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Letters 11/28/2011

- November 28th, 2011  

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Exposing duplicity

Northern Express’s fracking article portraying Don’t Frack Michigan’s JoAnne Beemon, both protesting and part of the press conference supporting the bills, exposes the duplicity of this group.

One may have the impression that Ms. Beemon of Don’t Frack Michigan (DFM) was there to protest the bills. That would be mistaken. Ms. Beemon was there to show support for the bills with DFM’s sign as a part of the press conference. After Rep. Mark Meadows’ team asked her to take it down as to not confuse the message, she did so.

She then joined the press conference with Meadows’ campaign signs. Another board member, Bill Henne, did too. That’s because Ms. Beemon worked behind the scenes writing the bills and was invited to participate in the conference and bring a sign, without some of Don’t Frack Michigan’s board’s knowledge. She explained later “dissent etiquette” was “tricky.” She now lobbies the board heavily to support the bills and celebrates groups that do.

The bills would initiate a DEQ and DNR study funded by the gas industry, a fracking panel to recommend conditions on permits and regulations, and make frackers use the Water Withdrawal Assessment Tool. That already is being done but ignored when frack well permits fail the test and get approved anyway.

I helped found Don’t Frack Michigan.

I resigned this week in protest of this deceptive, co-opted group. It claims to want to ban fracking, while wanting to compromise on trickster, pro-gas bills like this, or at best, continue remaining ambiguous and duplicitous.

I challenge Don’t Frack Michigan to stand on a frack berm and hold the frack-study-funded-by-gas industry’s campaign signs, and only those signs, if it thinks they will lead to a ban.

Hopefully people wanting to protect the environment and human health from fracking can see through the facade.

LuAnne Kozma • Novi

School czar unneeded

Gov. Snyder has appointed John Covington chairman of a corporation to serve as the Chancellor of Michigan Education Achievement Authority to manage troubled schools in the Detroit Public School system and throughout Michigan.

Covington will be paid $1.5 million, including a $175,000 signing bonus, to be the CEO of this private corporation called Michigan Education Achievement Authority.

Covington has announced that they now have the capacity to take control of schools that educate more than 100,000 students statewide, making it the state’s largest school district.

The legislature has restricted school funds for 2011 and 2012, diverting funds intended by the voters for K-12 education to higher education, while passing funds previously paid to higher education to business tax cuts.

Desperate for funding due to these cuts, our schools will be required to file plans to balance their budgets below the cost of doing business, e.g. Bellaire. The local schools will then be vulnerable to the takeover by being assigned to this Authority. Have we lost our common sense?

Why have we allowed the Michigan Legislature, led by Gov. Snyder, to subject our schools to this type of forced take over by a statewide czar? Non-public management will occur in schools in your neighborhood, under this authority. There will be no election for local school boards required, the state will do it for you with this sham organization.

We will face the collapse of our entire public school system in Michigan. Free Public Education has been one of the mainstay strengths of our country. Please study this planned attack on our schools, our teachers and our children led by Senator Walker, Rep. MacMaster and other legislators who have not stood up to Gov. Snyder and the Mackinaw Center.

James A. McKimmy • Rapid City

Non-elected power

Who the hell is Grover Norquist and why is he running our country? I might be beginning to show some signs of senility but I’m pretty damn sure I didn’t vote for him for any office. Not for President, Senator, Representative or even dog catcher.

So how on earth has he managed to strike a new tax deal, with nearly every Republican ELECTED politician from Congress to our GOP Presidential hopefuls signing his manifesto? This is the USA, right? Don’t we ELECT our representatives?

You know, they campaign, make a bunch of promises, point a lot of fingers, enrich the media, cast dispersions on their opponents. Oh, and get themselves tied up in special interests who, after giving aid and comfort (OK, mostly money) then have special access to them after getting into office such that they get the first and best access to their offices and therefore to their votes and, thus, ultimately, the direction of our country.

And in the meantime one man, coming from (what a surprise) money, and his associates seem to have complete control over this rudderless nation. A man we never elected. A man who has never had to swear to uphold the very Constitution which now he and his brethren trample.

It is time for politicians to place their assets in blind trusts. It is time to stop the sham of corporations as individuals. In all, it is time to hand the business of the American government back to the People before we are forced to take it back by whatever means necessary. And, rest assured, we will.

Know, just as Rome fell, so too will the USA if we don’t turn it now. And that starts with getting the non-elected folks out of the offices of OUR representatives and putting the people back in charge.

Bill Brown • TC

Pollution concerns

As a two-time cancer survivor I worry about toxins in our air and water which I believe have a direct link to unexplainable cancers, asthma, birth defects, miscarriages, and Alzheimers.

Over 77% of our electricity comes from coal-fired power plants which create coal ash containing mercury, lead, arsenic, chromium, selenium, carbon monoxide, etc. The Wisconsin Energy mudslide of coal ash at Oak Creek dumped the equivalent of 200 dump trucks of coal ash into Lake Michigan where your water comes from.

Every year the SS Badger dumps 509,000,000 tons of coal ash per year into Lake Michigan.

The Great Lakes contain 20% of the world’s fresh water. Every well that is fracked uses 6-10 million gallons of water plus toxic chemicals and can never be used again. Antrim County has 9,900 natural gas wells.

In the Jordan River area there are numerous wells as shallow as 148 feet, yet TV ads say wells go thousands of feet below the aquifer. Thanks to Dick Cheney, the oil/ gas industry is exempt from Clean Air and Clean Water regulations.

When will we stop poisoning our air and water and how many more people have to die? What are you doing to conserve energy?

Beverly “BJ” Christensen • Cedar

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