Letters: Fate of SCEMS; It is time to limit dangerous weapons
Fate of SCEMS
TO THE EDITOR
Tom McCormick raised an important issue in last week's paper: should St. Croix Emergency Medical Service follow the community service model?
I serve on the ad hoc EMS committee. I've learned there are several models followed in the US, including public utility (a city or township contracts with a private vendor for emergency medical services), government agency (city or township controls and finances the EMS), hospital-based (local hospital provides service under contract with the city/township), and community-based service (EMS is controlled by local government, service is provided by volunteers and paid staff).
The SCEMS has worked under the community-based model for many years. The Hudson City Council governs SCEMS in consultation with the EMS Commission (which includes representatives of the village of North Hudson, Town of Hudson, and Town of Troy). The majority of the service's budget comes from user fees, paid mostly by users' insurance. Tax funds provide the balance.
SCEMS has some paid staff and many volunteers who are paid on a contract basis when they work.
Last year, the City Council considered changing to a hospital-based model, where Lakeview Hospital would purchase SCEMS and provide ambulance service under a 10-year contract. Once the plan was made public it was clear Lakeview would provide less service than we currently enjoy, and that after 10 years they could charge whatever they liked for the service. The community rose up in objection, and the council rejected the plan. The ad hoc EMS committee and the EMS Commission have been wrestling ever since with ways to make the service financially sustainable.
As McCormick suggests, this is the fundamental issue: should we regard the EMS as a public service, like the fire and police departments? That would mean we continue to partially support it with tax dollars. Or should we treat it as a service that should pay for itself, e.g. by selling it to a hospital or contracting with a private vendor? The vast majority of the citizens who spoke against the sale of the service to Lakeview clearly believe that SCEMS should continue to be a public service, as it has been in the past. But this is an issue that should be discussed and decided by the entire community before we make fundamental changes to the service's structure.
Perhaps the city should launch a strategic planning exercise to settle this issue, similar to the process we followed before agreeing to fund the expansion and remodel of the high school.
It is time to limit dangerous weapons
TO THE EDITOR
I feel compelled to respond to the writer of a viewpoint on the gun debate titled, "An open honest debate on guns is needed." She disagreed with a previous reader who stated it was time to challenge the NRA and the Second Amendment. Her question about why Democrats didn't pass stricter gun laws in 2009-10 was a good one. But she herself, deflecting the issue to other things, sure sounds like "NRA 101" playbook from the last 25 years: deflecting and primarily focusing on other failures involving the Parkland shooting, blaming the weapon, Steve Scalise, bringing politics into the issue, Obama, Democrats in general, Planned Parenthood (what?, we're talking about guns and the NRA here.)
She espouses " an open and honest discussion with Democrats about gun policy based on data, logic and reason." Too bad the NRA paid off Congress to pass the Dickey Amendment to prevent acquiring unbiased data on gun violence. We would have had impartial, factual DATA from the CDC. And the LOGIC of the issue is too skewed by what is now considered by some to be a cult following of the NRA.
The same argument goes with REASON. For example, the cultists don't believe the AR 15 is a weapon of war. Again from "NRA 101 " playbook: use some technical terms and minute weapon differences to make an argument that it really isn't. It IS time to challenge the Second Amendment in terms of limiting very dangerous weapons and saving our children's lives, and to challenge the NRA, which is no longer "your father's NRA."
When the NRA sues the state of Florida to challenge a new law made to protect schools and children after the Parkland shootings, so that 18-21-year-olds cannot buy AR 15's , it is clear to me that the NRA is rotting from the inside.
To quote a Parkland student, "their right to own an assault rifle does not outweigh our right to live." Couldn't be said better than that. I can't wait for these high school students to vote and be our representatives. They see the issue clearly and won't be paid off or bullied into submission. As someone who has been assaulted by an NRA cultist, I know what that bullying is about firsthand.
Get out there and vote April 3
TO THE EDITOR
We're all responsible for the results of this upcoming election and should all rise to the occasion to make positive things happen. Instead of looking backwards in time with the ideologies of some of the candidates, we should look to the future - consider the big picture - and support candidates who want to represent us all.
There's a lot going on behind the scenes. Through research I've discovered that Citizens For the St. Croix Valley have been endorsing and supporting candidates to gain representation on every council and board in our county. They were behind a fundraising event for two candidates not too long ago at Big Guy's BBQ. They've written and electronically sent a survey to every candidate running for St. Croix County Board of Supervisors that addresses questions of special interest to their constituents. They've posted these responses and promote voting for candidates who are aligned with their prejudicial philosophies. They've disseminated false information about people in our community wanting sanctuary status and support a candidate whose campaign is running on this lie. They've made a major commitment to the upcoming election on their website and are clear about wanting their voice to infiltrate our local government.
I believe that CFTSCV wants their agenda to have direct political representation throughout St. Croix County. Please do your own research and not let bigotry win.
They won't stop until Hudson is a sanctuary city
TO THE EDITOR
On Feb. 9, 2018, Joyce Hall, Hudson Common Council member, sent an email to Devin Willi and Jen Zeiler (City of Hudson staff) stating:
"...As you know, the city has been offered a year's membership to the National League of Cities. Would you please ask all of the employees to visit their website and share their opinions with me regarding league membership and whether or not they think the city would benefit from it? ..."
It has been confirmed that not a single employee of the City of Hudson employees emailed a response to Hall.
This should be very troubling for the City of Hudson taxpayers to know that virtually NO staff employee responded to Joyce Hall's request for feedback. Yet, the majority of the Hudson Common Council voted to fund an overtly partisan organization (National League of Cities) with $1,500 taxpayer money on behalf of a special interest group (Hudson Inclusion Alliance). The four Council members voting to give away your money were John Hoggatt, Joyce Hall, Bill Alms and Jim Webber. The HIA keeps repeating that the NLC is non-partisan. Does anyone really believe they would support an organization against sanctuary cities and for Second Amendment rights?
If the National League of Cities succeeds in implementing their initiatives, e.g., gun control, sanctuary city, the likelihood for a lawsuit would be high. Those who cherish Second Amendment rights will be watching the City of Hudson very closely.
The Hudson city administrator stated feedback he has received from staff seems to indicate that some supporters of the NLC were expecting to have access to City of Hudson staff to implement the NLC's initiatives. He clarified that staff are not available to facilitate the NLC's initiatives. In the world of politics, one lesson is clear: liberal special interest groups never settle for one little bone thrown their way. My opinion is that the HIA will never give up until the City of Hudson is declared a sanctuary city, along with all the other poisonous tentacles that would go along with that designation. And they want your hard-earned money to do it.
Vote no on stealth attempt to eliminate State Treasurer
TO THE EDITOR
I'm writing to alert readers to a statewide referendum item on the ballot when we go to the polls on April 3. This referendum has gotten too little coverage in state media. It's urgent that voters understand what's at stake.
The ballot measure would amend the Wisconsin State Constitution to eliminate the nonpartisan office of State Treasurer who manages over $1 billion in State Trust Fund assets. As a commissioner on the Board of Public Lands Commission, the Treasurer oversees these funds for use in our public schools, local governments, and public lands. This money goes to improve public schools, libraries, local community infrastructure such as roads and sewers, parks, and the UW system.
The proposed ballot measure would place the Treasurer's oversight function in the hands of the lieutenant governor, effectively removing barriers to partisan use of public assets that belong to all of us.
The Treasurer's office is the public's watchdog for these funds, and if voters eliminate it, Wisconsin will become the only state in the country not to maintain a firewall against appropriation and misuse of public money by partisan politicians.
The current Treasurer and Scott Walker ally, Matt Adamczyk, ran for his office on a platform of getting rid of the Office of Treasurer. Clearly this move has been in the works for some time, and like so much in recent Wisconsin politics is being carried out in the absence of public discussion, away from the light of voters' scrutiny.
Our state's public assets, owned by every citizen, are at risk in this election. You can learn more about this issue at www.saveourfiscalwatchdog.org/whyvoteno.
Vote NO on this stealth attempt to grab state-owned resources on April 3.
Thomas R. Smith
Be a Giving Day hero
TO THE EDITOR
March is Red Cross Month and this year we want to inspire people across the country to be a hero by giving blood, or becoming a volunteer. You can also #help1family on Giving Day — March 28 — by making a financial donation to help provide hope and relief to people who need it most.
Seventy-five years ago, President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared March to be Red Cross Month to raise awareness of the organization and its critical humanitarian mission. This March, we salute everyday heroes who make a difference in their communities by donating blood or platelets to support hospital patients, volunteering to help a family devastated by disaster, taking a first aid or CPR class to help in an emergency situation, or providing comfort to a member of the military, a veteran, or their family.
The Red Cross is powered by volunteer heroes who responded to numerous large and historic disasters in 2017. Volunteers comprise 91 percent of the Red Cross workforce across the country. In 2017, Red Cross heroes provided more food, relief items, or overnight shelter stays to people in need than in the last four years combined!
Here in St. Croix County, your local Red Cross is powered by volunteer heroes who deliver help and hope year-round. For example, during 2017 local volunteers helped 19 local families recover after 10 local disasters, including home fires; installed 18 free smoke alarms to help keep our neighbors safe from home fires; supported 31 emergency military calls; and collected 4,655 pints of blood from our generous blood donors.
The American Red Cross is asking everyone to join us in supporting families impacted by disaster and #help1family on Giving Day — Wednesday, March 28. Your donation can help provide hope and urgent relief such as food, blankets and other essentials to people who need it most. Donate now by visiting redcross.org/givingday, or by texting REDCROSS to 90999 to give $10. Thank you.
Vote April 3
TO THE EDITOR
Spring is slowly arriving and with it, the state-wide election season is upon us as evidenced by the plethora of yard signs that have sprung into place. Soon they will be replaced with daffodils and tulips, but before that happens, it will be election day.
This is a critical election for our community, our county and our state. Many people are feeling hopeless, out of control and out of touch with our federal and state leadership. You may feel that you have no voice and that your input won't matter. But in a strong democracy, this is not the case. While leadership in Washington DC may indeed have become untouchable and closed to your input, your local leadership has not. They make themselves accessible to you (at least the good ones do). Their decisions and leadership choices impact your daily life.
Please reach out to the candidates running in your district. Ask them their views on the critical decisions that will be made in the next couple of years. What is the direction they stand for in regards to Hudson's EMS funding and service? What is their stand on St. Croix County's opioid addiction and mental health crisis? What investments in infrastructure expenditures do they support? Ask them about the issue that is critical to you!
We improve our community and strengthen our local democracy by getting out to vote on April 3.
Right to own military-style arms
TO THE EDITOR
The Bill of Rights was written as a guarantee of liberties and freedom to the people of the United States. The government has no need to grant rights to itself. Every right within the Bill of Rights is an individual right. The founders did not write nine of the first 10 Amendments to protect citizens' rights, but on the Second Amendment say; "Yeah but, we need to protect our government's right to have an army." In fact, the Second Amendment was clearly written to protect the individual's right to own current military-style arms for self-defense, defense of country, and to resist tyranny.