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 7/11/02
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Letters 7/11/02

Various - July 11th, 2002
Support small business

As a 12-year downtown small business owner, I am amazed at the lack of support given to me and my family after the tragic fire of a neighboring building which devastated my small downtown business. My building owner/lesser happens to be a past president and current member of the Traverse City Chamber of Commerce, an organization I thought supported the efforts of small downtown businesses.
After the tragic fire, my lease was terminated and offered to a neighboring larger franchised business with several locations in the area. This forced me to relocate my stand-alone business that has provided our local community with a gathering place and offered a wonderful resource for the entire downtown community, not just the tourists. No consideration was given to the value of small businesses that generate 90% of their profits from local citizens.
I have watched the sprawl growth of our community and have seen the big box stores erode small business owners in the downtown area. How is the small business owner to survive if our downtown leaders and property owners don‘t support us, the little guys?
Please consider the future growth of downtown Traverse City and support for small businesses and not just the corporate franchised business, which seems to squeeze out the locals.

Danielle Freund • Ray‘s Coffeehouse

Cannibis & votes

Re: Robert Downes‘ article “Marijuana and Free Speech“ in Random Thoughts. I may not always agree with him completely, but that is okay because at least he is talking about it.
Some of the things that I differ on are the following. The truth is that protest marches do get reporters flying down firepoles in hot pursuit if the marchers are being destructive, showing civil disobedience and getting arrested. The sad fact is that if the marchers are peaceful, that doesn‘t sell the public today as well as violence. When did this all change?
I am a soon-to-be 55-year-old baby boomer who obviously does care about the stuff today as do the majority of our members (Benzie County NORML and the statewide PRA pro-marijuana movement) who also happen to be over 50 years old. The oldest member of Benzie County NORML is 76 and the youngest 19. My wife and I raised six children of our own and over 30 foster children who are all pretty productive citizens today raising their own families. They all know how dad feels that I would rather see them use cannabis than alcohol or tobacco, but they each make their own decisions. Incidentally, I don‘t drink chardonnay or take Ibuprofen or any prescription drugs. I trust only cannabis and other natural herbs.
Voter registration -- all PRA petitioners kept cards with them and signed people up before they signed the petitions and mailed them in at their own expense. I personally mailed in over 100 voter registrations. Maybe when we do it again, we will strive for voter registration and have PRA petitions on the side.
A few weeks ago in Lansing we supporters of the PRA elected a seven-member steering committee with Greg Schmid (author of the PRA proposal) as our legal advisor. I was one of those elected and three of us men are over 50 years old. Our first order of business (to my liking) was to hire a legitimate poll done of Michigan voters to prove where we stand on the four parts of PRA, thus hoping to get recognition from the corporate-controlled news media and get some big money donors to pay volunteers for signatures.
The second thing that we decided was to lower the age on the personal use issue to 18 years old. We know that the signatures are out there, but we need more help from around the state to get the job done.
I personally feel that if you use cannabis then you need to quit hiding (hoping you won‘t get caught) and take a stand to help us get this on the ballot. I am getting sick of having police, doctors, lawyers, judges, etc. tell me that they can‘t make a public stand but they are behind what I am doing all the way and will vote for it in the privacy of the voting booth. I‘m obviously sticking my neck on the line because my generation should have gotten this done back in the 1970s when the Schaffer Commission recommended that cannabis should be decriminalized and I don‘t want to see my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren go through the same bullshit that we have gone through. I want to see victory for God before I die! Baby Boom generation and all the rest of you -- I hope Robert Downes pissed you off enough to take some action. You can start by contacting Michigan Marijuana Movement at mmm420@triton.net. On Wednesday, July 17, 7 p.m., Benzie County school‘s Central Business Office on Homestead Rd. Benzonia, Benzie County NORML will be showing to the public (that has the courage to come) two films, “Hemp for Victory“ and “Hemp, The Billion Dollar Crop.“

Rev. Steven B. Thompson
Director, Benzie County NORML

Removing the Rainbows

It‘s getting close to the time for the Rainbow Gathering. The vote last year elected one of the Lake states (Mich., Wisc., or Minn.). Soon a National Forest area will become a temporary home to the country‘s largest nonorganization.
The Gathering started in 1972 as a way to celebrate life and nature on public lands, and pray for healing and peace in a truly democratic society with no central power figure and no taint of money. Over the years, the number of attendees has grown, and last year, near Boise, Idaho, almost 20,000 people came, prayed and celebrated, cleaned up the area, and went home.
The U.S. Forest Service has created a National Incident Management Team just for the Rainbows, and does everything possible, including disinformation, to discourage members of the public from peaceful assembly on public lands. Last year, the U.S.F.S. warned that valuable chinook salmon spawning grounds would be destroyed by all the campsites. Rainbows made wooden bridges for the streams, along with stone walkways to prevent erosion. And every day, law enforcement officers rode their horses through the streams.
Here in Manistee, the local police were kind enough to distribute information sheets to local businesses. A few quotes, spelling errors included: “Efforts to stop the group have resulted in numerouse suits in court - free speech gathering... the largest subsitized ‘party‘ on U.S. Forest land in the United States... many of the participants are homeless, they will stay until they absolutely have to leave... parking is always a problem... if a vehicle breaks down, most are simply left as they are basically junk... remote areas are always used, therefore roads are not designed for this much traffic... social problems including nudity, confrontation with locals, shoplifting, gas theft, etc... basically drain every resource from the community (local banks, Salvation army, apply for food stamps).“ How do homeless people drain resources from banks?
From the July 2001 Idaho Observer, a totally different picture emerges. “There was no traffic congestion... parking proceeded in a peaceful and orderly fashion... over 90% of the vehicles were newer models... no litter, extremely clean... no people fights... officers tend to issue citations to people who are obviously poorer so that they can‘t pay the fine. This results in warrants and arrests later which serves the propaganda machine that Rainbows are irresponsible and poor... fewer than 10 among the 18,000+ got naked... only a handful of partied out people... periods of silence... respect, respect, respect.“ I called the Salvation Army in Boise, and the manager told me there hadn‘t been any problems that she was aware of.
Hmmm. I was taught to respect authority, but something seems kind of incongruent here. The police and the U.S. Forest Service want me to fear the Rainbows, but it appears to me that if ever this planet needed prayers for peace and healing, it is now.

Bob VanderLewn • Manistee

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