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- March 8th, 2010
Charter accusation false
In your last issue, Jim Tompkins accused me of violating the city
charter in comments I made about the city engineer’s handling of 8th
Street. Violating the charter in the way Mr. Tompkins accuses me of is
a crime, and therefore not an accusation that should be thrown around
casually, or falsely.
The charter prohibits elected officials from directing city staff
(other than the manager) to do something. It also prohibits us from
ordering the city manager to hire or fire someone. I did none of these
things, and
Mr. Tompkins knows that.
What I did was detail how the 8th Street project got designed contrary
to the master plan. I did this after trying to resolve the matter
internally. I’m not proud to have done this, but I believed it was
necessary and now we’re hopefully on a path to improving the project.
Hopefully this will also prevent a repeat of the situation.
I did not give up my 1st Amendment right to speak freely on city
issues when I became mayor, and nothing in the charter requires me to
do so. Quite the contrary.
Finally, Mr. Tompkins repeats a common misconception that the master
plan is optional for the city to follow. The state planning statute
does say the master plan is a guidance document for the zoning
ordinance, which governs private development in the city.
But it also says the master plan is the controlling document when it
comes to capital projects – including streets – that the city builds.
The planning statute requires the location, character, and extent of
city capital projects to conform to the master plan. If we can ignore
the rules on projects the city builds, what right do we have to make
private property owners follow the rules when they build in the city?

Chris Bzdok • TC
(Chris Bzdok is mayor of Traverse City.)

Violent situation
In response to the Gary Singer opinion on prisoners early out
(3/1/10). He is no prison expert. There are too many violent offenders
that are released early. If Singer was in with these bad boys he
would be singing a different tune.
He states the crime he plead guilty to is irrelevant. It is very
relevant to your stated opinion. You did not plead guilty to a violent
crime. These violent offenders are not the type of prisoners that
should be let out on the streets early and many of the prisoners that
are slated to be let out are violent offenders.
The facts show that 50% of the felons released early return to prison
within two years.
Also, keep in mind that most plea bargain their crime down to a lesser
charge and plead guilty. That reduces their sentence before they do
any jail time. Now, Granholm wants to let these prisoners out early
giving them a double reduction to the minimum time they are to serve.
Prison reform is the answer to cost containment not early outs. They
do no work. Get the financial problems in this state corrected.
Early outs take the wrong approach to cutting the states expenses.
The counties will spend more money chasing these offenders all over
again. The early out program is just a revolving door policy. Just
ask any of the county prosecutors in this state and they will tell
you. Ask a county sheriff. Ask the victims who have been beaten,
robbed or attacked by these offenders. You will be shocked and
appalled that these offenders would even be considered for an early
A couple months ago a detective told me to protect my family, to arm
up -- that they are coming. I did get my gun permit and I am waiting.
I hope the people in charge come to their senses and I will never have
to use my pistol except at the range.

Gordon Sudz • via email

Prison solution
Major respect to Gary Singer for his article on Michigan’s prison
system. Back in the ’60s I ran a college level education program in
Joliet/Stateville Penitentiary for four years. While in prison an
inmate could earn a GED, an Associate in Arts degree, and another 30
semester hours. An inmate could come into prison not being a high
school graduate and be paroled, needing only one more year of college
to earn a Bachelors degree. Added, the only cost to the State of
Illinois was my salary as all books and tuition were covered by the
profits from the inmate commissary.
I could provide a long list of ex-cons who went on to become leaders
in fields like education, communication, law, and even acting in
Hollywood and on T.V.
Our streets and neighborhoods will be a lot safer if there are
corrections in our correction institutions instead of them being

Micheal M. Cromley • Afton

Tea Party convert
I would like to thank Mr. Tuttle for showing me the “Tea” (re:
Spectator column, 2/22/10) I wasn’t really sure what the fuss was
about, but after learning just how much the government is involved in
our everyday lives makes me feel... well... deflated! Where are we
headed? More government, more
taxes, more control, less and less free will.
Tea Party, here I come!

Jim Peters • East Jordan

Island windmills?
I was reading about the plan to put windmill generators way out in
Lake Michigan.. It seems to me that it would be cheaper to place the
windmills on land, say an island, like the Manitou or Fox islands.
Easier to erect and maintain, closer to shore, and in no one’s way.
There are windmills on the market that produce 400 watts of power that
cost less than $1,000, and that can be mounted on the side of a house,
or on rooftops like the old TV antennas. 400 watts is enough to run
your TV all day or an electric heater. Don’t forget the tax deduction.
It’s too bad the state of Michigan doesn’t get involved in donating
state land along the shore line for windmills. Like it or not, it’s

Don Stockard • Manton

Biomass bummer
Biomass? What they really are is clear-cut power plants. We who depend
on wood heat to survive will be bidding against every power company in
the state. They’ll be buying five to 10 semi loads a day per plant
year around.
As the available forests melt away the price of wood will hit the
roof. Maybe that‘s the plan, to make wood scarce and expensive and
you’ll be forced to use their gas, oil, and electricity to heat with
or freeze.
At that point I bet they’ll magically convert those plants to coal, in
the public‘s interest, of course.
Forests the world over are being leveled at an unprecedented rate.
Trees, remember, are the things that make the oxygen that makes all
life here possible. Cut enough and someday we all may be hauling
around little oxygen bottles. Probably sold to us by these same power
Stopping the biomass plants here is a start, but what we need is a
statewide moratorium. Because these forest-eating Frankensteins will
send trucks wherever there is a tree left in the state.
Coal plants with scrubbers are almost pollution free. Nationally, 100
square miles of solar panels in our southwestern states would supply
our whole country‘s energy needs. If it’s a choice between leveling
our forests or building new dams, then build the dams. Lets roll

Keith Lints • TC

Fishy idea
Using discarded Christmas trees as fish habitat? That’s what Florida’s doing.
Aquatic Services and the Florida Fish, Wildlife Conservation
Commission diverts a $1 fee from the sale of each fishing license to
fund this joint project.
Here’s how it works in Florida: in a 1?4 acre area of a lake,
Christmas trees are boated out, each base fastened to a cement block,
and sunk. Algae grows on the trees and attracts fish, increasing the
quantity of fish for sports fishermen while disposing of the trees in
an environmentally friendly way that avoids landfill.
In Michigan we could simply truck them out on the ice. With spring
melt, the trees will sink to the bottom.
Given that Michigan is known both for sports fishing and Christmas
tree plantations, isn’t this something the DNR should evaluate?

Jackie Freeman • Suttons Bay

A recent article about energy auditors should have included Brian
Johnson, owner of Applied Energy Solutions. His phone number is

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