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, August 15, 2011

Poor standards

Music Stephen Tuttle So, now we’ve been “downgraded” by the estimable Standard and Poor’s
(S&P). We’ve fallen from a top-of-the-line AAA rating to AA+. No one is
certain exactly how far the ripples from this will extend. The giant
mortgage houses known as Freddie Mac (Federal Home Mortgage Association)
and Fannie Mae (Federal National Mortgage Association) have already been
similarly downgraded.
Monday, August 15, 2011

Micky Free

Music Rick Coates Micki Free might be the best guitarist no one has ever heard of -- well
the general public that is. Mention his name to people in the business,
such as Joe Perry of Aerosmith, Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top and Bill Wyman of
The Rolling Stones fame and they will all sing his praises. In fact, all
three legends are currently working on projects with Micki Free.
Ask KISS frontman Gene Simmons his thoughts on Micki Free and a smile will
come over him.
Monday, August 8, 2011

Rufus Wainwright

Music Kristi Kates House of Rufus is a new box set collection of a half-dozen studio albums, two live albums, six DVDs, and four extra albums of previously unreleased material that hit stores earlier this year.
“Rufus,” of course, is singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright, he of the elegant, operatic-pop songs, rich tenor vocals, and stylish piano skills.
A few weeks ago, Wainwright took what’s best referred to as a “House of Rufus experience” to the Royal Opera House in London, a five-night series of live performances that made him the first solo artist to take up a musical residency there. Special guest appearances by Wainwright’s father, the famed Loudon Wainwright III; his sister, Martha Wainwright; and his half-sister Lucy Wainwright Roche added to the glitz and glamour of the shows, while the Britten Sinfonia chamber orchestra provided the musical backdrop.
Wainwright, as colorful an interviewee as he is a performer, considered the shows a huge success - and he’s not shy about saying so.
Monday, August 8, 2011

Interlochen looks ahead to fall

Music Interlochen looks ahead to Fall
With summer halfway over, Interlochen Center for the Arts has announced
its fall/winter schedule, a blend of music, dance and theater.
Here’s what to expect between September and May:

Guster • September 2 • Kresge Auditorium
Offering indie pop; now in its 15th year, the band is a perennial favorite
with the 20-something set.
Monday, August 8, 2011

Colt Ford

Music Rick Coates Real country musicians have an edge and attitude. Just ask Colt Ford, the
Georgia-based former professional golfer turned country singer. Of course,
Ford has to have an attitude since his way doesn’t fit the corporate
profile Nashville looks for in today’s country superstars.
“Yeah you could say I am on the outside looking,” said Ford. “Country
music today is still using that big corporate model that was developed in
the ’80s where they tell you how to look, sound and what to do. There are
very few independent country artists that have much success. It is a very
corporate world with a few people making all the decisions.”
Ford is frustrated trying to find his place.
Monday, August 8, 2011

4Play: Duran Duran, A-ha, Brian Eno, OMD

Music Kristi Kates Duran Duran - All You Need is Now - S-Curve Records
The original ‘80s Brit-synth-popsters, Duran Duran haven’t slowed down much since their Aqua Net days. Catch is, they’ve spent a lot of that time trying to reinvent themselves when they really didn’t need to. Now that ‘80s music is making a genuine comeback, perhaps their trademark sound will catch fire once again, if this album’s any indication of their continuing skills. Produced by Kaiser Chiefs/Adele cohort Mark Ronson, these new D2 songs catch the ear immediately, from the title track to “The Man Who Stole a Leopard,” the synth-y ballad “Before the Rain,” and the pretty “Mediterranea.” It’s a successful return to their Duranie roots.
Monday, August 1, 2011


Music Rick Coates Since its formation 18 years ago the Dunegrass Music Festival has changed
its name (formally the Sleeping Bear Dunegrass & Blues Festival) twice; is
now on its third promoter (a former promoter is spending seven years in
federal prison); has moved to its fourth location; and is now in a totally
different county. 
For current organizer Ryan Lake he chuckles and says the roots of the past
have made Dunegrass stronger and wiser.
Monday, August 1, 2011


Music Rick Coates Since its formation 18 years ago the Dunegrass Music Festival has changed
its name (formally the Sleeping Bear Dunegrass & Blues Festival) twice; is
now on its third promoter (a former promoter is spending seven years in
federal prison); has moved to its fourth location; and is now in a totally
different county. 
For current organizer Ryan Lake he chuckles and says the roots of the past
have made Dunegrass stronger and wiser.
Monday, August 1, 2011

Cherry Poppin‘ Daddies

Music Rick Coates Paella in the Park sold out last year in its debut with John Popper and
Blues Traveler headlining an evening that featured local wines, paellas
and West Bay as a strong supporting cast. The event this year returns
Friday, August 5 at the former Clinch Park Zoo site in TC, and with
vocalist Steve Perry taking the stage, it is certain to be a sell-out
Now this particular Steve Perry is with the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, the
best-selling swing band, whose smash hit album “Zoot Suit Riot” sold over
two million copies in the U.S. and spent 53 weeks on the Billboard charts,
helping to usher in the swing dance craze to a new generation.
Monday, August 1, 2011

RFD Boys

Music Rick Coates With another successful Traverse City Film Festival now in the rearview
mirror, movie enthusiasts will look to the Frankfort Film Festival at the
end of October to get their film fix. The Third Annual Frankfort Film
Festival will take place at the recently renovated Garden Theater which
has been offering first-run films in Frankfort for the first time in
Monday, August 1, 2011

George Cole

Music Kristi Kates He’s toured with Joe Walsh of The Eagles, was guitar instructor/mentor to Green Day, performed with Buster Poindexter, and recorded with Chris Isaak. But guitarist/vocalist/composer/producer George Cole is poised to perhaps become best known for his own work with his George Cole Quintet, a group he’s put together to interpret the sounds of great American classic songs through a musical filter that’s all his own.
Comprised of Jimmy Grant (“he brings the power,” Cole says), Chris Bastian (“connectivity”), Stephan Dudash (“virtuosity”), Mary Jenson (“melody”) and Cole (“I bring the flash,” he laughs), the five musicians focus on a sound that Cole has developed - one that he’s dubbed ‘Eurocana.’
Monday, August 1, 2011


Music Kristi Kates Big, big numbers are being projected for this year’s 20th Anniversary Lollapalooza Festival (August 5-7) in Chicago, which serves as pretty much the Midwest’s only truly gigantic claim to summer music festival fame, with Rothbury’s Electric Forest Fest aiming at second place. Lolla keeps aiming at bigger and bigger goals, and this year’s no exception.
If 90,000 tickets sold per each day of Lolla’s three-day run sounds like a lot to you, you’re right - last year’s record was 240,000 people over the weekend; a sold-out show this year would result in a three-day attendance of 270,000. So patience will definitely be a virtue - but it’ll be worth it to see Lolla’s once again standout lineup.
Monday, August 1, 2011

4Play: James Blunt, Old 97‘s, Kaiser Chiefs, Incubus

Music Kristi Kates James Blunt - Some Kind of Trouble - Atlantic
Twelve fresh songs arrive from Brit singer-songwriter on this set, with production by Steve Robson and songs penned by Blunt himself. People tend to be polarized regarding Blunt’s music, mostly due to the inescapable presence of his biggest hit, “You’re Beautiful”; but it’s not fair to hold that against him when he does have such skill at crafting indie-pop ballads. The jangling guitars of “Stay the Night” open the set, which movies right into the peppy (for Blunt) “Dangerous” and “I’ll Be Your Man.” And those ballads are certainly present - the highlights being “No Tears,” “Best Laid Plans,” and the Americana-tinged “If Time Is All We Have.”

Monday, July 25, 2011

Maybe August, Definitely Music

Music Kristi Kates “We used to just make stuff up,” Maybe August’s Rosco (no last name, please) says by way of explaining the origin of their band name, “you know - a different story for everyone who asked.” But the best of all, he continues, was when the media picked up a tall tale about a famous (nonexistant) connection.
“The story got out that we had been named by (actress) Halle Berry,” Rosco chuckles. “We were just messing around with the journalist who was interviewing us, but a lot of media outlets picked it up and that one went on for a while.”
Monday, July 25, 2011

Imported From Detroit Motor City rockers make their way north

Music Rick Coates A new wave of Detroit rock and roll is making its way onto the music scene and three of those bands helping to revitalize the Motor City’s claim to being the “home of rock and roll” will make their way to Northern Michigan Friday, July 29 at the Ground Zero Nightclub inside the Streeters Center in TC.
Detroit has a long history of producing great rock and roll and two of the industry’s hottest artists Kid Rock and Eminem are currently carrying on the Motor City Music Torch. But that Detroit rock reputation is a big one and requires more players at the table so here comes The Dirty Americans, JTX and Jocaine.
JTX (JT Harding) is certainly making a name for himself of late. His current single “Love In America” spent a few weeks at the top of the charts on Sirrus Radio and remains in the top 10. Helping the cause are the commercials currently running for the new Justin Timberlake movie “Friends With Benefits” that features “Love In America” throughout the promotional spots. The song is his second single and a follow up to his smash hit “Party Like A Rock Star.”
JTX has been on a radio station blitz of the country to promote his song.