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Letters to The Platteville Journal for Jan. 28
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As a long-time educator and resident of Platteville, I take great pride in our community and school. The recent events that have happened in our school district have me along with many citizens very concerned about the direction and misguidance from Superintendent Connie Valenza.

I recently addressed the school board on an issue that I felt was very serious regarding the chain of command that I always assumed was being followed in complaints. It is to my disbelief we have guidelines vs. policies. During the school board meeting on Jan. 12, through clarification by Superintendent Valenza, we don’t have to follow guidelines as established for the school district.

From the recent articles published in The Journal on the head volleyball coaching position, I have read several complaints and heard the community concerns. These have been addressed at school board meetings and have fallen on deaf ears.

School board policy 512 protects employees of the school district from bullying and harassment. After reading the article, I believe Coach Updike was bullied and harassed by not only a visitor, but also our superintendent through her handling and direction of this matter.

One would have to question the ethics and management style exhibited by Superintendent Valenza, including negative evaluations, correspondence, and procedures for hiring and termination of employees. These issues have definitely affected employee morale in a negative manner and created great concerns throughout not only this community, but also neighboring communities.

This can be demonstrated by eight people choosing to run in this upcoming election when in the past it has been hard to fill School Board seats. The number of resignations under Valenza’s tenure appear to be alarming to me and many concerned citizens.

In the spring of 2014 there was a survey conducted by the South West Education Association completed by the teachers. Were these results shared with the School Board and used in the evaluation of Superintendent Valenza?

Sue Wehnke

Raise billionaires’ taxes

Warren Buffett said, “Stop coddling billionaires.”

Anyone not voting in the last election may have enabled the election result to be opposite of the people’s wishes. Surveys show that most people believe that the tax rate for billionaires should be at least as high as the working middle class. They are not! The conservative majority newly elected in Congress is likely to keep the billionaire tax rate low or even give more tax breaks.

Conservatives keep easing the tax rate for billionaires because wealthy donors keep them in office. Big donors pay for attack ads that convince voters that both sides are corrupt so people don’t vote.
Buffett recommends higher rates for billionaires, but this can only happen if the majority votes for representatives who will act in the people’s interests.

Other items follow that most people support but conservatives oppose:
•    Energy independence, including use of renewable energy: Republicans want the Keystone pipeline to import Canadian oil.
•    Pollution control and clean water: Conservatives reduce regulations that keep air and water pure.
•    Public lands for public enjoyment: Conservatives want to open public lands to such polluting activities as oil drilling.

There are some hopeful signs, however. Recently moderate Republican women forced the men to back off from abortion legislation overly restrictive with women’s rights.

If you don’t like taxes, there is a good way to reduce taxes for middle income earners: vote for representatives who will stop coddling billionaires. Now we know what happens when people don’t vote.

John Hempstead
La Crosse

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.