September 21, 2020

Letters 10-31-2016

Oct. 28, 2016

No-Show Bergman

I know candidates are very busy, getting pulled in many directions by town hall meetings, forums, candidate campaign committees, etc.

However, Jack Bergman, 1st District Congressional candidate, has disappointed five different organizing committees of public forums. After committing to attend, Bergman has been a no-show, to the dismay of all those who expected to see a discussion of the issues.

On Sept. 28 and Oct. 4 Bergman did not show up at forums at Gaylord High School and Ontonagon High School he committed to attend and were organized by and for the students and the community.

On Oct. 11 he failed to attend the WBKB Alpena News forum and the Upper Peninsula Children’s Coalition forum in Marquette that evening. On Oct. 18 he was a no-show in Boyne Falls at the Michigan’s Children Candidate forum.

Lon Johnson fulfilled his commitments and attended these forums and answered questions.

If Bergman cannot find the time to attend these events, how can we expect him to show up in northern Michigan or Washington D.C. when we need him? Maybe he will show up in Louisiana "to have a cup of coffee outside (in the winter months)" -- Petoskey News Review 10/14/16.

Carolyn Bourland, Petoskey

Grow Yet Maintain

I love the many changes that have taken place in TC in my lifetime including the Open Space, the Hagerty Center, the renewal of the State Hospital and the State Theater, North Peak, 101 North Park, Centre Place, The Franklin and Morsels. In my 69 years, Traverse City has grown magnificently! These changes have complemented the architectural environment and enhanced adjoining property values while preserving the character of our town. Thoughtful planning and careful execution over years have yielded positive results, making our community one to envy. These changes have engendered community support and appreciation rather than rancor. Given the tremendous progress we are enjoying, it is clear that adding ten-story buildings is not a prerequisite for growth. In fact, if allowed unilaterally, 100’ buildings in our downtown area may do irreparable damage to all that we hold dear in TC.

I actively and eagerly support changes that add to the richness of culture, opportunity, business and the character of our downtown and its neighborhoods. Those changes must be made with the same care, time, and diligence as in the past. Community input, involvement and support must continue to be a part of this process.

Prop 3 assures local taxpayers and community members an active role in the changes that will impact our community’s future. It will "let the people decide." That is why I will vote "yes" on Prop 3. I am for TC and I want a voice.

Patty Olson, Traverse City

High Wages, Not Buildings

An argument for passage of Prop 3 has been left unsaid.

Low-cost housing for multi-use, high-rise buildings have yet to occur in TC (I wonder if the buildings will be designed with two entrances: one for luxury condo owners and one for apartments of minimum wage earners working downtown).

It would be so much easier if the "magic hand of the economy" would create higher wages for minimum wage earners working downtown than making taxpayers subsidize downtown businesses to keep the wages low.

Taxpayers already are paying for infrastructure costs and for the no-taxes-for-20-years to developers. Let’s skip the taxpayers picking up another cost for those who have the money.

When it’s hard to find and retain employees, a couple things can be done. But the only real remedy is"¦pay higher wages.

Edward Rom, Traverse City

Please Vote

When Donald Trump agonizes over the prospects of a rigged election due to voter fraud, his emphasis is always on the voting of ineligible persons. But a far greater threat to a legitimate election is voter suppression, which targets specific groups. This suppression can be accomplished through a myriad of techniques, including:

- overly stringent voter ID rules

- reduction of early voting opportunities

- unnecessary absentee ballot restrictions

- intimidation of voters by self-appointed poll watchers (as suggested by Donald Trump)

- gerrymandering, which can decrease the impact of voters in specific areas

- lack of voting machines in high density polling places

I would suggest, therefore, that it is not the participation of unqualified voters, but rather, the non-participation of qualified voters that constitutes the greater threat to our democracy. So please vote in this upcoming election.

Bob Ross, Pellston

Democracy for Sale

The current local area legislative elections are a prime example of dirty politics and I believe it is the direct result of dark money that has flooded the Republican coffers. The results are falsehoods, innuendos, and outright lies about the Democratic candidates.

The two Republican candidates, Inman and VanderWall, are so heavily funded they can’t tell you where exactly the money originates. To highlight some of the seemingly endless funds, look at some of the obvious, almost daily expenditures like the large, expensive, postcards plus postage, mailed to thousands of voters throughout their districts. I have seen at least six from each candidate so far – look for more to come. Expensive color ads with mug shots in area media. A multitude of yard signs the size of twin beds displayed over the countryside with the usual hundreds of smaller yard signs. The Republicans have won the sign wars.

We are talking about a small fortune being spent here. The Republicans and their outside interests want these two house seats so badly they are pumping money, telling lies, and salivating at the same time. There is enough dark money in this race to fund a third world country’s election. Just a few outside interests include: National Chamber of Commerce, Nestle, Inc., the infamous Koch Brothers, the NRA, and special support from the Mackinac Center.

To the candidates who accept this dark money and those who supply it, to the detriment of our democracy, I say you have no honor or integrity.

W. Dennis Bushey, Elmwood Twp.

Yes Means Rights

Voting "yes" on Prop. 3 means you have a right to have your voice heard. A right to vote on any tall buildings development over 60 feet high. A right to say what the character of Traverse City should be. A right to vote on how your tax dollars will be spent. A right to vote on the economic well-being of our community. "Yes" means "let the people decide."

Cathie Cline, Traverse City

Sample Ballot?

Your 10 October issue entitled, "VOTE" raised my expectations that your fine publication would be jam-packed with complete coverage of our upcoming election. I was disappointed to find only a lengthy article about the 1st District congressional seat included.

As a Los Angeles/Chicago "transplant" I became spoiled by seeing "sample ballots" published this time in every election year. People live busy lives and to succinctly capture all the choices in one spot along with summary of pros and cons was always welcomed. It would be a tremendous addition to you (or someone else’s) pages.

Mike Peron, Traverse City

No Abortions, Yes Trump

How can any party, candidate, woman or man support such an evil as partial birth abortion? It is undeniably the taking of a life of a baby often just prior to the actual birth. 12,000 occurred last year alone within the United States. What occurs is beyond true horror; look it up yourself. What lies in the heart of such a person as Hillary Clinton, who claims to be for the children? Has our country lost its soul? In my view, one cannot claim they are Christian or of any other religion if they can support a woman wishing for this procedure to be available. Vote Trump and pray for our nation.

Brian Spencer, Traverse City

America’s Best Chance

The following are against Trump: establishment politicos, illegal immigrants, Muslims, the United Nations, the European Union, Black Lives Matter, and hateful liberals. Trump supporters are tired of political correctness, illegal immigration, uncontrolled federal spending, an excessive national debt, gun confiscation threats, cop killers, boys in girls’ bathrooms, a failing education system, and "holiday trees." No Democrat wants to address these issues.

If Trump is elected, the country will follow the Constitution and have a balanced budget. Live Americans will vote, keep their guns, and their own doctors.

I will vote for America’s best chance.

Carole Underwood, Maple City

Stand Fast, Democrats!

Widespread media denunciation of Donald Trump may persuade you to believe that he has little or no chance of clinching the presidency. But it is crucially important to keep in mind that he continues to wield the support of an impassioned, sizable electorate.

Our next president could have the opportunity to nominate as many as three Supreme Court justices. If confirmed, their moral and political convictions could radically alter the course of American jurisprudence for decades.

A Court seeded with Trump nominees would be well-positioned to either seriously impair or deliver a fatal blow to established, hard-won advances in civil rights, healthcare, education, environmental protection, and more.

People! We cannot afford the fleeting satisfaction of venting anger or frustration on our ailing political system with third-party and write-in "message" votes, or by abandoning our civic duty to vote. The stakes are too critically important for such indulgences. Before you vote, please consider how you’d feel knowing that your choices had contributed to installing Trump as your commander in chief. Vote Democratic!

David Vincent, Beulah

Don’t Circumvent a Just Process

What Proposal 3 proposes is at best arbitrary and at worst discriminatory. It seeks to create de facto zoning of private property void of standards and due process --guarantees we all value with our own property. Consider if a vote of the people was required to remodel your garage. The hypothetical sounds ridiculous, because we expect zoning to provide certainty and fairness. You meet the requirements and you’re approved. Where currently zoned, buildings over 60 foot are allowed by Special Land Use Permit, our put another way, when additional standards and reviews are met. Requiring a vote of the people is extraordinary and flawed in its disregard for the law, which clearly states that charter amendments may not affect zoning because they lack the proper due process zoning changes must follow.

The system of government we are blessed with doesn’t always result in outcomes with which we agree. Over the last few years, there have been several times in my role as an elected official where I’ve found myself voting yes when I’d really like to vote no. I have done this because the question before me met the standards in the zoning code or state law. Each time, I have accepted the outcome, moved on, and worked to change the code for future needs. Representative democracy is a system of government that is slow to change, requires persuasive arguments, and a lot of compromise. This charter referendum is an ill-fated attempt to circumvent a dutiful process that is fair and just.

I’m a no on Proposal 3.

Gary Howe, City Commissioner, Traverse City

I’m Disenfranchised

The Oct. 3 edition carried an opinion column by Jack Segal, "Judging the Candidates," in which Mr. Segal suggested that "one good way to assess the candidates is to do some homework." Didn’t I feel clever that, last summer, I had done just what the esteemed Mr. Segal had suggested? Unfortunately, I found none of the declared candidates qualified to earn my vote. Further research led me to an undeclared candidate, but logically, by Michigan law, such a person cannot be written in on the ballot.

I feel disenfranchised by all 2016 presidential candidates. I must choose among bad, worse, worst, or beyond the pale. What a sad state of affairs. And don’t tell me one of the seriously flawed candidates will change that!

Susan Noland, Traverse City

Facts Do Not Matter

How well informed is Donald Trump about the issues? He initially believed climate change was a hoax, but later changed it to being caused by natural causes. The natural causes for climate are the following; volcano eruptions, changes in earth orbit and tilt not expected for another 5,000 years, and solar energy which is decreasing as the global temperatures increase.

Trump believes the real villain regarding stagnant wages is slow economic growth. Stagnant wages or rising income inequality is not being created by market forces, but by changes in institutions, norms, and political will. Economists argue that the weakening of trade unions, abandonment of productivity sharing agreements, and changes in taxes and benefits are behind rising income inequality. Trump proposed a tax plan that gives breaks to the wealthy and does not even adjust the minimum wage to inflation, which would increase income inequality. His economic plan is to give further tax relief to the wealthy by eliminating the death tax.

His foreign policy is based on "the end justifies the means." He would use terror tactics i.e. waterboarding, he would carpet bomb ISIS in Syria with no concern about collateral damage, and ban Muslims from our country, which encourages others to treat American Muslims as suspects.

Trump seems ill-prepared and short-sighted to address the issues our country is facing.

Ronald Marshall, Petoskey

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