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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Friday, July 3, 2015

A Piece of the Pie

Features Patrick Sullivan The tin used to bake a one-time world record pie sits proudly on the southern edge of Traverse City, just as the tin used to bake Charlevoix’s record-setting pie sits at its border, but these records are no more.
Saturday, June 27, 2015


Features Patrick Sullivan The Michigan Land Use Institute celebrated its 20th birthday in an unconventional way: by changing its name. Now called Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities, Executive Director Hans Voss said he hopes to continue the same nonprofit advocacy work the organization focused on during its first two decades.
Friday, June 19, 2015

Iconic Northern Michigan

Features Patrick Sullivan Phil Balyeat lives in a different northern Michigan than the rest of us — one where the sun always shines, the colors are richer and the lines are sharper.
Saturday, June 13, 2015

Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail Blazes New Paths

Features Patrick Sullivan Since the late 1970s, dreams of a multi-use trail in the park have been alive in the community and, for nearly 10 years, the trail has been an actual work in progress.
Saturday, June 6, 2015

Snapshots of Life at the Skate Park

Features Patrick Sullivan Tyler Franz is as close to skateboarding legend as Traverse City has. He’s sponsored by Pyramid Skateboards, an Arizona company that sells decks, wheels, T-shirts and hoodies. That means the 26-year-old, along with other sponsored skaters, will spend several weeks this summer in Detroit, Toronto and New York, where he will skate and shoot videos.
Saturday, June 6, 2015

Next Up at Dennos: Skateboards as Art

Features Patrick Sullivan The Dennos Museum Center in TC is looking to expand its audience with an exhibition in part inspired by a the Civic Center skate park across the street. Sideways: Exploring Skateboard Art + Culture features skateboard decks turned into art, skateboard photography and other street art.
Saturday, May 30, 2015

Meijer Appears in Acme, but the Fight Rages On

Features Patrick Sullivan Steven Smith has been consumed by an Acme Township development for 14 years. The site where a new Meijer store is emerging from a former farm field has been the subject of lawsuits and bitter political battles, the scene of environmental violations and the source of fervent discussions about growth.
Saturday, May 30, 2015

Acme Activist Faces Charge

Features Patrick Sullivan In April, the Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) named him Volunteer Activist of the Year. In March, he was charged with misdemeanor trespassing by Grand Traverse County prosecutors for an alleged intrusion into the Grand Traverse Town Center in Acme.
Monday, May 25, 2015

Booze Flowed Freely Through

Features Patrick Sullivan Authorities in here enforced Prohibition with as much zeal as they did elsewhere in the country. For much of the 1920s, police in the Traverse City area made many Volstead Act arrests, but it appears most attention was paid to out-of-town bootleggers or moonshiners who peddled poison.
Monday, May 18, 2015

The Blinding Whiteness of Northern Michigan

Features Patrick Sullivan Northern Michigan isn’t just white in the wintertime. It’s white all year round. Depending on your exact location, it’s between 94 and 97 percent white. That makes it an interesting and complicated place for the few African Americans who call northern Michigan home.
Monday, May 11, 2015


Features Patrick Sullivan DO-IT-YOURSELF STEPHEN KING Wright is sort of a do-it-yourself Stephen King. The 50-year-old has sold more than 5 million books in 15 years. He writes the Freddie Fernortner series for lower elementary-aged readers and the “Chiller” books for upper elementary ages, both under the Rand pseudonym.
Monday, May 4, 2015

Foster Family Odyssey

Features Patrick Sullivan Melissa and David West wanted to expand their family of four. With two biological children already, they decided to embark on the adoption process through the foster care system. They had one caveat: they didn’t want to become a revolving door for foster kids.
Monday, April 27, 2015

The Fracking Debate

Features Patrick Sullivan Cheap natural gas and slowed industry activity have quieted the fracking debate in northern Michigan recently, but that calm may soon be over. In March, The Sierra Club declared fracking should be banned in Michigan, and another group seeking to end the practice plans to collect signatures to put an anti-fracking initiative on the ballot in 2016.
Monday, April 20, 2015

Northern Michigan Environmental Watchlist

Features Patrick Sullivan “One of the hurdles we face with the lakes, particularly in our region, is the beauty of them,” Inland Seas Educational Association Executive Director Fred Sitkins said. “Because there’s not a large floating garbage patch out there, it’s not there in a lot of people’s eyes.
Monday, April 13, 2015

The Case That Haunts Kalkaska

Features Patrick Sullivan For years, stacks of evidence and pages of arguments piled up. In 2013, newly-elected Kalkaska County prosecutor Michael Perreault agreed to honor requests from wrongful conviction clinics at the University of Michigan and Northwestern University to authorize new DNA tests.