Weather Forecast


Letters: Are building permit fees accurate?; Readers beware: fact or fiction

Venezuela is a failed state because of socialism


The recent column (A View from an Economist) by Jackie Brux, "Trump Speech to UN on Socialism, Payments, Women," is misleading. Brux declares that Trump is on "shaky economic grounds...the most serious problem facing Venezuela's economy today is the recent plunge in oil prices." This is a half-truth.

Venezuela is a failed state today not because of the plunge in oil prices, but because Hugo Chavez was elected President in 1999 and promised the people a Socialist Paradise. Chavez promised "Hope and Change." Chavez preached that Venezuela is nation of great wealth but it's being stolen from its people by the evil capitalists and evil corporations. Once in power Chavez nationalized these corporations causing capital flight. Chavez's government took over all the industries with the promise that the government would run them better than private enterprise and share the profits with the people. The richest Venezuelan is the daughter of Hugo Chavez, now a billionaire.

Now we can see the results of socialism after being fully implemented as Trump said in his UN speech. Venezuela went from being a successful democracy with a growing middle class to a dictatorship under Maduro in two decades. There are severe shortages of everything; power and water are available sporadically. Shortages of food and medical supplies are life-threatening. There are reports that people are eating pets and zoo animals to survive. Crime and corruption has exploded. The plunge in oil prices, while not helpful, is not the root cause of Venezuela's problems. The root cause is Socialism. Governments can't run industry better than private enterprise. Venezuela is proof! Once Socialism is fully implemented, government takeover of all industry, land, and other private property, dictatorship becomes a necessity to keep order in a failing state. I hope people will learn from the mistakes of Venezuela and avoid going down the road of socialism.

Elisabeth Nelson


Are building permit fees accurate?


With the state of politics in America today, I feel it imperative that we remember the swamp can be a local problem also. Recently I requested a copy of a building permit that was issued to a Hudson Town Supervisor back in 2014. Here is what I discovered.

In 2014 a member of the Hudson Town Board applied for a building permit for the construction of a pole shed on his property. According to the permit, it would be a 30x30 Lester Pole Shed with no electric or slab. Estimated cost $4,500. It turns out the building was actually 35x35 with both electric and slab at a cost of roughly $20,000. The bogus figures supplied by the supervisor cheated the good people of Hudson Township out of the correct building permit fee, as well as present and future property tax revenue.

I realize an elected official fudging the truth is not headline news. But neither is some idiot sending photos of his smeckle to a woman in the Philippines, yet that made the first page of the online HSO.

I brought the discrepancies to the attention of the building inspector with no response. I can only conclude that since the building inspector signed off on the permit he is complicit with cheating the town of precious tax dollars. If an elected official is compelled to save a few hundred dollars by falsifying a building permit who knows what else might be rotten in Denmark.

John Windolff

Town of Hudson

Readers beware: fact or fiction


I was a reporter for the Star Observer for 27 years and one of the things I enjoyed most about the job was hearing from readers, even when it was to complain. But something I regularly heard always concerned me.

People often would voice their opinions, pro and con, to what they called the "editorials" in our paper. What they were often referring to were "Letters to the Editor," not the weekly editorial written by then editor Doug Stohlberg that appeared on the same page.

The letters are personal opinion and our policy was to print as many of them as possible provided they did not involve accusations of anything criminal, that could be considered libelous or were personal disputes.

These letters were not, and I assume still aren't, fact-checked for accuracy. Some of the statements made by writers are not necessarily accurate or sometimes even true.

A recent example would be some of the letters written regarding the inclusion resolution being considered by the City of Hudson. One writer described its contents inaccurately, based on my reading of the actual resolution language, and then proceeded to present a case against it.

People who write letters can do this but readers should always be critical of what they read and never assume that just because it is printed in the newspaper that it is fact. In my experience the opposite is often true in letters. They can contain far more fiction than fact.

That said, at a time when so much is said and printed in social media, on blogs and the internet without attribution, I applaud the people who still have the courage to write letters about issues in the community that concern them and sign their names to them.

Meg Heaton


How afraid are we?


I know Hudson neighbors well enough to say that most are willing to welcome members of diverse communities to their town. I also know that every time our community takes action to welcome diversity a small group of culturally frightened individuals organize to intimidate our churches, schools, businesses and civic leaders. They know how to intimidate welcoming Hudson citizens in ways that makes them go silent and remain inactive.

Darla Myers is one of the leaders of this group and frequently shares her words of fear and cultural exclusion in these opinion pages. They are called Citizens for the St. Croix Valley. Checkout their website ( to better understand how they think and how they target our community.

Hudson has a problem. When we seek to help refugees, this group rallies. When our school seeks to teach world religions, this group rallies. When we seek to support our LGBT neighbors, this group rallies. As we ask our city of Hudson to welcome inclusion, this group rallies. This group actively bullies and harasses our institutions and have successfully intimidated many of our citizen groups into silent compliance.

A handful of us are trying to stand up to this vigilant group, but your voice and help is needed. Please write letters in support of inclusion to our mayor, city council members and business leaders. Ask clergy how your church is expanding its cultural arms, thank businesses that hire people of color and encourage organizations that support women in leadership roles. Citizens for the St. Croix Valley is a prejudicial group that is defining the city of Hudson as an unfriendly place that consistently shuts down acts of welcome or cultural education. Please speak up as you know how, we need to care out loud!

Tony Bol