August 14, 2019

Meeting ITC August 11, 2019


Citizens Taking Action in North West Michigan

Report on Meeting Sunday August 11, 2019

By Linda Pepper


Always remember the tip jar on the counter at the Workshop Brewery.  Be careful with parking. We used to park across the street along the chain link fense, but now they are ticketing that spot.

Next meeting: Sunday September 8, 2019 at the Workshop Brewery.  Carol Schukra will take notes.

Please wear “No Line 5 Tunnel” tee shirts to the next GT BOC meeting August 21st at 8:00 a.m.


We had a terrific picnic on Thursday August 8th where Vickie Gutowski reported that nearly 400 people attended.   Twenty-two groups and 12 speakers came.  Four county Democratic Parties – Leelanau, Grand Traverse, Antrim and Benzie attended.  It was suggested we need to get an LTE sent out talking up the event.  Keli McIntosh talked about how proud she was to be representing Traverse Area Indivisibles at their Penny Poll table.

The consensus is that we will repeat in 2020.  Sylvia McCullough will check on the Cathedral Barn at the Commons for some date August or September.

Sam Getsinger reported that a “tracker” for Senator Peters showed up. He was allowed in the public part of the park but not in our private gathering.  The Sheriff was there and was respectful although some of his officers made snide comments. The drone handler caused some PTSD responses and we asked to have it taken down.  Sam’s grandson dressed in an “Impeach Now” tee shirt sold “peach mint” popsicles.  Some did not get the implication, but those who did thought it was a great pun.

Suggestions for Next Year’s Picnic:

We would like to do a weekend afternoon event next year to draw young working families. Michael Earl suggested we include a pet parade or other family-oriented activities.  We need to be even more “green” to reduce the ecological footprint.  Perhaps the BATA Bus could supply shuttles?

  • We need signs with the speaker’s name and organization displayed as they speak.
  • We should announce the “Thank You’s” at the beginning of the event.
  • We need to look for groups of younger people and offer to help them, attend their meetings, not expect them to join us.

Consensus:  It was a great event that we want to build upon in 2020!


Denise attended the picnic and took photos.  She was presented with a shellacked Petoskey Stone and Thank You Card for her efforts.  Denise offered to help in the Michigan 2020 election and other Indivisible building activities. She has family in the area and comes regularly in the summer. Her group sends out an Action Email to their 9000 members with 3 calls to action every morning Monday through Friday. It can be a notice on a federal or Illinois bill or a gathering or meeting. They are good at logistics and help plan other groups events. (Ex. Upcoming Immigration March in Chicago.) Denise reported that they have a good portable sound system the purchased for around $1500, that they lend out with an Indivisible operator to other groups. It gets them visibility and helps build coalitions. 

Chicago Indivisible is a C4 non-profit but have used the National Indivisible Fundraising Project thru Act Blue in the past to raise funds.  Allen McCullough will explore this as a future possibility for us to use with the contact Denise provided.  They helped turn two congressional districts blue in Illinois (Lauren Underwood and Sean Casten) by canvassing, post carding and phone banking. They are willing to help Michigan return to being Blue as well.

Indivisible Chicago is hosting a Midwest Indivisible Summit in Chicago on October 5th.  She will share more details as they become available.

They are interested in working with Oil and Water Don’t Mix and FLOW to thwart the Enbridge campaign.  They do have Indivisible groups in Chicago focused on shutting down Line 5 but it isn’t a widespread movement yet.  Keli reminded Denise that if there is a spill, the Mackinac Bridge will be shut down and prevent goods, gasoline, merchandise, etc. from being delivered to Chicago stores.  Denise agreed it was an important issue they could start working on more aggressively.

They could also help with our political messaging as they have some communication and public relations professionals in the group


Michael Earl encouraged everyone to watch “The Great Hack” (Cambridge Analytica) and the “Planet of the Humans” on the need to decrease consumption and population in order to thwart climate change on Netflix.  Clean energy development will not be enough.

At the prodding of John Hunter, we are going to look into being more control of our FB pages.

Vickie Gutowski is sending an article and we will distribute it.


There is a recall movement in Grand Traverse Co.  A Recall Community Forum is being held Wednesday from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Woodmere Library, August 14th.  There is talk of expulsion from the MI House by the Republicans but no action yet.


They are trying to pass a resolution supporting the Line 5 Tunnel.  There was great turnout at the last meeting with 21 people commenting against the tunnel.  The vote was postponed until Aug. 21st.  They plan to bring it back for a vote at that time.  We will be organizing an even more robust protest.  Enbridge is running a propaganda campaign and spreading a lot of money around.


Gretchen and Ted Iorio reported that they are moving fast towards becoming an Independent Authority.  This will remove liability from the County to the Authority. The Authority will be able to buy and sell property. They will have the power of eminent domain. There may be regional representation beyond Leelanau and GT counties, for example someone from Grayling.  They feel that being and Independent Authority there will be (they say) less political influence on the authority.

The Articles of Incorporation will be the document that lays out how the Authority will work. This will be the document in which the public must have input. Commissioner LaPointe is in a rush to get this done.

We were all outraged at the clear cutting at the Airport. As a community we need to have a voice in how the Airport wields its power. The airport is a major player in how our city manages future growth. As a community we need to have a voice in how that development takes place. If the BOC turns over the Airport to an Independent Authority, the development of the Articles of Incorporation will determine how much of a voice we will have. When we put out a call to action, we need everyone to respond.


Keli McIntosh reported that ACLU Regional Coordinator, Anna Dituri, is looking for people to host discussion groups in their home about the current policies. Grand Traverse has one of the highest rates of long-term incarceration in the state. Please contact Keli if you are interested in holding a discussion group in your hom .

There have been some meetings with the prosecutor, Noelle Moeggenborg, but they have not been productive.

There will be a Smart Justice Task Force meeting on August 23rd. Details are under events.


  • Due to Labor Day, we will hold our September Mtg. on Sunday, September 8th
  • Debate Parties will be held at the Benzie Dems Headquarters on September 12th & 13th.  Time to be determined by number of qualifiers.  Will post as determined.
  • GT BOC Meetings Wednesday, Sept. 4th and 18th at 8 am.
  • Airport Commission Mtg. August 20th at 12:30 pm in the 2nd floor conference in the terminal building.
  • Regular Airport Commission Mtg., August 20th at 3 pm in the Airport Terminal Conference Rm on the 2nd floor.  We will alert if changed.
  • Traverse City Choice Conference at Hagerty Center, Aug 22, 6 pm.  Tickets are $100 apiece.
  • GT Dems Summer Picnic at Noon at the Civic Center Park, Sat. Aug 17 at Noon.  I encourage everyone to attend and bring a dish to pass.
  • MI Joint Task Force on Jail & Pretrial Incarceration, Kirkbride Hall, 700 Cottage Dr. #200, TC, Meeting 9:30 – 12:30, Public Testimony 1:30 – 4 pm, Friday, August 23rd. 


  1. Sign Inman Resign Postcards & Petition to Recall
  2. Call MoC’s demanding Legislative Action to pass Universal Background Checks, close the gun show loophole and ban military assault style weapons.
  3. Attend Bergman, Schmidt, VanderWall & O’Malley Coffee Hours

4. Attend GT BOC and Airport Commission Meetings!

Our next meeting will be Sunday September 8th, 10 am at the Workshop Brewery, 221 Garland St. TC. 

Report on Meeting Lavora Barnes

Report on Meeting with Lavora Barnes, Chair of MDP  

Saturday, August 3, 2019, Leland, MI


By Sylvia McCullough

Lavora Barnes, Chair of the Michigan Democratic Party, met with a group of county Dems and Indivisibles at the Leland Lodge, Leland, Michigan, Saturday, August 3rd.  Lavora was accompanied by MDP Executive Director, Christine Jensen.

Jim Dulzo, Chair of Benzie County Dems asked her what the main issues are that the MDP wants to message as top priorities.  She replied:

  1. Healthcare, including women’s, mental health, and prescription drugs.


  1. The economy stressing that Trump’s promises to keep factory jobs has not occurred and that too many people have not benefited from the rise in the stock market.


  1. Whatever you think is important locally.


Lavora then asked what the MDP could do to support our county Dem groups up as well as our candidates.  She also asked what the issues are up here that are important to us.  She then sat back and listened and took notes.  A number of asks were made from the attendees:

  1. Immigration – Need Sen. Stabenow and Sen. Peters to address      immigration issues by seeing to it that existing immigration laws governing our seasonal migrant population be enforced.  It isn’t enough to support comprehensive immigration reform.  We need the lack of H2B visas for farm workers increased, the red tape cut, and a ceasing of the arrests of migrant farm workers.  We do not hear them speaking out and addressing these issues.


  1. MDP support for our district which is too often written off in favor of downstate districts because we are considered to be too “red.”



  1. Gwenne Allgaier, Co-Chair of Leelanau County Dems stressed a need MDP field organizers from our area to help with organizing campaigns, training, media, literature and much else. We need more field offices.


  1. Jim Dulzo, Chair of Benzie County Dems ask for training on how to do social media videos.



  1. Push for broadband business internet. This is needed to bring tech and clean energy development to our area, create jobs and keep our young families from having to move elsewhere.


  1. Equitable school funding equal to downstate.



  1. Shut down Line 5. People in the U.P. need clean energy development to create jobs that will diminish their support for building the tunnel.


  1. We need boots on the ground for big canvassing campaigns as our aging population up here finds it difficult in some cases to go door to door. And we aren’t getting any younger.



  1. More TV ad support. She said this was difficult as they tier their media advertising prioritizing downstate, then Grand Rapids, and we get what is left over.  She said they do not have enough money to hit everyone equally.


  1. Come up and be a presence in our organizations and events. We need to see our representatives up here more often.  We work very hard up here, contribute to their campaigns and the MDP and we want them to show up!



  1. The issues of Indivisibles vs. Democratic parties came up and where did she stand on that apparent She said she does not care what people call themselves as long as they work for and support Democratic candidates. 


As the session concluded everyone stressed how welcome she is up here, that we want her to come back often and any number of us will be delighted to host her in our homes.  We invited her to join the Indivisible Picnic on the 8th as well.  She promised she will come back and she will convey our message to the downstate MDP and Senators.  I found her to be very receptive to our issues up here in the 1st District, and in general found her to be a breath of fresh air and just a delight.

Report on Indivisible Picnic

Report on the Traverse Area Indivisibles & Friends Picnic, August 8th, 2019.

By Sylvia McCullough

As I sit here on my patio overlooking my garden and try to process the amazing turnout we had at the Traverse Area Indivisibles & Friends Picnic that was held up at Peterson Park, Northport, yesterday afternoon on Aug. 8th, 2019, I scarcely know how to sum it all up, but here goes:

First off, thanks to all the volunteers, issue table groups, the four county Democratic parties who took part and boosted the event, and of course our wonderful line-up of speakers who included Carolyn Moss, President of the Munson Nurses Union; Jim Olson, founder of FLOW; TJ Stephens, Chair of the Anishinaabek Caucus; Holly Bird, Lawyer for Standing Rock; Dan O’Neil, former Democratic Candidate for the 104th District; Dana Ferguson, Democratic Primary Candidate for the U.S. 1st District in 2020; Linda O’Dell, Democratic Primary Candidate for the U.S. 1st District in 2020; Rep. Christine Greig, MI House Minority Leader; Senator  Gary Peters and Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

I want to make a point of saying that while each speaker promoted their causes or candidacy, each of them also promoted the necessity of protecting our silent partner and life giver, the Great Lakes, by advocating for the shutdown of Line 5 permanently and preventing any other fossil fuel pipeline from being placed under our precious Great Lakes.  Clearly, water protection is a huge issue for Michigan, especially here in the 1st District.  I think I may venture to say that is equally important to all the nine states that border on or whose waters are fed by the Great Lakes freshwater system. 

As reported by picnic organizer, Vickie Gutowski, based on name tags distributed, signup sheets, volunteers (about 40), issue table attendees, the Senator’s and Governor’s staffs, and law enforcement and EMS personnel, nearly 400 people were in attendance over the course of the afternoon!  Included in that number were a leader from Chicago Indivisible, Denise Polyonak and Ruthette Mills, Chair of the Indivisible Central based in Curtis, Michigan in the UP!  “Small But Mighty” is their moto and indeed they are!  Thanks to both Denise and Ruthette for coming so far to help us celebrate our launch into 2020. 

Thanks to Harold Lassers, Communications Chair of the GT Dems, and Denise Polyonak, for photographing our event.  Their photos can be viewed here:,

and here:

I also want to pay special tribute to Vickie Gutowski and Sam Getsinger, whose amazing event planning and community organizing skills kept us on our toes.  As Vicky told me at the end of the day when I thanked her, “I’m anal.  What can I say?”  Well, clearly that is a skill we all could do more to cultivate!  Humor played a great part in our success especially from those wonderfully funny blasts put out boosting our event from Jim Dulzo, Chair of the Benzie Dems.  I give a deep bow of gratitude to all of you. 

Thanks to John Hunter, our valiant MC for his humor, his ability to change gears when needed and to the musicians who played great songs.  Thanks to Bay Area Recycling for Charities for donating compostable plates, utensils and garbage bags. To Barb Krause our timer for doing her best to keep folks on schedule. To the silent donor from Grand Traverse Indivisible. To everyone who attended and demonstrated their passion for changing the direction of our country.

And finally, from John DeSpelder, Indivisible Grand Traverse, with whom I wholeheartedly agree: “I am so overjoyed to be a part of such a passionate, hardworking and caring group of people. We are building a strong network of Indivisibles and our allies. Think of it, the long list of esteemed speakers, the 22 groups that traveled to Peterson Park to join us today, the friends and neighbors that turned out…we’re creating a huge community of like-minded people that are changing the political and social landscape of this beautiful area that we call home.” 

While we should all pause for a moment to contemplate and celebrate our success, give ourselves a pat on the back, but then be ready to jump back into the fray as we move forward marching hand-in-hand into 2020! 

August 12, 2019

Wonderful Forum Piece


Preventative Justice


“Prevention is so much better than healing because it saves the labor of being sick.” This is from Thomas Adams (17th Century Physician)

It is a well-known fact that preventative healthcare is much more cost effective than chronic care. I believe the same principle can be used in the Judicial Systems of our country.

According to the Prison Policy Initiative, Michigan’s incarceration rates stand out internationally. Rates of imprisonment have grown dramatically in the last 40 years. Michigan’s pretrial population has more than tripled since the late 1970s.

At the moment, Grand Traverse County has one of the highest incarceration rates in the state; and the rate of recidivism is also one of the highest. Personally, I don’t feel Grand Traverse County is a criminally-infested community. So, why are we sending so many of our citizens off to jail or prison?

An over-zealous prosecution system is part of the problem. The other is a lack of community support for at-risk people.

Disproportional bond requirements and horizontal/vertical overcharging of suspects has resulted in more plea deals and less trials. Only three days in jail is known to impact a person’s life. Many innocent people are held in jail where they have no choice but to plea.

The Prosecuting Attorney tells us there is not enough funding to provide alternative options.  Years ago, mental patients were housed in the State Mental Hospital and were under the care of trained staff and physicians. That treatment was considered inappropriate so the patients were moved out under the care of the community. Shortly after that, the funding for community mental health services was cut and the number of treatment beds plummeted. So now, instead of being confined in the State Mental Hospital, these people are held in jail with untrained (and often unsympathetic) law enforcement officers supervising their lives.

Recent cuts in education funding have left many young people unprepared to support themselves after graduating from high school. There are few opportunities in our area to learn a trade, and even fewer jobs that pay a living wage. Low income people don’t stand a chance in our current judicial system.

Wouldn’t you prefer your tax money be spent to provide a good education, job training, and guarantee food and housing for those at risk in our community, making it possible for them to become productive members of society. That is a much better plan than paying to keep people incarcerated for years; it would be much more cost efficient.

Preventative Justice seems like a much healthier societal option than incarceration because ——–.

The because should be obvious.

The ACLU’s Smart Justice Campaign is looking into addressing these concerns.

By Keli MacIntosh 

Retired nurse and member of Indivisible