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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Saturday, June 6, 2015

“B” Cool at Lollapalooza

Music Kristi Kates While we have two months to wait, tickets are on sale now and it’ll be here before we know it. The biggest and best major summer music fest within reasonable driving distance of northern Michigan opens July 31 and Express has all the best info on what to do once you get there.
Saturday, June 6, 2015

2015 Up North Festival Roundup

Music Kristi Kates THE MUSIC: From local Joshua Davis’ triumphant return after the finals of “The Voice,” to performances by The Beach Boys, Harry Connick Jr., Diana Krall, O.A.R., Vince Gill and The Piano Guys, these shows are some of the biggest..
Saturday, June 6, 2015

Rock n’ Hit The Road 2015 Summer Music Fests

Music Kristi Kates Music fans know that one of the best ways to hear a plethora of their favorite bands all at once is to save up and road trip to one of the big summer music festivals..
Monday, May 25, 2015

Summer Jams!

Music Kristi Kates DUAL GENRES The Blissfest String Jam has continued every Sunday since, from 1-4pm, at Red Sky Stage. Many of the folks who played at the Grain Train have become regular participants at the Red Sky version of the jam, which continues to welcome new musicians.
Monday, May 11, 2015

A Dramatic Year for the TSO

Music Clark Miller Dance, film, painting, choral works and world-class soloists boost the excitement and energy of the Traverse Symphony Orchestra’s 2015-16 season. This multi-genre vision from conductor Kevin Rhodes promises to make the TSO’s next season even more dynamic than the last.
Monday, May 11, 2015

Mustard Plug’s Ska-tastic Journey

Music Kristi Kates ABSOLUTE BEGINNERS “Dave [Kirchgessner, vocals] and Colin [Clive, guitar/vocals] used to see each other at all the punk shows in the ‘80s,” explained the band’s trombone player, Jim Hofer. “Once they both graduated college, they came up with the bright idea of starting a ska band in GR, since there were no ska bands there.
Monday, May 4, 2015

D'Ambrosio Brings Hollywood to Harbor Springs

Music Kristi Kates He was the world’s longest running Phantom in Broadway’s “The Phantom of the Opera,” holding the title for more than a decade and portraying the renowned character in more than 2,600 performances of the Tony Award-winning Andrew Lloyd Webber musical..
Monday, April 13, 2015

Two Shows for Spring

Music Husband and wife duo Andy and Julianna Wilson lead the quartet known as The Springtails, an eclectic collective from Lansing, Michigan that blends the pair’s vocal and instrumental skills with sometime-bandmates Louis Rudner on double bass and Bob Bryan on percussion.
Monday, April 6, 2015

Fredheads Rejoice!

Music Kristi Kates ROAD WARRIOR This alt-country singer-songwriter, whose fans are known as Fredheads, is an eclectic character — his music aside. He peppers his live shows with detailed, hilarious monologues between songs, giving insight to both his songwriting and his vagabond life.
Monday, March 23, 2015

And Now For Something a Little Different: Blissfest’s Winter Concert Series Goes Local

Music Kristi Kates WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT: The Cabin Fever Review is a unique twist on Blissfest’s concerts lineup — these performers are all local talent. “March 28 is the beginning of spring break season, when much of the population escapes winter for a week,” explained Blissfest’s guru Jim Gillespie.
Monday, March 16, 2015

Wisaal Weaving a Sound

Music Kristi Kates EARLY YARN All six members of the Lansing-based Mediterranean fusion group — Will Cicola on clarinets and saxophone, Houwat on oud, Ben Fuhrman on mandolin, Tim Patterson on bass, and Ty Forquer and Mike List on percussion — are classically-trained musicians.
Monday, March 9, 2015

Gopherwood’s Made in Michigan FUNdraiser

Music Kristi Kates When Gopherwood Concerts holds a fundraiser, they like the event to have a focus. After the Cadillac nonprofit’s popular four-year run of their “Night of Wine and Chocolate” event, they decided it was time to make that focus more clearly on music, which Gopherwood’s Paul Brown said is really what Gopherwood is all about.
Monday, March 9, 2015

Cole Swindell Chillin’ in Traverse City

Music Kristi Kates Swindell has been part of the Nashville scene since 2010, but in a different capacity. He was a songwriter, penning tunes for Luke Bryan, Scotty McCreery, Craig Campbell and Florida Georgia Line, among others.
Monday, March 9, 2015

Spring Break Rocks!

Music Kristi Kates With winter storm after winter storm rolling through northern Michigan, this year’s spring break will be more welcome than ever. For music fans, there’s even a bonus. With all the great music fests going on this time of year, you’ve got even more good reasons to escape, near or far.
Monday, March 9, 2015

Altan Celebrates St. Patrick’s at Interlochen

Music Kristi Kates The only girl in the boys’ club that is the Irish folk music group Altan, Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh isn’t complaining. With her command of fiddle and voice, Mhaonaigh could easily put these guys in their place. However, in this collaborative and respectful band of talented musicians, it isn’t necessary.