Letters to the Editor
TO THE EDITOR
Have you thought about clean water lately? Where does it come from — how and why? That has been on the minds of many in the Town of Emerald (and beyond) especially after learning
of the massive manure spill at a local CAFO which was not reported for three months following its occurrence.
Now we learn that they were issued a citation in May for pumping animal waste into a facility which is under construction (not completed or functional). In addition, they had not secured the operational permit which is required prior to operation approval. Changes have been implemented by the State of Wisconsin administration directly impacting the authority of DNR, reducing their staffing and implementing "self reporting." It is evident these changes aren't working all to the detriment of "we the people," the local citizens, and the environment ... think about water.
This needs to change. We who elect our representatives need to be the ones represented (protected), not the special interests groups, the large corporations or the wealthy. Let's move
FORWARD with what's good for Wisconsin's citizens.
TO THE EDITOR
We have become all too accustomed to being embarrassed by this president, but this most recent disgraceful behavior in Helsinki is over the top, even by Trumpian standards. It is past time for our elected representatives Sean Duffy and Ron Johnson to have the courage to condemn his comments in unequivocal terms.
To call this president's behavior disgusting is simply too generous. It borders on treason. To throw his own law enforcement and investigative agencies under the bus, and accept the feeble denials of Putin, and even heap praise on him is beyond belief.
As we are all too painfully aware, among his apologists, he can do no wrong. Even this behavior won't sway those that overlook his previous boorish behavior and comments. They relish in how disgusting he actually is. But for the rest of America, it is time to stand up to this national embarrassment and demand our elected officials hold him accountable.
David N. Thompson
The cost of security
TO THE EDITOR
How many American citizens would be comfortable with a foreign power having military bases located in the United States? President Trump has made quite a fuss about the amount of money paid by each nation in NATO for defense. One of the things that is forgotten in the equation is the compromise that so many African, Central/South America, Asian, and European nations have made by giving the United States the opportunity to locate U.S. military bases on their national land housing troops, planes, ships, and artillery. We even have bases in Newfoundland (Canada).
The presence of an armed foreign force could be dangerous-a set up for invasion. However, the United States maintains over 737 military bases in over 63 other countries/territories in the world with 325,000 troops in these areas. NATO maintains 30 military bases primarily in Western Europe (J. Dufour, global Research, July 1, 2018; https://www.globalresearch.ca/the-worldwide-network-of-us-military-bases... ).
Strategically, this affords the United States quick access to resources and close proximity to any threat or conflict in the world. It also affords us political and economic influence over the world, its conflicts, and its resources. We have taken on significant responsibility but so have our allies in allowing foreign military to reside in their nations. How much of this authority do we want to give up? How might the dissolution of foreign military bases impact the support needed for our troops in an attack? Would our opinions still be regarded as important in the world? How much more time and money would it take for the U.S. to effectively react to a threat? Given our world economic interchange, we may want to think about what the cost could be to our military and our support of democracy if we diminish our alliances with so many nations.
Poor road conditions
TO THE EDITOR
In February 2018, US News and World Report ranked Wisconsin 44th in the country for its road conditions. The report, based on 2016-2017 data, noted that 31 percent of Wisconsin's roads are in poor condition compared to Minnesota's 10 percent.
The National Bridge Inventory rates the structural fitness of bridges from 0 to 9; 0 indicates the bridge is closed, 9 is a superior rating. Wisconsin's average bridge rating decreased from 6.5 in 2008 to 6.3 in 2016. If this trend continues, we will have increased numbers of bridges closing or imposing weight limits, negatively affecting industries that haul heavy loads. A former County Highway Commissioner notes that 20 years ago he would have 10 or 12 bridge projects going at once, and now it's common for a county to have only one or two.
Most main roads are in good condition now, but smaller rural roads are in dire need of repair. Failure to establish a source of funds for regularly scheduled maintenance and replacement of roads and bridges sets the State up for a crisis in the future with a sudden need for a huge sum of transportation dollars.
Federal and state stagnant funding has failed to keep up with increased maintenance and construction costs. In the last six years Wisconsin's Republican legislature hasn't formulated a long-term, sustainable transportation funding solution, relying instead on increased borrowing to meet minimal needs. In 2018, 20 cents of every transportation dollar goes to pay interest on that debt, with the cost expected to be 22 cents per dollar by 2019.
"Deteriorating State of Wisconsin Bridges Adds to Transportation Budget Woes," Wisconsin State Journal, August 13, 2017
"The Transportation Debate: Critics Say Scott Walker's Record on Road Funding Will Be an Issue This Fall," Cap Times, April 4, 2018
"Candidate for Governor Running on Common Sense Solutions," Monroe County Herald, Dec. 11, 2017