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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Harley L. Sachs

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Thursday, December 22, 2005

What about Chanukah?

Features Harley L. Sachs Do you really know the meaning of Chanukah? Chanukah is a holiday celebrated by Jews near the winter solstice and as such falls among other solstice holidays. Until the twentieth century in the United States, Chanukah was considered a minor holiday hardly observed until it was emphasized in the light of competition from Christmas. But except for being a Jewish holiday, there are important historical reasons why Christians as well as Jews should celebrate it.
The old Jewish joke states that all Jewish holidays boil down to one statement: “They tried to kill us; we won; let’s eat.” In the case of Chanukah, the enemy was Antiochus IV Epiphanes who tried to wipe out the Jewish religion and convert all Jews to Hellenism, the worship of Zeus.
The Jews revolted, won in 164 BC, and today they celebrate by eating potato pancakes (latkes) and jelly donuts. That’s the “let’s eat” part of the story.
The encyclopedia Britannica says of Chanukah, “a Jewish observance commemorating the rededication (164 BC) of the Second Temple of Jerusalem after its desecration three years earlier by order of Antiochus IV Epiphanes. The Syrian king was thus frustrated in his attempt to extirpate the Jewish faith.”
Thursday, June 9, 2005

Lost... Think you‘re tough enough for Michigan‘s woods? Think again

Features Harley L. Sachs Many people buy an SUV for that macho feeling of power and superiority over those measly little cars that resemble a bar of soap. They’ve been sold by those ads showing powerful off-road experiences as the erstwhile family car charges up a mountainside or fords a forest stream. Yet only about 10% of SUVs ever leave the paved roads. Drivers long for that thrilling U.P. driving experience. Now‘s your chance!
Maybe you’d better think again.
Thursday, June 9, 2005

The Soo Lochs...150 years strong

Features Harley L. Sachs This summer the Soo Locks at Sault Ste. Marie in the Upper Peninsula will celebrate the 150th anniversary with a series of celebrations and events. The Soo Locks connect Lake Superior with Lake Huron by bypassing the rapids of the St. Mary’s River.
Lake Superior is about 21 feet higher than Lake Huron, and until the first locks were built in 1797, traders and trappers had to portage their canoes around the St. Mary’s rapids. Those first locks, a mere 38 feet long, were built on the Canadian side by the Northwest Fur Company and allowed canoes and small boats to pass between the lakes.
Those locks were destroyed in the War of 1812 and the next set of two, this time built on the American side, were 350 feet long and completed in 1835. Those were done by the State of Michigan but were turned over to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1881.
Nowadays, as then, the size of the locks limits the capacity of ships moving into and out of Lake Superior. Not many people are aware that the Soo locks carry more tonnage than the Panama Canal. The reason is in the nature of the cargoes. The bulk carriers on Lake Superior carry iron ore, coal, and salt: all heavy products.
Thursday, March 24, 2005

Be Informed: Blog on

Features Harley L. Sachs During World War II in Germany Minister of Propaganda Goebbels controlled the news and the Gestapo secret police enforced it. To listen to Britain’s BBC broadcasts in Nazi Germany was enough to precipitate a night-time visit from the Gestapo and your mysterious disappearance. People who did dare listen to foreign radio broadcasts were careful to keep the sound level too low for the neighbors to hear and to turn the dial to another station when shutting off the receiver. Even so, a radio emits a signal matching the one it’s tuned to and it can be traced.
Here in the 21st Century there’s a hint of government control and manipulation of the news when the Republican White House plants a ringer among the press corps pretending to be a real journalist while flinging “softball” questions to the president.
Thursday, February 17, 2005

The New Reign of Censorship Terror on TV

Other Opinions Harley L. Sachs First it was B.O. and now it’s E.D. -- part of the current flap over what’s okay to broadcast on television that goes back for decades.
B.O. was part of the old radio Lifebuoy deodorant soap commercial. It was usually broadcast with the sound effect of a fog-bound buoy and stood for “body odor” as in, “Do you have B.O.?” That’s pretty personal; like who would have the nerve to walk up to someone at the office, make a fog horn sound, and hand him a bar of Lifebuoy?
The B.O. ad spawned jokes about Y.S. as in “Do you have Y.S.?” meaning “You Stink.” That was in the days’ when a shower a week was the norm. We’ve cleaned up since, most of us.
Thursday, September 23, 2004

Saving a Taste of the Summer that almost was... The Jam Jars of Autumn

Features Harley L. Sachs Spring was later this year, summer hardly came at all, and Autumn started early. In a normal summer my dwarf cherry tree produces its brave crop by July 4. This year it wasn’t pickable until the end of the month. Normally Autumn sneaks in here in the Upper Peninsula about August 13. That’s the date when the jet stream shifts south bringing with it Canadian air, changing the note of the rustle of leaves on the trees and bringing that unmistakable chill off Lake Superior. For us who yearned for the summer that never came, the question is “Now What?”
The answer is jam.