it sounds too sentimental but then I asked myself why I am opposed to this swap and it is hard not to feel emotional about it. I am opposed because my grandfather and his father before him grew up in Leelenau County and my grandfather knew and loved that land and drove me through it so often that for a while I could tell you about every road, every creek and every hill.
I am opposed because this land was taken away from the original owners, people like my grandfather, surely people that he knew, by eminent domain so that it could be kept precious and guarded from development for the benefit of all those who love that land as well as generations to come.
I am opposed because although I am neither a scholar nor a legal professional I do know right from wrong and this proposed swap is most definitely wrong. I am sure that this swap does not concur with the original intent of the acquisition of this land from the previous owners.
Lets look past the legalese and the slick talk and see this for what it really is. It is manipulation of the system, it is robbery of our future, and it is an insult to those who gave up their land.
I agree with the proposal that the land along the Crystal River which is proposed for the swap be purchased outright and added to the park.

Beth Neal • via email

Double dealing

Robert Kuras, Homestead Resort President states “government by the loudest is not the best” (Express 9/5). He should know. Sixteen years ago, Bob sat on the Glen Arbor Zoning and Planning Board. During this time, with SECRECY clauses enforced, Bob was purchasing the Crystal River property, even though the consulting firm hired (about $30,000 )  by the township to establish Glen Arbor’s master plan designated the properties as “resource protected,” too fragile to sustain development.  The master plan map hung in the township hall  with the riverine property clearly marked RESOURCE PROTECTED. When the citizens got wind of Bob’s secret real estate deal, they demanded he resign from the Zoning and Planning Commission. His conflict of interest was obvious to all.

Barbara Gilmore Weber • Northport

Fire bug in a tinder box world

Nationally -- parochially -- George W. Bush is beating the drums for a first
strike to destroy Saddam Hussein, whom he has labeled evil. Hawks agree, citing the fact Saddam has not kept his word re: inspections to assure he is not acquiring weapons of mass destruction by purchase, stealth, or development. The hawks rightly perceive Saddam is bending every effort to acquire said weapons, and likely would use them on his enemies, of which GWB has announced the USA as among. Saddam does not hesitate to use terrible weapons on his own people. Our nation is in trauma over the prospect of terrorist war with such weapons in the arsenals.
Internationally, the sane world is unwilling to sign onto a first strike war with Iraq. It rightly perceives GWB and his administration are less than candid about matters. They know the USA has many weapons of mass destruction fully developed and in its arsenal. They also understand GWB is a ten-year alcoholic, drug abuser, uneducated, and nearly illiterate --- often such persons are very unstable and unreliable, particularly if in positions of command --- macho gets out of hand.
GWB‘s penchant for giving the national wealth to his rich friends, failure to keep even the most simple promises, e.g., to protect the environment, or respect women‘s right. These are matters of record. They know he cannot be trusted.
GWB‘s failure to keep the economy growing, and squandering the opportunity to keep the debt manageable, is more notable than was the Hoover Depression of the 1930s. This is worse, because the course selected is known to surely drive the nation into bankrupt debt levels; it has been adopted deliberately, even knowing it will inflict great pain upon our people --- particularly the middle class, the working men and women.
That‘s it, folks. Both sides know the stakes. Both sides know GWB is a spoiled kid -- the nation‘s dunce -- fooling with a box of non-safety matches in this tinder box world.
Such a fire is easy to start. It will likely be harder to put out. The next world order may be newer than we want. USA might even no longer be player.

Boyd W. Yard • Lake Leelanau


What head of state commands weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear
bombs, long range missiles and poison gas?
Who threatens a unilateral attack certain to destabilize the Middle East and surrounding countries?
Who, unlike leaders of all Western European countries, supports the death
penalty and has imposed it?
What head of state is supported by religious extremists?
Who commands a powerful army and air force poised for attack at all times?
Who is willing to send the armed forces to their deaths in spite of opposition and resistance by his own people?
Who supports secret detention and imprisonment without trial or legal representation of those he believes are enemies of the State?
Who is organizing a secret army of civilian informants encouraged to spy
on their neighbors and turn them in as possible enemies of the State?
Have you guessed?
It‘s George W. Bush.

Harley L. Sachs • Houghton

Ice Mountain issues

As an active participant in Sweetwater Alliance, I was not really put off by Oran Kelley‘s letter to the Express last week (“Worse things could happen with water“). He raises some important points about a complex issue, although he misunderstands Sweetwater Alliance and in my opinion underestimates the importance of stopping Ice Mountain.
Sweetwater Alliance exists for two primary reasons: 1) To complement Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation‘s lawsuit against Nestlé (Ice Mountain‘s parent corporation) with public education, a boycott effort and other direct action. 2) To put this issue in the context of the current global struggle over water (and other resources) that is unfolding between people and corporations. With this in mind, and considering Sweetwater‘s expression of solidarity with, for instance, Bolivians fighting corporate control of water, it is clear that Kelley‘s portrayal of Sweetwater as xenophobic is off the mark. I do plan to take his advice and substitute multi-national for foreign when referring to Nestle, and I know others are planning to do the same.
One thing I like about working to shut down Ice Mountain is that it is a fight we can win, on a scale that I can conceptualize. That said, this struggle deals with the same issues people all over the world are dealing with: should our future be shaped according to the profit interests of corporations or by human needs and democratic process? (In a referendum vote on August 6, Mecosta county voters rejected the idea of rezoning the land the Ice Mountain plant occupies from agricultural to industrial - by a 2 to 1 margin). And while the Ice Mountain plant won‘t much affect water levels in Lake Michigan, the precedent it sets could. Nestlé has said that if this plant works out they want to put in several more plants in Michigan. Who knows what other corporations are looking on and salivating.
Kelley makes the point that we should be addressing other water use issues, like water wasted or polluted by industry, agriculture or lawn watering. I completely agree, but directly selling a public resource for private profit is a particularly offensive idea.
On the idea of giving water as humanitarian aid to thirsty people, I don‘t object on an emergency basis, but remember that Great Lakes ecosystems are also dependent on that water. Remember too that corporations don‘t take water to give to thirsty people. They try to sell it to them at rates they can‘t afford, or provide irrigation to desert golf courses for the wealthy. Educating about and fighting against the global corporate push to privatize water (hopefully along with an effort to find real solutions to water crises that aren‘t based on profit) is a much better way to help people without access to clean water.
I hope this letter leads Oran Kelley to reassess this issue. If he wants something bigger to work on, I recommend attending the World Bank / IMF protests in Washington on Sept. 25. Or perhaps he is taking on the U.S. military industrial complex as it plots an unprovoked strike on Iraq that would likely kill large numbers of civilians and jeopardize peace and security globally. Shutting down Ice Mountain won‘t solve all our problems, that‘s for sure.

Edmund Frost • via email

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