Dear Editor: The governor's budget proposes that the Division of Motor Vehicles become more efficient by increasing its online services. Wisconsin should improve the voter registration system by offering online voter registration.
The direct financial payback from online registration would be immediate for municipalities, as it will save the clerk's time by avoiding manual entry of data from a huge stack of paper forms.
Arizona and Washington have successfully instituted online voter registration by partially integrating it with the driver's license system.
In 2008, Wisconsin had a well-publicized battle over comparing voter registrations to the driver's license database. In contrast, the states that have online registration handle this automatically.
For voters, online registration means a more timely, accessible and reliable way to register, with immediate confirmation that the registration has been accepted. The Legislature should consider including online voter registration in the budget.
Paul Malischke for Fair Elections Wisconsin Madison
Increasing suffering doesn't help others
Dear Editor: When the solution to suffering is not to help those who suffer but to increase their ranks, we know emotions have gotten the better of us. Typically, we expect better from a columnist like Mike Ivey. This is what makes his Feb. 24 tirade calling for public employees to share the pain so disturbing.
Gov. Jim Doyle's budget proposal does trim the state's work force and would leave one out of 10 jobs vacant. This means remaining employees will be doing more work and citizens will face longer waits for some services.
Meanwhile, the governor's proposal includes no money for pay increases while asking state employees to pick up a greater share of health care costs - effectively, a cut in pay. Nobody is happy about this, but our members understand the situation.
Ivey praises top guns in Iowa State University's athletic department for taking one-week furloughs, as if a momentary distraction from college athletics somehow compares to controlling powder keg conditions in our overcrowded correctional institutions or providing timely help to unemployed citizens.
Despite Ivey's ignorant, cheap shot about "long lunches," state employees are being stretched thin and working longer hours doing jobs that have a direct impact on the quality of life in Wisconsin.
Marty Beil executive director Wisconsin State Employees Union
Many state workers don't make big bucks
Dear Editor: Before Mike Ivey makes statements about public workers sharing the economic pain, he'd better get his facts straight. Do you realize how many state employees make under $10 an hour? Unless he is willing to come off his high horse and take a pay cut down to $10 an hour, he does not have the right to criticize hardworking people who can barely pay their rent.
If he takes the pay cut first, then he can talk.
Amalor Myrnnyx Madison Editor's note: Cap Times staffers are now taking staggered one-week unpaid furloughs and have also had a cut in benefits.
Zweifel wrong on blame for income gap
Dear Editor: The only part of Dave Zweifel's Feb. 24 column which I agree with is his implied critique that a wide income gap is bad; it certainly is. But beyond that long-observed statement of fact, the piece is a full-twisting inward one-and-a-half media belly flop into the tank for Barack Obama. Undercooked red meat it is; constructive rhetoric it isn't.
The income gap has everything to do with differences in intelligence, ambition, education and parental involvement and nothing to do with conservative ideas. Yes, pliant boards of directors have allowed many executives to be over-compensated, but neither party has inserted itself into regulating that part of the free market.
Mother nature hands out intelligence. But liberals and teachers unions have long been identified as having the greatest influence on education. The culture wars over personal responsibility and accountability, welfare, a public policy of victimhood, and laxity in demanding parental participation have added to the failures of education and ambition.
The income gap is a result of many inherent and learned personal differences, but conservative policies had nothing to do with either.
Brad Taylor Madison
GI's refusal to return to Iraq fosters hope
Dear Editor: Recently Spc. Kristoffer Walker of Green Bay refused to return to Iraq because he now recognizes that the U.S. military campaign there is "illegitimate and unnecessary." His act of conscience and bravery gives me far more hope for our country than the election of Barack Obama or his party's control of Congress.
Even President Obama's best campaign promise regarding Iraq troop withdrawal leaves up to 50,000 U.S. troops in Iraq indefinitely. Though Walker doesn't have the power to end the Iraq war, he, along with over a hundred war resisters who have gone before him, does have the power to expose it.
So while our Democratic and Republican leadership still insist on glossing over the obvious illegality and immorality of our presence in Iraq, at least the testimony of war resisters will stand to serve the best interests of the American people.
Briana Nestler Madison
Vote yes to rebuild Middleton's Kromrey
Dear Editor: I am writing about the April 7 referendum in the Middleton-Cross Plains school district. Issue No. 3 involves rebuilding Kromrey Middle School.
Kromrey's roof leaks so badly that several classroom computers have been destroyed from heavy rains during the night. The ceiling of the lunchroom is near collapse, many of the floor tiles still contain asbestos, and there is concern about a serious mold problem. Kromrey is not only a safety risk and a health hazard, but it is also overcrowded.
If the referendum does not pass, massive repairs will be necessary - they would require the maintenance budget for the entire district.
We need a new middle school, and now is a better time than ever to make this investment in our children's future.
For less than $1 per day per family, we would be bringing jobs to Middleton. Construction companies are hungry for jobs. Because of the competition, it is realistic that bids may come in under budget.
We need to upgrade our facilities to match the reputation of our educational system - it's in everyone's interest! Vote yes for all three questions on April 7.
Annette Ashley Kromrey parent
Banks should take a cue from sports
Dear Editor: Would any serious professional sports franchise allow itself to be run like the U.S. banks have been run?
Sports demand real results. You cannot spin losing a game like you can spin losing $3 trillion. Maybe Arizona should've won the Super Bowl, but Pittsburg did win. There are no Arizona fans or sportswriters claiming otherwise.
In banking there are second, third and fourth chances for failed leaders and failed ideas. Imagine watching the Masters and Tiger Woods is taking a mulligan every time he hits a shot he doesn't like. Who would watch that?
Craig Wehrle Madison