This week’s Viewpoint letters
Reader opposes Sen. Johnson’s education ideas
A writer disputed a Senator Johnson quote of “replacing history teachers with Ken Burns tapes”- saying, according to Johnson’s staff he never said that. Not surprising, after all the adverse publicity, the staff went into “swifter” mode to explain away his reckless pronouncement.
But, as reported by the MJS, Johnson in putting the blame on a “higher education cartel [monopoly]” during a WisPolitics.com forum discussed how the “power of technology” could change higher education through online courses. Johnson said, “If you want to teach the Civil War across the country, are you better having tens of thousands of history teachers who kind of know the subject, or would you be better off popping in 14 hours of Ken Burns’ Civil War tape…” He went on further and stated “We’ve got the internet… with so much information available. You get one solid lecturer and put it up online and have everybody available to that knowledge for a whole lot cheaper.” You know that’s like saying- I’ve have WebMD, why do I need doctors?
Johnson reinforces the mental image of the incompetent teacher who plays videos for students on a regular basis instead of teaching. Is that the kind of education Johnson would like to see our college students receive? Ken Burns took exception to Johnson’ comment tweeting a response- “I’m here to support teachers, not replace them.”
Randi Weingarten, AFT president, said “Leave it to someone from a party led by a reality TV star to confuse videotape with the learning experience of a classroom… education happens when teachers can listen to students and engage them to think for themselves.”
Johnson opposes government-assisted student loans, yet he pushes “Perkins Loans” a federally guaranteed student borrowing option administered by the U.S. government and colleges and universities. These stringent eligibility loans target students with serious financial hardship and only bridge the affordability gap that remains after all other forms of financial aid are exhausted. Johnson has done nothing to help the 815,000 Wisconsin residents with student loan debt and, in fact, has voted against any proposal allowing for the refinancing of student loans at lower interest rates.
Johnson and his apologists state the obvious “we have a problem.” However, he does not put forth any real solutions and does little except obstruct. Feingold has stated “Just because (college) costs keep going up, doesn’t mean we can allow the four-year degree to become the sole province of the rich.”
John Kocovsky, Hazelhurst
Praise for unsung food pantry supporter
The success and effectiveness of any community food pantry is the direct result of the commitment of its sponsors, volunteers and businesses.
That commitment has been very evident within the Lakeland Pantry program through the years.
There are, however, lesser recognized persons who are there with their specialized skills and means of support. As an example, I refer to a recent problem at the Lakeland Pantry in which a solution was needed to provide a level surface for the newly acquired forklift unit at the receiving door.
Chip Nimsgern, of Nimsgern Steel in Minocqua, and his employees, designed, installed and donated a steel threshold of diamond plate which now protects the concrete and forklift unit from damage.
The Lakeland Pantry volunteers wish to extend their sincere thanks to this lesser known supporter.
Glyn Bud Roberts, Arbor Vitae
Vote Van Stippen for integrity
There are many reasons not to vote for Tom Tiffany. Let’s look at two of them.
Tom Tiffany is a notoriously dishonest politician. It’s hard to imagine anyone weaving a greater web of deception than Tom Tiffany did when he was peddling his iron mining bill. Much of what he said about the bill ranged from deceptive, untrue, to outright lies. Indeed, he was lying to the people of Wisconsin from the very beginning when he claimed that the intent of the bill was to have separate law for iron mining because it has fewer “risk factors” than other forms of mining. The real intent of Tom Tiffany’s bill was to add “risk factors” by allowing substantially greater damage to the state’s natural resources than would have been allowed under the metallic mining law. This was meant to provide a “low cost” mine for his client. But it wasn’t until he knew that the bill would become law that he finally spilled the beans and admitted that the law was a complete reversal of legislative intent, presuming that adverse impacts to our natural resources is a necessity. He even bragged that the reason for this was so that those responsible for the damage could avoid liability. We don’t need a representative who goes to Madison with an agenda and then pushes it by deceiving his constituents.
Tom Tiffany “authors” really bad laws. I use the term “author” rather than “write” because he doesn’t actually write many of these laws. They are written by and for his special interest cronies and big money clients for him to “author” on their behalf. Because of the laws’ origins, they are exceedingly complex, full of conflict, and are detrimental to the public interest. This is why the water resources of our state are being threatened and why local control is being destroyed. So, when that big developer wants to clear off much of what remains of the natural shoreline of the lake where you live and/or fish and turn it into little Chicago, you need not wonder what Tom Tiffany will be representing, because it won’t be your property and it won’t be the health of our lakes. Special interests are being represented at the expense of the public interest and the public trust. It’s time to put an end to this growing corruption and anarchy in our state government.
Bryan Van Stippen will bring integrity and an honest representation of the public interest back to the Wisconsin state senate.
Karl A. Fate, Rhinelander
Writer backs incumbents
As a past Iron County representative to the Wisconsin Conservation Congress, I’ve had the honor of representing our area. And, as a former Northwoods high school history and economics teacher for three decades, I am keenly aware of the challenge for voting for those candidates who will best represent, protect, and sustain our Northwood’s culture and economy.
Minocqua residents, my wife and I have carefully reviewed the candidates for both the 34th Assembly and the 12th Senate Districts, all of whom we have no direct or indirect personal relationships. We are, like most voters, simply “citizens.”
We have phoned or written to Matt Michalsen, Rob Swearingen and Senator Tiffany. All replied personally, but those of Swearingen and Tiffany were most timely and detailed. We have evaluated their views on a range of issues, but what most impressed us was the extensive list of accomplishments of the incumbents, including their efforts to constrain spending.
Rep. Swearingen chaired the Assembly Speaker’s Task Force on Rural Schools and has promoted positive reforms to enhance students’ education in Northern Wisconsin. The Final Report of the Task Force is online for voter review.
Rep. Swearingen’s efforts were instrumental in getting more than $6 million in assistance to provide broadband expansion to local counties. Additionally, he authored AB421 and AB 598, both of which passed, and have had a positive impact on our waters and fisheries. Rep. Swearingen also worked on and voted in favor of the project to construct a new Education and Outreach Center at the Kemp Natural Resources Station in Woodruff.
Sen. Tiffany has worked diligently to keep property taxes from exploding higher. For medical reasons, in 2014 we lived in Madison. Reckless spending there, which continues unabated, has reached unparalleled heights. We believe Sen. Tiffany offers voters the best hope that the Northwood’s will avoid the high tax road that Madison has selected.
Contrary to the conventional axiom that teachers always vote Democratic, in this election, we have decided to vote for the Republican legislative incumbents. We fear that if Democrats displace Rep. Swearingen and Sen. Tiffany, future tax increases will mirror what has transpired in Dane County.
Before voting, we encourage fellow citizens to take the time to review the records of our current legislators, which can be found at http://www.wiseye.org. We believe they’ve worked hard for the citizens in their respective districts. They have earned our votes.
Reg Delwiche, Minocqua
Voters should say no to Trump
In a 1997 interview with Howard Stern, Donald Trump bragged about his sexual exploits and denigrated the service of men and women in the military. Trump said his “personal Vietnam” was avoiding a sexually transmitted disease. “I feel like a great and brave soldier.” Trump received five deferments during the Vietnam War.
In the 1980s, DT accused street vendors who were disabled veterans of ruining how the street looked in front of Trump Tower on 5th Avenue in NYC and wanted them thrown off. After the Twin Towers fell, he bragged that now his tower was the tallest in NYC.
Trump, the draft dodger, compared his sacrifices to the sacrifices of a Gold Star family whose son died protecting fellow soldiers in Iraq. His comments were “repugnant…offensive, and frankly anti American. (Vote Vets.org)
He has demeaned the sacrifice of Purple Heart recipients. He claims to know more about ISIS than the generals do and will fire many of them. Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates criticized Trump saying he is “beyond repair.”
DT would send our military personnel to bomb and possibly begin a war with Iran over a rude finger gesture.
Trump, the draft dodger, has demeaned the service of our military personnel. Congressman Duffy says, “Trump says what he means.”
What will the voters say on November 8th?
Joyce Luedke, Hayward