Don't introduce tree
I'm writing to urge reconsideration of the plan to replace Traverse City's dead and dying ash trees with potentially invasive alien Callery (Bradford) pear trees.
While some cultivars of this species are sterile, recently introduced cultivars developed to resist splitting caused by winter conditions (important in our area) are known to have produced viable seeds, facilitating spread of this invasive species to surrounding areas.
This tree is such a significant problem that it was chosen as the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service's "Weed of the Week" in September 2005; see: http://www.na.fs.fed.us/fhp/invasive_plants/weeds/callery_pear.pdf.
Our region is becoming a leader in urgently needed efforts to eradicate numerous alien invasive plant species, many introduced as visually attractive but ultimately undesirable landscape plants.
There are several suitable alternatives, highly ornamental Michigan native trees that could be used instead.
Why should Traverse City become part of a serious (and expensive) environmental problem when it could just as easily become part of the long-term solution?
Michael C. Davis
Ad not xenophobic
The ceaseless yells of "racism" are tiresome.
Pete Hoekstra's ad is not racist or xenophobic, nor does it portray any stereotypes.
It's hardly surprising that a Chinese woman would speak English with an accent. Most Chinese do. I know. I've been there multiple times and interacted with many Chinese nationals.
The ad makes a very good point about our nation's out-of-control spending and the dependence it creates on foreign money.
It's also not surprising that some would claim offense.
Sadly, finding offense with inherently inoffensive speech or action is becoming the American way.
John Michael Casteel