Letters for the week of 10-2
Letter writer’s facts were incorrect
Ms. Mary Lou Hake’s recent Viewpoint letter “Attacks on Simac unwarranted” (Star Journal, Sept. 11) sent me to the internet to check out some of her statements.
I searched diligently in blogs, newspapers, etc for a verifiable quote of Mr. Holperin calling out Ms. Simac on her having her book published in China, without success. However, I did find that Simac’s excuse that “she had no control over the outsourcing to China” is simply not true. A local author and publisher, Kathleen Marsh, owner of Otter Run Books, LLC in Townsend, refutes this claim. “A self-publishing author has control over every aspect of the process,” said Marsh. Senate District 12 boasts several printers capable of producing high-quality children’s books while keeping jobs in the Northwoods. A favorite with local publishers is Hahn Printing, a family-run business less than six miles from Kim Simac’s Eagle River home. In fact, Ms. Marsh had her last book printed right in Simac’s hometown of Eagle River.
As for the tax issue, I am confused. The issue was Ms. Simac’s late property tax payments. I didn’t read anything about tax evasion, which I assume was about evading income taxes. I think the issue was Kim’s avoidance of paying income taxes, which is her prerogative as long as it is legal.
Lastly, Ms. Hake praises Kim for donating copies of her books to Fischer House locations and to disabled veterans at the 2008 Disabled Veterans Wheelchair Games. Admirable as this gesture was, in this “anything for a dollar” world, this seems to come across as a self promoting advertising gimmick-especially when you find out (on Simac’s own website) that the “free” book Ms. Hake refers to is anything but.
Here’s how it works-You purchase a copy of the book “American Soldier Proud and Free,” your personalized message is printed on a book plate and placed inside, the book is then signed by Kim and sent to a family of an active duty military person or Gold Star Hero Family. At $20 a book, would you say this is just a clever way to sell her book?
Anyway the election is over, Kim lost, and the reasons for her loss were due to Kim’s guiding principles, policies and history. She proved to be duplicitous and hypocritical, and she was found out.
John Kocovsky, Hazelhurst
Economy needs market competition
In June 2010, the U.S. government provided some simple clarifications to the law that governs the relationship between livestock producers and the meatpackers and processors who buy their animals. This proposed change, known as the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (or GIPSA) rule, would help to ensure fairness for individual producers and restore competition to agricultural markets. Predictably, it prompted immediate and vigorous backlash from meat processors.
What does the GIPSA rule, so demonized by packers and processors, actually do? It protects the basic rights of family farmers. The rule prevents packers and processors from driving farmers and ranchers out of business one at a time, and it protects producers who speak out against unfair business practices.
Poultry integrators will no longer be allowed to unfairly force growers to make expensive equipment changes without adequate compensation. Livestock markets will be more competitive because two or more packers will be prohibited from sharing a single livestock buyer. Hog farmers who were kept in the dark about each others’ contracting agreements could compare their contracts and other vital documents to make sure they are being treated fairly.
These are examples of some of the common-sense rights that small business owners in other sectors currently enjoy. Any critic who claims the proposed GIPSA rule is “regulatory overreach” that will “kill jobs” does not have farmers, ranchers and consumers’ interests in mind. Farmers, ranchers and consumers overwhelmingly support the rule, as do the two largest general farm organizations in the country (National Farmers Union being one of them). But the GIPSA rule is not just important for family farmers. Consumers need it, too.
Unless the GIPSA rule is implemented as Congress directed, more small farmers will go out of business and meat production will be further concentrated into the hands of fewer and fewer even larger farms. What does this mean to you, the consumer?
One recent example is the salmonella outbreak in eggs that occurred in 2010. The outbreak prompted the largest egg recall in history, affecting more than 550 million eggs and sickening nearly 2,000 people nationwide.
Those 550 million eggs were marketed under at least 16 different brands that all originated from two factory farms owned by the same individual. If packers and processors successfully kill the GIPSA rule, you can look forward to more production being concentrated in the hands of a few megafarms and the increased possibility that you may someday be eating tainted food from the same farm as schoolchildren in California or a family in Maine.
In order to find the source of the anti-GIPSA rule campaign, one only needs to follow the money to the meatpackers and processors.
Family farmers do not have the resources to compete with national messaging campaigns, flawed economic analyses, and full-page ad buys, but we do have grassroots power on our side.
I leave it to you to decide who to believe: The largest meatpackers in the country, who made billions in profits last year, or two million American family farmers and ranchers?
Roger Johnson, President
National Farmers Union
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