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..

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Bay Harbor‘s Pollution: Company should Clean up Its Mess

Kevin L. Cronk - November 18th, 2004
Little Traverse Bay is the focal point of our regional economy and quality of life. During recent years, the Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council has developed a watershed management plan to protect and improve water quality of the Bay and its tributaries.
Even as the plan was being finalized, an unknown, yet extremely serious water pollution problem was occurring. In what has turned out to be the greatest source of contamination to the Bay in recent history, CMS Energy, Inc. shut down a system that collected contaminated seepage from cement kiln dust (CKD) in Bay Harbor, essentially allowing the polluted water to flow freely into Little Traverse Bay.
Although CMS blames the system shutdown on technical difficulties, a conscious decision was made by somebody to halt operations instead of correcting the problem.
Leachate (contaminated seepage) from the kiln dust pile underneath the Bay Harbor Golf Course, with mercury levels 230 times greater than allowable limits and with a pH value showing the water to be more alkaline than household bleach, was allowed to flow into the Bay for eight months until the problem was uncovered by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

Even after the leachate collection system was restarted, pH values in shoreline areas exceeded that of bleach, indicating that the system is not capturing all the contaminated water.
The pretreatment system, constructed and maintained by CMS, lowers the pH of captured leachate to an acceptable level, but does not address the high mercury concentration or that of other toxins. The Petoskey Waste Water Treatment Plant issued an Industrial Pretreatment Program (IPP) permit to CMS with terms for accepting the water, but CMS has continually violated both mercury and discharge limits.
This raises a number of important questions:

• How much leachate from the western kiln dust pile is missed by the collection system and is leachate from the eastern pile contaminating the Bay?
• How will CMS deal with additional volume when it is already exceeding IPP permit limitations?
• What is the fate of mercury and other toxins? Do they end up in the Bay?

Tip of the Mitt has developed recommendations that address the contamination issue. To begin with, just as we are taught as children to clean up our messes, CMS should be expected to clean up after theirs. CMS should be required to perform remediation to counter the effects of the pollution, such as funding stormwater system improvements around the Bay.
In fact, there are 63 recommended actions developed for the Little Traverse Bay Watershed Protection Plan that CMS could choose from.
Collecting and treating all contaminated leachate will require more information. Shoreline water quality monitoring and a groundwater study are needed to determine discharge points and flow paths of the contamination. Upon obtaining this information, the collection system for seepage from the western kiln dust pile should be improved to capture all polluted water.
Furthermore, the pretreatment system needs to be upgraded to reduce mercury, arsenic and other toxins to acceptable levels, preventing any chance of contaminating the Bay.

As in similar situations, such as that of the Lafarge Cement Plant in Alpena, capping the kiln dust piles will reduce contamination by preventing the infiltration of rain water and irrigation water from the golf course.
Encapsulation requires removal of the dirt cap placed over the piles and replacing it with an impermeable layer, such as two feet of compacted clay or a HDPE (high density polyethylene) liner. Although this would require great expense and closing a portion of the golf course, the positive long-term impact to water quality of the Bay would be incalculable.
Although CMS is responsible for leachate collection and treatment, the responsibility for the encapsulation of the kiln dust pile may extend to other parties in Bay Harbor.
Our concern is for the health of the Little Traverse Bay, which impacts the health of our community and economy. By having all parties focus on addressing the problem, we are confident that a workable solution can be reached.

Kevin L. Cronk is the Monitoring & Re- search Coordinator for the Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council in Petoskey.

:Fundraiser for family
of Nichole Fetterolf

The Living Light Holistic Wellness Center and Oryana Natural Foods Co-op are selling gift certificates with 50% of the proceeds going to the family of Nichole Fetterolf.
Nichole‘s oldest daughter, Sierra, age 11, was one of the four victims of the tragic accident that occurred on Nov. 3 on Long Lake near Traverse City.
Nichole, a mother of three other children, is a massage therapist at the Living Light Holistic Wellness Center, which is trying to help her during this difficult time.
Living Light is offering 60-minute massage gift certificates at $65 each (call 231-995-9697 or stop by 812 W. Front Street, TC), with gift certificates available from Oryana at the store off 8th Street.
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