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 7/11/11
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Letters 7/11/11

- July 11th, 2011
Green slime a turnoff
I spent a lot of time on Grand Traverse Bay during the late 1970s through
the mid-1980s and still remember the crystal clear waters, searching for
Petoskey stones at the waters edge, sailing in the fresh air and marveling
at the natural beauty of the area. Finally, after 25 years, I have made
the pilgrimage back. The entire drive of almost 1,000 miles from Georgia
with my wife and my 10 year old daughter and my 12 year old son was spent
with me preaching about the superiority of the Great Lakes to anything in
the South and generally bragging about the area.
We arrived at the cottage, the kids immediately changed into swim gear and
charged for the beach. The next thing I heard was a shout for me to come
quick. Imagine my surprise when I saw green sludge lapping up on the
beach, a light scum covering the rocks, and a “green zone” 3 to 5 feet
wide just under the water only a foot off shore. Initially I was shocked,
then deeply saddened. What could have possibly have happened? The water
was still clear, but there was no doubt that the lake had suffered some
type of serious damage and it was widespread. I got the kids into the
water through an area that was not as covered with the green growth (they
quickly came back out - they are used to Southern water temperatures) and
did a little investigating to see if anyone knew what was happening to the
What I found was shocking and entirely too familiar. I heard it is the
run-off from the farms, over development, invasive species, sewage from
septic tanks, over commercialization, over industrialization, or lower
water levels. I heard it is the politicians refusing to do anything
because of the money lining their pockets from one group or another and
that the Michigan DEQ (Department of Environmental Quality?) is
incompetent. I heard many theories and excuses, but this is what I know.
First, the lake is being damaged and the difference from 25 years ago is
shocking and second, the reasons for the damage can be determined
scientifically and remedies found if the people decide to make it so.
The people and communities which line Lake Michigan and all of the Great
Lakes have been blessed with an amazing lifestyle and an accompanying
great responsibility. You are all stewards of not only one of the world’s
great natural resources, but with one of God’s and Mother Nature’s
greatest works. A place that not only is beautiful, but that touches
peoples hearts and souls. I have to say that your stewardship appears to
be less than complete.
And while you continue to bicker and not take concrete actions to find and
fix the problem, the lake will continue to deteriorate. In 15 years, give
me a call. We in the South can show you how to build docks and ramps that
can reach 20 to 30 feet out beyond the slime and the muck to reach water
you will be willing to put a boat in. I am sure the middle of the bay will
still be fine.

Terry Hunley • Atlanta, GA

Well-funded attack
As Jim Hightower puts it in his June Lowdown, there is a flock of
right-wing governors “who seem to have flown out of the same dark
political hell-hole in the past couple of years.” All of them are pushing
vituperative measures designed to gut not only public employees and
unions, but also the entire middle class. Simultaneously they want to give
new tax cuts to corporations and millionaires.
Doesn’t anyone find it odd that these governors (and many Republican
state legislators) all seem to have the same play book. Not only are
their agendas alike and the content of their proposals remarkably
similar, but they’re also parroting the same scripted rationale for
extremist actions.
So where does this concerted attack on the hard-won rights, protections,
and democratic power of America’s wage earners come from? We certainly
haven’t had much help from the mainstream mass media in revealing this. It
comes from a relative handful of arrogantly rich, right-wing families and
corporate chieftains who have long been dedicated to destroying organized
labor, repealing the New Deal, and returning America to the glory days
when robber barons ruled.
It comes from corporate front groups such as Michigan located the Mackinac
Center for public policy. Peek under the Mackinac Center rock, and you’ll
find piles of money from the billionaire Koch brothers, the DeVos (Amway)
and Prince families of Grand Rapids and the Waltons of Walmart.
Thus, behind the look - alike anti-worker, anti-democratic policies lie
these insidious right-wing policy shops that have been set up and richly
financed by the wealthy and by big corporations to prepare and
hand-deliver programs to compliant governors and key legislators.

Terence M. Collins • TC

Triple insult
I found the ad the Center for Plastic Surgery placed in the Northern
Express highly offensive. To tell a woman with a small breast size that
her worth is less than that of a AAA battery is so wrong on so many levels
I hardly know where to begin. I will be sharing this ad with my fellow
classmates at Eastern Michigan University where we are currently studying
the degrading messages young girls and women receive on a daily basis in
print media.

Mary Meredith • via email

No dictatorship
Tens of thousands of men and women have fought and died to protect our
democratic way of life. This emergency manager law (PA4) recently passed
by our legislature is an attack from within on that democratic way of
I for one will not stand by and watch our democracy be destroyed. Our
corporation controlled representatives may try and put a happy face on
this undemocratic law, but it doe not change the fact that it is
dictatorial not democratic.
Yes, democracy can be difficult and messy at times, but much preferable to
a dictatorship. So sign the petition for referendum and let the voters
decide. It’s the democratic thing to do.

Randy Bond • Beulah

From a column by Tom Switzer about a speech 40 years ago by President
Richard Nixon, predicting the end of the “American Century.”
In 1971, Nixon addressed an audience of media executives in Kansas City
and predicting that America’s dominance as a superpower would be replaced
by a world in which global power would be shared with the Soviet Union,
Western Europe, Japan and China, creating a safer world:

“I think of what happened to Greece and Rome, and you see what is left
— only the pillars. What has happened, of course, is that the great
civilizations of the past, as they have become wealthy, as they have
lost their will to live, to improve, they then have become subject to
decadence that eventually destroys the civilization. The U.S. is now
reaching that period.”
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