3-23-11 letters

Dear Town of Corning Residents,
My name is Brad Kanitz, and I want to introduce myself as a candidate for the Corning Town Chairman position in the upcoming April 5, 2011 election. I am very excited about this opportunity! Right now, I believe that our Township needs strong leadership that is open and transparent, while being fiscally responsible with our tax dollars. I have written a letter directly to all of you as residents of the Town of Corning – you will be receiving this letter in the next few days in the mail. This letter outlines my thoughts regarding what I believe we should all expect out of our community government, as well as my intentions as Chairman, if I am elected. If you have any questions, please reach out to me anytime at 715-536-2618. Thank you for your time and your vote!
Brad Kanitz
Town of Corning

Dear Editor,
I can no longer remain silent as I now read that after the public unions have lost their fight in Congress, they are now taking the fight to the streets by boycotting firms that donated to the Walker campaign. Do they not realize that these same firms pay taxes to help keep paying for their salaries and generous benefits? Do they care that these firms employ their friends and neighbors, and most likely family members? Do they want all of them to suffer or possibly be unemployed?
The letter sent to these contributors reads in part: “The undersigned groups would like you to publicly oppose Governor Walker’s efforts to virtually eliminate collective bargaining by public employees in Wisconsin.” It continues, “we ask for your response by March 17” and “In the event that you cannot support this effort to save collective bargaining, please be advised that the undersigned will publicly and formally boycott the goods and services provided by your company.” Signed by James L. Pawlmer, Executive Director Wisconsin Professional Police Association, Mahlon Mitchell, President Professional Fire Fighers, Jim Conway, President International Association of Fire Fighters Local 311, John Matthews, Executive Director Madison Teachers, Inc., Keith Patt, Executive Director Green Bay Education Association, Bob Richardson, President Dane County Deputy Sheriff’s Association, Dan Frei, President Madison Professional Police Officers Association.
Is this what Wisconsin has come to, intimidation and extorsion by our public employees? I contacted by Senator, Jim Holperin, regarding these tactics of the unions against many of the businesses in his district. He told me he felt that they, the unions, had to do whatever was necessary and write a letter to voice my opinion.
The Democrats in Congress are crying foul over the way the budget repair bill was passed. The Democratic Senators were the ones that ignored the November elections and shirked their duties by leaving the state to avoid a vote. Senator Holperin told me it was to give his constituents time to become more familiar with what was in the bill. I think that after three weeks the whole world knew what was in the bill. They still showed no sign of returning to Madison to do the job they were elected to do and, thankfully, the Republicans found a way to move forward without them.
Speaking of crying foul, I think it is important to remind people of the fact that the public unions had been negotiating, no doubt “in good faith,” with the Democratic governor, senate and assembly for many months without reaching an agreement. That is, until the November elections and all of Congress became a Republican majority. They, the unions, then immediately agreed to a contract that would have added as much as $154 million to our debt. In a lame duck session the Democratic Congress tried to jam this contract into law. The Bill passed in the assembly by a vote of 48-47 with the deciding vote being cast by Assemblyman Jeff Wood who had to be released from jail to come to Madison to vote. The bill stalled in the Senate when two Democratic Senators who had been defeated in the November elections developed backbones and found their consciences and voted against it. It became deadlocked in the Senate 16-16, thank you Senators Jeff Plale and Russ Decker.
Is the bill that has now been signed by Governor Walker really about collective bargaining? The federal public employees don’t have collective bargaining rights and we know they receive fair salaries and good benefits. Or is it that the union bosses are afraid that some of their members will wake up and realize that they do not agree with the union policies and may decide not to send in their dues. As former Chief Council Bob Chanin of the National Education Association was quoted as saying, “It is not because we care about children. And it is not because we have a vision of a great public school for every child. NEA and its affiliates are effective advocates because we have power. And we have power because there are more than 3.2 million people who are willing to pay us hundreds of millions of dollars in dues each year.” I think the “willing” part of his comment should be replaced with “required,” just as union members were required to show up at the protests in Madison. I personally talked with a private union member who is currently laid off and was told he had to report in to Madison. Governor Walker’s bill does not take away the right to belong to the union, it just gives the members the freedom to choose whether they want to be a part of the union and send in their dues. Isn’t that what our country stands for – freedom?
Iva Fernholz

On March 15, 2011, the Lincoln County Board met at the PCA building in Tomahawk for their monthly board meeting. Prior to the board meeting commencing, I signed a form at the front door indicating that I desired to speak to the County Board. Chairman Robert Lussow presided over the County Board.
I desired to speak to the County Board about continuing collective bargaining rights for the hard working public employees of Lincoln County. The employees who plow your roads, perform critical clerical functions, take care of the elderly and disabled and guard the imprisoned. I simply wished to exercise my right to speak to the people duly elected to represent the interests of the people of Lincoln County.
I waited for my turn to speak at the end of the meeting. Along with me were 100 dedicated public employees from Lincoln County. Chairman Lussow moved to adjourn the meeting without any consideration to the paper I signed evincing my intent to speak. I rose to be recognized. Chairman Lussow recognized me and as I began to speak, he informed me that I could not speak as I was “out of order.” I respectfully addressed Chairman Lussow and indicated my reason for speaking. I was not loud or disrespectful or “out of order” in any form or fashion. Chairman Lussow verbally chastised me in public and began to gesticulate in an unfriendly and unprofessional manner. I was aghast at the blatant disrespect an elected official showed to a member of the public. He suppressed public comment and shut down any discussion of a most important issue I wished to speak on. Ultimately, Chairman Lussow adjourned the board meeting to which I invited board members to talk to their workforce who was in attendance. Approximately seven board members stayed after the board meeting. County Board member Alber was instrumental in encouraging other board members to talk to their workforce. He is to be commended for his leadership which Chairman Lussow lacked at this meeting. The ensuing meeting was open and honest with the vexing problems that confront us. During a time in which open and honest dialogue is needed, Chairman Lussow failed to lead and engaged openly in contempt for the citizens of Lincoln County.
John Spiegelhoff

Letter to the Editor:
The Merrill Community is fortunate to have Jodie Renaud running for Board of Education. Jodie is an attorney and has practiced law in Merrill for many years. Her specialty is family law and she is trained in mediation. She will be a calm, professional, intelligent, educated voice of reason on the Board and is the obvious candidate to help lead MAPS through these challenging times.
Please consider her when voting April 5th – along with current School Board President Jeff Verdoorn and Keith Schmelling. For more information attend the School Board Candidate Forum March 23rd in the Merrill High auditorium at 6:30 p.m.
Robert Weaver

The “North Woodies” Ladies Ducks Unlimited would like to say “thank you” to the businesses, individuals that donated, as well as the ladies that attended our banquet to make it a huge success!
Linda Blake
Chairperson and D.U. Committee
First Street Coffee Station in Merrill received the following letter from an out-of-town visitor recently:
Dear First Street Coffee Station,
A few months ago, I left my wallet at your coffee shop. I was driving back to Madison from a weekend up north and was two hours away before I realized that I no longer had my wallet. I was thankful that when I called you, you had found the wallet and were willing to return it to me by mail. For the next few weeks, I couldn’t stop telling the story about how I recovered my wallet with everything intact. This incident reminded me of why I love Wisconsin – the people here are good, friendly, and honest. Thank you for reminding me of one of the many reasons why I love this state. And, thank you for returning my wallet.
Paula Bigham

I would like to take this time to share my opinion about our Merrill School Board. As a current board member I am proud to be a part of this diverse group of people. With the leadership of board president Jeff Verdoorn, the school board makes decisions by keeping students and taxpayers in mind. Many of you have seen the quality of Mr. Verdoorn’s leadership at our monthly meetings. He allows and encourages other board members to research and share their findings on topics with the entire board. In recent months, this school board has had to recruit and hire a new superintendent, analyze the curriculum of the Human Growth and Development program, and create a district plan given current state budget restrictions. Despite these challenges, this group of people works well together to resolve issues. I feel that the people of this school district are very fortunate to have the leadership and direction that this current school board provides. Thank you for your continued support and interest in current district issues.
William Jaeger

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