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 8/12/04
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Letters 8/12/04

Various - August 12th, 2004
Fox fire
In recent weeks, many have argued Fox News is shilling for the Bush Republicans under the guise of fair and balanced journalism. Fox’s disappointing coverage of the Democratic convention couldn’t have proven the point any better.
For instance, Fox News only showed the first 45 seconds of Al Gore’s speech before Bill O’Reilly interrupted to attack him. Fox did the same during speeches by Jimmy Carter and Ted Kennedy.
A new study from watch group Media Matters for America finds Fox News covered far less of the convention than CNN or MSNBC. How they cover the Republican convention remains to be seen.
Real journalism is too vital for democracy to let partisans hijack it. Whatever our political affiliation, we’ll have to go elsewhere for election coverage this fall.

Jeffery A. Taylor • Grayling

You decide
Fox News says they’ll give you the news and let you decide for yourself. But during the Democratic convention, Fox shut out many of the speeches and showed their own pundits instead.
Watching Fox is like listening to a baseball game where the announcer only tells you when one team scores. Whatever team you’re rooting for, that’s not how the game is played. CNN and MSNBC gave a lot more coverage to the convention, allowing voters to decide who’s plan for America they prefer.
If you are baseing your decisions on information you have gleaned from Fox News, you are probably making bad decisions.

Shaun Johnson • Beulah

Where‘s Bush?
Over the past four months Northern Express has printed at least two anti-war or anti-Bush letters per issue. I understand that Northern Express is pushing its own anti-Bush agenda. I even understand that a large majority of your readers come from a liberal political perspective. But how many times are you going to print these letters that all represent the same issue? Enough is enough. Is it that your readers only have the ability to write negative letters about the current president and his policies? Or is it because the paper’s editors can only see has far as their own political views?
Dan Hellem • via email

(We run virtually every letter we receive from local readers, and frankly, we’ve received very few letters supporting Bush. This despite the fact that the Express is enjoyed by many conservative readers out of the 60,000 who read the paper each week in 13 counties. When we receive letters either opposing our views or a misguided government, we consider it a matter of pride and responsibility to run them. - ed.)

Out of context quote
Thank you again for an article that addresses both sides of this complex issue (“Sprawlbusters? 8/5). However, in order to maintain a factual base for “our side of the story,” I thought I would take a minute to clarify a few points.
1. I did not intent to imply that we met 21 out of 22 of the Governor’s Michigan Land Use Leadership Council’s (MLULC) recommendations, but rather 21 out of 22 of the design criteria found within the Grand Traverse Regional Development Guidebook.
2. In reviewing their final report we are meeting 22 out 23 of the “principles” identified under the Vision Statement found in the MLULC final report.
3. My quote in the Lansing State Journal is so out of context regarding this project Concerned Citizens of Acme Township (CCAT) is having a field day. It is akin to me saying, “the moon is not made of blue cheese!” and the Concerned Citizens for Blue Cheese saying, “look, this man obviously does not support the use of cheese, especially blue cheese in building satellites that will orbit the earth!”
Lansing Township’s plan and plight is to develop an area and create an urban village. The township’s intent is to implement the Regional Growth Study (which involved 78 units of government) by undertaking “urban infill” within the “core” area, while also adding tax base to replace the closing of a GM plant which is planned for 2005. This is not sprawl, but a calculated effort to add density of development in a nearly 600 acre area between the borders of Lansing and East Lansing. My quote was part of a discussion stating that the development community has embraced this effort faster than could have been imagined by anyone, which why a “good plan” is so important. That is the one consistent message I would share, however what that plan intends to accomplish can be drastically different while containing similar elements.
Think of a house blueprint vs. and office blueprint. They are both “plans” for a building containing 99% of the same materials and elements, however they result in different things. The same can be said for a development area plan and a smart growth plan. The key is knowing the intent, conveying it to the “builders,” and then monitoring it to make sure it goes as intended.
Thanks again for the great story. I hope my comments help, and you don’t see them as criticisms. I’m just so tired of CCAT’s use of unrelated material, and nonfactual information to substantiate their arguments.

Steven Hayward • Acme

A 24/7 nightmare
The Acme town center monstrosity developers must have missed a slide in their presentation on 7/26/04. Right after the slide attacking Todd Gokey’s integrity regarding his meetings with township superviser Dave Amon and the developers, there should have been a slide of Amon on Gokey’s doorstep dutifully delivering paperwork on behalf of the mall investors. Guess they didn’t want to own up to that.
According to the info the pro-mall lobby sent out they want to save us Acmeites from the nightmare of the cross-town commute to shop at Grand Traverse Mall. I’d rather endure that trip once every week or so than live 24/7 in the nightmare this mega project would create.
Also, how can the township limit commercial developement on M-72, as they claim they can, if the mall is approved? These property owners will still have a right to use their land to the max and the mall will attract peripheral businesses like flies.

Bill Hagan • Acme

Confused location?
Re: the “Sprawlbusters” piece in 8/5 issue.
As a long time resident of Lansing area, and with a long term interest in land use, I read the piece, looking for good information on this issue. I currently lean against the plan, but have been keeping an “open mind.”
However, I am concerned when I see several errors in print. Errors that I spot make me question other statements that I don’t know as much about.
With regards to East Towne Mall, is it East Lansing or Lansing Township?
Although I currently live in Leelanau County, I maintain a house in the Lansing area, and am there monthly for various ongoing business and other interests.
I guess my beef is not just the error in placing the complex in East Lansing, but the fact that this is contradicted within the article itself. The last couple of paragraphs state, “... Lansing Township project...” then “...a new mall in East Lansing did not act as a receiving zone but actually promoted sprawl.”
Blame it on Virginia Tegel, but it would be good to do some fact checking, and maybe some proof reading?
Frankly, I thought it was in Clinton County, Dewitt Township.
I use to live where the current Meijer’s (on Lake Lansing Road) is, and before that, commuted from the St. Johns area (over 30 years ago), so I have watched the area develop. This is not really new development, more of an extension of what had been happening, and, in fact, as alluded to in the Lansing State Journal piece, has revitalized the area.
I have not shopped this mall, but have used the restaurants. While “chain” themed restaurants, they have “raised the bar” in the Lansing area -- something which was sorely needed.
Bottom line, I don’t think that this is the best example of development gone bad.

J.T. Hoagland • Leelanau County

(As noted in a prededing letter by Steve Hayward, Lansing Township‘s director of development and planning, the project is located between Lansing and East Lansing in Lansing Township. We have no reason to doubt his word. The mention of East Lansing in the story was meant to help orient readers as to its general location. -- ed.)

Drug testing debate
I am writing in response to Andy Taylor’s Aug. 5 article on drug testing.
Dr. Lesoski stated “the controversy over drug testing has died down and most people are beginning to accept it.” That is not the conclusion reached in the October 2003 issue of “Workforce Management” (Drug Testing’s Negative Results) which stated “the drug-testing industry is coming under scrutiny, its value questioned as never before.” One example is electronics giant Hewlett-Packard which dropped “pre-empoyment” drug testing four years ago.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in “Chandler v. Miller” that elected officials cannot be tested for drugs because it violates their rights. In December 2003 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled that Michigan welfare recipients cannot be tested for drugs because it violates their rights (Marchwinski v. Family Indepedence Agency).
Politicians are going to have a hard time explaining why people who work for a living have to pee in a bottle.
The drug testing controversy has died down? It’s just getting started.

Randy Vizyak • Mukwonago, WI

Two of a kind
As we enter the presidential campaign of 2004, it is already evident that vicious partisanship will be the order of the day. Both sides will claim that their man is a paragon of virtue while the opponent is, at the very least, a poltroon.
If the last election is an accurate bellwether, one of the parties will tout their champion as being an intellectual giant compared to his opposite number who is, of course, a moron. In the interest of clarifying the issue, I have researched the backgrounds of both of the major candidates and offer here their resumes. This information was gathered, not from official party websites, but through the use of that versatile search engine, Google.
I hope this information will be of some use during the upcoming melee.

George Bush John Kerry
Secondary School: Phillips Academy St. Paul’s School
Undergraduate: Yale (BA, History) Yale (BA, Pol-Sci)
Yale Social Club: Skull and Bones Skull and Bones
Graduate: Harvard (MBA) Boston College (Law)
Military: Pilot (Texas ANG) Line Officer (USN)
Political Career: Gov. (Texas x 2) Sen. (Massachusetts)
President of U.S.

Bill Mayer • Petoskey

Strength & wisdom
At the Democratic Convention, former President Clinton said eloquently what so many Americans have been thinking: “Strength and wisdom are not opposing values.” President Bush’s policies can seem strong, but they are terribly unwise. We simply can’t afford four more years of mistakes under the guise of strength. We need a president who will use both strength and wisdom as guiding principles. John Kerry is the president we need to restore our national pride and the respect of the world.

Janet & Walter Zerbel • Grawn

Rally for God‘s plant
Kudos to your paper and writer Eartha Melzer for the wonderful articles about Matthew and Laura Barber’s medical marijuana case. They are good Christian people and their story deserves to be heard.
To the judge who will rule on prosecutor Dennis LaBelle’s motion to suppress any talk of medical marijuana in their case, I say let the jury hear the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Matt and Laura are on the side of God and like all responsible marijuana users (who are around you every day) they will continue to commit their act of civil disobedience against this unjust law until it is changed at the governmental level.
I propose for the court to be filled to capacity with “REAL” Christians of every profession in support of Matt and Laura. You want “REAL” revival church? Then WAKE UP and take a stand for God’s plant and Jesus’ love! I also propose that the outside of the courthouse be surrounded by thousands of responsible marijuana users from around the state in support of Matt and Laura,committing their act of civil disobedience all together as one.
People like Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks broke laws with courage as they openly challenged societal assertions and beliefs that were unjust, and it is time for all responsible marijuana users to come out of their closet, unite and organize,and stand for tolerance and personal freedom. If we let Matt be put into jail, he will regress, or worse, die!

Rev. Steven B. Thompson
Director, Benzie County NORML

Stop the Wall
John Reese and Erica Kay of Seattle have organized the Stop the Wall tour and will travel 15,000 miles this summer and fall across the United States bringing information to countless communities on the Israeli Wall. The tour illustrates the Wall’s impact on the environment, Israelis and Palestinians and the peace process.
On Monday August 16t, a public forum on the Wall of Separation between Israel and Palestine, together with a model, pictures and presentation on the Wall will be held in Suttons Bay at St. Michael’s Social Hall, Elm and Broadway at 7 p.m., preceded by a potluck at 6. Consider attending and giving these folks some support for their awesome efforts for peace and justice.

Marian Kromkowski • Suttons Bay

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