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Letters 10-29-2012

- October 29th, 2012  

No action on climate

Unfortunately, both Obama and Romney can actually destroy our world, and that is by doing nothing!

We have a global emergency brewing in the Arctic with the unprecedented melt down of the ice sheet this year. At present over 50% of the ice is missing (from normal summer melting), allowing massive amounts of methane to seep into the atmosphere. Methane has a 20% to 50% more greenhouse effect compared to CO2. The consequences are obvious. If left unchecked, by 2030 global temperature could rise as much as 9 degrees (F). This is an extinction event for 95% of all life!

Most troubling is that global warming has not been spoken of, debated, or mentioned by either one of them. No questions have been asked in any of the debates and the press remains silent. Maybe if we don’t talk about it, nothing will happen. Let’s ignore the facts, talk about something else, and the pubic will remain clueless about our coming extinction!

After record heat waves, fires, droughts, floods (half of the regions in the U.S. have been declared disaster areas), I would think someone, somewhere would ask some questions and look into it.

Some 95% of scientists who study this tragedy are warning about runaway global warming that is fast approaching. Unless we cut our dependence on all fossil fuels immediately and institute massive geoengineering on a global scale to cool the Arctic, we will be wishing for temperatures in the 90s and 100s in the summer months, in the not too distant future.

“Arctic News” is a great site to visit for facts, grafts, charts, and satellite data:

Eric Alandt • Interlochen

Benishek’s non-answers

It’s apparent to me, in viewing recent campaign ads and the interview of congressional candidates Dan Benishek and Gary McDowell in the Northern Express, that Benishek is more interested in pointing out what he believes to be the faults of his opponent, as opposed to “tooting his own horn.”

In five of the 10 questions posed, Benishek used his answer to attack his opponent, as opposed to answering the questions directly or pointing to specific examples of how he has dealt with the questions being asked. In two of the 10 he doesn’t even answer the questions.

His response to the question regarding the impact of the Supreme Court’s decision in the Citizens United cases leads me to believe he doesn’t even know what the decision was about, or more likely, he doesn’t care. And being a medical doctor doesn’t mean that he has spent any time at all studying “climate change.”

Gary McDowell, on the other hand, answered each question, (other than his humorous remark regarding Asian Carp) giving the reader insight about his background, beliefs, positions and experience. Presumably, that's what one is supposed to do in an interview as opposed to a debate. My vote is for Gary McDowell. He clearly has the best interests of the citizens of Michigan at heart.

Cici Clough • TC

Has medical know-how

November 6th is right around the corner, and most people are probably thinking how nice and quiet things will be after the elections are over. However, as a voting citizen there is one thing that is on my mind, and that is the fact Congressman Dr. Dan Benishek needs to be reelected to stay as Northern Michigan's voice in Washington D.C.

Dr. Benishek is not a career politician; he is a man who has served as a doctor in Northern Michigan for over 30 years. He has the medical experience required to know how to fix our Medicare and Medicaid systems. Dr. Benishek has also been a strong advocate for veteran issues, as he is currently serving on the Veterans Affairs Committee. He truly has the best interest moving forward to protect the interests of our nation’s servicemen and servicewomen.

Finally, he has truly invested time with his constituents. He is willing to meet and listen with all of us. I do not simply see him as a politician that nods his head all the time pretending to listen, but as man who expresses the interest in what I have to say and then makes an effort to make my voice heard in Washington.

Bill Mouser • via email

Options for Division St.

Before they start digging, etc to “fix” Division Street in TC, what about trying some simpler things such as:

1. Large “Reduced Speed Ahead” signs south of 14th for northbound traffic; 2. repainting the lanes to make them narrower; this is a proven speed reducer; 3. try one traffic lane each way with a turn lane in the middle.

And yes I know MDOT wouldn’t like it. but it could be tried on a temporary basis.

James Shannahan • via email

Biomass disinformation

I am disappointed and concerned by Margaret Dodd’s letter (10/15), which labels the potential biomass component of Michigan’s renewable energy portfolio as “a dirty little secret.” Her implication that all biomass is dirty and bad is unfortunate.

It would actually be better to use the term “biofuels,” because almost all of the biomass to energy projects in Michigan provide liquid fuels to replace gasoline and diesel fuel. Biofuels hold positive potential for Michigan’s energy portfolio in terms of manufacturing jobs and offsetting imported fossil fuels.

Right now, when we talk about biomass energy, we are looking primarily at the conversion of corn to ethanol and vegetable oils to biodiesel. In the fairly near future, however, the ethanol will be made from cornstalks or switch grass (cellulose). A little further on the horizon, vehicle fuels will be made by algae using sunlight and carbon dioxide from a nearby power plant. Wood wastes and even municipal solid wastes can be gasified (don’t panic; it’s a clean technology), and the gases catalytically converted to vehicle fuels.

I would hate to see the concept of biomass energy drive our community into another round of acrimonious debate. Before we jump to conclusions, let’s investigate some of the innovative biomass technologies that are already in place.

Proposal 3 will provide an impetus for newer, more efficient renewable technologies, including biofuels, to be developed.

Alison Heins • TC

Republicans & rape

There they go again! Indiana U.S. Senate candidate, Republican Richard Mourdock declared during an October 23rd debate that he opposes abortion in the case of rape, because he considers conception by rape to be God’s will. I would label his view the “Not quite-so-immaculate conception theory.” 

Bob Ross • Pellston

The obvious differences

In my canvassing I often hear “I don’t pay much attention to party affiliation. I just vote for the individual.” That may have been OK 50 years ago, but times have changed: now there are stark differences between the parties.

One party wants to dismantle Social Security and send part of our paychecks first to Wall Street for them to take a cut. The other knows Social Security can easily be strengthened and should not be privatized.

One party wants to give back total control of non-Medicare and Medicaid health care to profit-driven insurance companies. The other knows ObamaCare is not perfect but is a good start towards breaking the insurance companies’ chokehold and improving and making more affordable our admittedly flawed “system” of health care.

One party refuses to recognize the reality of climate change and stubbornly advocates for dirty energy. The other knows we have to begin changing directions on our sources of energy, and works toward that goal.

One party enthusiastically endorses the flow of unlimited corporate and anonymous money and the corruption this produces in our political parties’ ideology and election campaigns. The other wants a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court decision which has spawned this corruption.

One party believes -- against all evidence-that continuing the decades-long process of concentrating wealth at the top rungs of our society will drive the economy. The other believes our nation’s economic well-being centers in a strong working middle class, itself strengthened by equal opportunity.

Finally, all Americans should be outraged by Republican attempts to intimidate voters and suppress the vote of minorities, students, seniors, etc. Voting is the main pillar of our democracy, our most basic right, and we are ALL threatened when anyone’s right to vote is threatened. It this tactic works and delivers the presidency to the GOP, it will be another national disgrace.

Ron Tschudy • Central Lake

TC Chamber blues

I was reminded recently why our business left the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce years ago. It’s called disconnect.

It was a disconnect with business taxpayers when the Michigan Business Tax was crafted, and, although the chamber held forums, they did not take a strong enough position against it.

Again, it was a disconnect with business owners trying to stay afloat, seeing almost eager capitulation by the supposed business advocate with what was expected to be the new federal rule called “card check.” The chamber, instead of fighting it tooth and nail, offered classes at $25 a head to learn how to “deal with it.” Fortunately, it was not adopted, but no thanks to the chamber’s representative lobbying group.

For my wife and I, the final straw was a particular chamber dinner affair. Once a grand event with high class entertainment, it was reduced to a seminar, and the $1,000 table our business purchased to entertain clients and friends became empty before the show’s end. It was not just because we were embarrassed, but because of a lack of response by the CEO or the planner of the affair to our letters afterward, that we ended our membership.

Now, the chamber president presumes to speak for its membership, those businesses which pay the dues, and advocate increased costs on those dues payers. Doug Luciani is using the megaphone of the business community to DO HARM to that community.

Homeowners may pay additional ‘marginal’ amounts of $40-80 a year for the average residence, but business and commercial properties will still carry the heaviest burden for a $26 million Performing Arts Center millage if passed.

Jason Gillman • TC

Stanton brings experience

Experience is a tremendous quality and Melanie Stanton has that experience, practicing as an attorney for over 22 years.

Melanie is running for probate judge of Grand Traverse County. The probate/family judge handles legal issues affecting children, families, and individuals from birth to death.

Melanie has extensive experience as an attorney in both courts. Melanie also has an understanding of family dynamics that comes from being married for 31 years and being a mother. Being a parent teaches lessons that cannot be learned anywhere else. Our families are our most important asset. Please elect Melanie Stanton as probate judge.

Marjorie Ruck • TC

Keilitz cares

Please join me in voting for Kirsten Keilitz for Grand Traverse County Probate Judge.

I have known Kirsten for 15 years and can confirm that Kirsten is running for this position for the right reason: she wants to help the children, families and senior citizens of Grand Traverse County when they most need help.

Kirsten has the smarts, the compassion, the integrity, and the dedication to make a difference in the lives of our children, families, and senior citizens. Her experience as a family law attorney, mediator, and probate court referee has uniquely prepared her to serve as judge.

Kirsten Keilitz deserves our support.

Rachel Roe • TC

Stephen Tuttle's Proposition Picks:

Confused about the propositions? Here's 'Spectator' columnist Stephen Tuttle's advice from his Oct. 8 column:

Prop. 1: Retaining and expanding the role of Michigan's Emergency Managers. Vote No.

Prop. 2: Protect collective bargaining in Michigan. Vote Yes.

Prop. 3: Would require utility companies to produce 25% of Michigan's energy from renewable sources by 2025. Vote Yes.

Prop. 4: Allows home healthcare workers to unionize and establishes training and safety requirements. Vote Yes.

Prop. 5: A proposition hatched by multi-millionaire Matty Maroun which would require a two-thirds majority vote in the legislature to raise taxes. Vote no.

Prop. 6: Another proposition by Matty Maroun to protect his monopoly ownership of the Ambassador Bridge in Detroit by opposing a new bridge to Canada. Vote No.

"But I won’t be heartbroken if they all fail," Tuttle adds. "Props 2, 3 and 4 are the right idea and completely understandable and supportable -- all three are acts of self-defense. But it’s never a very good idea to legislate-by-constitutionalamendment. Especially when Big Money interests like Matty Maroun can control the initiative process, and the Michigan Constitution, simply by writing a lot of big checks."

See the archives at for Steve's Oct. 8 column on the propositions.

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