Recall elections are democracy in action
I take umbrage at Christian Schneider's opinion column "Recall Madness" (5/13/11).
Christian states that "Republicans are being recalled because state employees are getting less 'stuff.'" I was floored by his erroneous simplification of the situation.
For starters, the recalls are a backlash against senators who voted to strip collective bargaining rights. And this recall effort has been conducted not only by state employees, but by thousands of people who are employed in the private sector, self-employed, non-employed, retired or in college.
Besides, state employee unions agreed to contribute more to benefits back in February. Christian, where've you been?
In response to Christian Schneider's "Recall Madness," I say, don't fear the recall. Elected officials should be able to stand on the merits of what they have done, but these cannot. None of these politicians campaigned on the controversial legislative actions that have led to these recalls. Had they done so, most would never have been elected. That is precisely the reason for a recall.
The advantage of today over 1926, when the recall amendment passed, is the greater ability to communicate. Faulting social media such as Facebook for the recalls is akin to blaming the telephone for telemarketers. It is simply a means of communication. People still have to sign a piece of paper to cause a recall, and they still have to vote to complete it.
Walker dropped "the bomb," and the recalls are the collateral damage. The real issue is: Should workers have the right to collectively bargain wages, benefits and working conditions?
This should be visited as a constitutional amendment for the people of Wisconsin to vote up or down. I would hope that Mr. Schneider would support this approach for the very reasons he outlined in his column.
People with strong and heartfelt beliefs need to come together for an adult discussion to move Wisconsin forward and not push some national ideological agenda. The recall elections will be a chance to do this. This is what democracy in Wisconsin looks like.
About that activist
In "The New Activists" (5/13/11), Jason Joyce reported that Brad Werntz opened Boulders Climbing Gym in 1996 and Pemba Serves five years prior. Later Werntz is quoted saying, "Big business and real estate and agribusiness are busy making their case, but none of these are the job creators." I sent an email to Boulders to let Brad know I strongly disagree.
I received a prompt and apologetic reply from the general manager of Boulders wanting me to know "Brad has a minor role within our business" and "he does not speak for all of us." Real businessmen, looking for support, don't minimize and dismiss others.
Tom Elverman, Stoughton
Tools for the people
Regarding "The Uses of Outrage" (Making the Paper, 5/13/11), Vince O'Hern refers to the economic meltdowns in all U.S. states but North Dakota, which he attributes to being "awash in oil shale and bereft of people." Those things may be true, but North Dakota is also the only U.S. state that owns its own bank, which lends money for what is needed by the state and its citizens.
This is not the only example of people exercising control over their economic destiny. With the world watching Madison, it's a great time for us to show that our economy can and should work for our society and its people.
We have a multitude of tools, some already employed, such as time banking and business exchange networks, cooperative business and community endeavors, publicly owned banks and credit unions, lenders' circles, local currencies and more.
Now it's time to create the world we want to live in. This is not only possible, it's necessary.
Stephanie Rearick, Dane County TimeBank