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, July 25, 2002

Letters 7/25/02

Letters Various Solve that theft
This letter is addressed to all residents and tiny business owners here in the beautiful north of Michigan. It is with great sadness that our business of nine years has been placed in a position to even compose such a letter, but as active and concerned citizens in our community, we feel it would be wise to call for a ‘heads up‘ alert.
Since the beginning of 2002 we have been victimized three times, with larceny on 1-2-02, theft on 6-20-02 and shoplifting on 7-3-02. In six months time we have evolved from an open, and loving business, excited to share our art with our customers, to disheartened, distrusting, and stressed shop keepers. We have installed dead-bolt locks on all doors, motion detectors, motion lights, and signs of warning to would be violators.
Thursday, July 18, 2002

Letters 7/18/02

Letters Various The fate of Sleeping Bear
Ed McIntosh does a good job protecting the interests of the Benzie Fishery Coalition (“Access Denied?“ 7/11). Fortunately for the rest of us The Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore needs to balance the concerns of all the people who use the park, not just fishermen.
Whether you are a fisherman or not SBNL is simply asking for your rational input in the planning process for the care and management of the park for all people concerned. Hopefully people realize that most businesses cater to people other than just fishermen, that the park isn‘t going to close “miles of beaches“ and that much of what McIntosh promotes simply isn‘t true.
Richard Kooyman • via email
Thursday, July 11, 2002

Letters 7/11/02

Letters Various Support small business

As a 12-year downtown small business owner, I am amazed at the lack of support given to me and my family after the tragic fire of a neighboring building which devastated my small downtown business. My building owner/lesser happens to be a past president and current member of the Traverse City Chamber of Commerce, an organization I thought supported the efforts of small downtown businesses.
After the tragic fire, my lease was terminated and offered to a neighboring larger franchised business with several locations in the area. This forced me to relocate my stand-alone business that has provided our local community with a gathering place and offered a wonderful resource for the entire downtown community, not just the tourists. No consideration was given to the value of small businesses that generate 90% of their profits from local citizens.
Thursday, July 4, 2002

Letters 7/4/02

Letters Various The Rolling Stones: Not Fade Away

I guess, as we age, we listen and take most of what we hear and read as a comfortable way of a new thought. I was one of the Era of the Stones. In that time they were the fun group, but not -- no not ever the top (re: What a Drag It Is Getting Old, Express 6/27).
I can‘t knock them for still rocking as old men. I see them as doing their trade, working the stage and having fun.
We all go to a point where we can‘t go any further. Performers have it much more difficult. Why laugh at them because they aren‘t what they were? Inside, they are still the same persons. Performing artists do peak, and then fade.
Who cares who they are in private? Why find fault in a person of former talent who tries again to perform in later years?
Thursday, June 27, 2002

Letters 6/27/02

Letters Various Oak wilt scam

Last fall, the owner of a local tree service company in Traverse City informed us that our oak trees had a disease called “oak wilt.“ He went on to say that his company had recently removed three infected oak trees from a neighbor‘s residence across the street, and that oak wilt was on the rampage in our area.
We assumed that, because this man was in the tree business, he knew what he was talking about. Indeed, our oaks had been shedding leaves and some of the remaining leaves were a bit wilted. The trees did have some dead branches near the top. So we believed him.
Thursday, June 20, 2002

Letters 6/20/02

Letters Various Idlewild memories

Your piece on Idlewild (June 6 by Rick Coates) was informative and brought back memories for me. In 1948 I was a State Probation Officer serving two judicial districts out of Manistee. Lake County was in my purview as I served Circuit Judge Neal doing pre-sentence investigations for his court. That year, 1948, Percy Langster was elected proseouting attorney for Lake County, the first black PA elected in the U.S.
Calling on probationers and parolees in Idlewild, I found no animosity touard me -- a whitey. Much social activity revolved around the tourism and entertainment business. Idlewild was not a poverty ghetto then. Many blacks in Grand Rapids, etc. owned cabins on the lake and in the woods where they vacationed.
Today, at 81, I think of the many friends I made working Yates Township. I heard some good music in the town.

James E. Woodrow • Traverse City
Thursday, June 13, 2002

Letters 6/13/02

Letters Various Give dogs a break
It was a relief when the “Powers that Be“ finally banned dogs from Alpenfest held in Gaylord in July. The weather is hot, large crowds mill around the exhibits, and little children are usually eating or trying to pet or touch the animals. This is a catastrophe waiting to happen.
Jim Carruthers letter to the editor was concerned that the poster for the Cherry Festival
featured a dog in a cherry lug, but banned the dogs from the Open Space. There is a big
difference between a picture of a dog and the real thing. This would be abundantly clear
if he ever stepped in a pile of dog “poo.“
He also said that “dogs have rights too.“ Give me a break! A dog deserves a safe, clean place to live/sleep, food and water, and veterinary care when necessary... but it does not have any rights. I am a animal lover also but I can separate what is appropriate for an animal or a human.
If Mr. Carruthers cannot be separated from his dog(s), perhaps he should just stay home. The rest of us will all be relieved.

Mae Engel • Gaylord
Thursday, June 6, 2002

Letters 6/6/02

Letters Various Sprawl and the bridge

Once in a generation -- once every 20 years or so -- we each have an
opportunity to make a statement about our community and the future of our
region. That moment is now.
Last month the Michigan Land Use Institute and a coalition of four other
regional and national environmental and conservation organizations filed
suit in state court against the Grand Traverse County Road Commission. The
purpose: To block construction of a $30 million road and bridge across the
Boardman River valley -- a magnificent stretch of natural river and quiet
forests just south of Traverse City.
Thursday, May 30, 2002

Letters 5/30/02

Letters Various Reinventing radio

While interesting as far as it went, Pete Huntington’s cover article on alternatives to mainstream commercial radio (Reinventing Radio, May 16, 2002), suffered from a glaring omission.
Radio listeners with eclectic tastes have always known where to look: at the left end of the dial. Traverse City is blessed with a remarkably rich low end: two NPR stations! (Classical music on WIAA 88.7 and all-talk on WIPR 91.5) More to Huntington’s point about sources for alternative forms of music, however, is the jewel in the crown of Traverse City radio, WNMC, 90.7 FM. In the variety and quality of music it provides to the region it exceeds anything I was ever able to find in my years living in Chicago and the Atlanta/Athens, Georgia area. WNMC would be a great radio station anywhere and we are incredibly fortunate to have it here in Traverse City.
Huntington discusses the phenomenon of the “O Brother Where Art Thou?” soundtrack. Contrary to his observation, this record did get airplay on the radio: WNMC had “O Brother” in its current rotation from its first release. More importantly, WNMC’s regular weekly schedule filled with folk, blues, alternative country and American roots music programs provides a resource for people hungry for more of the kind of music they’ve been turned on to by the soundtrack.
Thursday, May 23, 2002

Letters 5/23/02

Letters Various Two Peoples, One Land

Jim McCormick‘s article on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict tries to give the appearance of being evenhanded while glossing over important historical facts (Express 5/9).
For example, he says, “In 1967 war broke out again between the two sides.“ War is not a natural event like spontaneous combustion or a volcanic eruption! War happens when somebody is willing to use violence (i.e. kill
people) to get something someone else has. In 1967 it was the Palestinians and Arab states that initiated the war and lost. When the United States has won a war, it has occupied the conquered country until it could be confident that there were leaders who would no longer be a threat. Why should the Israelis do otherwise?
There is no mention that tens of thousands of Palestinians were killed by their fellow Muslins in bordering states, or that the Arab states have used the Palestinians as a political pawn for the past 50 years.
McCormick states that the two sides “came close to a deal“ brokered by Clinton two years ago. He doesn‘t mention that everyone thought that a remarkably generous offer by the Israelis and that it was Arafat who rejected it and chose intifada instead.
It‘s an embarrassment and a moral travesty that the United States has just brokered a deal to allow the notorious murderers who were in the Church of the Nativity, and who are known to have killed Americans as well as Israelis, to get away free. It‘s becoming clear that our leaders don‘t think Americans will support a war on terrorism that substantially inconveniences them. They‘re probably right.

Nancy Brimhall • Alden
Thursday, May 9, 2002

Letters 5/9/02

Letters Various Dillenbeck & Sprawl

Your article on Mike Dillenbeck was as eye-opening as it was frightening. To think that a public official who makes his living tearing down trees, paving land and helping to create sprawl could be disheartened at any oppostion is cause for concern.
“We‘re building this through wetlands,“ he says... isn‘t THAT disheartening? “There‘s nothing natural about the river,“ he says... isn‘t THAT disheartening?
I would suggest that IF this bridge is built the powers that be should extract some documentation from Mr. Dillenbeck beforehand relating to the verifiable effects of the construction. If any of what he professes turns out to be false, he should be held legally
accountable. Let him use his models and predictions of no sprawl, “better ecosystems,“ and his promise of “real environmental enhancements“ in his defense.
Rivers are more than their banks, and should be revered as something other than impediments to transportation. It‘s true there are old animal corridoers there, not to mention hundreds of plant and animal species, but what of the sky over the river? Imagine from water level, looking up into the expanse of 200 feet of steel, listening to thousands of cars a day. This project has been fueled by greed and arrogance since it started. It was ugly in the mind at its inception, ugly on the drafting table and will be even uglier in the real world. If it does go up, take notes.

Michael Delp • Green Lake Township
Thursday, May 2, 2002

Letters 5/2/02

Letters Various The Great Lakes & Perrier

The Great Lakes basin holds 20% of the world‘s fresh surface water. World wide, supplies of clean water are decreasing and wars are fought over access to water. Jacque-Yves Cousteau said “water is life.“ If Michigan is to protect and preserve her freshwater treasure, citizens must insist that their representatives defend and protect our streams, rivers and lakes, and protect the lands that surrounds them.
Perrier, a subsidiary of Nestle, has moved into Stanwood Michigan. Millions of gallons of water a week will be extracted from wells there. Perrier is looking for 12 more sites for taking the water of Michigan, and some of those plants will be targeted in this area. As water is squandered and poisoned throughout the U.S. and the world, more and more pressure will be put on Michigan to share and sell her water.
Thursday, April 25, 2002

Letters 4/25/02

Letters Various The Greening of Hate

John Rohe responds

These comments are prompted by Eartha Melzer‘s article (Greening Hate, April
18 Northern Express). The Tantons‘ issues and values merit our attention.
For this reason, I took the time to write their biography.
Dr. and Mrs. Tanton are no strangers to the arguments raised by Eartha
Melzer. When their love of the land moved them to consider threats to the
land, they became leaders in the population movement. As the biography
points out, Dr. Tanton was national president of Zero Population Growth
(ZPG) in the 1970s. At the time, our fertility rates were plummeting from
3.5 children per woman to 1.7. The Tantons then addressed the next
population issue; immigration reform. Charges like those leveled by Eartha
Melzer might have been expected. The Tantons‘ resolve was unaffected.
Since the mid-1970s, U.S. fertility has been so low that we have not been
filling our shoes from one generation to the next. Nevertheless, the U.S.
Census Bureau reports that our population will more than double in the
lifetime of a college student today. This doubling is just the first
installment. One additional doubling will bring the United States to a
billion person nation!
Thursday, April 18, 2002

Letters 4/18/02

Letters Various Slavery & reparations

Your comparison of Irish indentured servitude and African American
slavery in this country, is ridiculous (Random Thoughts, April 4). Although I am not particularly pro reparations, I think a better case can be made for it than against
it, using the half assed reasoning you use.
When was the last time you were called a mick? And yet I have heard the
word nigger almost as much since I moved to Northern Michigan as I heard
in the thoroughly integrated, but seethingly racist, high school I
attended in the sixties.
When was the last time you stood waiting for too long for a seat in a
restaurant? When was the last time you were prevented from purchasing a
home because of your Irish heritage? Or moving into an apartment?
These are things that still take place and are documentable through
first hand experiences even here in Northern Michigan.
Thursday, April 11, 2002

Letters 4/11/02

Letters Various Stop the sprawl

The Express deserves praise for a recent flow of articles and letters concerning sprawl, threats to the region‘s natural resources, and the changing face of Northern Michigan.
There can be little doubt that all of the counties, townships, and villages along the Lake Michigan shoreline are faced with the same problems of growth and how to manage it. This story has been on-going for the last 20 years and it appears will go on for many more years. It is the top story in our region and deserves continuous coverage by the Express, Record-Eagle, and all other local media.
Each of the counties, townships, and villages has updated master plans that involved extensive surveys of public opinion. They all indicate the top priority of area residents is protecting the natural resources and existing character of the region, yet our wetlands are still being filled, farmland divided into subdivisions, thousands of trees cut, condominiums built along fragile shoreline areas and small villages faced with doubling of current populations. The rate of change is accelerating rapidly and there seems to be no end in sight as proposed beltways, bypasses, oversized resorts, and any number of other development projects threaten to open new corridors of sprawl. In some cases, the courts wil be thrust into action to determine if and how all this growth will proceed.
In the meantime, conservancies, watershed councils, land use institutes, lake associations, coalitions for sensible growth, and an ever-growing number of other concerned groups and individuals are growing in number and popularity. Their efforts to protect the region‘s valuable natural resources and rural character mandated in all of the region‘s governmental master plans is crucial. The big question is why our elected and appointed officials at the state, county and local levels are not representing this mandate.
The Express is serving a valuable role by presenting this on-going story in an intelligent and in-depth way that will not only inform readers, but urge them to get involved. Keep up the good work and remember, good journalism promotes thought and action.

Greg Reisig • Elk Rapids