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- March 1st, 2010
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.)

Justice for all?
I don’t for a minute believe that TC police officer J. Soffredine was
sober at the time of his one-car crash. No person in a rational state
of mind would destroy their vehicle in an effort to flee an accident
A normal, sober, person would call for a tow truck. The deputies that
responded were not only remiss and neglect in their duties and may
also have committed a criminal act in helping cover up a crime.
The Michigan State Police should take over the investigation. Perhaps
officer Soffredine’s credit or debit card records could shed some
light on his activities that evening. Any other person would have
been given a field sobriety test for a 3:20 a.m. single-vehicle
accident. Such “professional courtesy” may have been the norm decades
ago and is alive and well in D.C., but we law-abiding citizens of
Northern Michigan deserve and expect better.
What if someone had been injured or killed? What if the fire had
spread and damaged or destroyed homes? Joseph Soffredine may be well
connected in local politics but he is no Teddy Kennedy and this is not
Chappaquiddick in 1969.
Charles Russell • Williamsburg

Light pollution
Turn off those darn traffic lights at night.
I don’t know about you, but I am sick and tired of sitting at traffic
lights at 11 p.m. wasting fuel. All over Traverse City there are
lights that should be flashing after 8 p.m. I mean cripes, what do we
need a traffic light at the Toyota Dealer on Garfield at 11 p.m.? Or
for that matter, maybe the city engineer should rethink 50% of all the
green arrows and every traffic light for traffic flow. What happened
to all the technology? Can’t lights be automatically turned on and off
with sensors as they are needed?
Next time you are sitting at the Park Street and Munson light for
three minutes, think about it. Hmm. All over Traverse City every day
how many gallons of fuel are wasted waiting for the cross traffic that
never comes? How many tons of CO2 are emitted into our air by idling
engines at useless signals? If they don’t turn them off how about
decriminalizing running red lights (after stopping) when no cross
traffic is present?

Patricia Robb • Suttons Bay

Good ideas
In response to Daniel Oberski’s article “How to Save our Kids,” I must
say that I totally agree with his outlook. His views are simple and
to the point, reflecting how many children feel about how they should
be treated well and respected. Being a teenager myself, his rule
about withholding judgment particularly spoke to me. If I think that I
will be punished for something I say, I will not talk. However, if I
know I will not be judged, I will. This is exactly what Oberski is
I am currently a freshman and when he talks about how we are
encouraged to plan out career goals, I can’t help but think that this
planning of our lives is more of being pushed than being encouraged.
The pressure of having to find a good college in a couple of years
beats down on me and can cause me to make mistakes. Many of his other
rules also appealed to me like being consistent and being willing to
compromise, since both of them are about treating children with the
respect they deserve.

Theo Koda • via email

Crude comment
In the past I have enjoyed Mike Terrell’s articles and if he “cleans
up his act” I hope to do so again. I am referring to his “My Top Five
Outdoor Adventures for 2010” article which I was reading with interest
until I ran into the word “cougar” as a derogatory remark in regard to
“predatory middle-aged women.”
Not being overly prudish, I read on, but again -- ran into another
reference to “the middle-aged women who prowl bars and remain
hopeful.” Now, perhaps Terrell is an especially fine specimen of
manhood, or he’s running into some particularly lonely women (or
spending too much time in bars).
My father’s idea of taking care of me some weekends, while mother was
at work, was to take me to a bar and restaurant where I would hear, at
times, men‘s’ negative comments about women (especially as they got
“in their cups”).
However, even these mostly working-class men knew the where and when
such crudeness, insults and vulgarity were out of bounds. Terrell may
have been reaching for clever, or cute, with an analogy that I can see
has some humor from his side of the gender divide.
Women, if they so choose, have a right to frequent bars and even
approach men, as the latter have always felt free to do with women.
While not supporting a right to “prey” (seize and/or devour),
“plunder” or “exploit” by anyone, perhaps a perceptive male would come
to understand what females have put up with for millennia. A
suggestion: tell the unwanted to take their hands off your body and
“just say no.”
Lois Golightly • TC

Sales tax solution
I’m writing regarding Governor Granholm’s service tax proposals. The
best way to deal with state taxes would to just have a sales tax,
period. No income tax. This would save taxpayers and the state
hundreds of thousands of dollars in filling and overseeing cost.
Texas does this and they have an 8% sales tax that everyone gladly
pays so as not to deal with quarterly and yearly state taxes. A tax
on services is going to hit the lower income families, and those
providing services a lot harder than an overall sales tax.

Jodi Doak • Elmira

Corporate personhood
In response to the letter by Charles Finlay on the recent U.S. Supreme
Court decision:
First, on the whole issue of freedom of speech, I personally don’t
think our Founding Fathers ever dreamt that future generations would
morph the original intent and extend personhood to corporations.
Second, let me point out that in the 2008 elections corporations
outspent unions by a ratio of 17 to 1, and under the new Supreme Court
rules this disparity in spending will likely increase enormously in
favor of corporations. In terms of actual revenue streams available to
each side, the ratio is more like a million to one (sales of all
corporations vs. dues receipts).
Finally, what we really should move towards is banning both corporate
and union funding of elections and replace with public financing.
Other countries have figured this out, why do we lag behind?

Karen Martin • Cheboygan

Photo credit for a shot of Cadillac‘s biomass power plant is due to
M‘Lynn Hartwell, not Jeff Gibbs, as stated in a recent listing.
Also, a recent letter from R. K. Barton about concealed weapons meant
to state that “no weapons are to be allowed within non-secure areas
in any public airport in the US.“

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