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Letters to the Editor, June 19, 2014

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‘So moved’ moves nothing but air

To the Editor:

I had the opportunity at a meeting of the New Richmond School Board on Monday last to meet and speak with Whispers Magoo. Now if you are not familiar with Whispers Magoo, this is the individual who is a low talker. In other words even though a microphone is available to ensure that remarks by the board can be heard by those in attendance, the microphone is never used, much like Robert’s Rules of Order (RRO).

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On the occasion of Monday last, Whispers Magoo had an itch that needed to be scratched, and I was the itch. Apparently, Whispers Magoo felt that conversations in the audience during meetings were distracting and interfering with the complex concentration of some board members, which prevented them from selecting just the right square of Chex Mix. I couldn’t have agreed more. Many a time I have strained to hear the board’s discussions over the din of administrative school personnel in attendance and the distinctive crunch at the board table.

It was also my pleasure to have been greeted (first time for everything) and asked by another board member what my issue was on this particular evening. My response was pick from A to Z and we will discuss it. The board member responded in true team spirit “Go For It,” after which the board member retreated to the board table and began sorting Chex Mix.

I attend a lot of meetings — city, town, school board and PSC among others. There are well-run meetings and not-so-well-run meetings. If a council, committee, board or assembly has a leader and assembly well versed on RRO, the meetings generally run smoothly.

I have moved a lot of manure in my days on the farm, perhaps not as much as is moved at some of the meetings I attend, but that’s where RRO comes in to play. Now I am no expert on RRO, but I do know people who are and it is with unanimous agreement that anyone using the term “So moved,” has had too much Chex Mix. The carbs and fats have slowed the brain to the point that the individual cannot state a complete thought.

The danger in “So moved,” is that nothing has been clarified or stated. There is no statement of action or interpretation of the agenda item or preceding discussion, which can be troublesome if one member did not interpret the item or discussion in the same way. Is it too burdensome for our elected officials to follow the rules they have adopted?

I move to have every motion stated in its entirety by the mover and in so doing elevate the professionalism of our councils, committees and boards. “So moved” moves nothing but the air, and if an action is challenged after adoption and no motion was clearly stated by the mover of record, we will be deep in the manure and the cows will not be happy.

Mark Jackelen, New Richmond

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Ignoring reality

To the Editor:

In response to Lee Brown’s June 12 letter, I would like to correct some misinformation in the letter. Brown wrote that in June 2009, Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle’s Secretary of State in 2009 was Mary Burke — who is currently a Democratic candidate in the 2014 governor’s race. Actually, Burke was appointed to the secretary position in 2005 and resigned on Nov. 1, 2007.

Obviously, Brown’s point was that Democrats are bad for the economy and Republicans are good. Brown used two unemployment statistics to highlight the job Gov. Scott Walker has done to improve Wisconsin’s economy. In 2009, Wisconsin’s unemployment rate was 9.2 percent and today it is 5.8 percent.

If improvement in the unemployment rate is the foundation of Brown’s argument for embracing Walker’s Republican plan, maybe we should do some comparisons with our Minnesota neighbors living under Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton’s plan. Both Walker and Dayton were elected in 2010.

In 2008, Minnesota, under Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty, ranked 26 in the nation in lowest unemployment with a rate of 5.4 percent. Today, Minnesota, under Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton, ranks 12th in the nation in low unemployment with a rate of 4.7 percent.

In 2008, Wisconsin, under Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle, ranked 18th in the nation in lowest unemployment with a rate of 4.8 percent. Today, Wisconsin, under Republican Gov. Scott Walker, ranks 24th in low unemployment with a rate of 5.8 percent.

Brown also noted that the current unemployment rate in St. Croix and Pierce counties is only 4.3 percent. However, the unemployment pictures are even better in Washington County, the Minnesota county across the river from Pierce and St. Croix, where current unemployment rate is 3.8 percent.

If you are basing your voting decisions on the same set of facts as Mr. Brown, expanding your analysis and doing some comparisons may shed a different light on the subject matter. Of course, this being a discussion about politics, Republican partisans might prefer to ignore reality and stick to the bullet points in Gov. Walker’s campaign literature.

James P. Nelson, Town of Richmond

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Let’s sit this one out

To the Editor:

John McCain wants to send our troops back to Iraq. Did this guy ever see a war he didn’t like? After all the time he spent at the Hanoi Hilton, you would think he’d know better. Now Dick “Shooter” Cheney, that I can understand. To people like him, war is a “business,” lots of money to be made in a war (See Halliburton), and as long as people like the Old Shooter don’t have to go fight in those nasty old wars, well I guess it’s a good idea.

Some are calling for the president to send our troops back, that we pulled out too soon and didn’t get the job done. What was the “job” anyway? First it was get the “weapons of mass destruction” before Saddam attacks the U.S. Then we found out there were no WMDs (never were any). Then it was “the Iraqi people will welcome us with open arms.” Why then so many (4,000+) combat deaths, most of them after President Bush told the world “Mission Accomplished?” Do we really want to send our best and brightest back in?

This is a religious civil war that has been going on for 13 centuries. The only thing that has kept the two sides (Sunni and Shia) from killing each other in the recent past was Saddam Hussein and later American troops (and they didn’t do a very good job). I suggest we sit this one out. We’ve already wasted too much treasure, especially the human kind. We were fooled into thinking this was a winnable venture, just like we were in Vietnam and sadly Afghanistan. We should remember the words of George W. Bush, “ Fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.”

George Richard, New Richmond

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