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 5/15/03
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Letters 5/15/03

Various - May 15th, 2003
Teamsters viewpoint

I am writing in response to J.D. Reed’s letter (5/1) regarding the Teamsters and the NMH nurses’ struggle. His comments about the Teamsters indicate that he has little knowledge of today’s Teamsters union. The Teamsters union is already the largest international union in the free world with a diverse membership of 1.4 million members. Over-the-road trucking constitutes only 15% of today’s Teamster membership. One of the third largest divisions of the Teamsters is the Public Services Division — of which nursing is a part.
As a business representative for Teamsters Local 214 – a state-wide Michigan Teamster local exclusively representing over 10,000 public sector workers in Michigan, I can attest to the fact that the Teamsters union already represents thousands of nurses and health care professional employees in this state in public health departments, community mental health agencies, county jail clinics, university health clinics, medical care facilities and hospitals. I personally represent many of them.
Nursing is not a new field to us. We’ve been representing Michigan nurses for over 20 years. Mr. Reed may be surprised to learn that many of the current Teamster nurses are former so called “nursing union” members who left those organizations to join the Teamsters because of their more progressive representation of the health care professions.
In northern Michigan there are Teamster nurses working at North Country Community Mental Health , Grand Traverse County Health Department, Great Lakes Community Mental Health, and Grand Traverse Pavilions, to name a few. This is in addition to all the other public service professional Teamster employees working in schools, colleges and universities, libraries, law enforcement, courts, cities, counties and townships, 911 systems, and road commissions – across the state and in the Petoskey area. Many of the critical public services currently provided to Emmett County residents are provided by Teamster members.
In response to Mr. Reed’s comments that “We support nurses… not Teamsters,” they are one in the same. He should also be reminded that the law gives employees the right to seek union representation of their choice, without interference. I’m told that the NMH nurses did their homework before deciding to elect Teamster representation, and did so based on the Teamsters’ health care experience and representation record.
The NMH nurses deserve commendation for manning the picket line daily regardless of the weather, not criticism. Anyone who ever walked a picket line knows that each group elects their picket duty hours. Many of the nurses are working temporary jobs during this difficult time causing them to have less time for picket duty.
The majority of Americans, union or not, enjoy 8-hour work days, weekends, paid vacation and sick days, health insurance, and workers compensation, because of unionized workers who dared to fight and sometimes die for better working conditions. NMH Teamster nurses are doing nothing less - fighting for better health care conditions for themselves — and for YOU and YOUR families. They need your support not your criticism.

Sheryl Langdon, Business Representative
Teamsters State County & Municipal Workers Local 214 • Traverse City

Disc golf controversy
SHAME ON YOU, BOYNE CITY PARKS AND RECREATION AND CITY COMMISSIONERS! SHAME ON YOU for the abhorrent desecration that you have permitted to occur with the addition of disc golf to Boyne City’s Avalanche PRESERVE.
What part of the word PRESERVE didn’t you understand? For decades, this area had been the last parcel of public land within city limits designated as a peaceful refuge for hikers and site seers. Now, without forethought and formal procedure this area has been declared as “Avalanche Disc Golf Course.”
And yes, that’s exactly what it currently is. Isn’t it bad enough that the citizens of Boyne City cannot look out onto our open water without it being blemished by manmade obstacles? You, the commissioners of Boyne City, had to mangle and destroy the one peaceful trail of forest, wildflowers, and greenery left in this town. Now these trails are littered with 18 six-foot metal monstrosities, picnic tables have been dragged up the hillsides, and huge metal waste receptacles are placed in areas that now need to be further intruded upon by trucks for maintenance. Not to mention the regular mowing of the meadows that will now need to occur -- not needed until YOU decided that this is what the people of Boyne City could not live without, another GOLF COURSE. Due to your lack of proper procedure and forethought, you have forever uglified and negatively altered the last parcel of beautiful hiking trails available to pedestrian visitors to our fair city.
Never mind that it is unclear who is responsible for decisions regarding the use of public and city owned lands. What does it mean when representatives of the city tell citizens that a master plan and map of these areas are “under development” and not available to the public? What does it mean when after concerns are presented during several meetings with the Parks and Recreation Commission, and a city official tells citizens that the baskets on the trails will be removed, and that trail users will be consulted regarding their relocation? What does it mean when the baskets come down for three weeks, then a Parks and Recreation meeting is moved and held with little advance notification to the general public, and then suddenly the baskets are back in place again?
I could have tolerated the first nine tees and baskets placed in the lower meadows areas, but the added nine holes through the interior trails should never have been allowed.
Oh, sure, you can still hike the trails. If you don’t mind the interruption and distraction of ugly metal as you walk among the steep winding trails. Or the additional smell of cigarette smoke and the flung butts on the path. Or the beer cans that sit on the picnic tables. All of these have gone from being a rare occasion to a regular occurrence with this addition of this wonderful new activity, disc golf.
Oh, did I forget to mention the destructive trampling of wildflowers, mushrooms, and other natural observances as the inept throwers ricochet their discs off trees and they bounce into pristine greenery and wildlife areas? Or the added litter, including the forgotten discs of users unwilling to go into the woods when they miss their baskets? And the summer traffic hasn’t even hit yet.
And how did all this come to be? Did the commission take the time to research this activity and the impact it would have on the trails and the people who regularly use them? Were studies done to determine whether or not an additional activity was even deemed necessary at Avalanche Preserve? Were safety, environmental, and site measures reviewed and assessed? Was a professional planner consulted? Did the city apply for grant monies to cover the cost of implementing and then maintaining this activity? Just how much is this disc golf course going to cost the City of Boyne City anyway? And I don’t mean just in dollars.
To the people of Boyne City: Remember the words, “Avalanche Preserve” and “Avalanche Overlook”? Well, take a look at some of the wording of the advertising that is currently surrounding this scenic area. And the next time you hike the footpaths, climb those stairs, and sit on the benches to view the surrounding areas and sunset, take a peek at the metal atrocities lurking just behind you. And don’t forget to duck.

Amelia Garey Ryan • Boyne City

Halliburton‘s war profiteering

We were originally told - as was the U.S. Congress and everyone else - that Halliburton Corporation‘s NO BID, NO COMPETITION government contract (awarded by the Army Corps of Engineers) was as an emergency measure to put out the oil field fires in Iraq. Now it emerges that Halliburton‘s contract has some “concealed details“ that neither the Defense Department nor Halliburton have previously been forthcoming about. These details are slowing emerging under pressure of inquiry by Congressman Henry Waxman of the House Government Reform Committee.
It has now emerged that Halliburton‘s contract is a little broader than just putting out oil fires, but this contract is in fact “TO RUN THE OIL INDUSTRY IN IRAQ.“ (National Public Radio morning report: interview with U.S. Congressman Waxman, 5/7/03.) This disclosure comes after we were told repeatedly by Colin Powell and others that “the oil of Iraq is for the Iraqi people to control and use for the improvement of their own nation.“
Congressman Waxman asks correctly “Why are we running the oil industry of Iraq? And why is Halliburton, in effect the oil company for the nation of Iraq?“ These dislosures include other details, including that the contract was originally for $7,000,000,000, and included provisions that “whatever costs Halliburton incurs“ above this amount we taxpayers will pay for.
Says Congressman Waxman: “This really should be a wake up call. They (Halliburton) have overcharged the government consistently, in one case they were charging the government $85 for $14 plywood. They have even overcharged the government to the point where there was a potential criminal charge that was going to be brought against them, and they paid a settlement of $2,000,000. When you have a company that has overcharged the taxpayers, and then they are given a no-bid contract, and the contract says whatever costs they incur, we are going to pay them plus, that seems to me like a green light to overcharge. What we don‘t want to see is that the war in Iraq becomes a vehicle for rewarding companies that are close to this administration.“
Halliburton Company is the corporation which Vice President Dick Cheney was CEO, and for which he is still is a paid consultant. Halliburton has drawn attention in the past for its business deals with Libya and Iran, despite Congressional trade bans with these nations.

Jim Norgaard • Petoskey
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