By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Platteville Journal Letters to the Editor for Sept. 19
Placeholder Image

More on Skubal’s letter

I share Mr. Skubal’s concern (Letters, Aug. 22) about the sea of ignorance on which we seem to be sailing. In trying to determine truth, people often accept opinion as fact. Opinions are interesting and can motivate us to question, but opinions are not facts. They do not lead us to the knowledge we need to make informed choices.

For instance, Mr. Skubal claims that “80 percent of all media sources have a liberal bias.” Is that opinion or fact? Based on what research? What is a liberal bias? Does it exist when the facts don’t square with what we want to believe? And does any critical thinker go to Fox News for unbiased reporting?

As for the perplexing question of those women out there and what motivates them to vote the way they do, the answer is not complicated. Women want to be treated fairly in this society. They want equal legal status (the Equal Rights Amendment), they want equity when they pay their insurance premiums, they want access to full health care that does not discriminate against them for being female, they want equity in employment opportunities and in pay. That’s the short list.

I also agree that this upcoming election is critically important. In November voters will have a choice between two very different visions for this country. One vision is based on the idea of the freedom of the individual to pursue any possibility once the government gets out of the way. Don’t tax me, don’t regulate me, don’t make me responsible for anyone else, watch me capture the American dream. We call this the YOYO philosophy: You’re On Your Own.

An alternate vision involves the belief in the common wealth. We are all part owners in the heritage passed on to us from the hard work of those who came before us. This vision declares that the function of government is to foster the communal society in which we share resources, and care about our fellow citizens about the planet we inhabit. Dissenters try to demonize this vision by calling it socialism. We call it WITT: We’re In This Together.

Hopefully, while we’re fighting ignorance, we become aware of the need to nurture the common wealth we have inherited from people’s working together from a common good, not individual gain at the expense of our fellow creatures.

So fight the good fight, Mr. Skubal, and more power to you.

Marilyn Gottschalk
235 Virgin Ave., Platteville

A vote for May-Grimm

Corporations are not people, and government is not a business. Republicans’ acting as if they are is costing us dearly.

Rep. Marklein touts his “careful eye of the accountant” as equipping him to “fix” the state budget. So what did he and his Republican colleagues in the state Legislature do? They chose the worst economic downturn in 75 years to “fix” the state budget by making devastating cuts in vital programs.

The billion dollars sliced from school aids alone not only further depressed Wisconsin’s economy in the short run, but undercut the main source of future economic growth, educated workers.

We need representatives who understand our public policy priorities and are willing to make common sense decisions, not apply mechanical budgeting principles designed for business models. That’s why Maureen May-Grimm is the best choice for the 51st Assembly District.

John Simonson
Mineral Point
Simonson was a candidate for the 51st Assembly District in 2010. Marklein defeated Simonson.

“Better off”

The recent political conventions raised the question: “Are you better off today than you were four years ago?”

The answers depend on whom you ask. A lot of people are still hurting from unemployment, underemployment, underwater mortgages or crushing debt. But most of the United States is better off today in many ways than it was four years ago when we teetered on the brink of another huge depression.

Under George W. Bush the nation lost 646,000 private-sector jobs. Under President Obama the country gained 332,000 jobs. Can you imagine what Wisconsin’s economy would be like without an American auto manufacturing industry?

Thank you, President Obama, for saving it. Millions of young Americans receive health care on their parents’ insurance plans, one of the many benefits of “Obamacare.”

The Obama administration still has a long way to go before the incredible mess he inherited is cleaned up, and fairness, equality and growth return. But we’re moving in the right direction. I intend to vote to give Obama the four more years he’ll need to get the job done. And I’ll vote for Tammy Baldwin to support him in the Senate, because you can bet that the 2012 version of Tommy Thompson will vote against progress every time.

Here in Wisconsin it’s another story. We are definitely not better off than we were before Governor Walker was elected.

And we’re going in the wrong direction. We cannot improve education in Southwestern Wisconsin by taking money from public schools and giving it to voucher schools in the Milwaukee area.  Under Gov. Walker, Wisconsin has turned down $1.3 billion in federal money for broadband in schools and libraries, for high speed rail construction jobs, medical assistance, job training for the disabled, child support enforcement and other programs. Why? Ask Rep. Marklein. He’s Governor Walker’s close pal and devoted supporter.

My wife and I were gerrymandered out of the 51st district this year. But I know Maureen “Mo” May-Grimm well, and I’m urging voters in the district to elect her to replace Howard Marklein in the state assembly. Mo knows the community. She has the common sense and business sense to do what’s best for ordinary, hard-working people of Wisconsin.

Bill Spevacek
Mineral Point

Level 3 vs. Level 4

I was surprised to read your article on Wednesday afternoon when I received my copy of the Sept. 12 Journal. My surprise was not that you reported, accurately, that I cast the only dissenting vote on the motion to change aspects of the Co-curricular Activities Code and the Student Conduct and Discipline Plan Policies, but that it was reported so badly out of context. I am particularly concerned since you were personally present for the discussion on the motion, and yet failed to note that discussion in your reporting on it.

In that discussion I expressly stated that I agreed with and supported the change to our Code required to bring the District in line with WIAA Rules, but that I objected to one of the other policy changes that had been included in the motion.

In your article you also failed to note the motion included several other changes to provisions of the current Co-curricular Code and the Student Conduct and Discipline Plan Policy. In particular the change I objected to concerned the move of alcohol related violations reducing them from a “Level Four Misconduct” violation to a “Level Three Misconduct” violation. This means that according to the new policy, “possession of alcohol or being under the influence of an alcoholic beverage” by a student at a school sponsored activity or on school grounds would no longer mean a mandatory expulsion of the student.

I believe, and stated so at the board meeting Monday evening, that this sends the wrong message to our students and their parents that we as a school district are not concerned about underage consumption of alcohol. I also stated that it would have been better to separate out these changes into separate motions so the WIAA required changes could be voted on separately since I supported that change to our policies.

Alcohol is an addictive and controlled substance, which, with few exceptions, is illegal for those under the age of 21 to purchase, possess or consume. It also changes mental and physical capacities of the user, often resulting in fatal car accidents, date rape, and other negative and/or tragic results.

The previous policy states that “The school board shall expel a pupil from school whenever it finds the pupil was in possession of a dangerous weapon, facsimile firearm, alcoholic beverage or illicit drug at school or at school functions.” The new Student and Discipline Plan Policy approved Sept. 10 now states that under a Level Three Misconduct “A student charged with the behaviors listed may be suspended from school for up to five days and may be recommended for expulsion.”

Those behaviors remaining in the Level Four Misconduct section of the new policy which require a five-day suspension and are required to be recommended for expulsion to the Platteville School Board include “possession of a weapon, possession of drugs other than alcohol, or being under the influence of any narcotic, controlled substance or other mind-altering drug or chemical … selling, delivering or possessing a controlled substance or illegal drug whether as the seller, purchaser, or intermediary facilitating the transaction.”

Alcohol is a controlled substance so it should, even under the wording of the revised policy, fall under a Level Four Violation. I point this out to show the inconsistency of moving the alcohol-specific violation out of Level Four to Level Three. There is certainly room for debate that a student involved in “… selling, delivering or possessing a controlled substance …” with that substance being alcohol would still fall under the Level Four Violation policy.

Additionally nowhere is it stated in the new policy who makes the recommendation for suspension or expulsion to the school board. Is it the superintendent? Is it the principal? Is it the activities director? It isn’t clear.

Underage consumption of alcohol is a problem in our community and moving it from Level Four to Level Three sends the wrong message to our youth and parents that the school district is not serious about confronting the issue of underage drinking.

Consider that this is also a legal matter.  We have an obligation to uphold the laws of the State of Wisconsin, and underage consumption of alcohol is illegal.

Clearly we have a problem with underage drinking in our community, as you noted on page 3A of the Sept. 12 Journal, and it is not exclusive to the university. How ironic that the article on page 2A reporting on the School Board vote to lessen the severity of consequences for underage drinking is almost directly opposite the article on page 3A with the headline “Busy week for alcohol violations,” which included many for underage drinking violations. But the general public and your readership would not have made that ironic connection since you failed to report the “whole story” regarding the changes voted on last week by the school board to the Student Activities Code and the Student Conduct and Discipline Plan Policies.

In the future it perhaps would be better if you included the “whole story,” rather than printing only part of it, thereby providing more accurate and complete information for your readers about what the actual issues are/were related to Platteville School Board member votes.

Eric W. Fatzinger
Platteville School Board

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.