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Letters 10-01-2012

- October 1st, 2012  

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Please keep your letter under 300 words (one page).

Only one letter per reader in a two month period will be accepted. may be edited for length or to correct factual errors. Letters must be signed to be considered for print and a phone number is required for verification. Faxed letters are not accepted.

Blowing in the wind

I am writing to support Proposition 3, which requires Michigan’s utilities to get 25% of their power from renewable sources by 2025. I don’t think that our utilities, in flatly rejecting Proposition 3, have fairly evaluated the considerable renewable resources that exist in our state.

Take wind, for example. If you look at a wind map of Michigan, (Google “Michigan 50 meter wind map”) you will see that just offshore Michigan is surrounded by winds that are classified as excellent to outstanding. Offshore wind power is rapidly being developed by Denmark, Germany and the U.K. The technology could readily be adapted to the coast of Michigan.

Very little will happen, however, unless we commit ourselves to a significant increase in the production of renewable electric power. There needs to be a market in order for investors and manufacturers to show interest. Proposition 3 will create that market.

Is 25% renewables (up from about 10%) within 13 years a realistic goal? It is if we decide to do it. For example, in 1999 the state of Iowa had 232 MW of wind power. In the early 2000s Iowa streamlined the process for approving renewable energy investments and exempted wind turbines from sales and property taxes. This made wind turbines an attractive investment.

In 2012 wind turbines produced 4,500 MW of power in Iowa, 20% of the state’s electricity. The wind energy industry in the state provides over 6,000 jobs. Iowa land owners receive $14.5 million annually in lease payments.

Proposition 3 is good for jobs, good for the economy and good for the environment. Twenty five percent renewable power by 2025 is readily achievable if we make the commitment now.

Conrad F. Heins, Ph. D. • TC

Defend workers rights

The Northern Michigan business community had better wake up.

The Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance (NMCA) opposes proposal 2, which protects the rights of all workers to collectively bargain for wages, benefits and working conditions. The NMCA states that these are “far reaching changes.”

The purpose of Prop 2 is to restore -- not extend -- collective bargaining. NMCA is concerned that 80 existing laws will be impacted when the measure passes. They fail to mention that virtually all of those laws have been passed within the last 18 months.

Nor do they mention the laws are “model” legislation crafted by ALEC, a Koch brothersfunded legislation mill. The laws were hastily passed, sometimes breaking legislative rules, and put into immediate effect.

If NMCA is looking out for businesses, why do they oppose a measure that helps workers take more money home which they then spend in the community? While I’m not surprised by their position, it doesn’t make sense.

Workers who bargain for their compensation with employers make more. NMCA favors taking our money, but not our ability to bargain for more. Furthermore, if it is okay for businesses to band together to further their agenda, why is the same not true for workers?

Jeff Leonhardt • via email

47% paid their due

I am a 53-year-old man who worked in healthcare for 30 years and paid taxes, saved, had a 401k, and believed in the system of Social Security as I still do. I put hundreds of thousands of dollars into the system by law for my security. I worked 15 years more than the doctors wanted me to. I planned, gave, volunteered for the betterment of my community and self. I raised a family; my son was a Navy Seal and went to serve and did the bidding of our nation at the risk of his own life. I am proud of him.

Now Mitt Romney says I'm one of the 47 percent that feels the government owes me. I feel entitled to the money I put in and was promised. He says that just because I am disabled and drawing of my Social Security that I am a leech to the American way; that I feel entitled, don’t pay taxes, and don’t matter. I do matter!

I pay taxes on my disability and pay over $200 out of my small disability a month (that I paid in) for my Medicare and co-pays. I pay taxes on my money that is so-called mine. But Mitt Romney says it’s wrong for me to feel entitled for a return on my investment. Does he feel that he shouldn’t get a return on his investments in the tune of $14 million? I think not!

I am not a free-loader nor a person that feels the government owes me a living. I gave my money and I want it back with interest! I paid the taxes and then some, and still do.

How can a man who hopes to be president not see this? Do you really want to be called a leech and unimportant just because you believed in America and what your country told you? Do you really want Medicare and the current health plan to be redone for the sake of this man and Ryan’s beliefs?

This Congress and Senate were the least productive in history and now they want to come back and do it again. Wake up my fellow Americans, WE’RE THE BOSS in this country, not them.

Russ Barron • Suttons Bay

Haste makes waste

The justification for modifying our motorcycle law was to encourage tourism. While I am in favor of promoting our beautiful state, it seems to me there are safer ways to promote visitors to Michigan. Our Pure Michigan ad campaign appears to be very successful in attracting guests here to the Great Lakes State.

Besides the questionable justification, our legislators at least took great effort to address the safety concerns involved in allowing some to not wear a helmet; including completing a driver safety course, additional insurance, and be at least 21.

Unfortunately, our representatives did not anticipate the difficulty in enforcing the legal requirements to ride a cycle without a helmet. Previously, it was much easier to enforce the helmet law since everyone had to wear a helmet. Now, when someone is not wearing a helmet, one does not know if the individual has met the legal requirements. In addition, once other cyclists see others riding without a helmet, they think it is permissible and may not know about the requirements.

Our representatives did not research the effect of allowing some to ride a cycle without a helmet. Fewer motorcyclists die in states that require helmets, and the costs to society are lower too, according to a new federal study. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention found that about five times as many no-helmet biker deaths occur in states with less restrictive laws.

Seems 107th District State Rep Frank Foster was quick to vote without gathering all the evidence. What other laws did he vote for without due process?

Delores Hedges • Alanson

Service standard needed

I couldn’t have agreed more with Rick Coates’ article, “Tipping Point.” As an ex-server/bartender/manager from the restaurant industry in East Lansing, Traverse City, Albuquerque, Los Angeles and Dallas, I have some knowledge on this topic.

When I moved up here in 2007, I couldn’t believe the complacency in the service industry. I’ve had great service as well, but generally the service has been lackluster. I’m also into solutions. The idea of a “service standard” definitely has my backing.

James Behrmann • via email

And the winners are...

Six Northern Express readers from across the region were randomly selected to win prizes last month for participating in the paper’s reader survey.

Rich Pantano of TC was the winner of two Zipline Adventure Tour passes to either Boyne Highlands or Boyne Mountain.

Jada Morgan of TC won four passes to Boyne Mountain’s Avalance Bay Indoor Waterpark.

The winners of $50 restaurant gift certificates included:

Henry Rodgers of TC, Firefly

Nancy Dye of Mackinaw City, The Boathouse in Cheboygan

Joe Renner of Central Lake, the Lakeview at Shanty Creek

Bob Reinke of Lake Ann, Amical in TC

Thanks to all who completed the reader's survey.Our next survey and chance for prizes will be the Best of Northern Michigan, coming in January.

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