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Judging the sheriff; More glass walls, please; Ron Johnson ran shameful campaign

Judging the sheriff

In "A Shootout for Dane County Sheriff," 10/15/10, the Dane County sheriff was interviewed about his jail diversion program, CAMP. The article reported: "Mahoney says that there's been no change in the rules, and that judges make decisions about who can participate." This is simply not correct. Sheriff Dave Mahoney is responsible for releasing jail inmates to the CAMP Program.

From the beginning, most Dane County judges have been opposed to Sheriff Mahoney's implementation of the CAMP Program, through which inmates are released from jail to be monitored at home on a GPS device.

The largest category of CAMP inmates released on the bracelet have been convicted of repeat drunk driving. They are subject to legislatively set minimum mandatory jail stays: five days to six months for a second through fifth offense.

The Dane County judges and others believe that mandatory incarceration in jail for repeat drunk driving is an important response to individuals who continue to put our community at jeopardy. Sheriff Mahoney disagrees. A loophole in the law lets him decide whether jail inmates serve their term in jail or at home on electronic monitoring.

Release to CAMP usually occurs immediately; not even one night is spent behind bars. This reduces or eliminates incentives for treatment and doesn't provide the same level of punishment the judges and Legislature intended.

Dane County judges believe that, as a rule, jail sentences should be spent in jail, and not at home on electronic monitoring. Sheriff Mahoney should accept full responsibility for these release decisions made entirely by him and his jail staff.

Chief Judge William Foust and 14 other Dane County circuit court judges

Editor's note: See for more on this dispute.

More glass walls, please

Your recent article on the new Institutes for Discovery on campus ("An Engine for Creativity," 11/12/10) mentioned that the building uses a lot of glass to display biomedical research in action. I often think, as I pass the UW's primate research labs on Charter Street, that if those buildings were made of glass the research that goes on inside could not continue.

Having worked at a nonprofit primate sanctuary in Kentucky, I observed remarkable social interactions that, quite honestly, we humans could learn from. For example, chimps are quick to hold out an open palm when they have wronged another chimp (little things like stealing food). The chimp at the receiving end mirrors the guilty chimp's hand gesture, and bygones are bygones.

I ache for the monkeys held inside the UW primate research facilities. And it agonizes me to know that at other locations on campus, dogs, mice, monkeys and other species endure daily trials of deprivation and manipulation. When will we admit we are causing undue pain, suffering and ultimately death to lives that would thrive otherwise?

Jenny Brejcha

Ron Johnson ran shameful campaign

Christian Schneider says both candidates for Senate "ran campaigns they can be proud of" (opinion column, 11/12/10). Give me a break! Up until the day of the election, Ron Johnson still claimed on his website that he'd moved to Wisconsin in 1979 to form his own company, a flat-out lie. His company was created two years earlier by his brother-in-law, Pat Curler - hence the name Pacur.

Johnson also attacked Sen. Feingold incessantly on the deficit. What a hypocrite! Under George W. Bush, the deficit increased by 71.9%, largely as a result of the Iraq war, which Feingold voted against, and the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, which Ron Johnson wants to extend.

To witness the dishonesty and the hypocrisy of Johnson's campaign, and then to deem it anything but shameful, is downright ludicrous.

Denise Beckfield, Verona

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