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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Other Opinions

Monday, July 4, 2011

An economic history of my family

Other Opinions Ann Krantz An economic history of my family: Facing a future without pensions and health insurance
By Ann Krantz
I was prompted to think about this history when I heard a young woman remark, on NPR’s Marketplace Money, “We will be the first generation without pensions,” the discussion being about wise investing. That’s true, and if the current politicians have their way, this may also be the first generation in modern times without health insurance and Social Security.
My father’s parents were immigrants from Sweden at the end of the nineteenth century. They both worked as cooks in lumber camps. At some point they met, married, and bought or homesteaded a subsistence farm in Menominee County in the Upper Peninsula. My father was the youngest of three children born between 1900 and 1908. When my Aunt Vera finished high school, she went to Michigan State College and became a teacher. But the boys had to become wage earners to support themselves, their families-to-be, and as the years went on, their parents. This was before the days of Social Security which was instituted in 1935.
Monday, June 27, 2011

Senseless acts

Other Opinions Stephen Tuttle Two families forever broken. One young life lost, another destroyed.
It couldn’t be more senseless.
So we search for answers that cannot be found, blame that cannot be
assigned. Nobody knows the precise genesis of the long cascade of
troubles that led to Carly Lewis’ death.
Some will insist parents are to blame or a malfunctioning school system or
the lack of social services that might have intervened. We need to find
something or someone we can pinpoint as a cause because it is so hard to
accept that which is so far beyond our understanding.
Monday, June 27, 2011

Free trade packed bad for Michigan agriculture

Other Opinions Curtis W. Ellis & Marilyn Momber Pending free trade agreements with Korea, Colombia and Panama are bad for
Michigan farmers and must be rejected if we are to preserve our way of
All three trade treaties are based on NAFTA-style policies which have
displaced American farmers while sending jobs that support Michigan’s
rural communities offshore. In fact, our leading export is jobs even as we
reward companies that outsource jobs. Since NAFTA took effect, the United
States has lost 300,000 farms and millions of jobs.
Monday, June 20, 2011

Blowing Sunshine

Other Opinions Stephen Tuttle It has now been about 35 years since we first started talking about
alternatives to fossil fuels. In that three and a half decades talk is
about all we’ve done.
To be sure there has been some incre-mental progress. Solar energy
technology has improved enough that converting sunshine to power is
easier. There is significantly more wind energy. Maine, for example, has
made a genuine commitment to wind energy and is progressing apace.
Geothermal energy production, however, seems to be still in it’s embryonic
stages and the dream of hydrogen fuel cells producing nearly perpetual
energy is still just that; a dream.
Monday, June 20, 2011

Blowing Sunshine

Other Opinions Stephen Tuttle It has now been about 35 years since we first started talking about
alternatives to fossil fuels. In that three and a half decades talk is
about all we’ve done.
To be sure there has been some incre-mental progress. Solar energy
technology has improved enough that converting sunshine to power is
easier. There is significantly more wind energy. Maine, for example, has
made a genuine commitment to wind energy and is progressing apace.
Geothermal energy production, however, seems to be still in it’s embryonic
stages and the dream of hydrogen fuel cells producing nearly perpetual
energy is still just that; a dream.
Monday, June 13, 2011

Spinning until we‘re woozy

Other Opinions Stephen Tuttle Spinning Until We’re Woozy
State Senator Howard Walker votes for catastrophic cuts to public
education and then writes an op-ed piece claiming to be a big friend of
education and explaining how he actually did us a favor.
John Edwards gets indicted for felony-level campaign law violations and
then tells us he didn’t know anything about the money being funneled to
his mistress to keep her quiet and, even if he did, he broke no laws.
Sarah Palin tells us Paul Revere made his famous ride, in her version with
bells ringing and guns blazing, to warn the British. Then she makes it
worse by claiming she’s right and everybody else is wrong.
Monday, June 6, 2011

I hate you

Other Opinions Stephen Tuttle I Hate You
Hatred is a funny thing.
It sweeps over people like a none too gentle breeze and, for most,
passes just as quickly. For others, unfortunately, it sticks like
annoying gum they can never quite scrape off the bottom of their shoe.
Some declarations of hate are easy to understand because they’re
familiar to us. The “I hate you” rants of a teenager who believes his
or her curfew is too strict. The emotional outbursts during a
contentious divorce. The deeply wounded lamentations of a crime victim
toward a criminal.
Tuesday, May 31, 2011

What happened??

Other Opinions Stephen Tuttle What Happened?
      You might recall back on March 11 there was an earthquake off the coast of Japan that generated at least two tsunamis.  It was kind of a big deal, the worst devastation Japan had seen since World War II.  
   We were told at the time that more than 18,000 people died and thousands were still missing.  At least one and possibly three nuclear reactors suffered meltdowns or partial meltdowns.  Deadly levels of radiation were leaking into both the groundwater and ocean.  Tens of thousands of people were evacuated.  
   We had wall-to-wall coverage of it all for about a week and then it slowly slipped into the background, another milepost on the road to perpetual superficiality.  Apparently everything is fine there, now, because the national American media haven’t been much covering the story of late.  
   So, what happened?  What was the final death toll?  How many are still missing?  What’s being done for the people in the coastal areas that were obliterated?  Are they rebuilding?  What about the nuclear power plants?  Are they still spewing radioactivity? What happened to the workers who entered the plants during the meltdowns?  
   We were interested for a few days and then we moved along to something else.  
Monday, May 23, 2011

Catching up with the Republicans

Other Opinions Stephen Tuttle t’s time for our Approximately Quarterly Almost Official Update on the
Republican presidential race. There have been some changes since last we
discussed the subject.
Let’s start with the dearly departed.
The not-quite-brave-enough who dabbled at the prospect of a run and then
ran away from it are Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, Indiana
Congressman Mike Pence, South Dakota Senator John Thune and, most
recently, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. All demonstrated unusual
wisdom in dropping out.
Monday, May 16, 2011

Modest cuts to school aid put students first

Other Opinions Howard Walker As the chair of the School Aid budget in the Senate, I take very seriously
the impact that proposed budget cuts will have on schools. Our young
people are the future of our state, and we must ensure that when they
graduate, they have the tools and knowledge necessary to succeed in the
21st century economy.
Monday, May 16, 2011

I heard it‘s a conspiracy

Other Opinions Stephen Tuttle We all seem to love a good conspiracy. Or at least a good conspiracy theory.
If we can’t understand why something happened, or it seems just too
improbable, it usually takes no more than a few minutes before the first
conspiracy theories start cropping up on-line.
Which is not to suggest real conspiracies don’t exist. Caesar bit the
dust as a victim of a conspiracy, Jesus was captured and crucified as a
result of a conspiracy, every coup in history has resulted from a
conspiracy. One could argue that our very mortality is the result of a
conspiracy that took place in the Garden of Eden.
Monday, May 9, 2011

Come Home

Other Opinions Stephen Tuttle Come Home
Dear Mr. President:
Nicely done. We appreciate it. And we appreciate the outstanding efforts
of our intelligence community, our military and the bold members of SEAL
Team 6.
You are now hearing many voices telling you we’ve accomplished our mission
and we should bring the troops home.
Monday, May 9, 2011

New hope in the battle against child abuse

Other Opinions M‘Lynn Hartwell Many of us have fond memories of our childhood. We grew up feeling secure,
safe, and loved unconditionally by our parents and caregivers.
Unfortunately, this is not a reality for hundreds of children in our
region. A recent survey of the first 100 children who had been victims of
childhood sexual abuse, seen by the new Traverse Bay Children’s Advocacy
Center, had an average age of just under nine-years-old.
Monday, May 2, 2011

A sad state of affairs

Other Opinions Stephen Tuttle A Sad State of Affairs
Our states are in a sad financial state.
At least 44 are in the red and are either in the midst of, or have already
completed, unpleasant budget debates. Collectively, those states have
deficits of somewhere around $125-$150 billion, depending on whose numbers
you believe.
Monday, April 25, 2011

Bad news from the Budget Wars

Other Opinions Stephen Tuttle Bad News from the Budget Wars
The first round of the budget wars was fun, didn’t you think?
The rhetoric was especially amusing with plenty of melodrama from both
sides. If the politicians were correct, we’re doomed. Republicans said we
were doomed if we didn’t cut at least $100 billion from the last few
months of the 2011 federal budget. Democrats said we were doomed if we
cut more than $19 billion