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 10/28/04
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Letters 10/28/04

Various - October 28th, 2004
Hatred in our constitution
The passage of Proposal 2 would make Michigan one of the first states to write hatred into our constitution. Is passing a discriminatory amendment barring something that is already illegal our top priority?
One argument for Proposal 2 that keeps coming up is that marriage is a union under God, and since many Judeo-Christians feel that homosexual relationships are wrong, same sex marriages should not be allowed. Since one of the greatest things about our country is the separation of church and state, this should only mean that the government has no business saying who may and may not be wed in the first place. To do so would only take power away from churches. Even if same sex marriage one day becomes legal, clergy has always reserved the right not to marry any couple, and nothing will change this.
Finally, the U.S. Constitution assures all citizens the right to the pursuit of happiness. Our state has no right to override the country’s constitution and deny this right to select citizens.
I urge everyone to please join me in voting no on Proposal 2 as well as to discuss the repercussions of this proposed amendment with their friends and families.

Jeannine Crouse • TC

The law & same-sex
Michigan stands poised to make a colossal mistake. In panic over shifting morals, voters look toward an ill-conceived move—amending Michigan’s Constitution to prevent same-sex marriages. In a political atmosphere of passionately conflicting views, many voters overlook the fact that there is a fundamental difference between constitutional and statutory law.
Constitutional law is intended to be the bedrock of government. It details how government is structured, elections are held, and laws are passed. It defines the qualifications for public office, means of taxation, role of courts, and interplay among governmental branches. Constitutional law extends fundamental rights to all citizens.
Constitutions do not provide the details of law. Instead legislators (and sometimes ballot initiatives) create the statutes that carry out the mission of the government. This is the realm of statutory law and it is here that the vast majority of legal provisions reside. You won’t find penal codes, traffic laws, ordinances, or public health rules within the Constitution. If we want laws detailing who can get married, it is statutory law that should be directed toward this end.
There is one additional frontier —case law. Case law is the body of court decisions. Contrary to popular belief, case law—even when controversial—is typically not an effort by so-called “activist judges” to change the law. It is the job of judges to interpret statutory laws and conflicting claims, looking for the most logically consistent position. It is inevitable that there will be times when an unpopular decision is made which, nonetheless, is a logical outgrowth of the existing laws.
Thus we come to the crux of the matter. In many states, courts are deciding that same-sex marriage bans are in conflict with constitutional provisions guaranteeing equal protection under the law for all citizens. These rulings hold that same-sex couples have as much right to the benefits of a civil marriage as anyone else. The temptation of those who oppose these decisions, is to subvert the legitimate purpose of a constitution by inserting statutory law into the governmental bedrock.
Ironically, many of these proposals would create a glaring inconsistency within constitutions if equal protection clauses are not partially repealed (and do we want to withdraw equal protection from some citizens?). These inconsistencies will, in fact, provide the basis for future court challenges of any same-sex marriage amendments. Ultimately, the Supreme Court will have to decide whether these amendments are consistent with the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
In the end, the ban is an expedient measure being hastily swept into place out of fear, at a time when careful judgment is required. Let us reject this proposal and take our time to fully consider this multi-faceted issue.

Michael Spry • TC

Milliken & Kerry
This letter is in response to former Michigan Republican Governor and Traverse City’s own William G. Milliken’s support for Democratic Senator John Kerry. If Gov. Milliken’s support is not an eye opener to all you Traverse City conservatives, I don’t know what will be one.
Governor Milliken served from January 1969 to December 1982 -- the longest span in office for any chief executive of the state. In a recent Michigan History Magazine article, Governor Milliken said, “The current Bush Administration is constantly spinning the facts. Often it is not being open. It is rare that it is willing to acknowledge a mistake.”
Over three debates, John Kerry has left no doubt that he has the strength and character we need in a commander in chief. Kerry has shown the American people his command of the facts, steady demeanor, and well reasoned arguments. Bush pretends our problems don’t exist, and won’t level with the American people.
In closing, if one of Traverse City’s own Republicans with the credentials of former Gov. Milliken sees the lies of the Bush Administration, we all need to stand up and vote for John Kerry!
“Good Government is Good Politics”
-- William G. Milliken

Daniel Brown • TC

Christopher Reeve
We all felt touched by the death of Christopher Reeve. He was in every sense of the word a hero. His life inspired all of us who want to live life to the fullest. Going from the heights of fame to the depths of despair he showed how possible it is to live in dignity even while having to rely on others for most things.
When Americans are asked about dying, there is an almost universal aversion to the notion of being dependent on others. Reeve not only overcame this but also turned his suffering and dependency into meaning by making his life a quest for medical progress and for reframing what it means to be “handicapped.”
Christopher Reeve was not dying. Up until it was apparent that he was near death, he was more alive than many of us. He epitomized quality of life by taking charge of his living and his dying. Even though he was not a hospice patient, Christopher Reeve’s life and death have lessons for those near the end of life. He showed us the importance of living fully even in the shadow of death, the importance of fighting and hoping for cure, and the importance of knowing when it’s time to lay down the sword.
Like Reeve, we in hospice understand how important it for people to live fully, with dignity, until they die. Hospice helps patients and families make the most of their living, even in the face of death. For information about hospice, visit
www.nhpco.org or contact Hospice of Little Traverse Bay at (231) 487-4825 or

Lisa Ashley, MSW
Hospice of Little Traverse Bay

Jesus too was a liberal
The news that Bush has just given additional millions of dollars in tax breaks to large corporations, and wants to make them permanent is the last straw! He says he “knows how the world works.” Obviously his world is all about favors to the drug industry, the insurance industry, and big corporations at the expense of the middle class taxpayers. It’s the good old boys network, and we’re the losers.
I object most to his folksy act and the platitudes that he uses to detract from the real issues that impact Americans every day, like health care, education, jobs and outsourcing. Bush and his advisors also play with the statistics they quote. We really have lost a million jobs! We really do have the biggest deficit in history! The real reason for the so called “new” jobs data they quote is that most middle class Americans now have to get two or three jobs to pay their bills! Their figures are just based on jobs, even if the same person has three of them. Check the U.S. Census Bureau data.
The past four years have helped no one but the rich. I don’t want more of the same; I’m voting for change!
By the way, Jesus was a liberal, as were many of our greatest leaders. I’m proud to be a “liberal” American. I love my country and its history of innovation, persistence, resilience, free speech, and tolerance.
I have just as strong family values as any other Midwestern American, and object to Republicans assuming that they are the only people who are patriotic or have strong family values. Bush’s loyalties are to his own family and his rich buddies, not to middle class and working American families. His actions speak far louder than his words.

Evelyn Petersen •TC

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