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..

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Monday, September 17, 2012

Letters 09-17-2012


Man without a plan

Mitt and Ann Romney have five sons who have never served in the military but Mitt wants to expand the military budget. Mitt was of age during Vietnam but he didn’t serve either.

Since the Bush era, we have been in two wars, for what? Iraq isn’t fixed and the Afghanistan people have been fighting since well before Jesus was born and it’s never going to end until they end it themselves. Most times, the reason for going to war is to enable the manufacturers of munitions (and now services) to make money.

The Republicans have made it their mission to replace Obama. Not only is he a Democrat but he’s black. When you overhear someone in a crowd of very well-dressed, deck boat shoe-wearing, bling-dripping Americans say that he and his wife are just “uppity n____s,” it does not bode well for our country.

I really do want to see more tax returns from the Romneys. I’m also wondering whether the reason he’s not providing these returns is that he would owe more to his church for his tithe.

I don’t believe he’s a bad man, but he believes that he and his party can continue to climb to the top of the ladder on the backs of people who are trying desperately how to figure out how to feed their children or purchase their medications. Jobs for any American who wants to work would certainly be a welcome change, but I haven’t heard a plan from Mitt...

Monday, September 10, 2012

Letters 09-10-2012


No hysteria in NRA

Trust a liberal to label his opposition as “hysterical” (re: “NRA hysteria unfounded,” Letters 8/27). All that libs can do is name-call.

Anyhow, the NRA was and is anything but hysterical in its warning about Obama and the Left being bitterly opposed to an armed citizenry. The fact that they spent their first-term political capital almost exclusively on getting Obamacare through does not mean that they have given up on the basic leftist goal of suppressing the people’s right (guns don’t have rights) to be armed. Also, Wayne LaPierre’s salary is closer to $600,000, after 35 years with the NRA.

Lastly, if you are going to call the NRA a branch of the Republican Party, which it most decidedly is not, why not point out, far more truthfully, that the Trial Lawyers Association, now laughably renamed the American Justice Association, is one of the biggest direct financial supporters of the Democratic Party...
Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Letters 09-04-2012


Calling all women...

Women have struggled for the right to vote in 1920, for equal pay for equal work, equity in upper management jobs, the resources to care for their families, fairness in health insurance coverage, and the right to make our health care choices.

Today, with the problems confronting our nation: jobs, debt, education, wars, shrinking middle class, etc., the Republican Party has focused its priority on restricting, devaluing and disrespecting our health care choices and rights as women.

The GOP platform bans abortion in the case of incest or rape. VP candidate Paul Ryan sponsored the “personhood” amendment which would ban in-vitro fertilization and some birth control.

Romney/Ryan both support plans to prohibit all Planned Parenthood funding, such as cancer screenings or birth control...

Monday, August 27, 2012

Letters 08-27-2012


Time to split atoms

Across the country, slick sales pitches are being made for wind power. The irony is that those salesmen are working for the natural gas industry. When the wind dies down, something else has to power up; that something is usually a gas turbine burning natural gas, which is the only sort of power plant being built these days.

All those Ontario wind farms are backed up by a gas-burning plant you don’t see; gas burners mean gas buyers and gas buyers mean fracking. Salesmen know which side their bread is buttered on.

If we want to stop burning things to make electricity, our best option is also the most-vilified and least-understood: nuclear energy...

Monday, August 20, 2012

Letters 08-20-2012


Irony & Oklahoma

A lady from Oklahoma sent in a pronatural gas/fracking response letter in your August 13th issue. I wonder, do they have something called irony in Oklahoma?

I ask this because it makes perfect sense that someone from a dry, flat, hot, nearly treeless place like Oklahoma would want to vacation in a land of verdant forests, rolling hills and immense stretches of clean water like our Michigan. The irony comes in when she lectures us on how wonderful natural gas drilling/fracking is, and that those of us who are rightly terrified of it are “unenlightened.”

Lady, the only way we can keep this area a vacation/everyday living paradise is to stop fracking cold...
Monday, August 13, 2012

Letters 08-13-2012


Evil liberal media

Hey there, y’all, I am here visiting beautiful Northern Michigan from Oklahoma. I picked up a copy of your paper and enjoyed it very much. I got a chuckle out of and felt a need to respond to Bob Lovik’s letter (“Setting things straight,” 8/6). Perhaps I can help “set him straight.”

Thanks to the uninformed, fear-mongering liberal media, this new and threatening process called fracking is the latest and greatest threat to our environment. News flash, fracking has been around for DECADES. Feel free to consult U-M or MSU professors of geology or petroleum engineering to confirm.

Procuring energy in any of its many forms can pose some environmental threats. For example, the thousands of birds, many of which are endangered species, killed by the giant windmills that generate electricity.

There is little evidence to support that fracking is some kind of environmental threat waiting to happen. I don’t glow in the dark, my son is perfectly normal, my water doesn’t spontaneously combust...

Monday, August 6, 2012

Letters 08-06-2012


Fireworks out of control

In response to “Get off my Lawn” by George Nemetz (Letters 7/23). First, I assure you that I am well under the age of 80, if that even matters. Also, the Express is not solely read by your age group of 30 and under.

Michigan has lifted a ban on some of the higher grades of fireworks and you can now obtain a permit to use the more powerful grade.

I also had problems with my dogs climbing the walls when a neighbor was setting off professional grade fireworks for several nights in my neighborhood. These are not just bottle rockets and firecrackers, they are the ones that are shot high in the air and are so loud they shake your house. The police were called by many in my neighborhood about this.

With the fire danger being so high, I was very concerned about my home and my neighbors’ homes catching on fire...

Monday, July 30, 2012

Letters 07-30-2012


Penn State's punishment

“...the fundamental chapter of this horrific story should focus on the innocent children and the powerful people who let them down.”

-- Ed Ray, chairman of the NCAA’s executive committee

A months-long coma would have been the only way to have escaped hearing of the tragic events at Penn State. At first, the sickening realization that former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky sexually abused at least eight underage boys on or near university property. Then the deep disappointment in learning an investigation by former FBI director Louis Freeh found school officials, including the school president and vice president, head football coach Joe Paterno, and athletic director had known about the allegations of child abuse as early as 1998, but failed to disclose them.

Now the NCAA has handed down penalties that some say are close to a “death penalty” for the school’s football program, including a $60 million fine, four year bowl-ban, loss of some scholarships and withdrawal of wins dating back to 1998. The statue honoring Joe Paterno has been removed by the university. Sadly ironic, the statue’s inscription reads, “Educator, Coach, Humanitarian.”

These appalling events and revelations have shed light on behaviors most people would rather not examine. Yet it also creates awareness of deep-seated cultural attitudes and hopefully a willingness to learn more about ourselves, our society and what we value...

Monday, July 23, 2012

Letters 07-23-2012


'Get off my lawn'

After reading the Letters to the Editors in the July 16th issue I am very curious - how old are the readers of The Express?!

This publication has had an edge to it since its inception and has never been afraid to ask some very hard questions or to tip-toe the line between aggressive and conservative. I’ve read it for years (I’m 30) and so have my friends and perhaps I was assuming something untrue in that the readers tended to be under the age of 80.

The letters people have written take on this point of view of an old man sitting on his porch yelling at kids to get off of his lawn. It doesn’t fit!

For instance - the letter about fireworks is unreasonable. Really? Your neighbors were using expensive professional-grade fireworks? The kind the Cherry Fest can’t even afford to use...

Monday, July 16, 2012

Letters 07-16-2012


Fireworks pollution

The new Michigan fireworks law does untold damage to the environment, wildlife, pets and our personal right to quiet and safety in our own homes.

On July 7th and numerous times, between late June through September, I have been jolted out of bed by neighbors setting off extremely loud fireworks – the kind used in public displays.

I have had to rearrange my life to accommodate my neighbors “fun.” This includes getting my dog up to the house and into a closet at night before the fireworks start, which is always a guess. Then waking him up after midnight to pee because he was too scared to pee on the way to the house.

I have had to remain up till after midnight on evenings when I was not feeling well or just needed to sleep because I work long hours. I have heard others say that their children are scared awake in the middle of the night from neighbors fireworks.

Veterans with PTSD call the 4th of July “a day from hell.” Deer are reported to have miscarriages from fear after explosions and I can’t imagine the pain of birds or bats with sensitive hearing, not to mention the toxic heavy metal smoke from the fireworks that they are forced to breathe which can cause digestive disorders, cancer and asthma attacks...

Monday, July 9, 2012

Letters 07-09-2012


Mortgage scams

Great article on the mortgage loan modification scam involving the now imprisoned Tashia L. Winstanley of Holly, MI (6/25).

I too had an “encounter” with her beginning in December of 2010 when I agreed to pay her $1,700 to represent me in a loan modification process with Bank of America. Unlike some of her other clients who have lost a ton of money, some their homes, my imposing demeanor must have set off an alarm with her and all I lost was the $1,700. I demanded to have ALL of our correspondence in writing, via email or USPS; no telephone calls, thanks.

Anyway, you must be aware of a letter recently sent from Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette’s office: Notice of Victim’s Rights. The State is now charging her with: 1 count of Criminal Enterprises - Conducting 1 count of False Pretenses - $20,000 or more 3 counts of False Pretenses - $1,000 or more but less than $20,000 Obviously Winstanley’s hopes of early release in July are disappearing quickly...

Monday, June 25, 2012

Letters 06-25-2012


Panning the panhandlers

I have noticed a disturbing trend in downtown Traverse City. I have observed more and more public intoxication by street people, as well as blatant panhandling for spare change, and was even asked, no, told, to give one certain individual $2 one day, “for beer.”

Just yesterday afternoon, I was approached by three people within 10 minutes in the 200 block of E. Front St. for spare change, 50 cents, and one dollar. Another person has even begun to step out in front of passing motorists, and stop them to do his panhandling.

Where is law enforcement? Has anybody driven by Lay Park in the late mornings, and most of the afternoon lately? There’s a group of at least 10 persons consuming alcohol, and some appear to be passed out lying on the ground. Does this look good to folks who visit the region...

Monday, June 18, 2012

Letters 06-18-2012


Helmets & organs

I am one of those guys that thought it would be great to ride without a helmet, so in 2007 I rode from St Augustine FL to Daytona Beach with nothing but a dew rag on my bald paté.

On the way home we came upon a three-motorcycle collision at an intersection. We stopped to help, but found two of the bikers were DOA from head injuries, and the third biker had a serious head injury. I have never ridden without a helmet since...

Monday, June 11, 2012

Letters 06-11-2012


Wetlands debatable

Patrick Sullivan proves here that there’s always ONE side to every story (re: “Upland Forest or Forested Wetlands?” 5/28/12). Actually, if you read through the sensationalism you see that there isn’t even a story here at all.

While the subtitle reads: “Environmentalist alleges Antrim County official looked the other way as wetlands were destroyed,” buried near the end we find this quote from the DEQ: “It is true that soil erosion officers don’t have any authority over wetlands, he said. It is up to the DEQ to issue Part 303 permits that allow the destruction of wetlands.”

So Heidi Shaffer (Antrim County soil erosion officer) did her job and is being persecuted because an environmentalist feels threatened and a couple from downstate has to share their “little piece of Northern Michigan” lakefront with a neighboring land owner? Shameful...

Monday, June 4, 2012

Letters 06-04-2012


Anthem great

Did anyone see Traverse City’s own Levi Britton sing the National Anthem at the Cubs’ game two weeks ago? He stepped up like he owned the place, and did us proud!

Jon Fiebing • TC

Stop the bullying

Where were you Tuesday night (May 15)? I attended the very sensitive Bullycide Project at Lars Hockstad Auditorium. As I looked around at the many empty seats, I could almost hear the voices saying, “I have something painful that I need to tell you. Please listen...