The secretive GOP
The July 3 Wisconsin State Journal headline read: “Republicans vote to dramatically scale back oversight of lawmakers, other public officials.”
I am angry! No other state has legislation anything like this — an attempt to block scrutiny of lawmakers’ communications and planning with regard to what our government is doing. What are they saying and planning that needs to be hidden from the eyes of the people who voted them into office? Who are they serving — “we, the people” or “them, the privileged few?”
If what our legislators are saying and doing is something which they don’t want us to see, why is that? I’m sure it is not for our protection, but more for theirs, to keep us from knowing what they are planning until it is done, so that we can’t protest to keep it from happening.
How did Wisconsin get to this sorry, sorry place in just a few short years? Our Republican legislators, both representatives and senators, need to know that this legislation is unacceptable. I think they already know how bad this is, since none of them will own up to proposing it. Find out who your elected officials are and let them know that secrecy is not the Wisconsin way.
Save our state!
‘Stupid and/or lazy’
It is not often that I become disgusted enough to write my opinion to the newspaper.
Two examples of my reason for writing are: the latest Republican attempt to exclude the voter from the job of watching the political actions of our elected “representatives,” and the attempt to sneak this sweeping legislation past the voters in this democracy is more than disgusting. It is a clear example of how far the current Republican legislators are willing to go to insure they are not held accountable for their actions. This legislative season has been a disaster.
It is clear the Republicans think the voters who elected them are stupid and/or lazy. They made their contempt worse by having a “faulty memory” when asked who were the authors of the destruction of the open records laws in Wisconsin. The very method of inserting this legislation in the budget bill was one of trying to escape the oversight of the voter since it would not be debated nor would it have a public hearing. These actions are then made worse when the Republicans who inserted this dumbing-down of Wisconsin claimed they did not do it to cause their actions to be hidden from the voter.
I have news for the Republican legislators! We, the persons who put them in office, can vote them out of office. We are not stupid nor are we lazy. I suggest you try to find your “faulty memory” and remember all those responsible for this “budget proposal.” I realize you do not have the intestinal fortitude to do this, so I further suggest you take one honorable action and announce now that you will not seek to be re-elected to your current position or any other elected position in 2016.
A bad budget too
We have been carefully observing the process as the reality of the 2015–17 state budget proposal has been revealed. There are almost too many terrible things to count in this disgusting excuse for a budget. A budget is no place for policy issues ... a budget should be about fiscal items alone. Proposals regarding serious policy changes should be wide open for statewide discussion, and even referendum, to the entire voting populace.
Let us mention just a few of the things in this budget proposal which have our serious attention:
• Aside from being vehemently opposed to budget cuts to our precious public schools and the UW System, we are opposed to the dismantling of the Milwaukee Public Schools, as well as increased funding through vouchers for charter and private schools. In our opinion, our government “representatives” have no business using our tax dollars for vouchers to families seeking private education through religious schools, as this constitutes a clear violation of the precepts of the separation of church and state. It is so patently obvious that the Wisconsin GOP has chosen to undermine the very fabric of our public school system in order to create failure. This is unacceptable.
We are also vehemently opposed to the repeal of the prevailing wage law and the approval of a seven-day work week. Piece by piece, the Wisconsin GOP is succeeding in taking our state backwards, and each and every one of you who vote for these preposterous changes should be deeply ashamed.
Both of us were happy to see the tremendously negative response to changes that were buried in the budget proposal at the 11th hour, just before the July 4 weekend. We will continue to be opposed to any future attempts at making changes to Wisconsin’s Open Records Law, a law that presently gives the citizenry the ability to know what their “representatives” are up to in our names. We will also continue to be opposed to any future attempts at changing guidelines regarding oversight of the Wisconsin Retirement System, a system that has worked extraordinarily well for the past 70-plus years, and is a model program highly regarded throughout our nation as well as internationally.
In our opinion, it is high time our “representatives” stopped lock-stepping with the desires of corporate overlords and started looking out for the interests of the State of Wisconsin and her people.
Make no mistake ... both of us vote in each and every election. We are watching.
Jeff and Cindy Schave
Gold for Steve?
I was impressed by Steve Prestegard’s editorial last week, “Chapter 19.31.” Not for its content but as a perfect example of “The Old Switcheroo.”
When Gov. Scott Walker and his crew was caught slipping a proposal into the budget that would do away with the Open Records Law, nobody was surprised. After all, it was just one more slathering of icing on a very bad tasting cake. People were outraged though. Including, presumably, Steve Prestegard. So he took Walker and crew to task in his editorial. Well ... kind of.
What looked at first like a reasoned letter on the disgusting move by Walker soon began to change into an accusatory bit on completely unrelated Democratic politicians including Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. He even managed to pull Bill Clinton into his discussion. Perhaps dragging others into your own mess is in the DNA of politics. But just because it can’t be helped doesn’t mean we shouldn’t recognize it in all its forms. In this case, “The Old Switcheroo.”
The downside of all of this is Scott Walker has again proven himself unworthy of the people of Wisconsin. The plus side is that if they’re giving out medals for editorial gymnastics our very own Steve Prestegard takes the gold!
In these days and times it seems like only bad news makes the newspaper. I wanted to recognize two people who did the right thing last month. Iowa–Grant Elementary School sometimes recognizes students on the daily announcements as having been “caught doing something good,” and so I wanted to thank these individuals publicly.
First, I lost a $50 gift card to Farm & Fleet at the Southwestern baseball game between Iowa–Grant and Southwestern. I knew I had the card with me as I was planning on stopping after the game. When I got to the store I realized I had lost it. I figured it was lost forever as the dollar amount was printed right on the card. However, when I contacted the school, I was told that it had been turned in by a teacher’s aide named Ms. Robson. I hope the Southwestern School District appreciates having individuals on staff like Ms. Robson who influence the students around them every day.
Then my toolbox fell out the back of my son’s truck on his way across town. We retraced his route of only a few blocks, but could not find it. My wife put a notice at the local grocery store and a few days later Mr. John Hooks called and said he had picked it up and returned it to me.
In these days of constant news coverage of all the “bad news” in the world, we can lose sight of the genuine goodness of people. I know I can. These two individuals have done more than return property to me; they have in some small way changed the way I look at the world.
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 determines 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.