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Letters 04-21-2014

An Exercise of Power

Many brave men and women have worn and do wear the military uniform of the United States of America. They put their lives at risk and have lost their lives to protect our freedom, our loved ones and our right to vote...


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Monday, May 9, 2011

Letters 5/9/11

Letters The legacy of bin Laden
While it is just and proper for our government to do whatever is necessary
to protect we citizens, is that a moral justification for dancing in the
streets at the death of another human being? Bear in mind this individual
is highly regarded in a large segment of the earth’s disenfranchised
people. Our revelry will serve to infuriate these people.
Bin Laden himself once said that he did not hate Americans, only American
foreign policy. Didn’t we learn anything from our meddling in the affairs
of Iran? Or Venezuela? Most Americans do not realize that OPEC originated
in South America because of our exploitive practices there.
While we find it abhorrent that anyone would resort to terrorism to
achieve their political ends, Bin Laden did not set this precedent. Nor
was he the first to appeal to religious zealotries to serve his cause. Now
we must address the reprisals that are sure to come and the ones following
our actions against them etc. etc.
Again, while we must do whatever is necessary to protect we citizens, the
first thing we must do is stop exploiting other nations for our own
interests. The next thing is to admit to and address the wrongs we have
committed in the past. The last thing is to try to learn from and avoid
such actions in the future. This is not going to be easy or happen
overnight. We are still suffering from the resentments caused by the
exploitation of Native Americans and Africans more than a century after we
began to try to atone for our actions.
While it is just and right to have executed Bin Laden because of the
threat he posed to the United States and indeed the entire world, before
we rejoice in the streets we need to consider the part we played in
creating him.

Roger Paupore • TC
 
Monday, May 2, 2011

Letters 5/2/11

Letters Good man on the job
A few weeks ago I e-mailed the Express regarding the disappearance of Jacob Cabinaw. In this letter I mentioned the poorly run investigation by the Sheriff‘s Department, namely Detective Gomez. I have since met with him and spoke to him at length about Jake and the investigation and his possible whereabouts.
I must admit that my original opinion was uneducated and based solely on emotion. The amount of information that Detective Gomez had in his possession was staggering to say the least, and I have full faith that he is doing everything in his power to solve this mystery. He does not have the resources (read: money) to spend time flying around the country checking leads and frankly, any police force from any major city would laugh if an officer from some unknown town in Michigan wanted certain information. Tax payers would throw a fit knowing their money was spent like this.
As much as I want Jake to be found, or to come home, I must take a step back and take emotion out of this momentarily. There are several other missing persons from this area and other actual crimes being committed- asking a publicly-funded detective to spend all of his waking moments tracking down one person is ludicrous.... especially if there is no crime associated with his disappearance.
Instead of attacking the investigation I am asking that anyone with any information about Jake please come forward and please keep rumors quiet unless you can prove it to be fact. Please do not be afraid to share any and all knowledge associated with this case with Detective Gomez.

George Nemetz • via email
 
Monday, April 25, 2011

Letters 4/25/11

Letters What’s the end game?
It seems to me with all of the Republican and Tea Party ideas about the
budget floating around out there, we need to ask ourselves some basic
questions. Mainly, what is the end game here?
What does our society look like with a reduced deficit? With taxed
pensions? With no health care plan, reduced Medicare and limited or no
Social Security? So we’re out of debt, big corporations have increased tax
incentives and there are no unions. Is this what we want, Republicans?
What does our society look like when all this happens? Are there more
jobs? Is the middle class suddenly expanded? Are we all better off? Tell
me, what is it we’re aiming for?
I completely support reduced deficits and taxes and a society that doesn’t
have to rely on the government to support people in need. But tell me,
what does this look like? How do you plan to get there?
Are corporations going to take care of us by providing the jobs we need at
a sustainable wage? Who will take care of our aging citizens as their
Medicare is reduced? How long will we have to work to provide for our own
social security? I might be inclined to listen if I knew what your vision
is. Do YOU know?

Tom Speers • Fife Lake
 
Monday, April 18, 2011

Letters 4/18/11

Letters Art or barbarism?
In response to the “Bodies Human” show at the Dennos Museum Center. Art?
To me abomination is a more fitting term.
Most of the bodies being displayed are Chinese because Red China is one of
the few countries that will gladly sell human organs and whole bodies to
the highest bidder, especially its executed prisoners, which it leads the
world in production of.
Regardless of that, these are human beings who are someone’s father,
mother, son, daughter, brother or sister who are being exhibited like some
kind of stuffed animal for others’ amusement and profit. Or is it alright
to mount humans like hunting trophies as long as they are poor Chinese and
not rich Caucasians?
Masquerading as an education, health and science show, it is really a
third world carnival freak show, except most of the third world has more
respect for the dead. 100 weirdly posed corpses in our museum; what’s
wrong with this picture? Is our country losing its collective mind and
soul and anything goes? I hope not.
The Dennos Museum and Traverse Health Clinic are both wonderful
organizations. But whoever set this event up apparently didn’t think out
its dark side. Please give it some thought and voice your feelings. I hope
you will agree this is an assault on our humanity in our beautiful corner
of Michigan and together we can get it shut down.

Keith Lints • via email

For what it’s worth, it should be noted that the bodies in the exhibit
reportedly came from Taiwan, rather than mainland China. - ed.)
 
Monday, April 11, 2011

Letters 4/11/11

Letters Less talk, more action
To all of you who write in and talk about the crisis that is going on
in Michigan and specifically regarding Rick Snyder, the Governor --
what are you doing other than writing letters to the editor?
I can understand where it might give you a venue to vent your
frustrations but what else are you actually doing? Have you written to
the governor or to your senators or representatives? Have you
participated in a rally either here or in Lansing? Do you vote on
various websites expressing your thoughts?
There are ways to make changes other than writing a letter to your
local newspapers which I don’t see as resulting in any changes. I
would like to see people become outraged at what is happening in our
state and across the nation and to do something about it in a peaceful
constructive manner.
For instance -- if you are against the war(s) come to a meeting of
Veterans For Peace. They meet the third Saturday of every month at
10:30 a.m. downstairs at Horizon Books. After the meeting, there is a
peaceful march around downtown Traverse City. You do not have to be a
veteran. This is only one of many, many ways that you can get involved
in the political scene and try to make a difference.

Tom Emmott • TC
 
Monday, April 4, 2011

Letters 4/4/11

Letters Save our film industry
Dear Governor Snyder: You are the nerd Michiganders elected who would
bring the state back from the brink of financial ruin. So please help me
understand your decision to cap tax credits for the film industry.
The February report of accounting firm, Ernst & Young states that for
every untaxed dollar, the film industry gave Michigan back six. In fact,
the industry grew from $2 million to $225 million in just two years,
creating 6,491 jobs. Hotels, catering services, restaurants and other
ancillary businesses reaped big monetary rewards. Maxsar Studio in Livonia
and Raleigh Studio in Pontiac, both of which may have to close, were
built. Colleges and universities increased enrollment in film writing,
editing and acting classes.
Detroit 1-8-7, a critically-acclaimed drama that promotes a positive image
of a struggling city and its people, received $19,641,435 in credits last
year, but spent $47,288,907 in Michigan. It probably won’t be back next
year thanks to your tax cap. Great movies filmed in Michigan like Gran
Torino and Up in the Air will no longer bring work here. The Avengers will
now move its production set to Ohio.
Governor, is your plan to save Michigan? Ouch.

Mary Eliowitz • Maple City
 
Monday, March 28, 2011

Letters 3/28/11

Letters We‘ve been duped
Last November the voters of this state, and the nation, voted to change
our political world by voting in folks promising lower taxes and less
government. That sounded good on the surface, but now as these tea
baggers start to make their changes, I see where this is taking us.
Everything we have spent decades building to make our society so great --
our very way of life -- is threatened. Unbridled government cuts will
have a negative impact on the things we most need and cherish. Our
schools, our safety, our roads, culture, safety nets for the less
fortunate, our national defense, are all at risk. As we lose more fire
fighters, teachers, cops, government services and road maintenance, we
will all suffer. And as we decimate funding for libraries, public
broadcasting, mental health services, medical research, arts, education,
recreation, regulatory watchdogs and so much more, we will soon find
ourselves in a different world. A pronounced step backwards from
civilization, towards a jungle existence, with no spirit of community or
common good.
Governments are necessary, primarily to provide services that people need,
but can’t provide individually, It is always good to eliminate waste and
overlap, but we still need many of the things we get by banding together.
Budget squeezes are tough, but it makes no sense why the burden falls so
heavily on the middle class and those in the bottom strata. Yet the new
wave seems determined to continue to give huge tax cuts to the rich and
the hugely profitable corporations. I think we were duped into believing
all these changes would help us, when really they further widen the gap
between the wealthy and the rest of us. I think we could still maintain
our quality of life if we just got those who have most profited from our
economy to pay a fair share.
Now we get the attack on unions, who have always fought for the working
class, union or not. The powerful and rich have divided us so they can
further conquer us. It’s scary that so many don’t see that.
I for one, will not be voting for the party of the wealthy next time.

Robert H. Smith • Cheboygan
 
Monday, March 21, 2011

Letters 3/21/11

Letters Fair to seniors?
Are “seniors” being treated fairly?
There appears to be a huge outcry from many seniors about Governor
Snyder’s proposal to drop the exclusion of pensions from taxable income.
Some pensioners are even threatening to pack up and move to another state
if this exemption is eliminated.
Perhaps these folks should consider the huge inequity of exempting
pensions from state income taxes. For example:
“A senior couple with a household income of $59,000, made up mainly of
pension income and Social Security, has no state tax liability and
actually receives a check for several hundred dollars back from the state.
Whereas a working couple with children whose household income is $10,000
less has to pay over $1,000 in Michigan income tax.” – The Center for
Michigan.
Also, many who are opposed to taxing pension income assume that this is
an unfair tax targeted at “all” seniors. But what about us seniors -- and
there are many of us -- that have no defined pension but rely on our 401k
and savings along with Social Security, and pay state income tax just like
the working couple in the example above?
Don’t assume that all “seniors” in Michigan worked in the public sector or
in a UAW plant that had a defined pension plan. There are in fact many
pensioners (mainly from the public sector) whose pension income actually
exceeds the income they earned while working due to the fact that they no
longer have to pay state income taxes.
Many of us seniors have, and continue to pay our fair share in Michigan
taxes with nary a complaint. In my opinion, if having to pay your fair
share of state income tax is enough to cause you to sell your home and
move to another state, then don’t let the door hit you in the backside on
the way out!

Gordon LaPointe • Williamsburg
 
Monday, March 14, 2011

Letters

Letters Snyder delivers promise
For years Michigan politicians have played the coward’s role by deferring
difficult financial and taxation issues to future generations. Fearful for
their re-elections, legislators shelved problems and used band-aids and
gimmicks to muddle through annual budgets while continually failing their
elected responsibilities.
]Governor-elect Snyder campaigned on a promise to address the difficult
issues with shared burdens, to rectify tax inequities and to spur
employment opportunities for our young people by softening business taxes
and mitigating onerous regulations. Governor Snyder’s proposed budget is a
campaign promise fulfilled.
Now it’s time for our spineless Legislature, whose souls are owned by
every special interest except the average citizen, to cease their endless
nit-picking and pass the Snyder budget as proposed.
Michigan’s citizens deserve better of our elected Legislature than
grand-standing and critiquing without providing alternatives.

Michael Estes • TC
 
Monday, March 7, 2011

Letters

Letters Scapegoating migrants
Here in Northern Michigan some of our most important neighbors are our
migrant workers. We need them desperately to help our farmers who depend
on them.
Now a group of anti-immigrant legislators (including our Representative
Ray Franz) have proposed House Bill 4305, which is similar to the Arizona
bill that profiles Hispanics.
I often see our hardworking neighbors, migrant workers shopping at NJ’s in
Lake Leelanau with their families. They don’t look like the Wall Street
crowd who ripped off the American people or the Haliburton people who
profited from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. They are obviously Hispanic
and look like they have done some pretty intense physical labor (the kind
no one else wants to do and cannot do well). Now I’m trying to imagine
what it would be like if one of our sheriffs checked them for papers and
how humilating that would be.
Have our immigrants become the scapegoat for our troubled society? It
seems to me that our country is losing its humanity and empathy for one
another. We need to educate ourselves regarding immigration policies in
this country and remind ourselves that most of us are from immigrant
families. We should not close the door to those who follow behind us.

Susan Wheadon • Cedar

 
Monday, February 28, 2011

Letters

Letters Snyder’s tax increase
Governor Snyder’s budget sent to the State Legislature would balance the state’s budget by imposing massive tax increases on the most vulnerable people, the elderly and the poor.
Taxing pensions at 4.5% is a tax increase. Eliminating or reducing the Homestead Property Tax Exemption for seniors is a tax increase. Eliminating the Earned Income Tax Credit for the working poor is a tax increase. Each of these proposed tax increases will hit the populations of our state least able to bear the brunt of the change.
As an AARP Tax-Aide volunteer, I see first-hand how little many of our seniors make and scrape by on. They can ill afford to suddenly have their pension income reduced by 4.5%, giving them less spending money to pay for necessary medical costs and living expenses.
The worth of a society is measured in how it takes care of the least of its citizens. If these tax increases are enacted, our society isn’t worth much.

Charles N Godbout • Empire
 
Monday, February 21, 2011

Letters

Letters Other options for migrants
In the early 1970s I was living in Nebraska, where immigrants worked in the sugar beet fields. They were hunched over at their jobs often for 12 to 14 hours a day, and I marveled that they did not break under the strain. The workers’ ages ranged from their 50s down to young children who came after school to help - if their parents were able to get them to school.
At that point in our history, it was hard to know if these people were considered “legal” or “illegal.” Judging by the reticence of some of the adults (and having recently read of the capricious nature of the immigration system), I assume they knew that they were in danger of deportation at any time, for very little reason and with no legal recourse.
They, and the farmers who hire them, have always been caught in the crossfire between our consumer society which insists on low food prices, and a society in need of a scapegoat for its problems. The push-pull economic factors that drive immigration are matched by the idiosyncratic push-pull American mentality. We want the immigrants here working for low wages to ensure that our food is some of the cheapest in the world, but we don’t want them here for a host of other reasons, many of them bogus.
It is said that our society enjoys its comfortable lifestyle on the backs of these “disposable people.” Please come to the Charlevoix Library on February 27 (2:30 to 5:30 p.m.) to discuss more humane solutions to the problems of immigration with Father Wayne Dziekan.

Jean Engstrand • via email
 
Monday, February 21, 2011

A home buyer‘s Paradise...Lost?

Letters Robert Downes A Home Buyer‘s Paradise... Lost?
Here in the Midwest, we live in a home-buyer’s paradise compared to much of the rest of the world. Realtor Jack Lane (who hosts a real estate show on WTCM-AM) notes that the median price for a home in Grand Traverse County in 2010 was $145,000. The region’s high is Leelanau County, where the median price was $205,000 last year. In Kalkaska County, however, the median price was just $65,000. The median price for a home in Petoskey is reportedly $169,000.
By contrast, the median price for a home in San Diego County last year was $305,000. It was $225,000 in Denver and $205,549 in Fort Lauderdale.
So we’ve got some bargains in Northern Michigan (Leelanau County notwithstanding) and you’d think there would be something of a land rush on here in the region.
What’s holding people back?
“History will show you that most people will wait and wait, hesitant to act before the entire crowd acts,” Lane says. “Therefore, not until interest rates begin to rise and headlines begin to say ‘Housing recovers!’ will you see the market kick back to the levels of ten years ago. Most buyers need ‘the psychological permission’ of the masses. The really smart people are either already wading into the water or are donning their hip-waders as you’re reading this.”
 
Monday, February 14, 2011

Letters

Letters Library uproar
I am writing as a retired librarian from the NMC Library, and as a tax-paying citizen for 30 years of Traverse City. I am so glad, and usually proud, to be a resident of this town with so many assets and so many fine people.
What makes an effective library? The answer is pretty simple: a good staff with skills to cooperatively build the collection and serve the patrons. Technology and even the building itself are tools created by the staff.
There is a reason why the Traverse Area District Library (TADL) has become one of several cherished gathering places in Traverse City. We are comfortable and find our friends and neighbors at TADL, as we do at Horizon Books and the State Theatre. Building that sense of community takes a long time and is extremely hard to ‘create’, making that place all the more valuable.
There is a reason why many of us show visiting friends the beautiful building housing the library that we cherish.
There is a reason why we all recognize that TADL has had a superlative staff. And this is a reason that we usually find the materials we need when we use the collection.
Such a library doesn’t just happen. It grows gradually through the cooperative efforts of skilled, hard working and dedicated people.
I am concerned about a governance system that has no resource for an appeal for a professional librarian and general staff. Remember, a librarian has usually earned a Master’s degree. As a librarian, if I had a concern about the library, I had the option of going to my director’s boss, the president or dean of the colleges I served. I used that option on one occasion in 22 years as a librarian. At TADL, apparently, the librarians and other staff have only their director. They are apparently not allowed any “higher” authority. When that director may be the problem there is no recourse. That seems like a very poor governance model to me.

June Thaden • TC
 
Monday, February 7, 2011

Letters

Letters WNMC No Exclusive Club
In a recent letter to Northern Express, a community member expressed
dissatisfaction with WNMC, especially the Friday morning show. During
these particular broadcasts, an astronomer/ NMC alum explains what’s
new in the world of science and how these discoveries interface with
society. I love to hear these compelling stories, it’s my favorite
morning show! The dissatisfied listener cited some conflicting data
and claims that WNMC “provides no mechanism for argument, rebuttal, or
opposing expert opinion.”
1. Sir, I think you’ve successfully found a venue to express your
contrary opinion.  You can also call or email WNMC to connect with the
source.
2. Nobody at WNMC claims that everyone should think like them. In my
observation, they spend half of the time making fun of themselves.
3. WNMC celebrates diverse opinions and styles.  The morning staff and
all of the dj’s are volunteers. They have a passion they’d like to
share, so they craft shows of music or commentaries. All are welcome
to volunteer their time and ideas. It is not an exclusive club.
Here’s the kicker...these diverse ideas, thoughts, and styles are
debated, meshed, mingled, intertwined harmoniously. No “arguing,
rebutting”. “Contrary opinions” are welcome, all the same.

Angela Poneta Dedenbach submitted via email
 
 
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