State workers down
Regarding your recent "Fortunes" news item ("Up: State Workers," 6/28/2013): I can assure you that this is not an up time to be a state worker. Not only is a 1% salary increase not much, they are also increasing our pension and health contributions. This amount will wipe out at least part of this 1%. Also, there is no mention that in the aftermath of Act 10 our wages were in effect cut 10% to 15% because of added deductions for pension and health care. This is in addition to the last two years under Gov. Doyle when we had furlough days that were in effect wage cuts.
In fact, in the 15 years I have worked for the state there have been no effective raises at all. When inflation is taken into account, my wages have effectively been going down for years. This is a bipartisan movement of devaluing public- and private-sector workers that didn't start under Gov. Walker and will not end when he is gone.
I was disappointed to read yet another letter to the editor perpetuating the myth that "Overture continues to cost Madison taxpayers millions of dollars per year" ("Whose State Street?," 6/28/2013). The hard evidence shows that Overture Center actually generates millions of dollars in annual revenues that return to the city through taxes, parking fees and other economic activity downtown that is a direct result of Overture's programming. (For just one source, see last year's Dane County study of the economic impact of arts organizations.)
It would be nice to see our city embrace Overture Center not just as the quality-of-life asset it so clearly is, but also as the economic driver it has proven to be.
Jennifer Uphoff Gray, Artistic director, Forward Theater Company
Taken altogether, the arguments used by some Democratic lawmakers during the ultrasound debate (as outlined by Judith Davidoff in "Ultrasound Debate Gets Personal," 6/21/2013) constitute a parade of overwrought obfuscation hardly worthy of even a career politician.
For example, Rep. Chris Taylor twists an experience with a very happy ending -- finding that the child she was carrying, for which a heartbeat could not be detected, was actually alive -- into a cautionary tale about the evils of an unwanted ultrasound. Doesn't it make much more sense to extrapolate the opposite lesson? Mightn't an ultrasound help detect a faint heartbeat and thereby save a woman from the horror of aborting her living baby?
Likewise, Rep. Sondy Pope's doctor told her that her child would not be born alive. But Rep. Taylor's story shows that doctors often make mistakes, and that an ultrasound would provide a much surer diagnosis of any potential problems with a pregnancy.
Abortion solves nothing, but ultrasounds can keep women -- and doctors -- from making terrible mistakes.
Bravo, Isthmus, for informing readers of Alex Timofeev's case ("He Smoked Some Weed as a Teenager; Now This Madison Dad Is Facing Deportation," 7/5/2013). U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers, the Wisconsin Department of Justice, the Dane County District Attorney's Office, District Attorney Ismael Ozanne and Assistant District Attorney Matt Moeser knowingly rely upon immorality and intentionally unjust federal and state laws to torment, disenfranchise and bankrupt a seemingly good man like Timofeev. His only so-called crime is that years ago he possessed some cannabis, the possession and peaceable consumption of which, in and of itself, should never have been made criminal in the first place.
Ivan Smason, Santa Monica, Calif.
So Scott Walker has not come close to producing 250,000 jobs because he didn't know that newspapers are struggling, Madison has cumbersome regulations and employers hire after they are sure economic expansion will be maintained? So is Larry Kaufmann the only one with these incredible insights ("Wisconsin's Business Environment Is Improving," 7/12/2013)? Seems like if you have a team of economic advisers, someone else should have known or Larry should have dropped Scotty a note to that effect.
I am tired of the victim mentality of Republicans. They continually make excuses and lay blame for underperforming, rather than taking responsibility for the failure of Scott Walker's disastrous policies. Among them:
Rejecting or destabilizing industries that would have provided growth (wind power, trains and train manufacturing, stem cell research).
Blaming political upheaval. The gov was the one who introduced the divide-and-conquer strategy that upset the whole state for months, just to make a political win.
As for jobs being a lagging indicator, the only thing lagging is Wisconsin, behind 44 other states in job growth.
If Walker were really serious about economic growth he would spend less time legislating what happens inside a woman's vagina and more time creating bills that are actually linked to creating jobs.