Letters to the Editor

Thu
26
Jun

Move to Amend aims to restore Constitutional rights

Opportunity knocks in Stoughton. Literally.

We are hoping to join many other communities to bring common sense back to our political system. We are relieved to find an issue that can bring us all back together. Move to Amend is a grassroots, non-partisan effort that protects our most cherished parts of living in the United States.

Do we believe that only human beings should have rights under our Constitution?   Do we believe that money equals speech? The Supreme Court (appointed, not elected) decided otherwise in 2010– they gave artificial entities the same rights that we have and the ability to throw almost unlimited amounts of money (hence influence) into our political arena.

Thu
26
Jun

Kettle Park West guarantee is too good to be true

City officials have been quick to point out that the proposed Tax Incremental Financing project for Kettle Park West (KPW) contains a “guarantee.” The guarantee is a $5.6 million credit line with a local bank that could be used if annual tax revenue falls short to payoff bond costs.  The guarantee is supposed to make the project safe for taxpayers, but is it?  

First, the city often fails to mention that taxpayers are also offering a $900,000 credit line for the project.  So, taxpayers are not fully safe.

Second, our recently completed study of KPW taxpayer financials (study to be available at prodane.org) found some chilling data that should be of concern to the City Council and all taxpayers.

Thu
26
Jun

There are worse toxins in the air than tobacco smoke

No smoking outdoors?

I have often asked people who don’t like us smokers what would you rather do, sit in a garage with the doors closed with me smoking all day or sit in the same garage with a car motor running all day?

I can’t believe that people are so paranoid about second hand smoke that they will post signs outdoors telling smokers they cannot smoke in certain areas.

There are over 1,000 toxins in the air we all breathe every day that can cause harm to all of us. The worst is “radon gas” that causes cancer in people.

Please stop being too trivial by making smokers stay away from certain areas outdoors just because they smoke.

The amount of smoke that a person comes in contact with outdoors is almost zero, yet you have to make special rules for the smokers in the world.

I wish that more people really knew about all the gasses in the air we breathe in daily, and then maybe they would give the smokers a break.

Wed
18
Jun

Stoughton needs smart - not foolish – growth plans

More, younger families would choose to live Stoughton if we think a bit more.  Federal “self-help” home building and home rehabilitation programs can help young families buy into the American dream of home ownership.

A row of homes on N. Page St. were built under the “self-help” home construction program in the early 1980’s - it is a major success.  This program brought parents and kids to Stoughton and into our school system then.  It can do the same today!

We need more subsidized apartment complexes for young families and single parents with rent controls like those new apartments on Dunkirk Ave.  In our repressive economy, many high school and college grads are stuck in low paying jobs.  Having such housing will bring more people to our community.

Research shows younger people like walkable, bikeable communities with exciting Downtowns.  We need the same for our seniors especially as they age and face not being able to drive any longer.

Wed
04
Jun

Congratulations and good luck to the Stoughton High School Class of 2014

As you graduate from Stoughton High School and embark on the next phase of this journey called life, I know many of you are anxious and apprehensive – perhaps even scared.  Wondering what it’s all about – wondering what to do with the rest of your life!  Relax. Don’t worry.  Everything will be fine.

Be at peace with yourself.  Learn the value of life.  Smile.  Happiness is like good health, it has to come from within.  It is not found in what a person has but in who that person is.  Of all the things you wear, your expression is the most important.

Success is not measured in dollars and cents.  If you are a good citizen – who always shows kindness and consideration to others – then you are a success.  Most of us will never do great things, but we can do small things in a great way.

Wed
30
Apr

Be proud of our RSVP drivers

As the volunteer driver coordinator for RSVP services in Stoughton, I felt it my duty to tell everyone more about our RSVP volunteers.  

There are approximately 15 drivers who receive assignments from me to drive local residents to various medical and other necessary appointments here in Stoughton and throughout Dane County. There is no charge for this service, although donations are welcome.

They provide a valuable service, but in most cases they seek no recognition.  They are courteous, friendly, punctual and reliable. Many of them refuse to submit mileage reimbursement requests for themselves.

I hope everyone will take the time to thank our local volunteers.  I can’t say enough about their willingness to serve. They are your neighbors and friends.  

Personally, I can’t thank them enough for what they do. I am very proud to serve Stoughton through RSVP but I am even prouder of my drivers.  

Thank you, all of you.

Wed
30
Apr

Wisconsin should outlaw TIF

Initially started with good intentions in mind, tax-increment financing (TIF) has turned into nothing more than a power grab for city officials by taking money from schools and other important urban services and giving it to politically connected developers.

Regardless if we need new development or not in Stoughton. TIF is not the way to do it and it is not needed for new growth in this city. Some say there has been no economic growth in Stoughton over the past 10 years. This is just not true. I know of at least a dozen businesses that popped up recently (gotta love that Taco Bell/KFC) and I see new construction going on down town also out past Wal-mart their installing a new bank. No, people, Stoughton has grown and is still growing rapidly, not including the TIF project.

Wed
23
Apr

City is masking real costs of Kettle Park West TIF

Using public money to subsidize a private investment ought to require high financial transparency.

Sadly, city hall has not done its homework on the financial aspects of Kettle West. From the start, they have played fast and loose with the facts and costs to taxpayers. Here is what you need to know:

• Real financing costs for Kettle West will exceed $7 million when you add the interest costs of the two TIF bonds (which they always forget to mention) plus the obligated costs of site grading work.

• TIF bond interest rate charges could well exceed 3.4 percent because the city deliberately misled the public on the negative financial condition of TIFs 4 and 5 in the downtown area. They are currently behind assessed value by $3.5 million. City hall knew this but they used 2012 figures instead.

Wed
23
Apr

Seniors and low-income families need Super Wal-Mart development

When working as a Wal-Mart cashier, I see what seems like an endless stream of seniors on fixed income and low income individuals and families using EBT cards (electronic version of food stamps).

They often express how difficult it is for them to stretch their dollars in this still very challenging economy.

I refuse to believe that anyone in the Stoughton area would refuse to help these people if they were able to.

A full-sized grocery store in a larger Wal-Mart would help all shoppers in the area (not just Stoughton) stretch their food budget further. It would also provide an affordable option for all the everyday needs everyone has; things like laundry detergent, paper towels and toilet tissue, light bulbs, underwear and socks at an affordable price. Those in the lower and fixed income groups would benefit the most.

Wed
16
Apr

Wal-Mart development would bring new revenue for city

A larger Wal-Mart may not be what everyone wants or needs. If you are not happy with this, you don’t have to shop or work there.

When Wal-Mart first started up, it was competitive and helped drive prices down in other stores for everyone. It carries things made in the USA and other countries just like other stores do.

Think about the recurring school referendum that will raise our taxes, and how new families won’t be able to purchase a home here if the taxes are high on it. If we want families to move here, and bring more students to our schools, we will need to give more opportunities for shopping and employment.

A larger Wal-Mart may bring in revenue for all our local businesses downtown, and could be a draw for a new business to fill an empty store front.

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