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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR (March 8, 2017)

Morality vs. ethics

TO THE EDITOR

Doing something you know is wrong shows your lack of morality; bragging about it says you lack ethics.

Recently, I discovered the "Notice of Nomination" used by our village to place candidates on the ballot was revised. Mr. Robert Loberg, Village Attorney for Bay City, states in a letter addressed to the editor of the Pierce County Herald: "I drafted, and provided her (Ms. Shawnie King) the ‘Notice of Nomination’ used at the caucus." He claims Ms. King "requested" his assistance?   Really? Ms. King requested a new notice?

The problem occurs in the "drafting" of this document. The original, used for years, contained instructions for candidates about requirements to file certain documents, and the timelines for doing so, in order for candidates to be placed on the ballot. Fail to file, you're not on the ballot. Mr. Loberg's new "Notice of Nomination" didn't contain those instructions.  

We could speculate forever about his reasons. He claims he tried to help. Who was he helping? Not Ms. King. She's now the subject of complaints filed with the Wisconsin Elections Commission because the three new candidates were not "informed," as required in the "Procedures for Nomination of Candidates by Caucus," written by the W.E.C. Maybe he was trying to help Mr. Turvaville, and maybe even himself? Years of holding office meant incumbents knew the requirements. They're on the ballot. And, as usual, with no opposition appearing on the ballot, Mr. Turvaville's chances of being reelected are increased. And if Mr. Turvaville is re-elected, Mr. Loberg retains the village legal business.

There are two questions here: Why did this document require revisions? And why was Mr. Loberg, not an "Election Official," allowed to revise it? While it's speculation, it's easy to suspect the revision had other intentions. Perhaps intentionally preventing certain candidates from being "informed" of the requirements to file the documents? Perhaps intentionally trying to keep new candidates off the ballot? Perhaps intentionally trying to keep incumbents in office? Is this the kind of "help" Bay City deserves? No! Bay City deserves better.

Kent Carlson, Bay City

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Government transparency

TO THE EDITOR

The state Assembly Committee on Local Government will hold a public hearing on Wednesday, March 8 on a bill that would give local governments the option to stop publishing a summary of their actions in your newspaper. Assembly Bill 70 would allow local municipalities to post meeting minutes on their websites instead.

This is bad public policy under the guise of saving taxpayer dollars that would create considerable disruption for government transparency. Supporters of Assembly Bill 70 suggest local government websites are sufficient to notify the public of their actions and that publishing meeting minutes in the newspaper limits access only to newspaper subscribers.

The fact is, however, that all legal notices published throughout the state since 2005 are already available for free to the public through WisconsinPublicNotices.org. This comprehensive, searchable website hosted by the Wisconsin newspaper industry brings together ink-on-paper notices into one online location. This service is provided at no cost to local municipalities.

The goal of WisconsinPublicNotices.org is to enhance government’s distribution of public information and assist citizens who want to know more about the actions of their local, county and state representatives. This permanent, third-party documentation — unalterable and independent of government itself — ensures the protection of “your right to know” for each and every citizen.

For years, this relationship between newspapers, local municipalities and WisconsinPublicNotices.org has successfully provided easy access to government information for all citizens, whether they seek it in print or online. Removing existing publication requirements would create holes in this invaluable statewide database while also neglecting the needs of those who lack adequate computer and internet access.

Please tell your legislators to oppose this unnecessary barrier to government transparency.

Beth Bennett, Executive Director, Wisconsin Newspaper Association

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Who had the real mess?

TO THE EDITOR

Mr. Trump attempts to explain away the inept roll out of his administration by stating that, "We inherited a real mess!" That is his judgment call. Here are some comparisons.

In 2008-09, the BLS reported that private sector job losses during the presidential transition, November, December and January were minus-766,000, minus-694,000, and minus-793,000 respectively. In 2016-17, they were a plus-164,000, plus-157,000, and plus-227,000. The DJIA after hitting a record high of 12,000 in October 2006 tumbled to 7,949 on Jan. 20, 2009. It was 18,000 on Nov. 2, 2016. In 2008-09, pension plans and personal assets were in a steep slide.  The opposite is true in 2016-17.

Bankruptcies in 2008 were up 77 percent. Foreclosures were up 81 percent and a whopping 225 percent from 2006, and down 27.3 percent from the 2010 high in 2016, according to "Corelogic."  "Business Insider" assessed the U.S. auto industry on the "...verge of collapse" in 2008. In 2016, the auto industry recorded its seventh straight year of growth with the highest sales on record.

The ACA has a lot of problematic issues but, surprisingly, the rate of health insurance price increases were actually less from 2008-16 then from 2000-08! Additionally, millions more have health insurance than did in 2008.

Foreign policy issues were no less troubling in 2008, with two active wars going on, then they are now. Immigration issues were about as unsettled in 2008, as in the present, and divisions in the political landscape are about the same. So in those areas Trump got about the same mess Obama did.

But which economy is the "real mess," the one in 2008, or the one in 2016? If Trump claims he has a "real mess" it must be of his own making with poor planning, poor appointments and bad ideas.

Ron Ginsbach, Elmwood

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Judge people, not guns

TO THE EDITOR

Hunting seasons are about ended. Millions of hours were spent shooting long guns and handguns. Apart from a few accidents, no one was hurt. No one, simply because they owned an “assault-type weapon,” went on a rampage.

A federal appeals court covering several southeastern states ruled (an apropos term!) recently that the most popular rifle sold today, the “AR” style, with large-capacity magazine, is not covered by the Second Amendment. Ten of 14 judges ruled that this firearm is to be classified as a “weapon of war,” and is to be deemed illegal to own (like machine guns and bazookas). Keep in mind that one of the purposes of the Second Amendment is to have a defense-ready populace.

If the object of this latest installment of the DFL “gun control” offensive is really to prevent death, consider that innocents are much, much more likely to be killed by a drunk driver.

Last year Iowa Public Radio aired an interview with an Illinois legislator whose young relative was killed by a relative wielding a handgun. The thrust of the interview was anti-handgun ownership. Ironically, the commercial message that followed was for an eatery that brewed its own beer. If you think drinking must be allowed because of concern for freedom, let that which is less dangerous, firearm ownership, be allowed for the same reason.

If breweries and bar patrons are not to be judged as enablers too, and held co-accountable for, what an individual patron does, do not penalize gun manufacturers and firearm owners for an individual’s reckless misuse of a gun.

Preserve American liberty and honor the Constitution, or stop drinking and refuse any monetary benefit from the alcohol trade.

Bruce King, Prescott

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Who is Stanley?

TO THE EDITOR

The reading of last week’s Stanley letter in the March 1 Herald is quite necessary to know the full intent of the letter before you.

Al Gore won the popular vote by 544,000-plus votes in 2000 and Hillary Clinton won the 2016 election by some 3 million votes.

So who are the real winners and who really won those elections? What would George Washington conclude about Electoral College elections? Would Washington outright abolish the system as it is?

I sure would like to know that and how the early framers decided the need for this election process: Would they stick to such procedures of the Electoral College that are still in existence today?

By the year 1900, there were over 125 American manufacturers producing steam cars or horseless carriages. Every imaginative soul was tinkering in the buggy garage out back to make a mode of travel that you no longer had to tie the horse or pony to and clean up behind them afterwards. Electric autos, combustion explosives engines and steam autos were cobbled together in many of these sheds. Some came out successes and most went by the wayside.

Twin brothers Freelan and Francis Stanley were inventors who produced patents. In 1897, they produced a prototype carriage propelled by steam and made numerous others as a commercial business venture that year. They became the largest auto maker in the United States for several years, making 500 to 750 autos a year called the Stanley Steamer.

But lurking in the country was a feller named Henry Ford. By 1914 he was making Model Ts, twice as many in one day as the Stanleys made in a year. Only three years later, the Stanleys sold the Stanley motor works and one brother died of an accident the following year. Seven years passed and the new owners ran the motor works into the ground in 1924 and so ended production of the very famous Stanley Steamer.

The Steamer is history but hey, the old jokes are still around. What are you getting all steamed up about?

Around 1917, the Electoral College should’ve been shelved along with the Stanley Steamer. Now know the Stanley guy.

Frank Falkofske, Ellsworth
Sarah Nigbor

Sarah J. Nigbor serves as a regional editor for RiverTown Multimedia, a position she began in April 2017. She joined RiverTown Multimedia in October 2013 as a news reporter for the New Richmond News, before being appointed editor of the Pierce County Herald in Febraury 2015. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Spanish and French in 2001. She completed a minor in journalism in 2004. 

(715) 273-4334
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