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Letters to The Platteville Journal for Feb. 19
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Council conduct

Having reviewed the recording of the Common Council’s Jan. 28 meeting, on Jan. 31 I was very upset as to the actions of Ald. Dick Bonin.

While Mr. Richard Christensen was speaking, after the council president recognized him and allowed him to use his First Amendment Right of Free Speech and Redress of Government, Mr. Bonin rose out of his chair and chastised Mr. Christensen by yelling at him and informed him that speaking in front of the council was a privilege and not a right.
Obviously Ald. Bonin does not know the difference between a right and a privilege. I repeat the definition, Mr. Bonin, so you can study them and remember what you have learned.

According to the Webster’s Basic Dictionary, the definition of the word “right” is straight, true, proper, and correct. The definition of the word “privilege” is a right or an advantage belonging to a person or class.

As Americans we all have certain rights given to us under the Bill of Rights, which is represented in the first 10 amendments of the U.S. Constitution, something that every elected official has sworn to uphold.

According to the Bill of Rights Institute, the First Amendment says “Congress shall make no laws representing the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise of thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or the press; or the right of peaceably assemble, and to petition the government for the redress of grievances.” This information should have been ingrained into each and every student who has completed the first five years of schooling.

A privilege is something that our city manager gives to everyone who says they want to buy industrial land in this town, the privilege to purchase land for $1 an acre, and the city will even pay 50 percent of the closing costs.

Land in the industrial area costs approximately $35,000 per acre, and even if we sold it for 50 percent of that it would still be $17,500 per acre.

Just think that if our Common Council were to have sold the properties for, let’s say $10,000 per acre, the city would have made $230,000 to put in Platteville coffers instead of the $23. How many streets do you think that could pave?

Mr. Bonin has not knowledge of what is going on in this city and has not from day one of his council term ever been honest with the people of Platteville. I for one have heard him making derogatory remarks while I was speaking and using my constitutional right of redressing our city government.

I was not going to write this type of letter, but after seeing the YouTube recording (which you can see yourself at and then viewing it again as I write this letter, I could not let the information to the residents of Platteville think that all is right in city hall.

It was Mr. Bonin himself who said not too long ago that the city council is proving everyone with the correct information. Then why change the recordings — and recordings appear to me to have been changed — if you are telling us the truth? This is not the first time I have seen changes made, but I thought it was only to save face of the candidate, who lost the election, who made the remarks.

I want to remind everyone that these are my comments and they are protected under the First Amendment Rights of The Constitution of the United States of America.

I would like to have your comments on the actions of our Common Council.

Michael V. Mayo
375 S. Chestnut St., Platteville

Kendall’s records

Dark shadows continue to hang over the Town of Kendall.

After the Feb. 10 meeting, in the blackness of night, a notice for public records was posted stating “The cost of locating a record will be charged $20 per hour with each request being billed to the nearest 15 minutes.”

Once again, town officials have violated Wisconsin statutes. The Attorney General Public Records Compliance Statute, page 53, is quite clear: A custodian can charge for location only if the cost is $50 or more.

According to the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council, this means the town cannot charge anyone location costs unless it determines, at the rate it has set, that it will take more than 2½ hours to locate the records. Then and only then can it charge.

Already under fire for violating Open Meeting and Open Records laws, officials continue to impede residents’ quests for open, ethical government.

The new public records ordinance did not have a first or second reading and zero public input.

Wisconsin Statutes have an enlightening section titled “Code of Ethics for Public Officials and Employees.” These ethics say our elected officials should have “high and moral standards … to help them improve standards of public service and promote and strengthen the faith and confidence of the people … ‘’

The improper, secretive and sometimes illegal methods Kendall officials perpetrate violates the high and moral standards set forth in state Statutes.

More than that, trust is vanishing faster than snowbanks in July. The highest tribute to trust is that someone will do right. It’s that simple.

Colleen and Don Schultz
Mineral Point

Audit the Fed

There is no greater engine of income inequality than the Federal Reserve system. It creates money out of thin air to benefit high-income folks on and around Wall Street. While this may have some stimulative effect on the economy, the benefits are not equally distributed. Investment banks and trading firms enjoy this stimulus, allowing them to pay huge bonuses. Meanwhile, Main Street languishes.

The Federal Reserve has been buying up mortgage backed securities at the rate of $45 billion per month. This relieves traders of risk for bad loans. Money injected at the high end tends to drive all prices up. This price inflation hurts low and middle income people most by making their dollars worth less.

The Federal Reserve Transparency Act, H.R. 24, currently has 184 co-sponsors. The  bill proposes a full audit of the Federal Reserve. This and similar bills in previous sessions have gained bipartisan support. Always absent from the list of co-sponsors is our own Representative Ron Kind. Ron is wrong to place the interests of Wall Street above those of his own constituents in Wisconsin’s Third District.

Ken Van Doren
Republican candidate for Congress
Third Congressional District

Winter and eagles

Well, another winter is with us and this time it is starting earlier, both snowier and colder. This cold weather is definitely having an effect on the bald eagle’s wintering along the Mississippi River.

On Dec. 11, U.S. Army Corps personnel from Dubuque to New London, Ill., counted 2,205 birds with an immature ratio of 35 percent. In past years there were only a few hundred that early in the season. In fact, one week before on Dec. 4 only 50 had been seen in this same section of the river, so over 2000 eagles had moved into this section of the Mississippi River in one week.

This number had dropped by almost 400 birds by Dec. 18 to 1,810. On Jan. 1 they counted the most bald eagles they have ever recorded on one day, 3,859, with an immature ratio of almost 31 percent.

I am looking forward to seeing the results of ENF’s Annual Midwinter Bald Eagle Count Jan. 25–26. It will be interesting to see if these birds are still here, or if they have died, or moved to other areas? It all depends on whether they will be able to find food in the area in which they are now living.

With the continuing cold weather, the river will remain frozen to very close to the dams. Will there be enough fish in this small area of open water near each dam to feed that many birds? All of the eagles will be stressed and many may be forced to move away from the river to find food.

If they do not find the necessary daily food which they need to survive the eagles will have to use some of the stored fat in their bodies to stay alive. When they use this stored fat they will be releasing the chemicals, such as DDT and glyphosate (Roundup), that have been chemically combined within that fat. We do know that most every adult eagle that has been tested has some amount of DDT stored within its fat, as the chemical is still in the environment and is constantly working its way up the food chain.

If the chemical is DDT, the amount that will be released at one time may be great enough to kill the bird immediately, or render it sterile for the next breeding season, or even render the bird sterile for life. We do not know the effect that the glyphosate will have on the bird as no studies have yet been done. And we definitely do not know what will be the effect of both chemicals being released at the same time.

We have had basically “easy” winters for several years. This winter seems to be very similar to the winters we had back in the early 1960s when I first started to study the bald eagle.

I well remember camping out overnight in a blind or tent near the feeding areas, or roosting areas, when the temperature would drop to 10 to 15 degrees below zero. Combine these severe winters with the bald eagles’ contaminated fat and the result could be lethal to many birds. We just have to wait and see.

We do know that bald eagles in Idaho and Utah are dying from some mysterious ailment. There are many theories floating around about the cause, but could they be having problems because the birds do not have the fat stores they need to survive the bad weather?

Could the fat that they do have stored in their bodies be contaminated with DDT, glyphosate or some other chemical, that is killing them? I am not sure the lab will be wanting to point its finger at any chemical company as being the cause of the problem. Maybe they will be able to see what food the eagles have been eating to see if that has been killing the birds.

Our woods are being denuded, our fencerows removed, our roadsides cleared and mowed, and agricultural poisons may be found in the ground, in the air and in the water, everywhere we turn. What chance do any birds or any wildlife have for survival as they can no longer find the proper habitat including cover and a good food source which they need the year round? When will man wake up and realize what he is doing to the world around us?

I know farmers who believe that every tree should be bulldozed — that the only good tree is a dead tree. Even dead trees play a vital role in the environment as they provide homes for birds and other wildlife and when they do fall they break down and create some of the needed humus in the soil. I have seen some of the unique plants like coral root and Indian pipes which grow only where certain trees used to grow because of what is in the soil from the trees.

Everyone sits around complaining about how our rights are constantly being taken away from us each day as the government gets more obtrusive in our lives watching everything we do. Where are the concerns for our wildlife?

Terrence N. Ingram
Eagle Nature Foundation, Ltd.
Apple River, Ill.

The Platteville Journal will print most letters to the editor, regardless of the opinion presented. The Journal reserves the right to edit material that is libelous or otherwise offensive to community standards and to shorten letters the Journal feels are excessively long. All letters must be signed and the signature must appear on the printed letter, along with a contact number or email for verification. Some submitted letters may not be published due to space constraints. “Thank you” letters will not be printed. All letters and columns represent the views of the writers and not necessarily the views of The Platteville Journal.