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 9/5/02
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Letters 9/5/02

Various - September 5th, 2002
Worse things could happen with water

While I agree it’s pretty stupid to allow private companies to sink a well and then have them sell the water to suckers throughout the Midwest for a buck per half liter, Eartha Melzer‘s article on the Ice Mountain issue is a bit lacking on several counts.
First off, what is the big deal with this particular plant? Why do we have people blocking trucks as if what this one plant is doing is of some grave importance? Why has this become the progressive cause of the moment?
The volume of water Nestle will be pumping and carting off seems big when compared to the capacity of my bathtub, say, but is it really all that much compared to the bodies of water supposedly under threat? I think the dirty little secret of the Sweetwater Alliance is that the answer to this question is “no“ and that there will be no catastrophic environmental effects due to Nestle‘s wells. There is certainly nothing in Eartha Melzer‘s article to lead me to believe otherwise.
Secondly, while this whole story does bring up the rather galling point that it doesn‘t cost Nestle very much to extract that water, the problem here is with the state and with how property rights are conceived in our society (essentially, if it’s under your property, it‘s yours). Stopping Nestle‘s pumping plant will do nothing to change groundwater‘s status as potential commodity, but focusing attention on Nestle does avoid the rather sticky issues that arise if we were to concentrate on the far more important general issue. Specifically, the broader issue of residential, industrial and agricultural water rights, the large amount of waste in all three sectors, and how much is paid for these rights.
If we start to look here, we start to see that Nestle is not our water problem. We are. Nestle, a foreign multi-national, is just an easy scapegoat up here in cosmopolitan northern Michigan.
A lot of the Sweetwater propaganda I‘ve seen makes pretty blatant appeals to Michigan parochialism (surely we can‘t have foreigners coming in here and profiting from our water! Why don‘t they just go back where they came from!). I‘m sure that these sorts of arguments are making considerable inroads with the Michigan Militia types to whom this sort of nativism usually appeals. The closer you look at it, the less “progressive“ this cause seems to be.
According to Sweetwater, Nestle is big, and therefore it is evil. We must stop Nestle from extracting groundwater at all costs, even if our Michigan farmers (who also extract groundwater for practically nothing) are wasting many times as much by using inefficient irrigation methods which result in our groundwater freely evaporating and falling as rain on other states or, perhaps, worse yet, Canada! Or how about attacking the completely idiotic wastage of water on grass lawns in this area of Michigan, so ill-suited to them?
I guess we wouldn‘t want to strike too close to home with our water wastage arguments when we can just as well attack some conniving frogs with designs on our Michigan sweetwater (whose taste, I hear tell, is compared by some to cherry wine).
The fact of the matter is, though, that Nestle‘s use of this water isn‘t really so wasteful as Sweetwater would like to have it. Nearly all of this water will be drunk, and even though I think it‘s pretty stupid for people to buy bottled water, I generally think it’s a good thing for even stupid people to be drinking it.
There are far worse things that could be happening to this water.
One better thing that might happen to our Michigan water would be for it to be given away to those many in the world who don‘t have adequate water supplies. While this would be completely in keeping with the Sweetwater Alliance‘s slogan, “Water is a Right, not a Commodity,“ I wonder how many in the alliance would be up for that progressive cause?
Oran P. Kelley • TC

Don‘t exploit 9/11

USA Today accounts contradict the Bush claim that he inherited a recession. Clinton and Gore created the longest expansion of the U.S. economy and an unprecedented four back-to-back budget surpluses. These Bush destroyed, even before September 11, with tax cuts for the rich at the expense of all others.
Claiming he wants to create jobs, a reduced national debt and balanced budget, Bush has cut funds for job training, and seeks tax cuts for the top 2%.
Bush also plans to attack Iraq, promising to install peacekeepers later, but he has cut peacekeeping forces, never bringing any to Afghanistan. He also has promised a Marshall Plan to rebuild Afghanistan, as took place in Europe and Japan after World War II, which would benefit Americans and Afghans. The are empty promises.
Instead, using intelligence from Afghan warlords, this administration sends unmanned drones that shell and kill innocent Afghans repeatedly, per the New York Times, [which profits the Big Oil, Big Defense, Big Chemical executives and their sponsorees].
Incidentally, while there are reduced or no funds in the Bush budget for job training, employment, education expenses, crime prevention, medical research or health benefits, this is the second time in a year that Bush took a month from office to campaign for fellow Republicans at taxpayer expense.
Is it additionally possible that the phrase “United we stand” may be inaccurate? Not everyone unites with this pro-war, against effective peace measures administration which tilts economic policies to the rich, destroys the job market, police protection, education benefits, meaningful health measures, the environment, and corporate accountability.
Please do not use September 11 to promote this un-American disservice to taxpayers. Cease bloating the military budget, killing innocent civilians, increasing secrecy and destroying rights, the economy and vital services. Americans deserve benefits, not the shredding of their documents, fear mongering, witch hunts, raiding revenues, peace prevention, war promotion, or exclusive remembrance of American innocent victims.
Please use September 11 as an honored memorial to promote peace, remembering the Americans who died and the other world citizen innocents still dying.

Hilda Coyne • via email
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