Letters to the Editor: April 15, 2020
Wisconsin Republicans are beyond the pale
Note: This letter was received prior to the April 7 election, but past the deadline to be published in the April 8 paper.
In Wisconsin, Republicans hold a majority in both chambers of our legislature and thus, control it. In an astonishing disregard for public safety, they have chosen to place their partisan political objectives above our health and well being, in some cases, our very lives.
As of Saturday, April 6, 2,440 Wisconsinites had tested positive for Covid-19, 77 had died. According to Dr. John Raymond, President of the Medical College of Wisconsin: “The number of cases in Wisconsin is doubling every three days, which is consistent with the situation elsewhere in the United States and in Europe.” That means the figure is growing exponentially “unless we do something different.”
Rather than do “something different,” on Tuesday, Republicans forced Wisconsinites to choose between exercising their constitutional right to vote, and protecting themselves, their families, neighbors and poll workers from a pandemic virus. This is an outrage, and proof that elections have consequences.
Governor Tony Evers has tried – unsuccessfully, due to Republican legislative opposition and court challenges – to postpone our April 7 election, so as allow for mail-in voting by absentee ballot. This would be consistent with 15 other states and one territory, that have either delayed their elections, or have switched to mail-in voting with extended deadlines. Wisconsin is the outlier.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports:
“In a scathing letter to the GOP leaders, Wisconsin Elections commissioners sharply rebuked Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, who have repeatedly said they consider in-person voting to be safe despite national and state health officials warning to avoid contact with other people.”
They warned “that the safety of those who want to vote in person on Tuesday cannot be guaranteed. Nor can the safety of poll workers.” “Forcing an in-person election on Tuesday not only threatens the voters, the clerks, and election staff, it threatens everyone those people subsequently come into contact with at home and elsewhere. A single asymptomatic virus-carrying poll worker could transmit the virus to hundreds of people on election day, creating a disease vector that would devastate a community.”
The question is: Why? Why would our Republican legislators place us at risk rather than delay an election? What does that tell us about their judgement and commitment to public service, to serve us: We The People?
Both Senator Tom Tiffany and Representative Rob Swearingen have stated their support for in-person voting.
Senator Tiffany is running for the U.S. Congress, his name will appear on the May 12 special election ballot. Given the virus, please make an early request for an absentee ballot.
Representative Swearingen’s term expires in 2021.
Elections matter. Let’s elect people who represent us, not themselves.
Remembering Lonn Lamer
My family first vacationed in the Northwoods in 1964. We rented a cabin at Pine Cone Ranch Resort on Crystal Lake. I was five years old. My parents really liked the Resort, and we came back every July for the next 25 years.
We grew up with the Lamer family that owned the resort. When I was 25 years old, I stayed at the Resort in mid-February 1984. I had just purchased a new Yamaha V-Max and could not wait to ride the lakes and trails in the Tomahawk area.
One night after the owner of the Resort (Lonn Lamer) got off work from his job at the Tomahawk mill, Lonn and I got on our sleds and headed out for a night ride. We shot across Crystal Lake, over to Deer Lake, through the Outpost campground and onto Lake Nokomis. I was excited to be driving my new V-Max.
We crossed over Highway Y near Nokomis Pub and we both hit the throttle hard. Lonn was riding an older Kawasaki Invader. I thought I would have no trouble going past him on the lake. Boy was I wrong. I could not catch him. He stayed about 50 feet in front of me all the way across the lake.
When we got to the end of the lake, he stopped and waited for me to pull up next to him. He leaned over to me and said, “Everything ok?” I shook my head “Yes.” Then he said, “One of these days I am going to open it up all the way” and laughed out loud. I waved him on in disbelief with my snowmobile glove. I could not believe I had lost my first race across the lake. After all, that’s the reason I bought the V-Max (Lake Rocket).
We rode to Swamp Lake Resort, walked inside and sat down at the bar. Anita was bartending. She brought us two cold drinks and then she said, “I have to leave.” She was in a pool league and she was headed to Louie’s Little Brown Jug on Lake Nokomis near Twin Bay.
Anita walked out the door. Lonn looked at me and said, “Drink up. We’re going to Louie’s.”
We slammed down our drinks, grabbed our helmets and headed out to our sleds. We shot across Swamp Lake, then flew down some back roads until we were at Lake Nokomis. We pulled up to Louie’s, walked inside and sat down at the bar. About two minutes later, Anita walked in.
She looked at us and froze in her tracks. She said, “Oh my god, I thought I left you guys at the Swamp!” We all laughed, and Lonn said, “What took you so long?”
We spent the rest of the night telling jokes, having a few more drinks and getting a bite to eat. I will never forget that fun night riding snowmobiles with Lonn. He loved life and would go out of his way to make sure you had a good time when staying at the Resort.
My friend passed away on Feb. 28, 2020.
Thanks for all the memories, Lonn. You will be missed.
Kent Richert, now age 61
West Chicago, Ill.
Dangerous and unfit for public office
I would like to congratulate Mary Felzkowski, Tom Tiffany, Wisconsin Republican Assembly persons, Wisconsin Senate Republicans, Wisconsin Supreme Court Justices and the US Supreme court for your successful voter suppression and ballet nullification efforts. You succeeded in nullifying thousands of absentee ballots and unnecessarily exposing thousands Wisconsin voters to the potential exposure to the COVID-19 virus.
You succeeded in fulfilling the wishes of your industry trade groups, PAC’s supported by Kansas and Las Vegas billionaires and other special interest groups some of which could be classified as terrorist organizations. You jeopardized the health and safety of thousands of Wisconsin voters.
Just because you volunteered to work at a polling location doesn’t change your true intentions. It just shows you have a guilty conscience. You can try to spin this anyway you want but the truth is that this was seen as a golden opportunity to suppress the vote and elect another scab judge.
By not standing up for ordinary citizens Felzkowski and Tiffany showed their callous disregard for public safety and have shown that they are not only unqualified for the elected positions they currently hold but are actually unfit for public office and are dangerous.