Letters 10-24-2016

It’s Obama’s 1984 Several editions ago I concluded a short letter to the editor with an ominous rhetorical flourish: “Welcome to George Orwell’s 1984 and the grand opening of the Federal Department of Truth!” At the time I am sure most of the readers laughed off my comments as right-wing hyperbole. Shame on you for doubting me...

Gun Bans Don’t Work It is said that mass violence only happens in the USA. A lone gunman in a rubber boat, drifted ashore at a popular resort in Tunisia and randomly shot and killed 38 mostly British and Irish tourists. Tunisian gun laws, which are among the most restrictive in the world, didn’t stop this mass slaughter. And in January 2015, two armed men killed 11 and wounded 11 others in an attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. French gun laws didn’t stop these assassins...

Scripps’ Good Deed No good deed shall go unpunished! When Dan Scripps was the 101st District State Representative, he introduced legislation to prevent corporations from contaminating (e.g. fracking) or depleting (e.g. Nestle) Michigan’s water table for corporate profit. There are no property lines in the water table, and many of us depend on private wells for abundant, safe, clean water. In the subsequent election, Dan’s opponents ran a negative campaign almost solely on the misrepresentation that Dan’s good deed was a government takeover of your private water well...

Political Definitions As the time to vote draws near it’s a good time to check into what you stand for. According to Dictionary.com the meanings for liberal and conservative are as follows:

Liberal: Favorable to progress or reform as in political or religious affairs.

Conservative: Disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditions and limit change...

Voting Takes A Month? Hurricane Matthew hit the Florida coast Oct. 6, over three weeks before Election Day. Bob Ross (Oct. 17th issue) posits that perhaps evacuation orders from Governor Scott may have had political motivations to diminish turnout and seems to praise Hillary Clinton’s call for Gov. Scott to extend Florida’s voter registration deadline due to evacuations...

Clinton Foundation Facts Does the Clinton Foundation really spend a mere 10 percent (per Mike Pence) or 20 percent (per Reince Priebus) of its money on charity? Not true. Charity Watch gives it an A rating (the same as it gives the NRA Foundation) and says it spends 88 percent on charitable causes, and 12 percent on overhead. Here is the source of the misunderstanding: The Foundation does give only a small percentage of its money to charitable organizations, but it spends far more money directly running a number of programs...

America Needs Change Trump supports our constitution, will appoint judges that will keep our freedoms safe. He supports the partial-birth ban; Hillary voted against it. Regardless of how you feel about Trump, critical issues are at stake. Trump will increase national security, monitor refugee admissions, endorse our vital military forces while fighting ISIS. Vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence will be an intelligent asset for the country. Hillary wants open borders, increased government regulation, and more demilitarization at a time when we need strong military defenses...

My Process For No I will be voting “no” on Prop 3 because I am supportive of the process that is in place to review and approve developments. I was on the Traverse City Planning Commission in the 1990s and gained an appreciation for all of the work that goes into a review. The staff reviews the project and makes a recommendation. The developer then makes a presentation, and fellow commissioners and the public can ask questions and make comments. By the end of the process, I knew how to vote for a project, up or down. This process then repeats itself at the City Commission...

Regarding Your Postcard If you received a “Vote No” postcard from StandUp TC, don’t believe their lies. Prop 3 is not illegal. It won’t cost city taxpayers thousands of dollars in legal bills or special elections. Prop 3 is about protecting our downtown -- not Munson, NMC or the Commons -- from a future of ugly skyscrapers that will diminish the very character of our downtown...

Vote Yes It has been suggested that a recall or re-election of current city staff and Traverse City Commission would work better than Prop 3. I disagree. A recall campaign is the most divisive, costly type of election possible. Prop 3, when passed, will allow all city residents an opportunity to vote on any proposed development over 60 feet tall at no cost to the taxpayer...

Yes Vote Explained A “yes” vote on Prop 3 will give Traverse City the right to vote on developments over 60 feet high. It doesn’t require votes on every future building, as incorrectly stated by a previous letter writer. If referendums are held during general elections, taxpayers pay nothing...

Beware Trump When the country you love have have served for 33 years is threatened, you have an obligation and a duty to speak out. Now is the time for all Americans to speak out against a possible Donald Trump presidency. During the past year Trump has been exposed as a pathological liar, a demagogue and a person who is totally unfit to assume the presidency of our already great country...

Picture Worth 1,000 Words Nobody disagrees with the need for affordable housing or that a certain level of density is dollar smart for TC. The issue is the proposed solution. If you haven’t already seen the architect’s rendition for the site, please Google “Pine Street Development Traverse City”...

Living Wage, Not Tall Buildings Our community deserves better than the StandUp TC “vote no” arguments. They are not truthful. Their yard signs say: “More Housing. Less Red Tape. Vote like you want your kids to live here.” The truth: More housing, but for whom? At what price..

Topic: gas
Monday, November 14, 2011

Another Round of Fracking in Northern Michigan

Features Patrick Sullivan Two natural gas drilling operations underway in Kalkaska County

Something is happening in the remote reaches of Kalkaska County that could have big implications for Northern Michigan.

If two Encana Corp. natural gas wells prove productive and profitable, they could be among the first of scores of deep shale fracking wells across the region.

Monday, December 12, 2011


Features Patrick Sullivan Two members of Don’t Frack Michigan – including one who was a board member and in charge of the group’s website – resigned in protest after other members of the group endorsed House Bills 5151 and 5150, legislation that among other things calls for a moratorium while the state conducts studies about the natural gas drilling process.
Monday, January 9, 2012

Letters 1-09-2012


H2S poses problems

A little after midnight on Christmas Eve morning, a valve failure at the Beaver Creek gas injection well in Crawford County owned by BreitBurn Energy Partners sent a plume of toxic hydrogen sulfide gas across Northern Michigan. Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is deadly and often compared with cyanide. It is detected by a rotten egg smell. Higher levels of H2S destroy olfactory senses and can cause coma and death.

Luckily, when sensors at the Beaver Creek injection well site detected a blown needle valve, the H2S being injected into the well was shut down automatically. But sensors did not shut the injection well boreout, and H2S gas spewed back up from the injection well though a 1⁄4 inch hole...

Monday, January 23, 2012

Letters 1-23-2012


Move to Amend

If you weren’t at the Milliken Auditorium on January 11, you won’t believe it. If you were there, you probably still can’t believe it! More than 500 people - to include folks from the UP to the north and Manistee and beyond to the south - crammed into Milliken to hear a riveting presentation by David Cobb, founder and spokesman for the national Move to Amend movement (www. movetoamend.org).

One thing making this evening so incredible was that 500 Northern Michiganders came out, not so much for a speaker most had never heard of, but because we know that corporations are not people. We know that legislators too often are accountable to the huge moneyed interests that get and keep them elected, not to us. We know that WE the people are what make democracy work. And we also know that our democracy isn’t working for 99% of the people in this country – and we aren't going to take it anymore...

Monday, February 6, 2012

Letters 02-06-2012


Fracking dangerous alternative

Fresh water contaminated and forever removed from the hydrologic cycle; poisoned air, rivers and streams; gas well leaks and explosions; debilitating health problems including asthma, neurological disease and cancer; dead wildlife and livestock; earthquakes; toxic gas plumes causing families to evacuate their homes; poisoned and exploding water wells; loss of property value and ruined roads from 24-hour truck traffic …
Monday, August 27, 2012

Letters 08-27-2012


Time to split atoms

Across the country, slick sales pitches are being made for wind power. The irony is that those salesmen are working for the natural gas industry. When the wind dies down, something else has to power up; that something is usually a gas turbine burning natural gas, which is the only sort of power plant being built these days.

All those Ontario wind farms are backed up by a gas-burning plant you don’t see; gas burners mean gas buyers and gas buyers mean fracking. Salesmen know which side their bread is buttered on.

If we want to stop burning things to make electricity, our best option is also the most-vilified and least-understood: nuclear energy...

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Letters 09-04-2012


Calling all women...

Women have struggled for the right to vote in 1920, for equal pay for equal work, equity in upper management jobs, the resources to care for their families, fairness in health insurance coverage, and the right to make our health care choices.

Today, with the problems confronting our nation: jobs, debt, education, wars, shrinking middle class, etc., the Republican Party has focused its priority on restricting, devaluing and disrespecting our health care choices and rights as women.

The GOP platform bans abortion in the case of incest or rape. VP candidate Paul Ryan sponsored the “personhood” amendment which would ban in-vitro fertilization and some birth control.

Romney/Ryan both support plans to prohibit all Planned Parenthood funding, such as cancer screenings or birth control...

Monday, November 12, 2012

What's Up with that Fracking Well Next Door?

Neighbors worry what fracking will do to their property values

Features Patrick Sullivan In August, bulldozers and graders and dump trucks rumbled along Wood Road to a parcel that used to be part woods and part meadow. To the utter surprise of most neighbors, workers started construction of a deep-shale, horizontal fracturing natural gas well at the site, located in Kalkaska County’s Rapid River Township.
Monday, March 18, 2013

Nothing to See Here, Folks

State says counties and townships have no say over fracking waste disposal

Features Patrick Sullivan

Residents of Mayfield Township near Kingsley got creative a few years ago when they learned of a proposal to inject liquid industrial waste into a disposal well located in a field near the corner of of M-37 and M-113.

The township enacted an ordinance to require a special use permit for the disposal of industrial waste and amid public opposition, the owner of the well, Team Solutions of Kalkaska, backed off plans to dispose liquid waste from the shuttered Glen’s Landfill at the site.