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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Saturday, October 15, 2016

The Signs Of “PROP 3”

Other Opinions Grant Parsons There were many signs. I’m not talking about yard signs; I’m talking about signs of opposition that started 18 months ago, when city hall joined forces with real estate developers to promote a “tall buildings” project at Pine and Front in Traverse City.
Saturday, June 25, 2016

A Black And White Snapshot Of Tim Green

Other Opinions Grant Parsons

My old law partner Merritt W. Green II — Tim — died last month. He was born with a gift of laughter and a sense of social justice.

The black and white snapshot from 1960 shown here — the old courthouse, the terrazzo floor, the arched windows, the white cops, the large black man in work clothes, Tim – shows exactly what he was. It’s 1960; the Civil Rights Act hasn’t been passed yet. Tim’s being taken to jail; the cops are laughing at something he just said; his black client looks like he wants to protect Tim.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Why Schools Are Closing

Other Opinions Grant Parsons There was a time when we raised up bright leaders on our shoulders, when politicians smiled and school kids with batons led the parade, glancing at each other to keep in step, and the sun shone brightly and men’s pant legs flapped like flags and...
Saturday, March 5, 2016

Snyder — Pure Indifference

Other Opinions Grant Parsons When Priscilla Townsend told me this story, I asked her how I should write it — about her heroism or about her anger. She waved her hand dismissively, gently in the air, like Brando, and said, “Oh heavens, please don’t make it about me. Make it about the anger.
Saturday, January 9, 2016

Truth Is In That Grave

Other Opinions Grant Parsons Just outside Washington, D.C., at Quantico National Cemetery, civilian and military volunteers walk between the rows of gravestones with armloads of pine wreaths tied with red bows. The grass green, the sky blue, the ranks of gravestones straight and true — sentinels, sentinels, sentinels silent now.
Saturday, December 12, 2015

A Modest Proposal

Other Opinions Grant Parsons You swallow that nonsense about Hitler’s victims going meekly? Well, the NRA has made U.S. citizens meek. The assault weapon, a human-killing machine, is sold everywhere. We can’t ban this retail product, sold for profit, that kills cops and kids indiscriminately, repeatedly, horribly, predictably, time-after-time, because the NRA won’t let us.
Saturday, October 17, 2015

Government by the Numbers: How About 1364.02 ?

Other Opinions Grant Parsons It might be time to review City government’s effectiveness. Traverse City has experienced a series of gaffs and catastrophes: 1) A $360,000 splash pad sprays sewage on kids; 2) A remodeled city marina electrocutes a swimmer; 3) A multimillion dollar...
Saturday, August 22, 2015

Prisoners of War in the Michigan Gulag

Other Opinions Grant Parsons Right-wing politicians use imprisonment as the answer to poverty, mental illness, addiction… you name it. Taxpayers are stuck with the cost – the wasteful cost of warehousing non-violent people who otherwise might be sentenced to community service or rehab.
Thursday, July 27, 2006

The Parking Deck Debate, Bryan Crough Pro

Other Opinions Grant Parsons PRO: Deck needed for downtown‘s future

By Bryan Crough

In the early 1990s we made a startling observation. Over a 60-year period, with all of the massive growth in our area, downtown Traverse City was disappearing... right before our eyes. Over time, fires had reduced four- and five-story buildings to one or two stories, and with considerable dedication, many buildings had disappeared completely, on purpose, to make way for parking lots. In fact, we estimated that more than 50% of our downtown was gone! And parking lots, producing little or no tax base, were lining the banks of the Boardman River throughout downtown.
At a time when everyone recognized the need for greater density in the center part of our City to keep our residential areas strong and our tax base less diffused, we were losing the battle. Malls and sprawl were ringing the City and the core was threatened.