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, 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
 
Monday, January 31, 2011

Letters

Letters America’s Accomplishment
The civic role of religion has resulted in large part, from the unique
constitutional status afforded religion. The first Amendment to the
U.S. Constitution states that Congress will not endorse, or
“establish” a religion. In the immediate wake of the nation’s
founding, this clause did not preclude states from supporting
particular denominations by, for example, allowing clergy to be paid
out of the public purse. By the early 1800’s, all such public
subsidies for religion ended and the no establishment was taken to
mean that all levels of government are precluded from providing
financial support to any particular religion. Likewise, the U.S.
Constitution also prohibits religious tests for public office.  At the
time of founding, it was a significant issue, given that England had
employed the Test Acts to limit public office to members of the Church
of England.
No founding father is more closely associated with religious liberty
than Thomas Jefferson who summarized the way many Americans think
about religious differences: “It does me no injury for my neighbor to
say there are twenty gods, or no gods.” Americans today hold to
Jefferson‘s philosophy. 85% agree,” that morality is a personal matter
and society should not force anyone to follow one standard”.
Americans have gone beyond the Jeffersonian conception of religion as
personal and private. Americans endorse religious diversity for its
own sake. 84% of Americans agree, “Religious diversity has been good
for more America”. Even among the most religious, 74% see the good in
religious diversity.
Unfortunately, when one listens to the media one does not get the
impression that there is religious acceptance of others, but rather
one of religious intolerance.  This view of religious intolerance only
describes 11% of all adults. Our country has come a long way in
overcoming religious intolerance. Perhaps our media needs to reflect
the American endorsement of religious diversity as our redeeming
quality.

Ronald Marshall • Petoskey
 
Monday, January 24, 2011

letters

Letters Under attack
My friends, family, and every Traverse City resident who are
respectfully requesting their “right to vote” are paying a terrible
price while asking for one of our country‘s most valued gifts, a vote.
In response to our opposition, we are called haters, homophobes, and
worst of all; we are being associated with Fred Phelps Jr., one of the
most despised human beings in the country.
Traverse City citizens are not paid elected officials, we simply pay
the bills. I think it is time for those in government who know your
fellow citizens are no threat to our public officials (and) are not
haters. They should realize by now that we have a constitutional right
to disagree with a city ordinance without being attacked by the very
people we elected to protect us.

Paul James Nepote • TC
 
Monday, January 17, 2011

Letters

Letters Mental illness & Arizona
Let’s stop being afraid of the subject matter of mental health.
Just because a mental disease can show itself in an overt, scary way –
as recently shown in Arizona – it does not mean we should run. It is
a disease. Like all of the hundreds of diseases that human beings
suffer, it has a biological, physical and emotional cause. We just
need to do a lot more work to really identity mental illnesses. It is
one of the major medical areas still not fully explored.
What can each of us do? First, if you or a family member seem to
be mentally suffering, just go to your doctor and talk. Keep asking
questions, read up on it as much as possible. Don’t be afraid, don’t
ignore the situation and don’t let it fester. Second, try very hard to
keep it in a balanced state. Balance is the key for diabetes,
hypertension, etc. Third, philanthropic people, gear up. City,
state and national telethons like Jerry Lewis’s MD drive are needed to
garner huge funding for mental health research - more activated brain
scans, post-autopsy brain pathology and sociological studies.
We all have suffered from disease. Mental disease sufferers have
suffered longer. Let’s put our American wherewithal into it.
Remember, truth will always give light to the darkness.

Jill Rahrig Bourdon • via email
 
Monday, January 10, 2011

Letters

Letters Reaching out to farmers
Kudos to Anne Stanton for the recent features on farming. It was nice to
read both sides of the CAFO (confined animal feeding operation) debate.
Consumers can support what they believe in with their purchasing dollars.
Without easy access to fresh fruits and vegetables at every roadside
stand, it gets too easy to just go to the mega-grocery stores for
everything this time of year. But great local products are available at
many stores, the indoor farmers markets and directly from the farmers.
Our website, www.MichiganFamilyFarm.com is working to help connect farmers
and consumers. Thank you for keeping this great movement in front of your
readers.

Jena Van Wagner • Executive Director, Michigan Family Farms

 
 
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