Beat that SOB
In his April 12 op-ed "How to Win a Recall Election" (4/13/2012), former Mayor Dave Cieslewicz opined that 4.1% of independent voters will decide it. He then equated unions with the Koch brothers and concluded that Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett "might just be the guy to win the 4.1%."
On April 12, Mayor Barrett was in Rhinelander kicking off his north woods campaign. Many volunteers worked hard in the recall effort (7,000-plus signatures in Oneida County), and while it's clear Mr. Barrett is a nice guy, some of us in attendance wondered, why did he wait so long to declare? And where was his leadership during the recall process?
We know recalls up here, as Sen. Jim Holperin, one of the 14 who left the state during the Act 10 legislative debacle, faced an August recall election. This is the 12th Senate District, where voters lean conservative but find Walker's governing unacceptable, and our senator beat his Walker-admirer challenger by a comfortable margin.
Democrats, independents and a whole lot of lost-in-the-wilderness Republicans want the rancor to end. To wit: I was in Wausau last weekend filling up my Focus when a classic Taurus pulled up. An old guy with faded tattoos got out and filled up while staring at the Falk sign in my window. I waved hello. Then he walked over, pointed at the sign and asked, "She running for governor?" I said, "Yes. I volunteer for her in Rhinelander."
He said, "I've been going to Hodag Country Fest for 32 years! You tell her to beat that SOB."
Was this fellow part of the 4.1%? I don't know. But I do know that Kathleen Falk has earned our votes, and that she will be a governor we can be proud of.
Mary Kinnunen, former mayor, Rhinelander
One man's meat
Having read your interview with Mark Bittman ("The Man Who Ate Real Food," 4/13/2012), I just had to respond about meat eating. We are not biologically designed to eat meat. There are four major biological differences between a carnivorous animal's digestive system and a human's.
There is no logical reason to eat meat. You can get more (here's the word western medicine doesn't want you to hear) usable protein out of a handful of peanuts than you can out of any size meat serving.
I found Mary Ellen Gabriel's article on solar energy, "Let the Sunshine In" (4/20/2012), interesting and informative, but there is one additional point that should be made about the payback of these systems when used in a residential setting.
Panel manufacturers suggest an 18-to-20-year life on photovoltaic panels, with an 80% efficiency at the end of their life. This means that if residential users are looking at an 18-year payback on their initial investment, they must be prepared to make a significant reinvestment just as the system has paid for itself.
Given these economics I think it will be quite some time before solar electric systems become a popular option for most homeowners.
Marshall Alwin, Middleton
Kudos to Ruth Conniff for her commentary on Gov. Scott Walker's campaign ("Walker's Lying Ads," 4/20/2012). I have thought all those things for some time now, and I hope the Dems will shout them loud and clear and unremittingly. In particular, it is time for Walker to accept ownership of the jobs lost and forgone in Milwaukee on his watch, and stop blaming Mayor Tom Barrett, who is just another victim.