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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Susan Spear

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Thursday, June 9, 2005

Art‘s New Frontier... Evans Forney Fine Art seeks to elevate Northern Michigan‘s status as an art destination

Art Susan Spear “Mosey on in” to the Evans Forney Fine Art gallery in downtown Traverse City to enjoy an open range of subject matter… from landscape to figurative paintings and photographs, sculptural furniture to pastoral carvings and traditional fine art. 
The fabulous newly-renovated space at 154 E. Front Street is filled with tooled leather paintings, pedestals of Native American style carved pottery and huge breathtaking photographs of pueblo doorways and red rock canyons, all of which speak of the gallery’s owners, John Evans’ and Lance Forney’s, love and respect of the West. 
  But no spurs and chaps  are necessary! This former Southwestern duo has roped in some regional and local artists.
Thursday, June 9, 2005

Summer dawns on the art scene in Harbor Springs and Petoskey

Features Susan Spear With its dramatic geography and wilderness past, Little Traverse Bay is a place where sentimental myth and reality are often indistinguishable.
Replete with an incredible summer climate, ancient stone corals, wooded trails and roadside beaches -  not to mention old-fashioned ambience, these two bayside downtowns are brimming with galleries filled with predictable  landscapes. With a tourist-based economy, it is not surprising that many local artists are naturally seduced by living in the midst of this beautiful water wonderland, but refreshing - newcomers and transplants are challenging the artistic status quo.
More and more recognized artists are finding inspiration and solace here. Being an “outside-the-mainstream artist” is all about self-expression, exploration  --  yet, seldom about beauty. Commercial artists, whose goal is to produce an admired product to make a profit, readily comply with the  expectation of the defined aesthetic Northern Michigan, but others decide to be regional without becoming locked into provinciality.  And a few “ground-breaking” artists choose to ignore the entire sales matrix and focus on redefining art.  These artists may be readily snatched up by a visionary gallery director or may remain “ready for discovery.”
In the Little Traverse Bay region, there are a variety of venues for viewing all types of artists’ work.  Commercial, artist-owned, not-for-profit, cooperative and rental galleries line the streets of both bayside towns. You may, in fact, stumble upon some rarified art salons, but you might also uncover some new highly collectible art.  
Thursday, April 28, 2005

An Artfull Walk TC galleries bring out their best for April 29 walking tour

Art Susan Spear Just in time for the onset of the 2005 summer season, the first annual Downtown Art Walk is ready for its debut on Friday, April 29 from 5-9 p.m. A total of 21 participating stores will welcome visitors to peruse their art exhibitions and enjoy hors d’oeurves and local wines before continuing to amble through the city’s exhibits clustered along Front Street.
After enjoying each presentation, patrons will receive a stamp and an opportunity to win a $500 Downtown Shopping Spree. Walking maps will be available at each participating gallery and the Downtown Traverse City Association (DTCA) office.
Colleen Paveglio, marketing director for the DTCA and a committee of members of several downtown galleries, initiated the idea for an art walk based on the number of galleries moving downtown and the number of people passionate about local art.
A standout for her presentation this first year is Marcia Bellinger, owner of the riverside Belstone Gallery. A popular mainstay on Front Street, carrying both local and national artists, Marcia has cleared her gallery and is hosting a special reception timed to correlate with the opening of the Art Walk.
Thursday, January 27, 2005

New Location for Art & Soul Gallery

Art Susan Spear In an adventurous step forward, Art & Soul Gallery has reinvented itself in the Front Street Commons, among nearby bustling businesses, an array of restaurants and popular gift shops.
Owners Amy and Steve Stinson have purposely taken on the “A” location in Traverse City’s shopping corridor (also known as the Arcade) to become a “destination” on downtown Front Street.
“We offer one-of-a-kind art and handmade objects for office, home and body,” Amy says. “It’s no secret that I love jewelry and baubles, but our overall art collection lets you experience the sensibility of this area and beyond. We are very excited about being a part of downtown.”
Honoring the lofting gallery movement of the 1970s, the Stinsons have created an urban atmosphere where paintings, pastels, illustrations, sculpture, glass, fiber and pottery are the center of attention. With a great deal of old fashion hard work, friends and family uncovered the ceiling ductwork and the post-and-beam structure.
The Stinsons brightened the brick interior with fresh paint, carpet and new lighting - reflecting their upbeat personalities. Amy frowns facetiously at gallery manager Pam Dow and states, “Pickaxes aside, our mission now is to put art into everyday life, because art feeds the spirit.”
Tantalizing their patrons with metaphors of fantasy and pastel-hued landscapes, the collaborative management duo has chosen artists by mingling local “high art” with shimmering highfalutin’ glitter.
Undaunted by convention, Stinson and Dow, in an added breach of decorum, have also included more naïve art. Naive, self-taught artists and their playful works tend to challenge the more accepted “academicisms” with their simplistic approach.