June 23, 2019

A Visit with Chasten Buttigieg

Report on the Chasten Buttigieg Event

By Linda Pepper

Friday June 21, 2019

Hopeful is the word that describes the hour and a half spent in the presence of a young man who grew up in Traverse City who has been thrust into the limelight of a presidential campaign. Chasten Buttigieg is the husband of Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, a leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Chasten struggled with his identity having come out the other side with a great appreciation of his life and current happiness. He expresses deep empathy with all marginalized groups such as women, people of color, the homeless and veterans. He is not bitter but hopeful. He is ready to work hard to meet their challenges.

Chasten was introduced by his drama teacher from TC West, Christy Bach, who helped him find acceptance and success while in high school. Susan Odgers, who teaches at NMC, talked about Chasten being in her Sexuality class. She has seen an evolution of appreciation for sexual diversity in people and their inherent value over 30 years in our area. Jim Carruthers talked about the changes he has seen since 1989 when he moved here.

Chasten started the program talking about his family and his parents who were in the front row, and how much their love and support means to him. He also discussed the struggles a young man feels when he just doesn’t fit in. He made the statement that “the closet kills!” It means that denying who you really are can lead to depression, despair and suicide. That simple statement really crystalized for me the importance of being an ally to anyone on the LGBTQ spectrum.

Questions from the audience were read by his drama teacher, Christy Bach. The first was about his priorities if he became First Gentleman. He talked about the White House as the People’s House and how he would invite ordinary citizens in as much as possible. He would advocate for the homeless, veterans and LGBTQ citizens, and for the arts and theater programs to help people find their passion.

Chasten is a teacher and wants to “respect teachers as soldiers and pay them like doctors.” It is a glib line, but he realizes that students are not robots but human beings. Helping them develop is what education is about.

Chasten was asked about what had surprised him on the campaign trail. He talked about how many people feel that politics is far away but is happening to them. They often feel powerless, and in need of programs like Obamacare, or the ACA, to make their lives better. He also has been amazed by the amount of racism, sexism and animosity he sees toward immigrants. He said it is easier to divide people than to build hope. He believes that Pete Buttigieg can build hope and bring people together.

Chasten suggested that we all can help by talking about how older people like the idea of young leadership and respect the fact that millennials must deal with problems such as climate change. They need a strong voice and support in order to meet this challenge. Also, please send money. Every little bit helps.

He said he has a great team that plans his events. He and Pete try to be together several nights every week. He insists that he gets to go to homeless centers, to talk to teachers and to meet with veterans. This is a grassroots campaign and he is out there meeting with real people.

He shared two personal stories about Pete. The first involved a trip to the UP when they had a new hybrid car. Chasten and his Dad told Pete to get the “purple blinker fluid” at a gas station in the wilds of the UP. They could see him going up and down aisles looking for it before Chasten’s mom went to rescue Pete from the family jokesters. The next was how Pete remembered the anniversary of their first date that Chasten had completely forgotten. By the way, Chasten would love to be a Gryffindor but says he is really a Hufflepuff for all us Harry Potter fans.    

Chasten spoke about the intergenerational alliance that Pete is trying to forge. It is necessary to address the effects of climate change and tax cuts for the wealthy corporations. He did refer people to the website for the campaign to learn about Pete’s plans on issues. He said he would not speak for his husband but referred us to this resource.

The next question was the toughest. A person who had been on a panel in Susan Odgers’ class asked if he remembered that they had talked after the class. The memories of that challenging time moved Chasten to tears. He choked out that he NEVER TAKES A SINGLE DAY OF THIS LIFE FOR GRANTED. The discussion that day helped him face the difficulties of being a gay man and helped him survive to have this chance at life and love. He asked us all to applaud that person who had been honest and open when he and other people needed it. We were all standing and applauding, feeling the power that understanding the struggles of LGBTQ youth can bring.

Chasten said that Pete is studying multiple binders prepared for him to get ready for the debate. Chasten will be there and knows that Pete does well under pressure. Pete stays sane by reading scholarly books while Chasten doodles, plays Risk on his phone, or listens to audio books.

The final questioner asked Chasten to convince us that Pete Buttigieg can defeat Donald Trump. He answered that:

  1. Pete is in a faithful loving marriage. He said Trump…and gestured off to the side.
  2. Pete is well spoken and can think and explain his thinking and gestured to the other side.
  3. Pete is a stable well-educated person. No need for comparison there!
  4. Hope is harder to build but Pete is doing just that.

Chasten was breath of fresh air and hope. His abilities as a drama student and as a teacher make him perfectly comfortable on a stage. He is a symbol of the growth our country has experienced in welcoming all people. It was wonderful to spend an hour in his presence.


May 31, 2019

Report of Airport Commission Meetings


Citizens Taking Action in North West Michigan

Report: Airport Governance Advisory Committee and Airport Commission Tuesday May 28, 2019

Tuesday May 28, 2019

There were 2 meetings held on the same day with mostly the same people present. The first was almost 3 hours and started with a very informative tour of the airport behind the scenes. The next 2 hours were spent reviewing the various models of airport governance. This was done by the firm of Steven Baldwin Associates, Airport Management Consultants. They have been hired to educate the BOC and the Airport Commission about their options. And then probably write up the legal papers to complete the changes.

After an afternoon of discussion, I am going to summarize the issues.

  • The charter for the airport is about 30 years old and has many provisions that are not allowed in the FAA grants and loans. They need to be changed to be in compliance in order to apply for federal money, the major source of capital improvements.
  • One of the two models is a Commission with members appointed by the 2 counties, Leelanau and Grand Traverse, as is now the case. The charter agreement would be updated and it would continue much as it is now with a 7 member Commission.
  • The other major model is an Airport Authority. This would still be a board with locally appointed members.
  • They were asked if either or both models allow for the airport to purchase needed property without BOC consent. They seemed to reply that it depended on how the agreement was written.
  • Another concern was the liability of the counties if the airport went bankrupt. With an authority, the counties would not be liable. Currently under the existing agreement they are.
  • A member from Leelanau asked for a list of pros and cons for each model and this is supposed to be brought to the next meeting the 4th Tuesday of June at noon at the airport second floor.
  • My understanding is that either model may protect the counties from liability for debts if the agreement is written with that provision. However, no straight answer was given.
  • The same ambiguity exists for acquiring property.

The regular meeting had the good news that it is feasible to have a solar panel array that could supply the airport and TCL&P. They just completed the first phase of a study which has been going on for about 6 months. This study considered solar arrays of various sizes as well as geothermal sources of power. The commission has now authorized the second phase which will be setting up the bidding process for approximately 50 acres of solar panels and checking how this could integrate with TCL&P. The commissioners were very excited about the possibility of producing 10 Kilowatts on site.

They are also beginning a process of getting a specialized landing system (ILS) that will enable landings when the wind is from the east. A similar system is installed at the east end of the runway for west wind approaches. Currently they must reroute about 100 flights a year because the wind from the east makes the landing possibly unsafe. They have the infrastructure for this system from when they lengthened the runway. This may be a several year process to obtain the equipment but they are starting the plan now.

Most of the rest of the agenda was housekeeping types of resolutions and reports. One interesting point was that a commissioner suggested expanding the meeting room. Having an audience seems to resulting in them wanting more space.

My usual statement is that this is my understanding of the meeting and I could make a mistake in understanding something. But I am trying to be an outside set of eyes and ears.

Linda Pepper

May 30, 2019

Report on Ethics Committee meeting May 29th


Citizens Taking Action in North West Michigan

Report on AdHoc Committee on Ethics Grand Traverse Board of Commissioners

Wednesday May 29, 2019

Commissioners Clous (Chair), Jewett and Coffia are assigned to this committee

There was a draft ethics policy that was being discussed. There were several points of discussion:

  • Chair Clous was concerned that elected officials such as the sheriff or judges would not want to file such a business/financial disclosure annually as was being required.
  • The disclosure section calls for disclosing the person or spouse’s interest in unincorporated associations, trusts, corporations, business and real estate holdings.
  • If a person had more than 5 real estate holdings, they would list 5 and then just state that there were more holdings.
  • Jewett stated this information is “not anybody’s business”. Later he called it his personal business.
  • Coffia stated that as a taxpayer, it would increase trust to know what someone’s business interests were when they were making county financial decisions.
  • The disclosure section was removed and the conflict of interest sections was strengthened. All three voted for this because both actions were one motion.
  • There was quite a bit of discussion about an employee working in another job after hours. They decided to leave that up to a manager to approve.
  • They will work on a Board Rule to have every commissioner review the policies and then sign that they agree to disclose any conflict of interest and abide by the policy.

There was a discussion after the meeting was over about how a disclosure statement should be required when you file to run for an office. I completely agree with that. I would have been happy to do that. It would be a state law that requires this disclosure

Mr. Clous said several times that a commissioner can still vote even if s/he reveals that they have a conflict of interest. This seemed an odd focus to have.

He also said several times that the voters could throw him out if he violated their trust. The reality of our elections is that the violation has to be detected and widely advertised for any incumbent to not be reelected.

May 26, 2019

Column from the Northern Express

   MAY 26, 2019



There’s no denying that by traditional measures, the economy is doing fine. As of this writing, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is well over 25,000, unemployment remains very low, wages have begun rising, estimated GDP growth in the first quarter was 3.2% (though it’s expected to be revised slightly downward), neither inflation nor deflation are a problem, and personal bankruptcy filings are low. What’s not to love?
Plenty. Forty million Americans, including one in five children, live in poverty.On any one night there are more than a half-million homeless people sleeping in public places or shelters in the U.S. In Michigan, according to the United Way, 61% of jobs pay less than $20 an hour, and 1.66 million households, comprising 43% of the population, can’t afford basic household necessities.
Personal bankruptcies are down in part because the Affordable Care Act brought health insurance to millions. Obviously, that’s good. But Republicans are still trying to kill the ACA; if successful, they’ll throw millions of people off of health insurance, which will cause bankruptcy rates to rise again. Another reason personal bankruptcies are down is that a 2005 law made it harder to file; it appears that some who are insolvent don’t have enough assets to bother protecting them, can’t afford the fees and costs, or don’t know how to navigate the process.
Young people are staggering under a cumulative $1.5 trillion of student loan debt. Life expectancies are decreasing, largely because of the increase in “deaths of despair” — drug overdoses, suicide, and liver disease from alcohol use. People live in fear of incurring prescription drug bills not sufficiently covered by their insurance. People have died while trying to ration their supply of insulin.
Farm income dropped substantially in the first quarter. Trump’s tariffs destroyed markets for some U.S. farmers while simultaneously raising the cost of farm machinery. Current immigration policies have contributed to a shortage of farm labor. More family farms are going bankrupt and being bought up by big agribusiness.
More of the recent corporate tax cut was used to finance stock buybacks, rather than for capital investment or job creation; that raised stock prices, providing a kind of sugar high that we can’t afford to maintain. The Trump tax bill also contributed to what by 2020 will be an annual deficit of over a trillion dollars. If a major correction or recession happens soon, we won’t be able to afford the stimulus spending we might need to get the economy back on track. Meanwhile, our infrastructure is falling apart.
And perhaps worst of all, economic mobility in America has been slowing for some time now. The days when you could expect your kids to do better than you seem to be over for mainstream America. For many, the American Dream is slipping out of reach.
Of course the ultra-wealthy are doing fine. While some amount of economic inequality is normal, what we have now is over the top. Reportedly the top one percent have as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent. Many CEOs make hundreds of times what their employees make. Some get huge bonuses and “golden parachutes,” even when the companies they lead are laying off workers or failing. We have become a two-track economy: the very rich, and everyone else.
This state of affairs isnotthe result of the natural workings of a free market. The ultra-wealthy are ultra-influential, and they use their influence to write the rules for their own benefit, while the rest of us lack sufficient representation in Washington. Some billionaire hedge-fund managers pay taxes at the same rate as their secretaries. How does that make sense? In 2008, when the economy collapsed, who got bailed out? Homeowners? Nah. Big banks. Middle-class folks got a tiny tax cut in 2018, while the Koch brothers picked up a billion dollars a year. If you paidanyfederal income tax at all in 2018, you paid more than Amazon did.  
What can we do? Give the middle class a real tax cut, and raise taxes on the wealthy. Raise the minimum wage. Create an infrastructure modernization program, including development of renewable energy, because we need it, and because it could generate thousands of good paying jobs. Move toward universal health insurance by beefing up the ACA or gradually phasing in some version of Medicare For All. Give Medicare the ability to negotiate drug prices. Invest more in early childhood education and public schools, to give all kids a better chance at success. Invest in job training. Raise the income limit on Social Security tax to keep the program solvent. Rein in corporate welfare. And so on.
To get much of this sort of thing done — if we are to again have a government that pays more attention to the needs of ordinary citizens than to the demands of big donors — we’ll have to get big money out of politics, end gerrymandering, and protect every citizen’s right to vote. Not easy tasks, but doable if enough people stand up for a revival of grass roots democracy in America.
Tom Gutowski earned degrees in economics and history before entering the insurance industry, from which he retired after 36 years.

May 24, 2019

New website

We are going to be revising this website. We hope to consolidate all local Indivisibles into one site. That includes Indivisible Traverse City, Indivisible Grand Traverse and Leelanau Indivisible.

August 20, 2018

August 19, 2018 Indivisible TC Meeting Notes

August 19, 2018 Indivisible TC Meeting Notes

  • Actions and Events:
  • Tuesday, August 21, 6-8pm. Town Hall with Dan O’Neil and Jocelyn Benson. Scholars Hall, NMC.
  • Tuesday, August 21, 1:15pm.  Meeting of the Concerned Citizens for Fair Broadcasting. UU Any interested Indivisible members are welcome to attend.
  • Wednesday, August 22, 6-8pm. Meet and Greet Dan and Matt. Rare Bird Brew Pub, TC.
  • Monday, August 27, 5pm. Matt Morgan’s Birthday Bash. Mt. Holiday.  $20/person, $40/family.
  • Sunday, September 1, Come to the shores of Grand Traverse Bay in solidarity with the 4th Annual Pipe Out Paddle Protest(at the Straits of Mackinac) for a paddle down the Boardman River and flotilla in West Bay.  9:00 AM– Meet at Union Street Dam Park and paddle down the Boardman River and into Lake Michigan. 10:00 AM– Meet at the Clinch Park Boat Launch and form a flotilla in West Bay. Non-boaters can meet at either location or join at Clinch Park Beach with a sign. Please wear a black shirt if possible. Sponsored by NMEAC.
  • Wednesday, September 6, 6pm. Professor Mathew Fletcher (Michigan State University College of Law and Director of the Indigenous Law and Policy Center) will speak about the legal history of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians. Leland Library. Presented by Leelanau Indivisible.
  • Saturday, September 8, 1pm. Rally for Climate, Jobs, Justice (a national event).  Open Space. Co-sponsored by NMEAC. Holly Bird and Percy Bird are guest speakers. 
  • Monday, September 10, 10:30am-12:30M. Writing post cards for Linda Pepper, at her home: 4306 Central Park Dr. Lunch and beverages provided. RSVP Linda (text or call 269-254-1603).
  • Wednesday, October 3, 10am for 2-4 hours.  Writing letters for Linda at Fellowship Hall, Interlochen.  Again, lunch and beverages provided. RSVP Linda.
  • Discussion
  1. Jim Page, our Democratic candidate for Michigan State Senator in the 37th district, presented his biography, explained his views and policy positions, and asked us to help him get elected.  After serving 6 years as a Marine, he spent 27 years teaching math and computer science in an Upper Peninsula middle school.  He is a Sierra Club member, sportsman and gun owner.  His positions are in keeping with a progressive agenda. He believes high quality education is of the utmost importance, and he supports the shutdown of Line 5, insuring clean drinking water for all, a livable minimal wage, protecting Michigan jobs and workers, and single payer health care for all. He will work to pass sensible gun laws, believing that there is no reason to allow military-style weapon sales to the public. A key difference between him and his Republican opponent, is that he will strongly support environmental protection, while Wayne Schmidt has consistently voted to allow industry control over our environmental laws. 

2. Emily Magner, the new northern Michigan coordinator of the League of Conservation Voters reported on her background and recent experience working for Planned Parenthood in Maine, where she was part of a team that went door-to-door to have deep discussions with voters.  She felt by first finding common ground through discussing the shared human values of caring, fairness, safety, and sanctity, she was able to hold meaningful discussions and in many cases, shift people’s political views. She is looking forward to organizing a similar effort here.

3.  Emma Jabour, the outreach liaison for Matt Morgan’s campaign, introduced herself. Individuals or groups hoping to get involved with Matt’s campaign can contact her at

4. Ted gave an update on the group involved with the Sinclair issues, the Concerned Citizens for Fair Broadcasting  As the proposed merger of Sinclair and Tribune Media is now not likely to occur, both the rally and the gatherings outside of Huntington Bank are no longer taking place. This group will meet on Tuesday at the UU at 1:15pm to decide its next steps, which will most likely involve helping to get our local political candidates elected.  The group may go to candidates to inform them about the Sinclair issue and to ask them not to spend their advertising dollars with Sinclair. 

5. Lynn announced that she will retire from being the indivisible TC leader after the November election.  A discussion about the future of Indivisible TC followed, including whether to join forces with Indivisible GT.  IGT is not interested in formally merging, but those interested in attending their Tuesday noon meetings at the TC UU are welcome.  The Leelanau Indivisible group also welcomes our participation. The values, policy interests and actions are already shared by all three groups.  Members are also strongly encouraged to engage directly with any of the progressive candidates’ campaigns and to work toward passage of the VNP and Promote the Vote proposals.  

III. Adjournmant:

The meeting was adjourned at 11:30am. Thank you to everyone who attended. The next meeting of Indivisible TC will be on Sunday, September 16 at the Workshop Brewery at 10am. The dates of further future meetings will be decided then. 

Respectfully submitted,

Bill Gittlen, Secretary.

August 15, 2018

Agenda for August 19 meeting at the Workshop

 Indivisible TC Agenda

Workshop Brewery

Sunday August 19, 2018

10:00 AM- 11:30 AM



  1. Chair – Retirement

B.   Treasurer

C.   Secretary

D.   Outreach


Voters Not Politicians (VPN)/Voters’ Rights

District 1: Repeal and Replace Bergman 

Environmental: Line 5 – Brenda & Berta

Sinclair Broadcasting – Going down for the count

Gun Violence 


A. Mailings for Linda Pepper – Text or call 269.254.1603

Postcards – Monday September 10th 

at 4306 Central Park Dr. Grawn

Start at 10:30 – About 2 hours – Lunch and Beverages provided

Letter – Wednesday October 3rd.

 at Fellowship Hall Interlochen

9700 Riley Rd. at “old” Library Building

10:00 a.m. – Plan 2- 4 hours: Lunch and Beverages provided


 A. Merger with IGT (Indivisible Grand Traverse)


What to Do with Facebook

What to Do with Website


6. OPEN MICROPHONE:– What are You Passionate About/ What New Information Do We Need?



  1. Rally for Climate, Jobs and Justice: Saturday September 8th 1:00 p.m. 

Open Space – Cosponsored by NMEAC 

Two Guest speakers – Holly Bird and Percy Bird

  1. Matt Morgan’s Birthday Bash – August 27th – Mt. Holiday – 5 p.m.

$20.00 per person, $40 per family

Food, yard games and plenty of cake

  1. Meet and Greet Dan and Matt

Rare Bird Brew Pub – Wednesday August 22nd  

6 – 8 p.m.  229 Lake VE. Traverse City 

  1. Town Hall with Jocelyn Benson and Dan O’Neil

Tuesday August 21st – 6 – 8 p.m. Scholars Hall NMC College Dr. TC



August 3, 2018

Notes of July 29, 2018 meeting

 Indivisible TC Agenda

Workshop Brewery

July 29, 2018

10:00 AM- 11:30 AM



  1. Chair – Meeting Changes – See below

B.   Treasurer

C.   Secretary

D.   Outreach


Voters Not Politicians (VPN)/Voters’ Rights -Waiting for Michigan Supreme Court ruling by August 7th – Will need canvassers

District 1: Repeal and Replace Bergman –Slip Out the Back Jack – Keep helping Matt Morgan’s campaign

Environmental: Line 5 – Brenda & Berta – Circulating during Film Festival – Get handouts at Groundworks upstairs. Wear only Line 5 apparel. Do not mix issues please.

Sinclair Broadcasting – Acquisition has hit a speed bump  – We are all delighted although there will be a meeting Tuesday July 31st at 1:15 at Unitarian Universalist Church to discuss SWAT team for quick response to changes.

Gun Violence 


A.  No meeting August 5th – Many people involved with GOTV

August 19th at Workshop Brewery – 10 – 11:30 a.m.

September 15th at Workshop Brewery 10 to 11:30 a.m.

Rest of Year is at Workshop on 1st & 3rd


A. Report on Families Belong Together demonstration yesterday – Some problems with a possible troll with a man whose sign said “Trump is Satan”. He also has a drum to play. Does anyone know who he is? Is he really a troll? Discussion of how to handle someone who seems to have another agenda.

B.  Postcards for Matt Morgan – Over 25 people addressed 500 postcards for Matt urging people to write in his name. 

C. Mailing for Linda Pepper: Wednesday Oct 3th at Fellowship Hall Interlochen – We will be sending out about 4000 pieces of mail. Start time is 10 a.m. and lunch and snacks will be provided. 

September 10th and 24th – This will be about a 600 postcard mailing at my house on Duck Lake – 4306 Central Park Dr. Grawn 49637

D. Movie on Flint Water Crisis “Nor Any Drop to Drink” 6:00 – 8:30 Bijou Sunday evening July 29th

E. GTDems Summer Convention August 11th Scholars Hall at NMC 10 – 12 a.m. with Mark Brewer

F. GTDems Annual Picnic noon to 3 p.m. at Civic Center Park August 18th

G. Leelanau Dems opened office at 101 Dame St. Sutton’s Bay on Friday July 27th

H. Leelanau Indivisible Meeting on August 9th at Leland Library at 6 p.m.

I. If Mueller is fired before 2 p.m., be at Open Space at 5 p.m. to protest.

If after 2 p.m., be there next day at noon.

J. Gary peters will be having an event Wednesday August 8th. Watch for more details.

K. Every Wednesday evening, phone banking at Matt Morgan’s office. 1732 Barlow  at 5:30 to 8:00

L. See The Young Turks interview with Matt Morgan on You Tube. It showcases how great his command of the issues is. 

M. Abdul El Sayed will be here August 3rd at 7 p.m. at Streeters 1669 Garfield for GOTV.

N. League of Women Voters Guide is very helpful at

6. OPEN MICROPHONE:– What are You Passionate About/ What New Information Do We Need?


7. ANNOUNCEMENTS: Next meeting is on: August 19, 2018 at Workshop Brewery



July 27, 2018

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed rally in Traverse City, August 3

Traverse City GOTV Rally with Abdul for Governor

The Streeters Center, off of Garfield

Friday, August 3, 2018.  7pm

July 25, 2018

Agenda for the July 25, 10am meeting at Workshop

 Indivisible TC Agenda

Workshop Brewery

July 29, 2018

10:00 AM- 11:30 AM



A.   Chair 

B.   Treasurer

C.   Secretary

D.   Outreach


Voters Not Politicians (VPN)/Voters’ Rights

District 1: Repeal and Replace Bergman –Slip Out the Back Jack

Environmental: Line 5 – Brenda & Berta

Sinclair Broadcasting – Acquisition has hit a speed bump

Gun Violence 


A. Dates: August 5th and 19th at Workshop

September 9th and 23rd. May be at Horizons

Rest of Year is at Workshop on 1st & 3rd


A. Report on Families Belong Together demonstration yesterday

B.  Postcards for Matt Morgan

C. Mailing for Linda Pepper: Wednesday Oct 3th at Fellowship Hall Interlochen

September 10th and 24th

D. Movie on Flint Water Crisis “Nor Any Drop to Drink” 6:00 – 8:30 Bijou

E. GTDems Summer Convention August 11th Scholars Hall at NMC 10 – 12 a.m. with Mark 


F. GT Dems Annual Picnic noon to 3 p.m. at Civic Center Park 

G. Leelanau Dems opened office at 101 Dame St. Sutton’s Bay on Friday July 27th

H. Leelanau Indivisible Meeting on August 9th at Leland Library

6. OPEN MICROPHONE:– What are You Passionate About/ What New Information Do We Need?


7. ANNOUNCEMENTS: Next meeting is on: August 5, 2018 at Workshop Brewery



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