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 · Features · The battle of the Boardman
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The battle of the Boardman

Patrick Sullivan - August 1st, 2011
Lovers of trout streams should long for the day when the Boardman River
flows north into Traverse City unobstructed by dams, as wild, free and
clear as nature intended.
But some trout fishermen worry about one consequence that could come with
the removal of the dams -- the Michigan Department of Natural resources is
considering allowing salmon or steelhead to swim upstream once the new
river configuration is in place.
Michael Delp, an avid fishermen, author and retired writing instructor for
Interlochen Center for the Arts, is afraid of what the large sport fish
could do to the character of the river.
“Big fish draw lots of people, and you can walk lots of beautiful streams
in Northern Michigan after salmon season, and they’re just obliterated
with litter, salmon carcasses,” Delp said. “Steelhead fishermen I don’t
think are quite as bad, in quote marks, as the salmon fishermen, but I
worry about the toll on the river and the totality of its environment.”

Salmon and steelhead now swim past a fish ladder at the Union Street dam
but they are stopped upriver by the Sabin dam. Once that dam and two more
are removed, the Union Street dam, which will be modified, will be the
last line of defense between the upper Boardman and the Great Lakes.
Some species -- like sea lamprey and round goby -- need to be kept out,
said Todd Kalish, DNR Fisheries biologist. It’s an open question what
species should be allowed in. Under consideration are lake trout, walleye,
small-mouth bass, lake sturgeon, and the more controversial sport fish,
Kalish said.
Kalish said there will be a symposium in early 2012 to educate and take
input from interested parties.
Officials can’t wait too long before making a decision, though -- removal
of the dams is fast approaching.
Officials are currently awaiting approval of permit applications to draw
down Sabin and Brownbridge ponds. If approved the ponds are expected to be
drawn down gradually into October, Kalish said.
In the meantime, the permit applications to remove Brown Bridge and Sabin
dams will be finalized. Those dams are expected to be deconstructed in
2012, when the permitting process to remove Boardman dam and modify the
Union Street dam will take place.

It’s unclear what affect salmon and steelhead could have on brown and
brook trout populations.
Delp said he is concerned because the sport fish are larger than trout.
“Big fish eat little fish,” Delp said.
Jeff Jocks, an attorney and president of the Adams Chapter of Trout
Unlimited in Traverse City, agreed that it is unclear what would happen to
the trout.
“There are multiple opinions out there, but I understand the species most
likely to be affected is the brook trout population,” Jocks said.
That’s because if steelhead are introduced, juvenile steelhead will remain
upstream for a year before they go out to the lake. During that time they
would compete with young brook trout, Jocks said. Juvenile salmon, on the
other hand, do not linger in the river before heading out to the lake.
Kalish agreed there should be concern over what might happen to the trout
species. But he said there are plenty of examples of rivers where trout
and salmon and steelhead live side-by-side-by-side and they all succeed.
In Northern Michigan, Kalish pointed to the Little Manistee and the Pere
Marquette rivers.

Regardless of biological consequences, Delp remains worried that the human
reaction to the new species could be devastating.
There’s already a lot of competition for space on the river, Delp said. On
a warm day, kayakers, canoeists, tubers and fishermen all want to be out
“It’s a beautiful, beautiful stream, but if you saw it on the weekend in
the summer, it looks like a circus out here. It’s just really glutted with
traffic,” Delp said. “I just don’t like the idea that there’s going to be
a lot more people on the river fishing.”
One problem is the lack of public access to places that might become
popular should salmon or steelhead be allowed in.
“The middle Boardman doesn’t have any good access points,” Delp said. “I
think that that poses another problem.”
Delp, who owns a cabin on the Boardman, said he worries that could mean an
increase in trespassing on private land.
“They all should have access to the resource, there’s no question,” Delp
said. “I mean, we own the water in trust, in common as citizens, but we
need to use it smart and we need to sit down and talk about it before
people start to exploit it.”

Ryan Matuzak, a charter fisherman who captains a boat called the Streaker
and is president of the Grand Traverse Area Sport Fishing Association, is
an advocate for a healthy and large salmon population.
But he said he understands when someone like Delp is worried about a place
they love to fish.
“What I see is a group who wants to see their fishing spot protected,”
Matuzak. “There’s nothing wrong with that.”
He said with increased traffic on a lake or a river, fishing groups just
have to get more vigilant about ensuring people follow the rules. If
rivers get too rowdy, that’s a matter that requires self-policing.
“You don’t see boat launches all filthy and nasty because we won’t
tolerate that kind of activity,” Matuzak said.
Matuzak, whose group of around 500 members helps stock salmon in Grand
Traverse Bay each spring, said the organization hasn’t taken a position
yet on the introduction of salmon or steelhead in the Upper Boardman.
“In my group there’s a pretty diverse cross-section of people and there
are divergent opinions on it,” he said. “There’s interesting thought
processes from people on both sides.”
He also said he’s not convinced letting salmon spawn upstream would
eliminate the need to stock Grand Traverse Bay with chinook, coho and
steelhead, a job the DNR is hoping would no longer be necessary.
“I would want to know more about exactly what would happen,” before
abandoning the stocking programs, he said.

Sports fishermen may be divided, but when local members of Trout Unlimited
took a symbolic vote on the issue, they soundly rejected allowing sports
fish in, Jocks said.
“Our position is that we want fish passage in the Boardman limited to a
certain spot,” Jocks said. “We don’t want fish going all the way up
through the system.”
The Boardman is already a good, healthy fishery, so Trout Unlimited
members don’t want to risk jeopardizing that balance, he said.
Delp hopes to start an organization that would focus on the health of the
Boardman River watershed.
“NMEAC (Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council) is a great
organization, and it really does its job in terms of watching out for the
environment up here, but there are a lot of organizations and there’s no
core organization that really really protects the (Boardman) watershed,”
Delp said.
Controversy over salmon and steelhead in the Boardman follows controversy
over dam removal itself.
Dam removal became a contentious topic when Traverse City Light and Power,
operator of the hydroelectric dams, declared them obsolete in 2005.
Removal of the dams means the river will return to its natural flow and
ponds will disappear, disenfranchising some waterfront property owners.
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