Category: Letters to the Editor

Letter to the Editor – Merle Wilson

To the Editor:
When the Supreme Court ruled that billionaires could pour unlimited funds to preferred Republicans running for state and federal offices the election process that had some integrity and honesty was reduced to lies and deceit. In the 2016 election approximately 889 million dollars was spent to put Republicans in the majority. A Des Moines Register editorial on March 12, 2017 was captioned, “Lawmakers rush to enact destructive legislation.” It goes on to say in just 62
days the Republicans in Des Moines have inflicted more damage on this state than anyone could have thought possible. They are hatching bills in secret and running them through committees with little or no public debate. When you are doing the bidding of your corporate benefactors instead of the citizens of Iowa, it’s best to operate with speed and stealth.
A prime example of corporate interest was when Craig Johnson admitted that he voted to end collective bargaining for some employees without ever reading the bill. He did what his anti-labor benefactors told him to do. They would like to do away with all unions and remove workers’ rights. No raise in the minimum wage, destroy the bottle bill that 88% of Iowans approve of and worker’s compensation laws. These things
only benefit the corporations and not Iowa citizens.
Warren Buffet is quoted in the book Dark Money by Jane Mayer, “There’s class warfare but it’s my class, the rich class that’s making war and we’re winning.” They win every time their money puts another Republican in office and the people lose.
These six words sum up my opinion of today’s politicians: lie, cheat, steal, greed, graft and corruption.
Merle Wilson
Jesup, Iowa

Letter to the Editor – Gary Murphy

Dear Editor,
I’m responding to the letter dated March 8, 2017. To those that are serving and have served our country, THANK YOU VERY MUCH. I am very appreciative of your BRAVERY.
Sir, you are right, that trying to compare being in the Service and being in prison is like comparing apples and oranges.
Yes, you are right that there are a lot of good and bad choices in life. Good choices have a lot more rewards and benefits. Bad choices, not so much.
You are right, if this prisoner wanted to be remembered by family and friends, maybe they should have contacted them directly to see if they have time for them. Just like a lot of the public does!
Yes, you are right some family and friends are proud of their service members! When have you ever just paid for a service member or veterans dinner without them knowing?
How about all those family and friends and public that are not proud of the military, like back in the 1960s with all the peace protesters and draft dodgers that were against serving and protecting the nation? At that time, there was a split between people supporting troops overseas and those who believed the military had no business there. There is a lot of things that can be debatated here.
I suppose that if a Service member is dishonorably discharged for doing something illegal, they should be prosecuted to the extent of the law, rather than just being kicked out of the Service. Their choice was wrong. There shouldn’t be any extra benefits for service members for medical, psychological, physical? Because it was the choice you made when you signed that line! Knowing the outcome possibilities??
It sounds like you are opinionated about things that you haven’t gotten enough thanks or appreciation for, especially for serving our country? Like some people can be??
I do understand that you stand strong for the Service members. Defend them all the way. I give them thanks as often as I can. I have paid for service members gas or stops at quick stores.
Sometimes, these prisoners write to the newspaper to just let their feelings out, which help them stay in touch with some emotional state of life. When they read responses like yours, they shut down and close up! That’s why when they get out, if they get out, they show NO EMOTION WHATSOEVER! So, sometimes people just need to let them write letters to get things off their chest. Just like you’re going to write a response to this letter.
I would like to meet you and debate this more.
To those serving and veterans, to the incarcerated, thinking of you.
Gary Murphy

Letter to the Editor – Luke Nichols

To the Editor:
Interventions can be the difference between life and death for a drug addict or an alcoholic. Not every person in need of rehab is going to initially jump at the chance to get clean and handle the issues that drove them to addiction. While some addicts or alcoholics have been so badly beaten and battered by their lifestyle that they grasp at the first opportunity to deal with their problems, others need some type of external help in order to seek help. Interventions are extremely helpful tools for families who are dealing with a loved one who is completely against getting help and resistant to going to treatment.
Some families believe if an addict/alcoholic isn’t willing to get help and go to drug rehab on their own, they aren’t going to force them to go and certainly won’t waste their money. Here’s an interesting fact: if addicts/alcoholics believe they can continue to drink alcohol or use drugs successfully, without any type of consequences for their behavior, they will continue to do so because the problems caused by their addiction is still less than the power of the addiction over them.
There are 2 types of interventions: one where the family sits down with the addict and has a professional interventionist conduct a family intervention, where the addict is confronted and offered drug rehab. If they choose not to attend drug rehab, the family gives the addict consequences for their choice. The other type of intervention is done by an interventionist and conducted on a one-on-one basis, where the interventionist works with the addict alone to get their agreement to go to treatment. Once the interventionist, in either case, gets the addict to choose help, they will escort them to the treatment center the family has picked out and gets them successfully checked in.
Often, interventionists can be more successful in handling the addict than the family since, in many cases, the interventionist is an ex-addict himself. By having gone through addiction, the interventionist can level with the addict, speak from their reality and truly understand and have empathy for what they are going through. The interventionist is also a neutral party and not heavily emotionally involved in the situation like the family is. Interventions can help an addict make a logical choice for themselves when they might not be able to alone. If an addict is struggling with addiction, but refuses help, interventions can be a powerful tool used to save their life.
For more information on interventions, go to www.narconon-suncoast.org/blog/the-power-of-an-intervention.html. If you are in need of a referral to a treatment center, call us at 1- 877-841-5509
Luke Nichols, Narconon Community Relations Director

Letter to the Editor – Dave Nelsestuen

Dear Editor:
I’m responding to the recent letter dated February 15, 2017, you state you have no experience with either prison or military life, but still try to compare the two just as the inmate did in a letter to the Progress Review January 11, 2017. The inmate stated he has no military experience either, but still used it as a comparison to his life as a inmate. I can safely say no matter how you twist it, it is still like comparing apples and oranges and in reality, the two are nothing alike, so why try? What I can’t understand is why would anyone even attempt to compare the two experiences?
I first responded to the January 11 letter from the inmate who asked us not to forget them (inmates) because they are just as important as those serving our country or have passed away. The inmate also said it wasn’t empathy he was looking for. If not empathy, then why write a letter to the public comparing your life as an inmate to someone in the military, claiming to be just as important so don’t forget us? I call that empathy!
The February letter used positive and negative comparisons of the two, but again, I’m not sure why someone is comparing the two. Yes, there are positive and negative comparisons with almost everything in life, but there are also good and bad choices in life. When you make good choices you normally have lots of positive things to choose from. But, when you make bad choices, there normally aren’t many positive things to choose from, especially if the bad choices result in being incarcerated. Trying to compare an inmate’s life to a military member’s life is just not possible.
If you weren’t looking for empathy and your wish was to get family and friends attention, you should have contacted them directly, rather than going public. No matter what you say your intentions were, by going public it came across as a plea for empathy.
The truth is friends, family and others keep in touch with military members simply because they are proud of them and are thankful for what they represent and are doing. Unlike inmates, who have broken the laws of society, most friends and some family members normally want to separate themselves because they aren’t proud.
What I want to ask of both writers is please stop trying to compare the two, because someone serving their country shouldn’t be compared to someone that is incarcerated. It just isn’t right, so please find something new to compare your situation to. I sincerely wish you all the best in the future. I always say nothing positive comes from negative thinking. Good luck!
David Nelsestuen, La Porte City

District 72 Update by Dean Fisher – March 1, 2017

Week 6 was marked by considerable debate time with debate into the late evening Tuesday and Wednesday nights on House File 291, Collective Bargaining Reform. On Thursday, with roughly four amendments completed and eighty more amendments still to go the speaker called for a “time certain” resolution to end debate at noon on Thursday. After that time, the House voted on the remaining amendments without debate, finishing the bill at 1:46 PM.
This was a very contentious bill. Committee meetings drew huge crowds including a public hearing on Monday night attended by hundreds.
This bill dealt with how our public sector unions and their employers, the state agencies, counties, cities, and school districts, will negotiate future contracts. Many of the provisions in this bill have been issues brought to me over the years by school board members, school administrators, and many constituents. For example, one of the issues I heard about often was the time and cost it took to fire an underperforming employee, frequently a teacher. The process under the previous law would take from one to three years, and cost in excess of $40,000 for mediators, legal fees, and other costs. This bill reformed that process so it can be faster and less expensive for our school districts to remove an underperforming employee. There are many other common sense provisions in this bill.
With an amendment to the bill that corrected, I was able to support the bill and voted for it on the House floor. It passed 53 to 47 in the House and passed the Senate shortly afterwards. The Governor signed the bill today and has been enacted immediately. Contract negotiations in process will need to reflect the new law.
I believe strongly that this bill will provide some much needed balance as new contracts are negotiated. It will reduce the influence of the Iowa State Education Association on school contracts, leaving the local school boards with more power to define the terms. It will give school administrators more leeway in setting salaries so that a teacher with harder to find skills, perhaps a science teacher, can be offered a higher pay to attract them to the school, or to offer merit pay to high performing teachers.
One particularly significant provision is that each bargaining unit is required to vote on whether or not the unit should be unionized or not prior to any contract renewal. Many of these bargaining units, such as a school district, haven’t voted on whether they should be in the union or not for decades. Under the new law the vote will require a majority of those included in the bargaining unit, not just a majority of the union members. This is only fair since the union insists that their contract cover non-members. There are some school districts that have as few as five ISEA members out of over fifty persons in the bargaining unit, and they haven’t had a vote to organize in decades. Clearly that has to change. This bill will correct those imbalances.
As always, please feel free to contact me at dean.fisher@legis.iowa.gov or 641-750-3594.

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