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 7/18/02
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Letters 7/18/02

Various - July 18th, 2002
The fate of Sleeping Bear
Ed McIntosh does a good job protecting the interests of the Benzie Fishery Coalition (“Access Denied?“ 7/11). Fortunately for the rest of us The Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore needs to balance the concerns of all the people who use the park, not just fishermen.
Whether you are a fisherman or not SBNL is simply asking for your rational input in the planning process for the care and management of the park for all people concerned. Hopefully people realize that most businesses cater to people other than just fishermen, that the park isn‘t going to close “miles of beaches“ and that much of what McIntosh promotes simply isn‘t true.
Richard Kooyman • via email

Access Denied?
Shame on the sensationalist tone of your article, “Access Denied?“ I appreciate and applaud the National Park Service‘s effort to protect public land and water.
Consider just one aspect of the preferred plan -- the proposed road closings for Otter Creek and Peterson beach. Sure there are plenty of people who think it‘s their right to park 100 feet from the water‘s edge, but there are lots of other folks who would welcome the walk, outside in the fresh air and sunshine, free from exhaust fumes and traffic noise. Perhaps the NPS could offer the disabled special access privileges but for the rest of us, we need the exercise.
Walking to Lake Michigan from M22 via trails might take between 15 and 30 minutes -
heaven forbid that anyone should slow down and actually relax BEFORE they get to the beach.
Regional wilderness is vanishing, even our local farms are threatened. God bless the NPS for promoting a little bit of Northern Michigan nature for all Americans. Please remember that the NPS gives preferential consideration to veterans when hiring. These folks are highly educated professionals who have dedicated their lives to preserving the nation‘s natural resources - they know what they are doing and they deserve our support.
Dan Kelly • Beulah

Land of the Sheep
I would like to thank Robert Downes for his article (Random Thoughts 6/27), for explaining to me why the Million Marijuana March, 5/4, didn‘t deserve to be covered. Also, why we will never get the laws change. I hear a lot of that from “closet smokers.“
A march usually doesn‘t garner much attention and nobody wants to lose any sleep over it. Now if it were something sensational, like a puppy stuck in a drain hole, the reporters would be flying down the firepoles in hot pursuit. Either way, both events are not your usual daily fare.
As far as the been-there-done-that crowd, it‘s a good place to find closet smokers. They just dropped the ball and we picked it up. I don‘t know if they registered any voters lately, have you? We register while petitioning and are at all times offering to register those who would like to. Visit our site at http://www.michigancan.org. That‘s the Michigan Cannabis Action Network site.
It really is too bad that young, been-there-done-thats and others trust in this democracy. A democracy run by dictator-select Bush and his cronies bent on taking away what‘s left of your rights. Don‘t close your eyes or the last verse of the National Anthem will be, “Land of the sheep and you better behave.“ Take some time and look at the erosion of our rights. So, get out and say something. Press, cover it. And vote! There are good parties out there.
Last but not least, I would like to thank the Northern Express for putting our notice of the march in the paper. You print unpopular subjects and don‘t worry about offending a few fuddy-duddies. Why do you think you‘re so popular?
Jeff Fillmore • GT Coordinator Michigan Cannabis Action Network

(Here‘s a vow to all the marchers that you can put in the bank, Jeff. Northern Express will cover next year‘s march, and no doubt the rest of the media will too as a result of airing the matter in these pages. -- ed.)

Ready to flip for the flag
Long may our flapping flag fly free of flip and truly unhip ravings over the pledge. Know you, the pledge, written by the Christian Socialist Baptist minister, Francis Bellamy, was publicized, propagandized, puffed, huffed and propagated to boost sales and subscriptions to THE YOUTH‘S COMPANION, the Reader‘s Digest of its day.
Dig what I hip you to now!
Bellamy was pressured into leaving his Baptist church for his socialist sermons. Daniel Ford, owner and editor of Youth Companion hired him as a fellow liberal and controversial figure. Ford was also chairman of the committee of state superintendents in the National Education Association. As chairman he set up a Columbus Day program for the public schools of the nation around a flag raising ceremony and a FLAG SALUTE. (Where could the kids get a copy of this salute?) Guess what, kids -- check out the September 8 1892 edition of THE YOUTH‘S COMPANION and read the following:
“I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.“
The three great ideas of the American political tradition (Mortimer Adler) are liberty and justice and EQUALITY, but he knew the superintendents on the committee wouldn‘t stand for granting equality to women and blacks. Note that equality STILL is not in the pledge. How ‘bout that, blacks and women?
Later, leaders of the American Legion and the DAR, scared that waves of immigrants might be cheerfully pledging to their original country‘s flag altered it to, “the flag of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.“ Dig it cats and kittens? You ain‘t heard the last!
It was the practice when pledging (anyone over the age of 60 will recall this), that as one said, “to the flag,“ one extended one‘s right hand from it‘s place over your heart, thrusting it vigorously toward the flag, palm up, fingers joined and extended. Well, you know kids. Some would get their hand out palm down. A busybody passing a schoolroom shook with alarm realizing some of these kids might as well be heiling Hitler!! Thus, the order came down, no more saluting; i.e. extending the hand. To help us break the habit teachers were advised to instruct their students to hook the thumb of their right hand under the opening between buttons of their shirts.
Thus, all over the United States, the sound of buttons ripped loose and blouses torn, gave proof through the day that our flag was not being heiled.
Yet, sanity reared it‘s seldom-seen head as Americans were fighting and dying for that flag around the planet when the United States Supreme Court ruled AGAINST compulsory pledges of allegiance and flag salutes ON FLAG DAY, 1943. Did Americans object? No. In fact they applauded the decision as a good statement of what this country was fighting for. Note again: it is still against the law to compel students or any American citizen to give the pledge of allegiance or salute the Flag.
This didn‘t stop the Knights of Columbus from using it‘s considerable Catholic clout to force Congress to add, “under God“ in 1954 even though no one has to pledge anyway. What‘s next? Maybe the next step for those who would link patriotism with religion will be to try to amend the Constitution to include God. Can You Dig It?
John Robert Alberts • Charlevoix

The working poor
Just a note. Read your excellent article, “Rising Tide of the Working Poor.“ Too bad about the ending. Looking forward to next week‘s issue.
Question, does anyone know what our Senators and Representatives in Washington
have for health insurance coverage? I had been told it was the Cadillac of benefits extending into retirement. Can that be found out?
Thanks for your newspaper and its comments about matters that really count.
Marilyn Prezkop • via email

(Thanks Marilyn -- since many readers called regarding the missing conclusion, it’s tagged onto this issue’s Random Thoughts column and is also available at www.northernexpress.com. -- ed.)
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