Letters

Letters 09-15-2014

Stop The Games On Campus

Four head coaches – two at U of M and two at MSU – get a total of $13 million of your taxpayer dollars each year. Their staffs get another $11 million...

The Truth About Fatbikes

While we appreciate the fatbike trail coverage, the quote from the article below is exactly what we demonstrated not to be true in most cases last season...

Man Has Environmental Responsibility

I tend to agree with Thomas Kachadurian (“Playing God,” Sept. 8) that we should not interfere with the power of nature by deciding what is “native” and what is not. Man usually does what is better for man (or so we believe), hence the survival and population growth of our species...

The Bush & Obama Facts

Don Turner’s letter to the editor on 8/25/14 stated that there has never been a more corrupt, dishonest, etc. set of politicians in the White House. He states no facts, but here are a few...

Ban Pesticides

I grew up downstate in a neighborhood without pesticides. I was always very healthy. Living here, I have become ill. So I did my research and found out a lot about these poison agents called pesticides (herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, chemical fertilizers, etc) that are being spread throughout this community, accumulating in our air, water and soil...

Respect for Presidents?

Recently we read the Letter to the Editor that encouraged us to stop characterizing President Obama as anything other than an upstanding, moral, inspiring “first Black President”. The author would have us think that the rancor in the press, media and public is misguided. And, believe it or not, this rancor is a “glaring exception to … unwritten patriotic rule” of historically supporting all previous presidents...


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Monday, March 1, 2010

Letters

Letters Mayor violated charter
In the 2/15/10 article “Blunt Bzdok,” Traverse City Mayor Chris Bzdok
asked the question “who’s in charge here?” concerning the engineering
plans for reconstruction of Eighth Street from Garfield to Barlow.
The short answer is that the city manager is responsible for the city
administrative staff. The last paragraph in Sec. 37 of the City
Charter, reads in part: “The City Commission and its members shall
deal with the administrative service solely through the City Manager.”
Sec. 48 entitled “City Engineer” reads in part: “and such other duties
as may be required of him by the City Manager.”
In other words, Mr. Bzdok is violating the charter by publicly
criticizing city engineer, Tim Lodge through the local media and also
on his Internet blog. In addition, he has publicly accused Mr. Lodge
of interfering with obtaining a second opinion on the Eighth Street
project. I don’t know upon what he based the accusation, which is a
very serious charge.
In the article the mayor seemed to be saying that the city manager is
too busy to monitor his staff. I would suggest that Mr. Bzdok read the
City Charter to review the limits to his authority and also review the
proper way to deal with city staff through the city manager. He also
needs to understand that a Master Plan is a guide to what is ideal and
cannot realistically always be followed precisely.
Widening Eighth Street has not been envisioned, but Gosling Czubek
indicated bike paths could be included provided if certain sections
were widened.
We need bike paths on Eighth Street - but temper outbursts by the
mayor against the city engineer in violation of the charter is not the
way to get there. Mayor Bzdok owes Mr. Lodge an apology.
Jim Tompkins • TC

(Jim Tompkins is a former city clerk, city commissioner and three-time mayor.)

 
Monday, February 22, 2010

Letters

Letters Our corporate citizens
Karen Martin seems to think that the
Constitution is just kidding when it says that Congress shall make no law
abridging freedom of speech (re: letters 2/8/10). She is appalled that the
U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that corporations be afforded freedom of
political speech. Oddly, she voices no concerns over labor unions’ having
the same freedom.
Both corporations and labor unions are typically wealthy and powerful
organizations comprised of thousands of individual Americans. Both
corporations and labor unions have political lobbyists who promote their
agendas. To restrict the political freedom of speech of one of these
groups and not the other cannot be lawfully justified.

Charles Finley • Beulah
 
Monday, February 15, 2010

Letters

Letters In defense of Avatar
In his January 25, 2010 letter, “Avatar brainwashing,” David Page seems to think that there are no members of the U.S. military who will abandon core values in exchange for dollars and that our government doesn’t steal tax dollars from the middle class to fund military operations that benefit corporate interests and trample on indigenous rights and national sovereignty.
I have just a few examples which point to the contrary.
In August of 1953 the CIA and MI6 executed Operation Ajax, driving the democratically elected leader of Iran, Mohammad Mosaddegh, from office. They did this on behalf of the British Petroleum oil company.
The CIA then financed Gen. Fazlollah Zahedi’s takeover of Iran. Zahedi had been arrested during WWII for attempting to establish a pro-Nazi government in Iran. Iran’s new director of propaganda, Bahram Shahrokh, was a protege of Joseph Goebbels.
Less than a year later the CIA was doing the same thing in Guatemala. They ousted Jacobo Arbenz on behalf of the United Fruit Company.
Okay so this is all ancient history, right? During the recent American invasion of Iraq, the Iraqi seed bank in Abu Ghraib was destroyed (along with hospitals and other non-military targets.) The Coalition Provisional Authority passed Order 81 making it illegal for farmers to re-use patented seeds, thus paving the way for the Monsanto corporation to sue Iraqi farmers.
With the seed bank destroyed and coalition troops handing out Monsanto-patented GMO corn seeds to Iraqi civilians, the U.S. government was assuring windfall profits for Monsanto in a brand new market (Monsanto is a huge contributor to Democrat and Republican election campaigns.)
Other recent examples:
• U.S. military aid to Mexico used to drive indigenous people from their land during the Clinton administration.
• Plan Columbia during the Clinton and Bush II administrations.
• No-bid contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan awarded to companies Dick Cheney used to work for.
Am I bashing the military here? Were the creators of Avatar bashing the military? I don’t think so. After all the hero of Avatar is also an ex-Marine. Do some ex-military personnel become mercenaries for money hungry corporations? Yes they do, just look at Blackwater and Haliburton.
Most members of our military are fine people who have sworn an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States. Unfortunately our military is too often co-opted by a civilian leadership (right or left) focused on using our military and our tax dollars to expand profits for the richest 1%, strengthen centralized banks and financial institutions, and build an Anglo-American fascist empire.
Avatar struck me as a much needed wake-up call for a populous that needs to rescue their democracy from the influence of the military industrial complex and finally elect a leader who can get lazy corporations off government welfare, bring all our troops home now and put an end to this foreign meddling and resource stealing nonsense.
“If we fix it so’s you can’t make money on war. We’ll all forget what we’re killing folks for.” - Woody Guthrie

Nathan Karnes • via email
 
Monday, February 8, 2010

Encore! The Great Indoor Folk Festival returns Feb. 13th

Music Encore!
The Great Indoor Folk Festival returns Feb. 13
Based on a spectacular turnout last year, dozens of musicians from
across the region are tuning their guitars and polishing their songs
in anticipation of the second annual Great Indoor Folk Festival on
Saturday, Feb. 13 in Traverse City.
 
Monday, February 8, 2010

Letters

Letters Where guns shouldn‘t go
Having read the article in the February 1 issue of Northern Express
titled Christine goes to jail, I must say that I have a hard time
having any sympathy for Ms. Blackledge. While I support her right to
carry a firearm and certainly understand why she does, she made a very
bad mistake. My 5-year-old daughter and my wife fly out of Traverse
City airport on a regular basis to go visit Grandma in another state.
If anyone brings a gun to the airport I want them and the gun removed
immediately!
The decision to carry a firearm is a HUGE responsibility. If Ms.
Blackledge (or anyone for that matter) isn’t responsible enough to
manage that firearm properly then they must suffer the consequences.
While her case may have been handled poorly I suggest that Ms.
Blackledge use that as a learning experience and be more responsible
in the future.

Tom Speers • Fife Lake
 
Monday, February 1, 2010

Letters

Letters Supreme threat
The Supreme Court issued a decision this week that may be the single
most dangerous blow to democracy ever conceived. By granting
individual rights to corporations they have undermined the very
premise our country was founded upon.
The Constitution and the Bill of Rights were created to protect
individual rights from being trampled by rich and powerful groups like
the court of King George III. By granting individual rights to
corporations the Supreme Court is creating openings for a new set of
royals to arise.
Incorporation was created to allow individuals to shield themselves
from the dangers of being in business. This allowed business and
industry to grow and prosper in ways it might otherwise not have done.
Corporations diffuse risk among many individuals, making the risks
easier to face for anyone growing a business. Instead of doing
business as a sole proprietor (read that as “individual”), one can
incorporate and gain a certain amount of protection not afforded
individuals in business.
Special rights applying only to corporations come with its
establishment. So, you create a corporation so as not to function as
an individual.
Now the Supreme Court says corporations are individuals. I defy
anyone on the Supreme Court to produce any individual whose rights had
been infringed upon by the ruling that was overturned. Placing
restrictions upon a corporation in no way restricts the rights of the
individuals who exist under the umbrella of incorporation.
By granting individual rights to corporations the Supreme Court has,
in effect, created super persons that have not only individual rights
but a second layer of “corporate individual” rights.
If a corporation breaks the law is it now possible to hold the entire
corporation at fault? Should every share holder be completely
responsible for corporate behavior? If not then how can they have
rights separate from, but equal to, an individual’s own rights? And,
as it has been pointed out by many other people this week, how are we
to know with any certainty who is behind the veil of the corporate
structure? We cannot.
We should all be very afraid for our democracy at this moment in time
and I believe there should be a massive outcry from the people to
remove from office the persons who have visited this plague upon our
house. Impeach them now!

J. Grant • Mesick
 
Monday, January 25, 2010

Everyone knows it windy/help for Haiti/Food Rescue delivers

Region Watch Everyone Knows It’s Windy
But some lakeshore residents are fearful of proposed wind farm project
A fight over wind turbines is shaping up in Oceana and Mason counties,
where 400 area residents have organized to oppose a proposed wind farm
project on Lake Michigan.
 
Monday, January 25, 2010

Letters

Letters Performance & schools
Stephen Tuttle’s opinion piece, “Performance-based Silliness” (Spectator,
1/18) while not exactly wrong, reflects a misconception about including
student test scores as a criterion for evaluating teachers.
Legislation measures the amount of improvement a class shows over the
course of a school year so it is irrelevant whether an individual student
has learning difficulties. If that student scores a 48 one year and a 58
the next, that might be a sufficient increase to justify a bump in salary,
providing the rest of the class improves similarly.
His implied view that social promotion does not help students learn is not
supported by research. Students held back fall further and further
behind.
Also, while, “returning discipline to the teachers” might be helpful in
some situations, even better would be to design a learning experience that
does not require such a heavy hand of discipline: smaller class sizes,
better communication with home, a curriculum that fits the child’s needs,
trained counselors, and special learning environments for those that need
them.
Certainly there are “bad” teachers, though they can be fired for due
cause. If Tuttle is arguing against tenure for teachers, then he should
also specify how otherwise excellent teachers who disagree with
administration can be protected from dismissal or how those at the top of
the salary schedule can avoid being sacrificed to accommodate a less
expensive new hire.
What is glaringly missing from Tuttle’s discussion are questions about the
use of a standardized test to measure what goes on in classrooms. Do test
scores reflect the child’s attitude towards school? Do children want to
learn more even if they get high scores? What about subjects like art and
music -- which are not easily assessed by such tests—are they to be
ignored? Do standardized questions measure adequately traits such as
creativity and problem-solving? And what about the social learning that
goes on in classrooms—how can a test measure that intangible?
It’s a terrible idea to use test scores to bolster salaries of some
teachers, but let’s make an honest argument against it that recognizes all
of the pitfalls without misrepresenting the proposed rules. That way, we
build strong opposition to short-sighted policies propounded by
politicians and others far separated from schools and children.

Richard Fidler • TC
 
Monday, January 18, 2010

Letters

Letters Overwired hipsters
After reading your article, “The Great Beagle Chase,” I was struck with a
much deeper understanding of why so many people in the rest of the world
have come to hate and fear us and why we in fact have come to feel the
same way about each other.
It is not so much that they hate our freedom as much as what we do with
it. It’s true, we face many issues greater than one more over-wired,
self-absorbed urban hipster but, I do not think it was “ironic” that Lima
was found by the one person paying attention and not spending time
‘tweeting’ on their iPhone, updating Facebook and writing a blog.
While it may be that I fall on the side of Mr. Howe in matters of politics
and culture in this very divided country, let me make one thing perfectly
clear - if you have a Facebook page for your dog you are part of the
problem.

James Carpenter • via email
 
Monday, January 18, 2010

Pinewood Derby

Features Racers: Rev up for the Pintwood Derby
Remember those happy days of youth, competing in the Cub Scout’s Pinewood
Derby with a homemade, gravity-powered race car?
No? Well, now is your chance to get a taste of what you missed with the
Pintwood Derby racing series at the Right Brain Brewery in TC’s Warehouse
District between Jan. 27-April 14.
 
Monday, January 11, 2010

Letters

Letters Name cleared
My son and I again want to thank The Northern Express and Anne Stanton for
telling our story (“Branded For Life,” March 23, 2009) detailing our
experience with the juvenile justice system and the Michigan Sex Offender
Registry (SOR). So many positive things have happened since then.
We were successful in finally finding an attorney who understood the
nature of our situation. We only had three years from “Jim’s” release from
state custody to petition the court for removal from the SOR. We filed in
June with only days to spare. The judge saw reason and granted our
petition, but my son still has a felony conviction on his record.
Since then “Jim” has thrived. He has stopped hiding behind his hair. One
of his teachers commented that it was so good to see his face and eyes. He
is getting excellent grades and scored a 92 on his ASVAB. His enthusiasm
about his future is awesome. Last year at this time he was laying around
in his room thinking that his life was over because of a mistake that he
made when he was 10 years old.
It was bad enough that his childhood and innocence were taken away from
him by being exposed to a bunch of sexual deviants in treatment. Finding
out that he had to register quarterly as a sex offender for at least 25
years was unbearable.
More than once I left the jail in tears over the humiliation of having to
drag my child in to register as a sex offender - it was also a horrible
ordeal for my son. Every three months we were reminded of what happened.
Having the police at my door on more than one occasion has also been
embarassing for us. We are so grateful that it is over.
I am still being billed by the court for Jim’s “treatment” and I am paying
what little I can afford. As a single mom with two children there isn’t
any extra money in our budget for the $12,000 plus owed by me to the
court. I hope to address this issue in the future.
Thanks again for telling stories like ours that the mainstream media
ignore. You provide a valuable public service and we are forever grateful.

“Sandy” and “Jim”

(“Branded for Life” involved the case of “Jim,” a 10-year-old boy who
inappropriately touched his 11-year-old cousin on the outside of her
underwear and was branded a sex offender. - ed.)
 
Monday, January 4, 2010

Letters

Letters Don‘t change term limits
I once had a professor tell me that no politician should be elected to office more than once.
His reasoning was if they aren’t smart enough to line their pockets in one term we sure don’t want them around for two terms.
If you give a politician two drinks at the well he will want three and so forth. They will never be happy with the limits we need to put on them.
Our federal government is a prime example of what you get when you give anyone power and no end to its use. I have heard the word trust used in the argument to remove term limits. If you know a politician you trust, please write a letter to the editor and tell us why. Also, tell me why they can’t get the job done in one term. We limit the highest office in our government to two terms.

Norbert Tutlis • TC
 
Monday, December 28, 2009

Letters

Letters Seek Medicare for all
The United States, the wealthiest country on earth, is the only
industrialized nation that has not accepted the moral imperative to
provide health care for all of its citizens.
Because we haven’t, tens of thousands of Americans die each year, our
infant mortality rate is double that of the other industrialized
nations, thousands of uninsured people rely on hospital emergency
departments for care which could be delivered better in an office
setting at lower cost, and overwhelming health care costs are the
leading cause of personal bankruptcy.
We have experience with various plans; private health insurance with
overhead costs exceeding 25%, HMOs and PPOs with designated care
providers, tax-supported government run systems such as military and
veterans clinics and hospitals, and Medicare. Medicare is a
single-payer government insurance plan, not a government run
(socialized) health care system. It relies on a separate private
health care delivery system, allows free choice of physicians and
hospitals, has no restrictions for pre-existing conditions and has
overhead costs of less than 5%.
There is no free lunch and no free health care. We pay twice as much
as other industrialized nations for health care and receive less in
return. But if Medicare was available to all citizens (a single-payer
option), the purchasing power could dramatically decrease drug and
medical provider costs. And if individuals or employers paid their
premiums or taxes (different names; same money) to a system such as
Medicare rather than for private insurance, savings from lower
overhead costs alone would be enormous. We could have high quality
care and add nothing to the national debt.
If you like your present insurance coverage, keep it. But if you want
good care for all of our citizens at lower cost, encourage your
congressmen to insist on a single-payer option.

William R. Olsen M.D. • Northwest Michigan Cares
 
Monday, December 28, 2009

National Writers Series

Features National Writers Series offers 2010 lineup
When author Doug Stanton was growing up in Traverse City, he wondered
if it would be possible to bring nationally-known writers to his
hometown to talk about what they knew. This year, he’ll make that
dream happen, bringing some of the brightest celebrities of the
literary world to downtown Traverse City.
 
Monday, December 21, 2009

Top 20 Michigan notable books

Books Top 20: Michigan Notable Books
Each year, the Library of Michigan compiles its list of 20 Notable Books highlighting Michigan people, places, and events.
Short stories of people living on the rough side of life in Detroit; a biography of the state’s first geologist; and a children’s book that tells the story of a slave family’s flight to freedom are among this year’s most notable Michigan books.
“This year’s Michigan Notable Books bring to life the Michigan experience through vivid storytelling that creates portraits of the people and places that make Michigan great,” said State Librarian Nancy Robertson. “These books celebrate Michigan as a place and a people that even in the most trying of times find transformation.”
Michigan Notable Books is a statewide program that began as part of the 1991 Michigan Week celebration, geared to pay tribute and draw attention to the people, places and things that make Michigan life unique.
The 2009 Michigan Notable Books are:
 
 
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