Carrie Scherpelz: Why 8-year-old wanted to sign recall petition

Dear Editor: An 8-year-old begged to sign my Recall Walker petition the other day — because, he said sadly, “They closed my favorite school!” I felt choked up, and I was so sorry he couldn’t sign. When we did the math, and he learned he couldn’t sign until he was 18, he looked crestfallen. I suspect he’ll remember to vote 10 years from now, but what about his education today?

Wisconsin children, who have lost both health care services and educational opportunities, deserve a voice in the recall of our governor. Since they don’t have a voice, we must stand up and speak for them, then vote for what’s best for them. My little first-grade friend, Breeze, can’t afford to have the quality of her education reduced over the next four years. She’ll never have those four crucial, formative years to do over.

On Dec. 24, wearing my sign “All I Want for Christmas Is a New Governor,” I collected signatures outside Madison’s Overture Center. As I wished adults and children a very Merry Christmas, my sign got a lot of nods, smiles and “wouldn’t THAT be nice?!” comments.

Wouldn’t it be nice if our youths, from elementary to college age, could in 2012 receive the gift of a new governor and a Wisconsin united in its support of our schools and teachers?

Carrie Scherpelz


Bruce Grau: Madison Prep foes don’t really understand racism

Dear Editor: I have been following the Madison Prep story. I attended the School Board Meeting where it was voted down. My impression of the whole situation is that many people in power in Madison, in this case the School Board and teachers union leader John Matthews, don’t have more than a superficial understanding of racism.

Some who expressed opposition to the school, although well-intentioned, also exhibited a lack of knowledge of the psychology and deep institutionalization of racial inequality that permeates all levels of our society.

Unfortunately, their ignorance hurts them also. For example, after rejecting this school’s approach, the School Board, Matthews and his hacks, and others purporting intimate knowledge of the true meanings of the Rev. Martin Luther King’s words will now unleash an all-out assault on public education, to be spearheaded by the Walker machine.

Perhaps, as its first class offered in its new school, Madison Prep should offer an “Introduction to Racism in Our Society — Who Are the Real Winners and Losers?” with a personal invitation to five School Board members, Superintendent Dan Nerad, and Matthews and his culturally incompetent underlings.

Bruce Grau


Dick Ainsworth: Grinch is stealing our library too

Dear Editor: The village of Spring Green 2012 budget will permanently remove approximately one-third of the financial support for the community library. It is unclear how this drastic reduction in library access and services will be managed, but a combination of closed days and reduced hours is inevitable.

Previously, Wisconsin Statute 43.15 protected libraries from attacks like the one we have seen in Spring Green. This statute was changed by the Walker administration to allow municipalities to raid as much as they wished from library funding. The section known as Maintenance of Effort was removed, so municipalities are no longer required to maintain funding at “not less than the average of such funding received for the previous three years.”

I suggest that anyone arriving at Wisconsin libraries during what used to be normal hours and finding the doors locked should contact a member of the local City Council or Village Board directly and ask the board member to loan them a book, read a story to a child, provide Internet service using their computer, or donate their living room for a community meeting. In the meantime, those of us with library cards will provide a welcome boost to people with student ID cards and union cards who are working to restore legislative balance and sanity to our state.

Dick Ainsworth


Kathy Williams: Churches should ‘ring bells for peace’ at 1 p.m. Jan. 1

Dear Editor: I am concerned that there is very little attention given to the fact that we are ending the war in Iraq.

When World War II ended, the churches in Europe and the U.S. rang their bells in jubilation. I wish that we could get the word out for churches to “ring bells for peace” on Jan. 1 at 1 p.m. for two minutes. I think it would be a great sign of support for our troops and our president.

It would also show that churches “walk the walk.” Most churches preach “pray for peace” but don’t go any further than that in fear of offending people. “Ringing bells for peace” can be a way of letting churches show their true colors, and it could be a rhetoric-free sign of solidarity and support.

Please pass the idea on to others if you feel it is worthy of consideration.

Peace on Earth.

Kathy Williams


Glenn Sugameli: Ron Johnson still blocking OK for judges

Dear Editor: Regardless of one’s reaction to Harold Meyerson’s column, “Newt’s war on judges an overreach,” everyone should agree that lack of federal judges means that justice delayed continues to be justice denied.

First, as described in my Aug. 10 letter, it is still true that Wisconsin’s Ron Johnson is the “only freshman GOP senator blocking own state’s judicial nominees.” Indeed, with the support of other freshmen Republican senators from five states, the Senate has confirmed all 10 of the other nominees for judgeships that President Obama re-submitted after the senators were elected.

In contrast, despite nonpartisan and bipartisan criticism, Johnson blocked Senate hearings for Victoria Nourse (7th Circuit Court of Appeals) and Louis Butler (Western District of Wisconsin), and forced the nominations to be returned to the president.

Second, unnamed Republican senators’ unexplained and unjustifiable objections repeatedly have prevented floor votes on consensus judicial nominees, including many who were approved unanimously by the Judiciary Committee.

As a result, the federal judgeship vacancy rate unacceptably remains stuck at about 10 percent, despite calls to fill empty seats from Supreme Court justices, the American Bar Association and others.

Glenn Sugameli

staff attorney, Judging the Environment, Defenders of Wildlife

Washington, D.C.

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