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 · Fewer cops ... more crime
. . . .

Fewer cops ... more crime

Patrick Sullivan - June 20th, 2011
People might not have noticed that in the dust of a lousy economy there
are fewer cops on the road in Northern Michigan.
In Benzie County, Sheriff Rory Heckman is afraid criminals have taken note.
In one case, a would-be gas station stick-up man told a clerk he would
come back and rob the place once the cops had knocked off for the night.
Last month, there were two more opportunistic crimes -- at Pinecroft golf
course, just outside of Beulah, thieves somehow made off with six golf
carts. At the Watson Benzie car dealership in Benzonia, tires were stolen
from a Jeep and concrete blocks were left in their place.
These were conspicuous crimes Heckman suspects never would have been
attempted had the perpetrators needed to worry about patrol cars rolling
“These things all occurred after the police are gone,” Heckman said. “Why
do you think they occur? Because criminals know nobody’s out there.”

Across Northern Michigan, some departments have struggled during the
economic downturn to maintain 24-hour road patrols.
Cuts have been bad in Kalkaska County, but not so bad that overnight
patrols needed to be scrapped.
Kalkaska Sheriff David Israel said he was able to work with county
commissioners to cover gaps.
“I experienced a big problem, a quarter million dollars out of my budget
in January,” Israel said. “It’s nobody’s fault. It’s the economy.”
Israel said he had to lay off five positions -- two full-time and three
A shake-up at the state police means the trooper assigned to Kalkaska
County will work out of the Houghton Lake post, meaning even less police
coverage for the county.
“You’ve always got to prioritize,” said Kalkaska Sheriff
David Israel. “A barking dog might be the last thing that gets looked at.”
His main worry, though, was being able to maintain 24-hour road patrol.
In order to continue to operate round-the-clock, Israel said he needed to
replace an officer who will retire in July.
“I think the com-missioners listened to that and they saw clear to allow
me to fill that spot,” Israel said.
Israel said he also needed to change the shifts deputies work from eight
hours to 12 hours.
“You always have to rob from road patrol to make everything work,” he
said. “I gave up some supplies and some cars to avoid layoffs.”

Otsego County Undersheriff Matthew Nowicki said budget problems have been
chipping away at his department for the last decade.
“We’ve not been replacing people since 2001,” Nowicki said.
That means the department has gone from staffing 11 road patrol deputies
and one detective to employing seven road deputies and no detective today.
During the same period, the county’s population grew by 3.7 percent,
according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
“We do not operate 24-hours and haven’t for a while,” Nowicki said.
When needed, state police or officers from the Gaylord Police Department,
who are deputized, respond to major calls.
The sheriff department does not patrol county roads between midnight and 6
a.m., Nowicki said. It’s been two years since there were full-time patrols
in Otsego County.
“Let’s say someone calls at one in the morning and it’s not a homicide,
but someone’s doing something, there’s something going on in a
neighborhood, ... maybe they suspect that a drug deal is going on,”
Nowicki said. “You may not get a response until morning.”
Nowicki said most residents are unaware there is such a gap in police
“Most people don’t realize law enforcement isn’t there until they need
it,” Nowicki said.
Elsewhere, budget problems haven’t been as severe or they’ve been handled
without cutbacks.
Antrim County Sheriff Daniel Bean said there have been no cuts recently at
his department.
“Our commissioners have been excellent in heading off any issues,” Bean
said in an email.
In Manistee, Sheriff Dale Kowalkowski said long-term planning by county
officials has enabled his department to weather the economic storm without

There hasn’t been 24-hour road patrol in Benzie County since before
Heckman took office. Heckman said he’s only seen his budget slashed since
he arrived.
When serious crimes or crashes occur after hours, deputies are called in
from home or stay late after their shifts to handle the trouble.
That’s what happened on April 3, 2008, when two men decided to take
advantage of the lack of overnight road patrol to stage a robbery at the
Shell gas station in Honor.
The men, David Matthew Connell and Kasey Lee Allan, tried to recruit the
clerk to assist with the robbery.
The clerk refused, but Connell, at six feet four inches tall and 280
pounds, was able to intimidate the five-feet-four-inch-tall station clerk
into at least pretending to cooperate.
“Out of fear she pretended to play along,” the investigators wrote.
The clerk called the police immediately after the men left the store.
When the men returned just after 3 a.m., police, who stayed on after their
shifts, were ready. One deputy hid across the road, one hid in bushes near
the station, and two state police troopers waited in a car nearby, ready
to launch a pursuit.
The staged robbery took about three minutes. The men wore masks and used a
BB gun that looked like the real thing.
The next thing the deputies heard was the sound of the men bursting out of
the store yelling, “Let’s go! Let’s go!”
The police followed and Connell, 23, and Kasey, 21, were arrested without
Police recovered a pillow case filled with cash and three cartons of
Marlboro cigarettes. The men were later convicted.

Heckman sees that crime and the two recent larcenies at the car dealership
and the golf course as bad signs.
“If these dummies can figure it out, ... it’s sad,” he said. “There’s a
lot of stuff that goes on at dark and I think a lot of the criminals know
that there’s nobody on the street.”
Last year, $300,000 was cut from the budget and the department lost four
and a half positions.
The department no longer has a detective bureau. Elsewhere in the
department, grants and fund-raisers fill gaps. A grant last year paid for
an open water marine patrol boat that will have to largely sit idle this
summer because the department can’t afford to keep it in the water. A
fund-raiser pays much of the cost of a K-9 program.
One of the department’s patrol cars has over 100,000 miles on it, way too
much for a car that’s supposed to be on the road doing police work,
Heckman said.
“It’s not like I’m asking for Dodge Hemi police cars and all this crazy
stuff, I’m just asking for basic stuff to get the job done,” Heckman said.
“The county board just doesn’t take public safety seriously.”
Heckman has decided he’s had enough.
“When people ask me how come you’re not going to run for reelection, it’s
because of that, it’s because of the contentious relationship I’ve had
with the county board,” he said.
Heckman said neither he nor his undersheriff, William Sholten, plan to run
again when their terms expire in 2012.
Roland Halliday, a county commissioner who took office this year and has
not been through a budget process, said he believes Heckman has done a
great job given
limited resources and he would be sorry to see him go.
He said he would like to get the department what it needs, but money is
“People need police protection, they need ambulances and 911,” Halliday
said. “As a commissioner I would like to do more than talk about it.”
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5