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, December 9, 2004

Letters 12/9/04

Letters Various Inane bickering
Week after week the letter section of the Northern Express is filled with inane bi-partisan bickering. Liberals write in and try to convince the conservatives that they are the ones who are really amoral, George Bush is a liar and that we should be able to live in peace because war is bad, which it is, but human nature is really pretty bad as well.
Of course there are plenty of letters written by angry, self-righteous, red-faced conservatives who blather on with a lot of AM radio-ready buzz words like “junk science” or “liberal media.” Lately, the trend has been for conservatives to gloat about the election, as if rubbing the noses of liberals in a Republican victory suddenly makes the Patriot Act a good idea. It really is quite amusing when some bleeding heart desperately pleads for all of his or her peers to “not give up just ‘cos the election is over” in response to some jingoist with a cross around his neck who just accused them of hating America because they don’t share the views of an opportunistic “war President.”
Knock it off, you’re all pathetic idiots. Except for Marian Kromkowski, in whose defense I pen this inane diatribe.
Thursday, December 2, 2004

Letters 12/2/04

Letters Various Let Jesus be Jesus
Dear Shawn Robinson, et al, Republicans and Democrats alike:
Could you please leave Jesus out of this argument? (Re: whether Jesus was a liberal or conservative.) In all my readings of His word I never have found a place where He told us to join this or that political cause. In fact, He told us to leave our worldly attachments behind us and follow Him.
Jesus Christ called for a separation of church and state long before the framers of our Constitution thought of it. Remember, “Render unto Caesar”...? Mr. Robinson, I agree, nothing happens in His world by mistake. But, we have been given free will; we choose the leaders who reflect that will. We have chosen good leaders and bad, holy and unholy. Then we have the opportunity to learn from what we have created.
Thursday, November 25, 2004

Letters 11/25/04

Letters Various Methadone clinic needed
Why are we talking about jail overcrowding again? This seems to be a perpetual topic that nothing is ever done about. I have a few suggestions.
First, have you all heard the phrase about Traverse City? “Come on vacation, leave on probation!” But seriously, jailable offenses seem to be proportionate to the severity of crimes being committed in each town. What is a serious offense here may not be seen as a serious or jailable offense in Detroit.
Second, DRUGS!!! There are many statistics out there -- let’s just agree that most crimes are related, in some way, to drugs or alcohol. Our community has three “resources“ to address this: Addiction Treatment Services (ATS), AA/ NA, and jail (for those who cannot afford treatment at Munson). ATS obviously does not cut it. If ATS does not “work” for a person, chances are AA is not going to “work” either. If you get kicked out of ATS, you really have no other substance abuse treatment options.
Thursday, November 18, 2004

Letters 11/18/04

Letters Various Deficit disaster coming
When Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan started lowering interest rates, I was not surprised, but when he kept lowering them, I was. He didn’t stop until rates were at 1%, way too low to accomplish what he said he was trying to do. That was to help stimulate the economy. When he started to raise rates, I was again puzzled. At that time, the economy was not doing well, job creation was falling, and inflation was mild. So why was he raising rates?
It finally dawned on me, rates were lowered not only to stimulate the economy, the primary reason was to shore up the financial industry for what is to come. He didn’t disclose his true reason so as not to create a panic.
Thursday, November 11, 2004

Election Autopsy: Two Reader Viewpoints on what it all Means

Letters Various A Divided Land
I am sure you are aware that the countless volunteers for the Kerry campaign are feeling quite devastated right now. As someone said on the Larry King show, many of us feel like expatriates in our own nation. We have to face the fact that we live in a culturally divided land and that a majority of our fellow citizens (a tiny majority at that) do not share our values.
Hence there is great alienation in the land. How can there be a healing in America if moral compromise is considered evil by our opponents? It seems to be an all or nothing battle.
This vast cultural divide is clearly more relevant to our political culture than any particular issue. It seems to be both intractable and troubling.
Thursday, November 11, 2004

Letters 11/11/04

Letters Various Condolences
A Canadian friend of mine sent me his condolences the morning after our election. I think his words may summarize the feelings of a lot of people here and abroad:
“I was reminded of that Tom Waits song, ‘Step Right Up‘, in which the narrator hocks a mythical product that will do everything. Very funny.
Anyway he says it will “give you the erection that wins the election.” I kinda‘ think Bush got his hands on this product and you’re all about to reach down for the soap in the prison shower.”

Timothy Young, President/Chef
Food For Thought, Inc. • Honor
Thursday, November 4, 2004

Letters 11/4/04

Letters Various Hunting & assault rifles
Jim McKimmy, Democratic candidate for the 105th District State House seat, is a hunter who fully believes in the rights bestowed by the 2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. His opponent has been trying to discredit Jim by widely advertising a “D” grade he was given by the NRA. What his opponent doesn’t tell you is that Jim McKimmy got that “D” grade from NRA lobbyists simply because he believes that the federal ban on assault weapons should have been continued.
Jim agrees with the International Association of Chiefs of Police in saying that the ban on assault weapons must be continued to protect our law enforcement officers.
Jim asks, “Why would anyone who calls themselves a sportsman need an assault weapon?”

Robert D. Spencer • Kewadin
Thursday, October 28, 2004

Letters 10/28/04

Letters Various Hatred in our constitution
The passage of Proposal 2 would make Michigan one of the first states to write hatred into our constitution. Is passing a discriminatory amendment barring something that is already illegal our top priority?
One argument for Proposal 2 that keeps coming up is that marriage is a union under God, and since many Judeo-Christians feel that homosexual relationships are wrong, same sex marriages should not be allowed. Since one of the greatest things about our country is the separation of church and state, this should only mean that the government has no business saying who may and may not be wed in the first place. To do so would only take power away from churches. Even if same sex marriage one day becomes legal, clergy has always reserved the right not to marry any couple, and nothing will change this.
Finally, the U.S. Constitution assures all citizens the right to the pursuit of happiness. Our state has no right to override the country’s constitution and deny this right to select citizens.
I urge everyone to please join me in voting no on Proposal 2 as well as to discuss the repercussions of this proposed amendment with their friends and families.

Jeannine Crouse • TC
Thursday, October 21, 2004

Letters 10/21/04

Letters Various A bloody quagmire
Would you sacrifice your son, grandson or husband for the cause in Iraq? Having presented this question several times during appropriate encounters, the reaction became predictable. First, silent hesitation followed by avoidance. A patriotic American who believes in the cause, would answer yes. One man‘s blood is as good as another‘s.
The choice to invade Iraq by George W. Bush was a hostile act that created a war. There was no war prior. The “Joint Resolution“ as titled, “Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution 2002.“ It is not titled “Resolution to Go to War.“ Senator Kerry did not vote to go to war. Like others, he wished to be prepared in case of an emergency of imminent threat.
Thursday, October 14, 2004

Letters 10/14/04

Letters Various Lighthouse needs help
Probably one of the prettiest islands of the Great Lakes, South Fox Island lies about 16 1/2 miles north-northwest of Cathead Point in Leelanau County, making it the most isolated island in Lake Michigan. The island is Crescent shaped and has 11 1/2 miles of shoreline and 2,100 acres of nearly unspoiled wilderness. There is some evidence that French explorers visited North and South Fox Islands in the early 1600s. South Fox has no natural harbor. Even today, when visiting the state land on the island, dockage can be risky! But sometimes a ship could hide behind the island from approaching storms. A lighthouse was erected in 1867 on the southern tip of the island.
Thursday, October 7, 2004

Letters 10/7/04

Letters Various Baby exposed to smoke
My wife, our seven-month-old baby girl, and I were dining recently at a restaurant in Traverse City. The hostess and wait staff were very hospitable and arranged for us to sit outside on the patio to enjoy the wonderful pre-Autumn weather.
While my wife and I were entertaining our baby and awaiting our appetizer, a gentleman arrived with three guests and sat at the table next to us. He began smoking in the direction of my baby girl. I kindly requested if he could please refrain from smoking out of consideration for the tender lungs of the baby, to which he proclaimed that he was the owner of the restaurant and said, “You should not have brought your baby to my restaurant.” It is odd that he would proclaim his restaurant to be anti-baby when he has high chairs along the wall.
Thursday, September 30, 2004

Letters 9/30/04

Letters Various Disastrous deficit
Something that is not getting much attention this election cycle is the national debt; the annual deficits and the trade balance. The national debt is $7.3 trillion. There are about 294 million Americans, so each one of us, from the newborn child to the very oldest senior citizen, as co-signers of the loan for our Uncle Sam, owes about $25,000 each on the national debt.
We paid $290 billion in interest last year on the debt, about $1,000 per citizen. For comparison the total that the 50 states and the federal government spend on K-12 education is $390 billion. The interest on the debt is the third largest expense of the federal government behind defense and social services. Foreign individuals and governments hold about 40% of this debt, up from 15% a couple of decades ago. Let’s hope they don’t raise the interest rate or call in the debt. The Chinese are lending us money so we can buy more goods from them. (You load 16 tons and what do you get….)
Thursday, September 23, 2004

Letters 9/23/04

Letters Various Are we better off?
I remember when President Clinton was running against George Bush Sr. in the presidential campaign, I heard the question over and over: “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?” Why is that question not asked today? It is a more important question to many Americans than whether George Bush Jr. was a spoiled rich kid who received special treatment in 1972.
Prior to George Bush Jr. being elected, I was employed at a Fortune 500 company making around $50,000 per year. I owned my own home in a middle class neighborhood. I owned stock. The American Dream was within reach. Now, I am unemployed, my company is bankrupt, my stock is worthless, and my home has been repossessed.
Since Bush took office:
Thursday, September 16, 2004

Letters 9/16/04

Letters Various Kids & diesel fumes
While the media continues to keep us in a constant state of anxiety, a psychic code orange unrelated to terrorism, not one word is ever mentioned about the most insidious health risk we and especially our children face on a daily basis. That risk comes from breathing air polluted by emissions from diesel engines. This is by far the single most toxic, carcinogenic air contaminant. In fact, 70% of cancers caused by air pollution are the result of diesel exhaust.
The United States has over 400,000 diesel-powered school buses, 130 of which serve Traverse City Area Public Schools. Each bus on average produces 364 lbs. of emissions per year, resulting in more than 23 tons of what has been identified as the most carcinogenic air contaminant being released in our school district alone. Children, whose lungs are more vulnerable than those of adults, ride these buses often for long distances, and according to a Yale study, pollution inside each bus is 5-15 times greater than the average outside air.
The Federal goal is to clean up all the nation’s school buses by 2010. Traverse City Area Public Schools is applying for Federal funding that will hopefully result in the eventual retrofit of at least some buses, but I would like your help to raise public awareness of this real threat, and encourage legislators to place a high priority on fixing something that can be, and needs to be fixed sooner rather than later.

Margaret B. Dodd
Thursday, September 9, 2004

Letters 9/9/04

Letters Various Beauty of the Olympics
The Olympics do not stop violence from occurring. They don’t stop people from cheating, nor are they so esteemed that a thing such as bribing becomes unthinkable. The Olympics are for humans, run by, judged by and watched by humans. And, well, humans follow their nature and this nature doesn’t always involve nice things. Since George Foster decided to focus his “Random Thoughts” (8/26) on the negative events, histories and stories involving the Olympics, I’ll focus on just a handful of the many great stories the Olympics have produced.