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, November 24, 2014

The Ragbirds Are a Travelin' Machine

Music Kristi Kates Multiple appearances at Blissfest and other Up North venues have made the Ragbirds familiar faces around the northern Michigan music scene, despite being based in Ann Arbor. The last time Northern Express spoke with the band, they were in the middle of promoting their then-new album, Finally Almost Ready, and were taking their sound to stages in 20 states.
Sunday, November 16, 2014

African Rhythms

Guitar Summit Offers Journey Through the Sounds of a Continent

Music Kristi Kates “A producer named Todd Fraracci decided to put together a recording project with the best, in his opinion, African guitar players who lived in Canada,” explained Donné Roberts. “It was like a round table. Each of us introduced himself and his song, and we played together like a jam session.
Sunday, November 16, 2014

Ho Ho Holidays

Music Ross Boissoneau You can begin with the biggest show out there, boasting enough lights for a small city, fog to cover the eastern seaboard and blasts of pyrotechnics felt halfway to the back of the arena. The Trans-Siberian Orchestra is bringing “The Christmas Attic”.
Sunday, November 2, 2014

Jetty Rae's Determined Climb

Music Kristi Kates Today, she’s leaps and bounds from her early songwriting efforts. While hints of her talent could be faintly heard on a few of the Blackberries songs, since then, she’s heavily expanded on her potential with four additional albums—the newest, 2013’s Climbing Clouds and another (2012’s Drowning in Grain) that made the CMJ Top 200 radio chart.
Sunday, November 2, 2014

The 2014 Women of Rock

Music Kristi Kates While the field of women in rock typically turns over more slowly than that of the men (many female artists hold onto their crowns from year to year with few surfacing to challenge them), this year’s list is a pretty solid mix of stalwarts and newcomers.
Monday, October 27, 2014

Monster Mix!

Music Kristi Kates You’ve played all of your Sound FX tracks on CD, streamed Pandora’s Spooky Symphonies channel for three hours and danced to the “Monster Mash.” Now you’re in dire need of some more modern music to entertain your Halloween guests. Never fear! Express is here with a monstrous mix of two dozen essential cuts for Halloween 2014.
Monday, October 27, 2014

Modern Rock

Music Kristi Kates If you’re looking to get out of town for Halloween, take a road trip to N’awlins for the 2014 Voodoo Music and Arts Experience festival, perfectly timed from Oct. 31 through Nov. 2. This year’s edition of the fest will include headliners Foo Fighters and OutKast, plus additional sets from the likes of Arctic Monkeys, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Manchester Orchestra, Twenty One Pilots, Skrillex, Zedd and plenty of others. Bring your own costume and spend your Halloween modern rockin’.
Monday, October 20, 2014

North Perk Brews Up An Open Mic

Music Kristi Kates Open mics can be great platforms for musicians to try out new tunes, get experience in front of an audience or just have a little fun. In Petoskey, however, open mic nights have become something of a rarity. Red Sky Stage and Beards Brewery do hold them occasionally, but North Perk Coffee has just started a regular open mic happening that’s poised to be a Gaslight District hit.
Friday, October 10, 2014

A New Season at BC's Own Venue

They bill themselves as “six boys lost in time, as if they never left 8th grade male choir class.” That’s a pretty accurate description of Traverse City’s The Overtones, a men’s a cappella group existing in perfect harmony since 1990.

Music Kristi Kates “When we acquired the building, we blew eight inches of foam insulation into the ceiling,” she said. “While painting the ceiling girders, we accidentally hit the foam with the paint, and Tony realized that we would not need to install the drop ceiling.
Friday, October 10, 2014

The Overtones: A Musical Time Warp

They bill themselves as “six boys lost in time, as if they never left 8th grade male choir class.” That’s a pretty accurate description of Traverse City’s The Overtones, a men’s a cappella group existing in perfect harmony since 1990.

Music Kristi Kates After graduation, the friends went on to their separate college classes and careers, but, in 2000, they were brought back together by Men of Note’s director Tom Stokes who wanted the members to consider singing as part of a larger group called The Northmen Singers.
Friday, October 10, 2014

Brett Mitchell Sews Up Another Album

Music Kristi Kates “I usually tell people my music is folky, indie pop-rock—whatever that even means any more,” Mitchell laughed. “I have an eclectic taste in music, so I think that comes through in my songwriting."
Monday, October 6, 2014

Go Go Gopherwood!

Music Kristi Kates Just a couple of years later, when people started buying VCRs, attendance waned. So, the decision was made to change the name and start presenting music instead. The first concert took place at a camp just outside Lake City where the organization presented a show by the Lost World String Band.
Monday, September 29, 2014

Loudon Wainwright’s Bluesy Return

Music Kristi Kates Whether you first knew him as Captain Spalding, the “singing surgeon” on the ‘70s TV show M*A*S*H; via his novelty song “Dead Skunk”; or from one of his Grammy nominated albums, you’ll likely recognize the work of Loudon Wainwright III.
Monday, September 29, 2014

Flavors of Fall at Harvest Fest

New Additions Keep Autumn Festival Fresh

Music Kristi Kates “More than 10 years, at least,” Jim Baumann mused. Baumann, executive director of the Boyne Area Chamber of Commerce, may not have a precise timeline, but he has noticed a change in the perception of the fest over the years in conjunction with the locavore movement.
Monday, September 22, 2014

River’s End Block Party Gives Back

Music Kristi Kates The music starts at 2 pm and includes the rock-soul band The London Souls from NYC; instrumental surf-rockers Fronkensteen from Ohio; Nashville soulster Bobby Emmett; Michigan Misfits tribute band Devil Lock; and Ann Arbor indie-rockers Spanish Charles.