Lawyer, not a cop
I regret that your story on the attorney general's race ('The Exaggerator vs. the Equivocator,' 10/20/06) bought into the 'top cop' perspective. When did everyone start looking at the AG job that way? Maybe it was when Jim Doyle ran on his record as a district attorney ' fair enough; it seemed appropriate at the time. That's who he was.
But the AG is not a cop at all, she's the state's top lawyer; even Doyle's main accomplishments were in matters like consumer protection (remember the tobacco litigation?), tribal litigation and negotiation, environmental defense and constitutional advice and litigation. (Remember the State Journal editorial comment in advising Tommy to follow Doyle's legal advice? 'He's a Democrat, but no one ever said he's a bad lawyer.')
The AG, by and large, doesn't prosecute crimes, and the Crime Lab is a management thing, not a cop thing. 'Open records' is essentially AG turf ' that's who the whole state turns to for guidance.
The 'top cop' lingo plays into empty demagogic rhetoric and politics. When we vote for AG, we are picking the lawyer to advise the governor, the Legislature, state agencies and local government on just about anything and everything.
It's reasonable to consider Van Hollen's experience as a prosecutor in making our pick, just as it's reasonable to consider Falk's experience as a practicing environmental attorney, assistant AG and county executive. But we're picking our legal counsel, not a cop.
Scott Herrick, Herrick & Kasdorf, LLP
I appreciated Vikki Kratz's story on U.S. Senate candidate Rae Vogeler ('Not Easy Being a Green,' 10/27/06). However, I was disappointed to find that Kratz concentrated on Vogeler's slim chances of winning her race against incumbent Herb Kohl. I wish, instead, that Isthmus had taken this opportunity to focus on the real issues that separate Vogeler from Kohl.
As a community activist with more than 30 years of experience in fighting for peace and justice, Vogeler is an outspoken opponent of Wisconsin's gay-marriage ban. Kohl, who remains characteristically silent on the issue, voted for the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996.
Vogeler supports universal health care, and believes we can finance quality health care and education for all citizens by redistributing the $100,000 spent each minute on the war. Kohl, on the other hand, generally supports President Bush's misguided and destructive policy on Iraq.
Vogeler, a working mom with two children, will fight for fair, progressive taxation. Kohl, the second-richest senator in the nation, supports tax cuts for the wealthiest 1%, from which he personally benefited over $1.5 million in 2004.
Rae Vogeler is a true progressive leader who represents Wisconsin ideals. Kohl does an effective job at representing a certain segment of our state's population: Wisconsin millionaires. We need a senator who will fight for working Wisconsinites.
During World War II, Omar Bradley was known as 'the soldier's general' because of his common touch and concern for the welfare of the Government Issue Joes under his command. One day, while inspecting the front lines, he and his contingent came under enemy fire. Everybody dove for cover, and Bradley ended up behind a rock next to a private, who glanced over, saw the cascade of stars festooning Bradley's collar and shoulders, and exclaimed, 'Holy cow! It's the Milky Way.'
That was the image that arose unbidden in my mind when I encountered your cover photo of Madison Police Chief Noble Wray ('The Cop at the Top,' 10/27/06). I mean, come on! The guy's in charge of fewer than 500 'troops,' and he gets four stars? Isn't that just a bit pretentious?
Richard S. Russell
What he meant
Vikki Kratz: I think it's inaccurate and misleading to say that the Tammy Baldwin campaign 'discounts' the Center for Public Integrity itemization of funds for consultants. [The group says the Baldwin campaign spent $675,000 on political consultants in 2003-04.] When I told you that the money allocated to 'consultants' in the report covered many media costs above and beyond consultants' fees, I was explaining the report, not discounting it. There's a big difference.
Jeff Pertl, Campaign manager, Tammy Baldwin for Congress
Not only should Pam Blair's employees beware (Watchdog, 10/13/06), but also those who pay in advance to have landscape work done. Wanting to help Pam and to have my garden cared for over the year, I entered into a contract and paid a substantial sum in advance.
Beginning in March, her Gemini Landscape Services was to come twice each month through November. To date, no garden work was done in March, April and May. Little was done in June and July. None in August, September or early October.
The garden is sad and ragged, and I am owed approximately $1,000 in work time.
There seems to be no hope of recompense, but I am glad you wrote your story about Gemini not paying its employees. Perhaps it will be a warning for others.