Riebe: Put an end to gerrymandering

I want to thank Assembly District 42 Candidate Melisa Arndt for pledging to support and advance nonpartisan redistricting (“Fair Maps”) in Wisconsin in 2021. By voting for her, we can all send a message that we want to put an end to gerrymandering.

When you contact your state legislator about something that is important to you, are you listened to? Do you get a response? Do they vote the way you asked? Or does it seem as though their votes are dictated instead by party leaders and their donors? For the past 10 years, the condition of our roads, our health care, water, economy, schools have all depended on decisions made by legislators who were elected from gerrymandered districts.

To illustrate, in 2018, though Democrats got 190,000 more votes than Republicans, the Republicans were awarded 63 of the 99 Assembly seats. That’s because in 2011, Republicans packed 30 Assembly districts with Democrats, and drew the remaining 69 districts so Democrats would have slim to no chance of winning an election there.

No political party should be able to manipulate voting maps to keep their party in office for the foreseeable future. When maps are drawn fairly, legislators will have to pay attention to We the People, rather than to their party leaders and big donors.

Melisa Arndt understands the urgency of passing a nonpartisan redistricting bill by June 30, 2021, so we can be sure the next redistricting process results in fair maps for the following decade. Please vote for Melisa Arndt and Fair Maps.

Janie Riebe


Wood: A vote for Arndt

I encourage you to vote for Melisa Arndt for 42nd District Assembly Representative. Arndt and her husband are good, solid neighbors who understand the struggles of middle-class Wisconsin families.

Arndt is hard-working and smart, and will stand up for us in Madison. She has shown strong community spirit for years with her Army Reserve service, her career as a nurse, and her volunteering for church events and local EMS.

She will fight for equitable health care (including for those with pre-existing conditions), good safe schools for our kids, better roads, and responsible environmental and drinking water management.

Unlike many career politicians, she will listen closely to her constituents to ensure our concerns are heard in Madison. Arndt will bring positive change to our lives, and I hope you support her at the polls on Nov. 3. Or, consider voting for Arndt sooner, by absentee ballot, or early in-person at the polls (starting Oct. 20).

Christian Wood


Ruesch: Where did it all go wrong?

Our republic had been born with such optimism and hope as a reaction to tyranny and the cruelty of the religious strife of the English Civil wars.

Some point to 2008 when the “conservative” US Supreme Court in a 5-4 Citizens United decision held that corporations could, under the guise of “free speech”, use their great wealth to support or oppose candidates without limits. Candidates for public office became beholden to a rich and powerful minority.

Some identify the armies of lobbyists employed by wealthy individuals and corporations to exercise their Constitutional right to petition the government to shape the laws (including tax laws) to their advantage.

Some identify the conservative “think tanks” whose mission is to turn the Constitutional principles of our government against itself in service to a wealthy minority to undermine the democracy that had evolved since the adoption of the US Constitution (1789). The Founding Fathers were leery of democracy, so the Constitution as written had many restrictions on voting such as property ownership, being male, election of Senators by state legislatures not the people.

Some point to the gradual packing of the state and US supreme courts with “conservative” justices by funding their candidacy in state elections and obstructing the federal and Supreme Court (lifetime) appointments of non-conservative Presidents by the Senate (eg. Merrick Garland vs. Amy Coney Barrett). “Conservative” judges have adopted “originalist”/“textualist” approaches to interpreting laws and the Constitution, meaning literally going by what the words originally said without regard to intent, modern problems, or the impact on peoples’ lives.

Some note the gerrymandering which has turned Wisconsin’ s voting districts into jigsaw puzzles for partisan advantage and an approach to governing without regard to checks and balances or compromise.

Or it’s the erosion of a sense of fair play in favor of a “win-at-all costs” philosophy, fostered by mindless game shows rewarding backstabbing and betrayal.

Donald Trump’s America is the culmination of all these trends. He’s an autocrat in President’s clothing, disdainful of the checks and balances which have kept us free until now. And he has been aided and abetted by GOP state and national legislators with purging of voter rolls, enacting new voter restrictions, and enacting rules to make it more difficult and dangerous to vote.

To save our democracy this election, we must vote for our national, state and local Democratic candidates.

Stan Ruesch


Lee: Not in favor of 100% Special assessments for Seward St. sidewalk

It is quite easy for the Board to rubber stamp the spending of someone else’s money. Will the Board members be donating additional property tax dollars to help cover the expense they have burdened others with? Were we sold a false bill of goods when previous reports stated there were funds in the Village budget available to help offset the cost? The sidewalk project was approved not by the citizens via the referendum, but rather a small group of unaffected officials.

Being a young family, we were drawn to this neighborhood because of its open space and lack of sidewalks. This specific change to our property has us considering moving away from the Village.

We have made the walk to the new elementary school and as the parents of future elementary aged children, there isn’t a chance we would allow our child to walk that far. We are talking about 5-9 year old children. There aren’t children currently walking to that elementary school and that wouldn’t change with the addition of a sidewalk. The current school bus route stops directly in front of our home.

As W Seward St, is the only route of this neighborhood to get to Main St./Hwy 51, it is one of the most traveled streets in the neighborhood. Do we really want our small children walking on the busiest road in the subdivision? We have to question the District’s Unusually Hazardous Transportation Plan (UHTP) and whether W North St and W Seward Street are now considered safe for children? If our neighborhood desperately needs 4-way stops, speed limit changes among other safety upgrades, how can the Village deem our roads safe for children to cross under the UHTP?

Fellow neighbors have expressed their displeasure and are making preparations to sell. We have also taken the next steps to moving not only out of the neighborhood, but out of Poynette. When an elected official’s argument is “well we are going to assess 100% to 22 families because that’s what we have always done”, they have lost all credibility. The Board has reached its hand into the pockets of hard working families during a national pandemic without blinking as they sit across the street, down the block, and on the other side of the Village with no impact.

We ask the Village Board and the Village of Poynette to fulfill its’ duty to budget for major projects rather than carelessly spend out of the wallets of their constituents.

Stan Lee


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