Letters to the Editor


Too many downsides in KPW study

I do not support the Kettle Park West Development.

From the beginning it has seemed rushed and secretive, two signs that far more investigation is required. Much more needs to be done.

I do not support providing Wal-Mart with millions of dollars of Stoughton’s money. I took a look at the consultant’s partial report. It states that the project will likely have these consequences:

“Potential negative impacts include:

• Some potential loss of business at existing retailers in the community from the expansion of Wal-Mart to a supercenter; the loss of business to existing retailers will vary in degree depending on the extent to which businesses have products and services that compete directly with products offered at the Wal-Mart Supercenter or other businesses at Kettle Park West.


Citizens deserve say on KPW study

Wal-Mart has twice tried to build a SuperCenter in Stoughton.  After a bruising fight, Wal-Mart withdrew in 2007. Recently Wal-Mart returned hiding behind a developer who kept the Wal-Mart name, with city approval, secret for 4 years.  

Round one no subsidy was requested. Round two before knowing the impact of the SuperCenter on the economy and businesses in Stoughton and surrounding communities, the mayor signed an agreement with the developer in the middle of the night approving the intent to create a Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) District and subsidizing the developer and Wal-Mart to the tune of far more than $5 million.

Now the city is rushing ahead to create another TIF district in Business Park North for the newly proposed Guardian Interior Glass company’s 204,000 square foot industrial plant. The 36 acre site is beautiful, on a sloping hill on the banks of the Yahara River and overlooks a county park.


Let Wal-Mart pay for KPW development

As a community we sometimes fail ourselves by not looking out for our neighbors.

To me, the proposed Wal-Mart expansion project, referred to as Kettle West, is one such expensive example.

Twenty years ago, as Wal-Mart arrived, our Main Street area was hurting. Huge amounts of money and time went to fixing our downtown. This included major street and sidewalk improvements, our river parks, the Yahara River trails and our Opera House.

We’ve made substantial investment in downtown and it’s paying off. The Opera House packs ‘em in. Storefronts have been updated. The trails are used and the new heritage center is nearing completion.

Downtown is alive and well. While some businesses closed, others opened. And should passenger rail ever run through town again, our downtown would surely thrive.

We accepted Wal-Mart in our city, and then created a big box ordinance.


Kneebone was a rare kind of person

Alder David Kneebone was a rare type of human being. He was a wonderful person with a great sense of humor.

I have worked with and talked to thousands of people in a long work and political life. There are a good number of people who understand what is going on, or not going on, in this crazy world of ours.

David was one of the persons who did much reading, listening and thinking. He certainly knew what was happening in America and on our local city council.

He had a very solid judgment of people.

Many people who know what is going on will not do much about it. They always have one excuse or another. Not David. He tried to make changes that are for the betterment of all. He was not afraid of speaking his mind.


More community discussion needed about sex offender release

I find it strange that there has been no discussion regarding the release of a “violent sex offender” into Stoughton.

It is not simply that this man has served his time and has come to live in Stoughton. He is still considered a “sexually violent person” and will have DHS supervision for one year along with a GPS monitor for life.

He has moved to a property in Stoughton that has been purchased by the government to house violent sex offenders who will be released from a Mauston facility. He is the only person there now, but there is room for more.

Over the last few years we have had endless debate in Stoughton over the addition of “big box” stores and a radio tower to our community. Yet, the purchase of a property with taxpayer money to house “violent sex offenders” gets a small notice in the paper on the day that this criminal is moving into Stoughton.

Who is paying for this house and this man to live comfortably in it?


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.