Wisconsin has a very important primary election Aug. 14.
We all need to educate ourselves about who will be on the ballot for our local and state elected seats. This will determine who will be on the general election ballots Nov. 6. As we’ve seen in recent years, the results of the primary can be more important than the general election.
This is a partisan primary. For the general election, you can vote for the person regardless of party. In the Wisconsin primary you have to first choose which party you will be voting on. You do not need to be a member of any party to vote in the primary. You just need to choose which of the five parties you will be voting on.
Who you will see on the ballot can be viewed at tinyurl.com/j4tgge9. Just put in your address and it’ll show you which seats and which candidates will be on your ballot.
Since there are so many running for election this year, doing this homework will help. Voting is easy. Your local city, village, town or county clerk can help. If you prefer, there are online resources (such as myvote.wi.gov) as well. You can easily see if you are registered to vote, see where to vote, start the registration process if needed and even sign up for absentee voting — all online.
Citizen groups in the area can offer help online and, often, in person. Chippewa Valley Votes (chippewavalleyvotes.org) has great resources.
Remember, if it works better for you, voting absentee ahead of time, either by mail or in person, gets your vote counted the same as showing up on Aug. 14. Either way, please remember to vote.
SANDY AND CRAIG BROOKS
Wheel tax too costly for some
Right now, Gov. Scott Walker is cutting road repair funding in western Wisconsin to fund his FoxCONn road expansion to Illinois. As you may have heard, our county is considering a $30 wheel tax to make up this lost revenue. But that means this wheel tax amounts to another backdoor subsidy for FoxCONn paid for by Eau Claire residents.
Walker is short-changing local communities while using public tax dollars to make Taiwanese CEOs even wealthier. Opposing the wheel tax won’t get our funding back, but I can’t ask Eau Claire families to pay another $30-plus a year because of FoxCONn.
Also, this wheel tax will disproportionately harm our most vulnerable. Eau Claire’s poverty rate is just under 18 percent. Over 40 percent of Eau Claire children are on free or reduced lunch. This wheel tax doesn’t scale, and $30 can mean a lot to a family making $18,000 a year.
All taxes create some burden. Clean water and safe roads all cost money. Done the right way, those taxes make lives better. But this proposal hits our most vulnerable too hard. And it makes me sick to ask Eau Claire residents to pay $30-plus a year more for Walker’s FoxCONn.
If we really want to fix the Scott-holes in our roads, we need a governor who won’t ignore western Wisconsin.
Eau Claire County Board supervisor
Foote influential in education
There’s no doubt that Kenneth “Jerry” Foote made a tremendous impact on our community through his co-founding of and continued involvement with the local Habitat for Humanity.
The Leader-Telegram’s front-page tribute to Jerry on June 7 was well warranted for that and other reasons. Jerry’s contributions to the Indianhead Track Club, to his colleagues in the UW-Eau Claire Biology Department, at the State Theatre and in other volunteer activities were also noted.
Less well known, or at least on the basis of the article, was his functioning as an informal ambassador for the university to area-wide schools. Jerry served for many years as the university supervisor of biology student teachers. In that capacity he represented the university to many area classrooms of teachers and high school students.
In my capacity as a faculty generalist in secondary education, I had the pleasure of accompanying Jerry numerous times for collaborative supervision which allowed me to observe and appreciate his compassionate and professional service. Jerry blended a genuine commitment to the student teachers, their cooperating teachers in the school districts, the discipline of biology and the profession of teaching. He showed deep concern for his students as people and not merely for their performance in the classroom. Similarly, he took time to talk with the cooperating teachers about their experiences, their biology curriculum and their students.
Biology is the science of life, and Jerry Foote exhibited a true dedication to the lives that were part of his supervision. I add this “Foote note” to the article as another recognition of Jerry the person and his many accomplishments and contributions.
Consider risks of marijuana
There is a good chance that the ban on marijuana (cannabis) will end. This is good for those who use the medical marijuana for reducing pain and to reduce seizures. However, there is a dark side of marijuana that we need to be aware of before jumping on the bandwagon.
There is overwhelming evidence that regular use can stimulate psychotic behavior in a large number of people. In a smaller number, that behavior can be permanent and severe. The psychosis induced by marijuana can include the following: depersonalization, derealization, paranoia, disorganized thinking, persecutory delusions, grandiose delusions, auditory or visual hallucinations, impaired attention, and memory impairment. Most of these symptoms are also common among deranged people arrested for violent crimes — especially young people as some of the most important parts of the brain do not fully develop until around age 25-27 (the areas of the brain that control violent behavior and risk taking). Many school shooters reported these similar symptoms.
In large studies, 20 to 50 percent of marijuana users reported such behavioral symptoms, depending on the frequency of use. These same psychotic symptoms are seen with the use of medical marijuana also. In fact, some patients report a loss of self-control, as well as aggressive verbal behavior and thought insertion. In one double-blind study, the active ingredient in cannabis (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), induced all the symptoms of schizophrenia in healthy test subjects. They also suffered from apathy, a lack of motivation, disturbed judgment, social withdrawal and impaired learning and memory.
When marijuana becomes legalized, millions of people will be at risk of developing major difficulties with self-control and the functioning of the social-control parts of their brain. This will inevitably lead to more mass shootings and other acts of violence and antisocial behavior.
Zero-tolerance strategy wrong
In these divisive times, when our news and politics have strained our relationships with family and friends, it can be hard to voice an opinion. But surely one thing we can agree on is that separating children from their families is wrong.
The United States is taking children away from their parents as part of a zero-tolerance policy initiated by Jeff Sessions and supported by the Trump administration. Even adults who enter our country legally, seeking asylum, are incarcerated and separated from their children.
Can you imagine the anguish that parents feel, not knowing where or how their children are? Can you imagine the terror the children are feeling, taken from their mothers and fathers and put in detention centers with other terrified children?
We in Wisconsin are especially liable, because our own Sen. Ron Johnson chairs the oversight committee for the Department of Homeland Security. He is one of the most powerful people in the country on this issue, and yet has taken no action. This indifference is outrageous.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has refuted these claims in strong terms, saying, “...family separation can cause irreparable harm, disrupting a child’s brain architecture and affecting his or her short-and long-term health.”
Can we, regardless of our race, class, ethnicity or religion, unite behind the idea that needlessly tearing families apart can not be rationalized and will not be tolerated by a people whose very creed calls us to seek justice for all? Whatever “Make America Great Again” means to you, surely it includes rejecting the notion that our security requires the separation of families who have risked so much for a chance to be part of the peace, tranquility and opportunity for which America stands. I hope you will join me in speaking out against this dehumanizing policy.
Borders need to be strengthened
I’m so tired of the liberal open-borders-let-them-come people I could puke.
They know just to ask for asylum by saying I’m afraid of gangs or my husband is abusing me; 80 percent were found to be fraudulent. The money we spend vetting these people could go to the $21 trillion in debt or our own people who are afraid of the gangs here mostly coming from El Salvador, etc., of which these people say they are escaping.
The asylum laws were for people fleeing war and religious persecution not “my husband beats me.” If that is the standard we will take in millions more than the millions we take in legally each year. Come on, we can’t handle it. It costs billions just to resettle them. Then because of chain migration they bring in many more millions. These people have children and we then have to take care of them — education, health care, welfare, food cards, etc. One of the reasons we are $21 trillion in debt is because of this.
I sympathize with these truly needy, but we need our own streets to be safe and better schools and health care for our homeless and poor here.
These same people should sponsor and pay for each asylum seeker and refugee if they are so concerned. Maybe take in a homeless person or child that needs a home. Foster care is a mess and getting worse with drug-addicted parents. We need the money spent on these people to take care of addicted parents. Use your heads or our country goes down like Rome.
Some consumer protections key
For the past 16 years, I have served as a custodian at UW-Eau Claire.
I work hard, and the hours are long, but I’ve met some incredible people because of my job. In my line of work, toxic chemicals are used on a daily basis so I depend on numerous regulations to keep me safe. That’s why I’m deeply concerned about bills like the Regulatory Accountability Act (RAA) and the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act that are being considered by Congress.
Both bills would gut and replace the current federal process that protects folks like me from dangerous chemicals. By creating new procedural rules, a cumbersome analysis process, burdensome hearing requirements and allowing for multiple legal loopholes, RAA and REINs would put up red tape and extra costs when safety and protection needs to be the goal.
Not all regulations are popular, I understand that, but they ensure we have clean air and water, safe toys and food inspections. That’s why I am encouraged to see Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., standing up for Wisconsin families like mine to oppose these attacks on our health and safety.
Festival music just too loud
As a resident of the town of Union, why is the noise from the Eau Claire festival so loud?
I know that this brings in a great deal of money to our businesses. But when I sit in my home and can hear the music, that is really hard to take.
Why can’t the volume be turned down? Not all of us enjoy the music.