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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Thursday, January 1, 2004

The Considerable Worth of *Present Value*

Books Nancy Sundstrom The latest book from Sabin Willett (“The Betrayal,“ “The Deal“) reads very much like a “Bonfire of the Vanities“ for the new millennium. Small wonder, then, that he has earned comparisons to Tom Wolfe for his keen eye, satiric point of view and steadily-guided wordsmithing when it comes to turning a spotlight on early-21st-century sensibilities.
Thursday, December 25, 2003

A Dark, Violent Train Ride

Books Nancy Sundstrom There‘s a lot of ground covered in Pete Dexter‘s haunting new book and it‘s a testament to the versatility and intelligence of the National Book Award-winning author of “Paris Trout,“ “Deadwood,“ “God‘s Pocket“ and “The Paperboy.“ This time around, he uses a “Train“ to help the reader with the journey.
Thursday, December 18, 2003

Balance of Power Walks a Taut Tightrope on the Issue of Gun Control

Books Nancy Sundstrom Richard North Patterson is one of the most popular and resourceful writers around when it comes to marrying the realities of special interest, insider politics in Washington with nail-biting plots loaded with suspense and intrigue. Of his 11 novels, there have been seven consecutive international bestsellers, and his most recent, “Protect and Defend,“ was compared to landmarks in the genre, such as Allen Drury‘s “Advise and Consent“ and Gore Vidal‘s “Lincoln.“
Thursday, December 11, 2003

Is There a Cure for this Epidemic? You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth. -- Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet (1923)

Books Nancy Sundstrom Just in time for Christmas is a book with a title that‘s enough to make you grimace without picking it up to read one further word.
Thursday, December 4, 2003

Tupac‘s Thug Life Lives On

Books Nancy Sundstrom Can you identify the author of this quote: “When I was a baby I remember one moment of calm peace, then three minutes after that it was on.“
Not surprisingly, it is Tupac Shakur, the hip-hop megastar who, seven years after his murder, is again explaining his tumultuous, controversial life in “Tupac: Resurrection,“ a hot new best-seller and a documentary movie of the same name.
Thursday, November 27, 2003

Living, Learning and Journeys of Discovery

Books Nancy Sundstrom Two area women have written memoirs about their lives, and both are compelling reads that will be of interest not only to the many residents of the region who know the authors personally, but to readers in general who have an interest in the subject matter each one addresses.
Thursday, November 20, 2003

Sickened: Shedding Light on the Incomprehensible Munchausen Disorder

Books Nancy Sundstrom 2003 has been a year packed with revealing autobiographies like “A Million Little Pieces“ and “Dry“ that have not been for the faint of heart. One of the very latest is Julie Gregory‘s horrifying and unforgettable “Sickened: The Memoir of a Munchausen by Proxy Childhood.“ If you can get through it without becoming ill yourself (and with good reason), you‘ll find that this first-of-its-kind memoir is a triumph of words and spirit, and very much worth the effort.
Thursday, November 13, 2003

Love - Toni Morrison Style

Books Nancy Sundstrom A new release by Toni Morrison is usually hailed as nothing less than an event, which is why this eighth release in her impressive oeuvre has been eagerly awaited.
Thursday, November 6, 2003

Hearts and Smarts -- Tales of Two Remarkable Women

Books Nancy Sundstrom At first blush, Mariane Pearl and Elizabeth Smart may not seem to have much in common, but they actually do, including the fact that they are the subjects of eagerly awaited and hot-off-the-presses books.
Thursday, October 30, 2003

Howling Good Reads for Halloween

Books Nancy Sundstrom It’s Halloween week and movie-goers have been flocking to the likes of the remake of the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and “Kill Bill,” but readers, especially fans of the horror genre, have plenty of new options, as well.
Thursday, October 23, 2003

‘My Cold War‘ is a Visit to a Personal Battlefront

Books Nancy Sundstrom John Piazza‘s non-fiction writing (“Blues and Trouble“) has made unabashed fans out of the likes of Bob Dylan, so his debut novel of fiction has been eagerly awaited for some time now. It has finally arrived in the form of “My Cold War,“ a fine first effort that parallels the socio and cultural backdrop of the Cold War years with a coming of age and beyond story of battles fought on the inner fronts of the heart and home.
Thursday, October 16, 2003

The Ravage of Nature Makes for a Riveting Read

Books Nancy Sundstrom If you have not witnessed one in person or seen images that capture the power, fury and devastation of a natural disaster, it might be hard to imagine that words could be the most effective means to do so.
Thursday, October 9, 2003

Thrillin‘ Trillin: A Writer‘s Writer Comes to Town

Books Nancy Sundstrom Among even the most highly regarded of his peers, it’s known that Calvin Trillin is the kind of writer other writers aspire to be. He also happens to be equally adept as an actor, critic and raconteur in general, all of which makes him constantly in demand for everything from appearances on David Letterman’s show to speaking gigs such as the one he’ll be doing in Traverse City this weekend.
Thursday, October 2, 2003

Radicals Revisited

Books Nancy Sundstrom In recent years, she’s become a Trivial Pursuit question and fodder for the “I Love the ‘70s“ program on VH1, along with making guest appearances on talk shows and films by John Waters, and speaking out on the recent, highly publicized abduction and rescue of Elizabeth Smart.
Thursday, September 25, 2003

The Buzz About ‘The Secret Life of Bees‘

Books Nancy Sundstrom Sue Monk Kidd‘s “The Secret Life of Bees“ is one of many that has been on my reading stand for awhile, and now that I’ve finished it, I’m kicking myself for not having gotten to it sooner.