Letters

Letters 10-20-2014

Doctor Dan? After several email conversations with Rep. Benishek, he has confirmed that he doesn’t have a clue of what he does. Here’s why...

In Favor Of Our Parks [Traverse] City Proposal 1 is a creative way to improve our city parks without using our tax dollars. By using a small portion of our oil and gas royalties from the Brown Bridge Trust Fund, our parks can be improved for our children and grandchildren.

From January 1970 Popular Mechanics: “Drastic climate changes will occur within the next 50 years if the use of fossil fuels keeps rising at current rates.” That warning comes from Eugene K. Peterson of the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management.

Newcomers Might Leave: Recently we had guests from India who came over as students with the plan to stay in America. He has a master’s degree in engineering and she is doing her residency in Chicago and plans to specialize in oncology. They talked very candidly about American politics and said that after observing...

Someone Is You: On Sept 21, I joined the 400,000 who took to the streets of New York in the People’s Climate March, followed by a UN Climate Summit and many speeches. On October 13, the Pentagon issued a report calling climate change a significant threat to national security requiring immediate action. How do we move from marches, speeches and reports to meaningful work on this problem? In NYC I read a sign with a simple answer...

Necessary To Pay: Last fall, Grand Traverse voters authorized a new tax to fix roads. It is good, it is necessary.

The Real Reasons for Wolf Hunt: I have really been surprised that no one has been commenting on the true reason for the wolf hunt. All this effort has not been expended so 23 wolves can be killed each year. Instead this manufactured controversy about the wolf hunt has been very carefully crafted to get Proposal 14-2 passed.

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Letters

 
Monday, July 18, 2011

Letters 7/18/11

Letters Attack on the poor
Cutting funds to Medicaid per the GOP budget proposal is morally wrong. As
a former Eligibility Specialist with DHS I know firsthand how few
low-income persons even qualify for Medicaid. Since my case-load was
primarily adults-only, I found I was denying more Medicaid applications
than those I approved.
Back in 2004 Vice President Dick Cheney told Fox TV host Bill O’Reilly
that there is Medicaid for poor persons, thus no need for a national
health plan. I practically screamed at the T.V. “ONLY SOME POOR CAN GET
MEDICAID!”
To Medicaid recipients and those denied and those on ridiculously high
deductibles (formerly known as “spend-downs”), you need to call or write
Rep. Benishek and tell him your individual stories.
To Rep. Benishek, let me give you a brief summary of Michigan Medicaid
policy. Medicaid consists of over a dozen different programs. The first
thing we look at is: Citizenship...... then the really big hurdle: one
must be either under 22, 65 or older, pregnant, disabled, or parents of
minors. This excludes a huge proportion of persons. It doesn’t matter if
an applicant is penniless and without a job. He or she must first meet a
non-financial element, period.
Also worth noting, for adults who are disabled, have minor children or are
65 and older, there is a Medicaid program that entails deductibles. In far
too many cases, the figure is UNAFFORDABLE.
This attack on the poor and working class is a disgrace. It is time to end
the Bush tax cuts to the wealthiest persons. The largest cause of our
current budget deficit is due to these tax cuts, and that is a fact! It is
immoral to reduce food benefits, Medicaid, Head-start, W.I.C. program,
Planned Parenthood and other programs that address the need of those
struggling in order to enrich the wealthiest.
It’s time to get our priorities straight! Do not reduce Medicaid funding.
 
Monday, July 11, 2011

Letters 7/11/11

Letters 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
lake.
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
 
Monday, July 4, 2011

Letters 7/4/11

Letters Do your part
In elementary school, I learned to “pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands...” In junior high school, I learned that a “Republic” is a specific form of democracy in which eligible voters elect officials to act as their representatives in adopting laws and setting public policy. In high school, I learned that English taxation of the American colonists “without representation” in Parliament was a principal cause of the Boston Tea Party and the American Revolution that soon followed. In college and law school, I learned much more about the U.S. Constitution, including Article IV, Section 4, which reads in part: “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union, a Republican Form of Government . . .”
With this basic understanding of our republican democracy, I turn to Michigan’s new emergency manager law, P.A. 4, that greatly expands the authority of Governor Snyder to allow him (and his successors) to abrogate -- unilaterally, indefinitely and much more comprehensively than before -- the fundamental rights of Michigan citizens to enjoy an elected, republican form of government at the local level.
Under this legislation, Governor Snyder has “deposed” -- no other word will do -- the local government of Benton Harbor that was elected by the voters, replaced with an unelected bureaucrat who will decide how that city’s local taxes are spent.
Right now, Benton Harbor residents are in the same position as the American colonists in 1775 -- they are paying local taxes, but they have no representation in a local legislative body that will decide how their taxes are spent.
My pocket copy of the Constitution was published in 2002 by the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank in Washington, DC. While I don’t subscribe to all of Cato’s doctrines, I do wholeheartedly agree with the following prefatory statement. “Government officials must respect their oaths to uphold the Constitution; and we the people must be vigilant in seeing that they do.”
It is time for “we the people” of Michigan to repeal P.A. 4 by referendum. Petitions are now circulating. If you are a registered Michigan voter, please seek out and sign a petition to restore republican democracy to every layer of Michigan government.
In 1787, after the Constitutional Convention had concluded, Benjamin Franklin was asked what form of government the founding fathers had created; he is said to have replied: “A Republic, if you can keep it.” Will you do your part?

Jay S. Johnson • Empire
 
Monday, June 27, 2011

Letters 6/27/11

Letters Oil & economics
The whole issue of petroleum, oil and hydrocarbons seems to bring a lack
of understanding of basic economics.
In a recent letter to the editor the author states that we get most of our
imported oil from other than the Middle East. He insists we therefore
should not have to pay what is the world market price because we are
buying from neighbors.
Apparently he has not purchased apples in the fall, rented a motel on a
summer weekend or ridden the ferry to Mackinaw Island. The market price of
things is set by demand and commodity availability, including delivery
capacity.
Further this author points out that oil is traded on the commodities
exchanges “where investors buy low and sell high.” Pretty naive to believe
that investors only buy low and sell high on the exchanges.
Commodity exchanges are a zero sum trading environment where every dollar
made is a dollar lost. If you make it big because you guessed right,
someone else lost big because they were on the other side of the trade.
How much can we endure when some continue to spread the same myths as
though they are fact?

William Deneau • TC
 
Monday, June 20, 2011

Letters 6/20/22

Letters Stop the attacks
My husband and I taught and traveled in Europe for eight years. A
Hungarian professor once told us that his countrymen willingly tax
themselves for “cradle to grave” education and health care. And teachers
are highly valued throughout Europe.
Campaigning Michigan politicians espouse the importance of quality
education, then are quick to criticize educators and even quicker to cut
funds. The “demonizing” of teachers has been spread by a right wing agenda
supported by the Mackinaw Center, the Republican Tea Party faction, and
the American Legislative Council throughout the state and nation.
This attack might be why some students even of elementary age show little
respect for their teachers and misbehave in class. How can increasing
class size help teachers handle the problems that arrive on their
doorstep? How much is society to blame?
Yes, ineffective teachers exist, but ineffective individuals are in every
walk of life. How have public schools suddenly become so “terrible”?
Misuse of test scores? Lack of parental support? Societal problems?
Charter schools? Proposal A? Michigan’s fine public schools consistently
had attracted families to locate here. The quality of education hasn’t
changed in most areas. Perception has. Stop the attacks!

Donna Dodd • TC
 
Monday, June 20, 2011

Letters 6/20/22

Letters Stop the attacks
My husband and I taught and traveled in Europe for eight years. A
Hungarian professor once told us that his countrymen willingly tax
themselves for “cradle to grave” education and health care. And teachers
are highly valued throughout Europe.
Campaigning Michigan politicians espouse the importance of quality
education, then are quick to criticize educators and even quicker to cut
funds. The “demonizing” of teachers has been spread by a right wing agenda
supported by the Mackinaw Center, the Republican Tea Party faction, and
the American Legislative Council throughout the state and nation.
This attack might be why some students even of elementary age show little
respect for their teachers and misbehave in class. How can increasing
class size help teachers handle the problems that arrive on their
doorstep? How much is society to blame?
Yes, ineffective teachers exist, but ineffective individuals are in every
walk of life. How have public schools suddenly become so “terrible”?
Misuse of test scores? Lack of parental support? Societal problems?
Charter schools? Proposal A? Michigan’s fine public schools consistently
had attracted families to locate here. The quality of education hasn’t
changed in most areas. Perception has. Stop the attacks!

Donna Dodd • TC
 
Monday, June 13, 2011

Letters 6/13/11

Letters The burden of guilt
After reading Stephen Tuttle’s “I Hate You” article (6/6), I have to agree
with him on pretty much all the sentiments he expressed. However, there
is one statement in there that I have to dispute.
He discusses our nation’s sordid hatred of minority races, as expressed in
the line “...we tried to systematically eradicate the indigenous peoples
already populating this continent when our European ancestors showed up.”
Excuse me: “WE?” Sorry, I was nowhere around when that happened, and
neither were my ancestors. There were bad things that happened, to be
sure, but we need to quit apologizing for actions and deeds carried out
several generations ago. It wasn’t “we” who did it. It was “them.” And
they’re all dead now. Guilt shouldn’t be carried on down the generations,
especially when my generation was so effective in ending so many civil
rights infringements on minorities in this country. Pinning our ancestors’
guilt on us is inappropriate.
It’s true that we are trained to hate and to look down on those who are
“different,” regardless of what that difference is. We are also trained
to have contempt for those we feel are technologically inferior to us.
As an avocational archaeologist, I have nothing but admiration for those
who were here before us. They coped with everything nature threw at them,
and developed the necessary technology to cope with it. They achieved a
near-perfect balance with nature. The only problem they seemed to have
had is that they didn’t see the need to develop the technology sufficient
to kill massive amounts of other people. The conquistadors and pioneers
had that need, and developed the weapons that allowed them to effectively
do so. I don’t really admire them. And I don’t admire those who carry on
the legacy of hatred that has been passed down to them through the medium
of ignorance.

Howard J. Blodgett • via email
 
Monday, June 6, 2011

Letters 6/6/11

Letters Congress & public trust
Recently, Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) released the
following statement in reaction to the U.S. government reaching the
$14.3 trillion debt ceiling:

“It comes as no surprise that Washington’s spending spree has resulted
in us once again reaching the statutory debt limit. The American
people have no interest in simply increasing the limit absent serious
steps to rein in spending. I urge the Administration to demonstrate
the leadership America expects from Washington and work with the
Congress to enact significant reductions in government spending —
including entitlement programs like Medicare — as well as needed
structural reforms to how Washington sets the nation’s budget.”

I honestly believe that Congress has the wrong idea as to what
entitlements are.
Camp states that Medicare, Social Security and the like are
entitlements to the American people, yet as a worker I have -- along
with all workers -- contributed to the funding of these benefits which
where to be “IN TRUST” by the government for the common person as a
caution for our old age and survival. It is and was the government,
Congress to be exact, that has taken these benefits and allowed them to
be squandered away, removing them from the “TRUST” which established
them and placing them into the general fund for the raping by Congress
for other governmental uses.
Entitlements to me are the billions you give to the oil companies, the
billions you give to farmers to not produce from their land, the
billions you spend on military contractors for things we do not need,
and to the out-sourcing of governmental jobs to contractors that are
lining their pockets without responsibility to perform for the good of
the American people.
As for being chair of the committee you are on that is to oversee much
of this, I am anxious to see who you are really working for, the
American People or Corporate America and what “REFORM” you will
structure. Remember America is watching...

Jim Williams • Kalkaska
 
Monday, May 23, 2011

letters 5/23/11

Letters Corporate takeover
The first anniversary of Citizens United v. FEC, the Supreme Court
decision conferring full political personhood on corporations, slipped by
in January with little notice, sadly, from the two political parties and
the media.
This incredibly bad and immensely unpopular decision allowed --
encouraged? -- corporations to pump money directly (usually through
“front” groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce) into the political
process. Nearly all of the unmarked bills flowed into Republican coffers,
no doubt greasing the skids for the GOP landslide last November. So it
makes sense that Republicans wouldn’t invite attention to this decision
and its very favorable consequences for them.
It makes less sense, though, why the Tea Partiers aren’t screaming bloody
murder about it, given their well-demonstrated anger about various threats
to freedom. When powerful corporations can covertly operate politically,
everyone else’s freedom is surely diminished.
But let’s be clear about what this Supreme Court decision does: it turns
over the financing of our political campaigns to the direct and more or
less complete control of corporations and the wealthy.
Of course, with our pre-Citizens United v. FEC “system” of campaign
finance our democracy was already on the proverbial slippery slope. Now we
are in free fall. Corporations will spend whatever they want to in the
next election to get what they want. Unless we --the people-- decide
this is unacceptable, and take action, we will soon lose what’s left of
our democracy.

Ron Tschudy • Central Lake
 
Friday, May 20, 2011

Letters 5/30/11

Letters Truth about education
   Howard Walker’s Northern View (May 16) editorial did not express the whole truth.  The first part tries to mollify voters by saying education cuts are really much less than cuts to other departments.  Look at the history of state education funding rather than the past year only: since my retirement from education in 2003, state funding to the Traverse City district has remained approximately constant.  The state has not kept up with inflation and has begun to defund public education.  
   Walker is outraged that salary and benefits make up about 80% of school budgets, but what does he expect from school districts—that most of the money go to computers and textbooks?  Education delivers a service, not a product.  Its very nature assumes most expenditures will go to pay for jobs.
   Then there are his complaints about rising healthcare costs of educators.  Those rising costs belong to the economy generally, not to teachers alone.  If rising healthcare costs are a problem, deal with that.  Don’t blame educators.  His figure of $24,000 “some districts” spend for healthcare is hardly representative of plans in most districts.  In general, teachers’ healthcare policies are no more expensive than those for other  workers.
    Finally, comes the attack on retirement benefits.  Walker says retirement is eating up the finances of school districts, but he ignores the fact that contracts include healthcare, retirements, and salary.  In other words, most teachers have taken hits in salary and healthcare in order to keep their retirement benefit. It is unfair to consider reducing retirement benefits without examining the reductions in salary and healthcare that teachers have already agreed to.
   Let us be honest here: The present government of Michigan is intentionally underfunding public education for political purposes.  The next election should put an end to it.

Richard Fidler • TC
 
Monday, May 16, 2011

Letters 5/16/11

Letters The Republicans & Big Oil
For the past two weeks, Republican congressmen faced blistering attacks at
town hall meetings for their vote on the Ryan Plan, which lowers the tax
rate for the wealthy another 10% while dismantling Medicare and Medicaid.
Republicans all claim they are carrying out the “will of the people” so
let’s look at what the people told them: Leave Medicare alone, tax the
rich and stop the oil subsidies. When confronted with the news that oil
companies posted profits of $38 billion in the first quarter, a few
sheepishly agreed, “maybe we should take a look at it.”
But that is not what they did. On May 5, with the media consumed with
Osama bin Laden, they quietly and unanimously passed the Restarting
American Offshore Drilling Act which, among other things, extends oil
subsidies. This is the second vote in three months they have taken to
protect oil companies’ taxpayer handouts.
It is no surprise that the GOP protects big oil. The Republican sponsors
of the bill took in $8.8 million from big oil in campaign cash. Rep. Dave
Camp received $77,000. Before the first vote in March, BP contributed
$1,000 to Camp, who is chairman of House Ways and Means. Three other key
players, Speaker Boehner, Kevin McCarthy, House Whip and Michigan’s Fred
Upton, chairman of Energy and Commerce were all gifted $5,000. Upton was
given $100,000 in the 2010 election. All defeated the Democrats’ bill to
rescind the subsidies in order to reduce the deficit.
In the past 10 years, Big Oil has contributed $238.7 million to congress,
75% to Republicans. In addition to the Republicans guarding their
subsidies, Dave Camp’s taxation committee has written thousands of
loopholes in the tax code for them. Last year they paid nothing.
Follow the money, Dave Camp is not looking out for you.

Julie A Racine • Marion
 
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.)
 
 
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