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, April 4, 2002

Letters 4/4/02

Letters Various Defending Antrim County
The Friends of the Jordan River Watershed Inc. reaffirm our support for Antrim County‘s Wetlands Ordinance and for the exemplary efforts to protect our pristine water resources.
Adoption of the Wetlands Ordinance not only recognizes the vital role wetlands play in conserving water quality but also attempts to preserve the natural features that make Antrim County so special for us all.
Antrim County has a long and proud legacy of safeguarding its irreplaceable natural resources. From the Hitchcock Swamp through the Chain-O-Lakes, to mighty Torch Lake, up and down the Cedar and Jordan River Valleys, we are steeped in a rich tradition of conservation. We are also blessed with an abundance of natural treasures. Numerous opinion polls overwhelmingly confinn that citizens of this county value the quality of life here and want to preserve it. As our population grows and pressures continue to mount to develop more and more sensitive lands, responsible measures must be enacted to ensure that future generations will also be able to enjoy some of the same clean, wild and open places we now hold so dear. (And maybe take for granted)
Antrim County‘s Commissioners were forced to act to protect our natural resources due to the failure of enforcement and inadequate protection afforded by existing state and national statutes.
In recent years we have witnessed an alarming loss of farmland, open space, wildlands and wetlands. We have experienced extensive oil and gas development throughout our county, proposed and almost permitted massive water withdrawals from the Cedar River, overdeveloprnent into fragile places and increased erosion into our lakes and streams (A slow death by a thousand wounds). In addition, despite the best efforts by dedicated staff and field personae! within the DNR and DEQ, downsizing of state government has seriously degraded their management and regulatory roles. It is responsible and in the best interests of all county citizens for our County Government to respond to this peril, and for that, the Friends of the Jordan commends them.
The Friends of the Jordan also firmly support the rights of private property owners and the belief that public issues should be debated openly and responsibly. We have demonstrated this resolve on many occasions. Although we believe that every effort was made to include public comment during the drafting of the Wetlands Ordinance (which took many months and several years to complete) we also realize that complex issues need time to sink in. To this end we support the right of the Constitutional Property Rights Association to bring their concerns to the public‘s attention. If their efforts result in the need for a referendum on the Wetlands Ordinance, then we support the informed collective will of the concerned voters of Antrim County.
Antrim County‘s charm, beauty and wealth are vested in its people and bountiful natural features. This county ranks only second in the State of Michigan for abundance of surface water assets. These water resources are irreplaceable and unequaled - anywhere. Even Lake Charlevoix‘s water quality is dependent upon the waters the Jordan River and all her spring fed tributaries (and Antrim Co.‘s wetlands) send it.
The quality of life in Antrim County is dependent on its water resources, which are directly linked to its wetlands. We cannot have one without the other. Let not our heirs one day say about us, “ They sacrificed our natural heritage for the temporary narrow interests of a few.“ It therefore seems only prudent that our elected county leaders would act to protect our valued common interests. For that they have our gratitude and support.

John W. Richter DVM • Presidents Friends of the Jordan
Thursday, March 28, 2002

Letters 3/28/02

Letters Various Class faces the axe
As a reader, I realize your publication is a great supporter of the local
art scene. Because of this, I‘m writing to you regarding a disturbing situation.
I am currently taking a metalsmithing class at Northwestern Michigan
College. My instructor, Diane Hubert, has been teaching at NMC for the past 24 years.
Some of her past students are current gallery owners as well as nationally
recognized artists. To make a long story short, the entire metalsmithing program is about to be dropped from the NMC curriculum. It may not seem like a big deal, but for a
community that professes to support the arts, this would be a big blow. There is no
other program like it in Northern Michigan.
Many aspiring artists (myself included) will have nowhere else to turn to
learn our craft. Many will miss the opportunity to learn from one of the
country‘s foremost metalsmithing artists. Diane‘s work has been featured in
art shows around the country. She has also served on jurying committees at
some of these shows. She continues to display her work in galleries across
the country.
Those interested in helping us keep the program going can contact Tim
Nelson, NMC President, at the following:

Northwestern Michigan College
1701 E. Front St.
Traverse City, MI 49686

Other people who may contacted include Stephen Siciliano, Humanities
Division Head, at ssiciliano@message.nmc.edu and Doug Domine, Art Department
Chairman, at ddomine@message.nmc.edu
Thank you for your time and consideration.

Maria Perez-Bastian • via email
Thursday, March 21, 2002

Letters 3/21/02

Letters Various Hero was a hard sell

It‘s always fun and sometimes interesting reading your “Best Of“ addition of
the Express. It‘s also a nice way to highlight folks in our community who
do a good job at what they do or who have a great services to offer.
But I was a little (or I should say a lot) uneasy with your category Best of
Community Heroes to see Larry Sellers listed. What kind of a community hero
is he? He let his bad temper get out of control and he beats up someone
three times his junior and he‘s considered a hero. Come on! What kind of
example is he for our young people and our community? I didn‘t know doing
something bad gets you listed as doing something good. I guess it‘s like
yes means no and no means yes, right?
What Mr. Sellers did was wrong and
you have highlighted him as a community hero. I find that pretty
distasteful and surprising in your paper. I understand it‘s not that
difficult to stuff the ballot box for the Best Of issue but I‘d think you
would have some common sense to realize good from bad. Maybe next year the
TC Yes group can stuff the ballot box to list Fred Phelps as a community
hero. It really says a lot about our community when the bad guy gets listed
as one of the good guys. I look forward to see who makes the list next

Jim Carruthers • TC
Thursday, March 14, 2002

Letters 3/14/02

Letters Various High cost of horse abuse

Reading through the Record Eagle the other day, (something I haven‘t done some time), I was amazed at the Kasben case.
Now like I say, I haven‘t been reading the paper, and only get one fuzzy channel on my 6-year old television, so I don‘t know all the details of the case or how badly the animals were treated.
I do know however, that 30 days in jail, $20,400 in fines and court costs, two years probation, losing his whole herd of horses, not being able to own or possess a horse (just how do you possess a horse any way?), and last but not least, not even being able to go near a horse, sounds a bit crazy to me.
As an animal lover myself, I hate to see them mistreated. However, sometimes there are honest explanations why people, unintentionally or unknowingly neglect things, be it people, animals, or just life situations, and I believe the time, energy, and money wasted on this case could have been much wisely invested in more positive, constructive ways.
To my best calculations, a total of $61,400 has been sunk into this dispute.
Just think of what other causes in our communities this money could have contributed to, such as health care, food, and shelter for the poor. Or hey, how about education?
Life is too short to be expending our material and personal resources on personal battles. Instead, I believe we should use a little compassion, common sense, and common welfare in our decisions to our solutions.
And just one more thing. Mr. Phillips wanted to make it clear that “this is not open season on farmers.“ Being raised on a farm, I would like to let him know how reassured I truly feel.

Tracy Lautner • TC
Thursday, March 7, 2002

Letters 3/7/02

Letters Various Suitable for framing
I‘m writing about your Sept. 20th issue, which was devoted mainly to David Johnson. The front page picture was 105 square inches, there were 97 1/2 column inches about Mr. Johnson, and a 6 x 8 photo of him, suitable for framing.
I question the veracity of this article. Was it a paid advertisement, propaganda or public relations? I have found Mr. Downes to be a very good reporter, with well reasoned articles. On this issue, however, he only got one side of the story. For the complete story on this land swap, please check the Michigan Land Use Institute‘s websight www.mlui.org . There you will find several articles that tell the other side of the story.
Mr. Johnson did an end-run around the legal process and bought this island with political contributions. Attorney General Jennifer Granholm is checking into the legalities of this so-called “swap.“
I also noted that after the swap was done, Northern Express only devoted two inches to the issue. This was disappointing to me, since I enjoy the objective reporting of the paper. Here‘s hoping justice will prevail, and the people of Michigan will get this jewel of an island back into public hands, where it belongs.

Rosalie Pelch • Beulah
Thursday, February 28, 2002

Letters 2/28/02

Letters Various Barriers to contraception

As a working woman, I strongly support Senate Bill 580/582 and House Bill 5011/5012. These bills would require insurance companies to cover prescription contraceptives the same way they cover other prescriptions.
Just because I’m a woman, I have to spend 68% more in out-of-pocket costs for health care than my husband does. And I am clearly not alone. Not only does my health insurance not pay for my birth control pills — less than 20% of traditional health plans and 40% of managed care plans offer coverage for all of the most commonly-used prescription contraceptives.
Not only is this unfair to women, it is bad public health policy. Creating barriers to contraception increases the number of unintended pregnancies and abortions, increases the incidence of low birth weight babies and miscarriages, and threatens the physical and financial well-being of working families like mine.
If enacted, SB 580/582 and HB 5011/5012 would begin to close this unacceptable gender-based gap in insurance coverage. For many years, health care services like prenatal care, mammography, and even childhood immunizations were considered non-essential. Now that these services are universally accepted as necessary care, they too are fully covered by insurance — saving countless lives everyday. Coverage for family planning is the natural next step. This bill is about fairness. It’s about equity. And it’s about time.

Sandy Pfister • Little Traverse Township