Letters to the Editor
President Donald Trump has labeled the American news media as dishonest and the enemy of American people. He has also stated that the media is responsible for “fake news.”
Vladimir Putin, President of Russia doesn’t have these issues in his country for a number of reasons. Mainly because Russia does not allow Free Speech. Russia has national news service. The Russian government dictates what news can be published or broadcast. Thus the Russian government tells the media what they want the people to know and when.
President Trump doesn’t condone criticism of himself, his family, his policies, his businesses or his administration. If the media publishes or broadcasts news that Trump doesn’t like he labels it as “fake news” by the dishonest press.
It appears that President Trump would be much more comfortable if the United States had a news service like the Russian government. That way he could tell the American people whatever he wants to and when he wants to, without being criticized of fact checked.
That is not acceptable to me and it wasn’t to the founders of our great nation either. That is why they created the First Amendment to guarantee freedom of speech.
When I began the Merrill Skatepark Initiative in January of 2016, I did so for two reasons. The first was that I did not feel that the location of the current skatepark at the Hwy. 64 & Polk Street intersection was a safe location. Secondly, I felt that the state of the current skatepark was such that it needed to be replaced. It has been 8 months since I first presented the idea of building a modern skatepark in a different location to the Merrill Park & Rec Commission and on March 1st, the Commission voted to keep the skatepark at its current location. For this reason, my role in this project is finished. It is my hope that the City of Merrill, together with the Park & Rec Commission will find a feasible solution, as the skatepark is in urgent need of replacement. Given my persistence and many hours of effort, perhaps if nothing else, I have increased the awareness in this community and the City regarding the need for a new skatepark and the safety issues associated with the current location. I would like to thank the following people in particular for their support of my efforts throughout the past 8 months; The Merrill City Council, Stacy Stevens/Director of the TB Scott Library, Paul Russell/Alderman & Director of the Merrill Housing Authority, Justin Novitski/Director of the Otts Garage Youth Program, Mike Willman/Chairman of the Park & Rec Commission, and Dan Wendorf/Director of the Merrill Park & Rec.
To the Merrill Community, take care & God Bless each and every one of you.
A pair of recent Federal Court rulings have opened the door toward greater fairness in Wisconsin’s election process. On January 27, the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the WI state legislature must redraw the state’s gerrymandered legislative districts prior to the 2018 elections. That decision followed the court’s November 2016 ruling that Wisconsin’s most recent district map “constitutes an unconstitutional political gerrymander.” The three-judge panel was made up of two Republican appointees and one Democratic appointee.
The Court declared that Wisconsin’s gerrymandered legislative districts unfairly diluted the votes of over half of the state’s citizens, in violation of both the First Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. This Federal Court decision moves us a step closer to fair and competitive legislative districts, and a more responsive democracy.
A number of states, such as Iowa and Arizona, use a nonpartisan commission to draw legislative districts that are compact, contiguous, and respect county and municipal boundaries. In Wisconsin, by contrast, the party in power draws the legislative districts after each 10-year census. Both Democrats and Republicans have used this process to draw the districts to their own political advantage. This results in districts that favor incumbents and lean heavily toward one party, rather than districts that are conducive to competitive races and moderate candidates.
Most Wisconsinites want members of the Legislature to work across party lines and achieve consensus. Unfortunately, the way that our legislative districts are drawn sets us up for extreme partisanship. Republican WI Congressman Reid Ribble said it best: “We’re at a place now in this country where voters are not picking their representatives anymore. Representatives, through the gerrymandering process and redistricting, are picking their voters.” In addition to compromising our democracy, a partisan system is also much more expensive to administer: taxpayers have to foot the bill for a multi-million dollar redistricting legal battle every 10 years.
Our current legislative leadership has signaled that instead of drawing new, nonpartisan districts, they will cling to the current politically gerrymandered ones – and spend taxpayer money to do so. They signed a $175,000 contract with Washington attorney Paul Clement, who regularly charges $1,300 per hour for his services. This is on top of more than $2 million that the state has already spent to defend the current indefensible districts.
Make no mistake, this is a bipartisan issue. For example in Illinois, Republicans are insisting that the Democrats in power change their redistricting system to a nonpartisan one.
Republicans and Democrats – we need to be Wisconsinites, first. Tell our legislators to stop spending our money on political nonsense and start doing what’s right for our democracy. Call Sen. Tom Tiffany at 608-266-2509 and Rep. Mary Felzkowski at 888-534-0035 and demand that they support nonpartisan redistricting.
Letter to the Editor:
Kudos to Stacy Stevens, Don Litzer, Sue Hass and all the Library staff who helped with the “Strings in the Stacks” event. Who knew that the library’s third floor – with the wall of windows giving so much depth and the tall ceiling perfect for acoustics – would be such a charming, hospitable place for a concert. Susanna Juon-Gilk, playing the violin and adding voice to a special folk tune, and Paul Gilk on his guitar – gave an exceptional performance and a perfect warm-up for musician and composer Jeff Pockat of Appleton. Jeff is a charming, dedicated aficionado of the Celtic Harp and ancient music of Ireland/Scotland. Lots of research, talent and love went into this performance on his hand-crafted instrument. The evening was magical!
How fortunate our community is to have this beautiful T.B. Scott Library with its innovative, creative and superior staff. The public was invited to this after-hours event and over 100 people attended.
Judy and Bob Weaver
To the Editor,
The conversation regarding Donald Trump will undoubtedly continue. But allow me to correct some erroneous impressions from Jeffrey Krall.
First, I am not a liberal. I prefer to think of myself as a conservative, but in the authentic meaning of the word.
Second, while I did vote for Hillary Clinton, I only did so because I sensed the surge for Trump. Clinton, in my estimation, was the better of two unappealing candidates.
That “Evangelical Christians come out to vote in record numbers” for Trump is an amazing commentary on a profound spiritual disorientation in American Christianity.
And, no, Barack Obama (though I never voted for the man) was not the “closest thing to a downright moron that’s ever occupied the oval office.” Put Obama back, say, 50 years, and he would fit perfectly as a moderate Republican. Obama was (in my estimation) much too tight with Wall Street; but there’s a long list of presidents who were much, much worse – including our current impostor.
Finally, I will have to consult with the other two of the Three Wise Men to figure out who’s who. Am I Larry, Moe or Curly? In the meantime, I have a life and – truth to tell – it’s not a bad one.