Wow, what a traffic jam! All the student drivers, the big trucks that move through town, and now a Holiday Inn on Main Street!
My head is in Platteville. My husband and I grew up there and then retired there. Platteville has been a gentle, pretty town with a nice quality of life and many interesting things going on. I hate to see it turn into a congested Chicago. I think the quality of the town life is more important than a hand out of money to build a Holiday Inn. Why not locate it on the edge of town?
On DNR job cuts
In late April, 27 employees of the Department of Natural Resources Science Bureau got pink slips. This is all part of the governor’s budget process.
He’d like us to believe that it’s to help balance the budget. In fact, the Science Bureau is almost entirely funded with federal and program revenue dollars — not general tax dollars. Laying these folks off will not save our taxpayers a dime.
So why are they in danger of losing their jobs? Because they produce information that helps to inform policy decisions-makers on how to manage our natural resources, and sometimes that information does not meet with the approval of the ideologues who now run our state government.
Sen. Tom Tiffany is a case in point. He sponsored the mining bill that put aside environmental regulations so that an out-of-state company could destroy a large chunk of Northern Wisconsin. The Science Bureau did an analysis that said such a mine might have negative impacts on the environment. To any thinking person, that would seem obvious, but Toxic Tom didn’t like it. Toxic Tom also likes to have lots of deer in Northern Wisconsin, but the scientists produced information that suggested herd management practices that tend to keep the herd numbers more in check are beneficial to the health of the herd.
The result: 27 people have their jobs in danger, because they did what they are paid to do — produce information for he public policy process.
Wisconsin faces many environmental challenges. In Southwest Wisconsin, hills and bluffs are disappearing in clouds of silica dust to feed the oil industry. In Central Wisconsin, rivers, streams, and lakes are drying up because we’re pumping more water out of the aquifer than nature can return. All over the state, industrial and agricultural pollutants endanger ground water and surface water. Invasive species threaten native game fish. And the list goes on.
Our governor says that we can hire scientists as issues come up. Issues have come up and continue to come up. The state needs scientists who produce useful, timely information so that policy makers can address the issues that endanger our natural world. Firing them will mean we have to hire private scientists who will not necessarily have experiential knowledge, who may not produce the information in a timely manner, and who will be paid for by the taxpayers. That is, of course, if they get hired at all.
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