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Letters: Common decency; Johnson is untruthful on latest health care bill

Common Decency


To Darla Meyers and her friends in their little Citizens for the St. Croix Valley club, these words convey exclusion:

". . . we affirm Hudson's commitment to inclusion as a fundamental aspect of our community. We pledge to honor the rights, freedoms, and interests of all members of our community, without regard to age, race, ethnicity, country of origin, sexual orientation/gender identity, ability, religious preference, income, or political affiliation. We further pledge active efforts to achieve the goal of inclusion, and we urge all community members of Hudson to join together to support this effort; . . . the City of Hudson shall include this resolution as part of its future strategic plans and shall encourage all other units of government to join the City in welcoming, encouraging, and supporting all members of our community; and . . . the City of Hudson, Wisconsin declares itself to be an 'Inclusive City"" (Proposed Resolution to City Council of Hudson, Wisconsin).

But to the reasonable majority of people in our community, those are words of common decency.

After a quarter-century of making our family's home here, I'm proud that the City of Hudson is going to adopt a resolution of inclusivity that affirms the very best of the character of our community.

Celeste Koeberl

Town of Hudson

How long will it take to connect the dots?


With deadly hurricanes slamming Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico, tragic earthquakes in Mexico, and hundreds of western wildfires now lowering air quality in our own region, it's hard to know what more can be said to convince skeptics that the earth really is in violent revolt against human abuse of the environment.

Hurricane Maria has already left Puerto Rico without electricity, maybe for months. Meanwhile a failing dam threatens to compound the disaster for tens of thousand downstream. How much damage can a society absorb or afford?

It may seem as though we in the Heartland occupy a sweet spot away from the multiplying natural disasters surrounding us. Of course one "once-in-a-thousand-years" storm, becoming more and more frequent these days, could change that fast. And it may not be long before we, with our Midwestern love of uncrowdedness and relative weather safety, become host to thousands of climate refugees from the southern and coastal states.

Psychologists have noticed that deep anxieties are seeping into those of us safely inland who have been viewing the continual media coverage of these catastrophic events. Even far-removed onlookers can experience a kind of PTSD as if they themselves were victims of the destruction. On a subconscious level we know that, the relative stability of our particular region notwithstanding, our fates really are entangled in this new age of disaster.

There's no exact cause-and-effect relationship between the new hurricanes and climate change, but it's an established fact that warmer ocean temperatures contribute to the formation of these monster storms. How many lives lost and homes and neighborhoods destroyed will it take for us to connect the dots? And aren't those in power who willfully and irresponsibly ignore the increasing climate chaos guilty of criminal negligence, or worse?

Thomas R. Smith

River Falls

Congratulations River Falls


Ten years ago the city council passed a resolution declaring River Falls an inclusive community. Their public works team put up signs at every city entry point, indicating that River Falls has a committed interest in diverse cultures. This past month, River Falls replaced the faded inclusion signs with bright, brand new signs that welcome all. River Falls residents have created many activities, organizations and symbols that let people know it's safe and even celebrated for those from nontraditional origins or interests.

I was at a River Falls PFLAG (Parents & Friends of Gays & Lesbians) picnic last week with about 100 participants, mostly teens and young people with advocate adults. It was moving to see these confident kids feeling safe and supported while they are just doing the work of being kids. River Falls has many institutions welcoming diversity, and residents are proud to have their city as one of its active partners. Their resolution itself did not do the work of community inclusion, but it did declare it as important.

Our Hudson City Council is now being asked to support diversity with a proposed inclusion resolution. Our residents, customers and businesses are all part of a larger economy and larger world. Hudson has had its challenges with change and its ability to embrace people different than themselves. We don't have to let the culturally frightened few who oppose the inclusion resolution be our voice. If you care about all kinds of people and feel they have a place in Hudson, I hope you will speak up. Please write a letter to the editor and let our city's officials know that diversity matters.

We know that Hudson and River Falls are both filled with good people; however, it is now our turn to speak up for diverse cultures and make Hudson a more welcoming home.

Tony Bol


Apology to mayor


Dear Mayor Rich O'Connor,

Please accept my apology to misquoting you on the proposed inclusive resolution in my letter to the editor (Sept. 21 edition).

The quote was from Jim Webber, your Council Member, at the Aug. 7, 2017 meeting.

Patricia Swanson


Ron Johnson is untruthful on latest health care bill


Our U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson is not telling the truth about what's in the GOP's Graham-Cassidy bill that he is cosponsoring in the Senate. This bill would eliminate health care for millions and free up money to fund tax breaks for the rich. It may be up for a vote this week.

In a Sept. 20 interview, Johnson stated this latest Republican attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare") will require coverage of pre-existing conditions "every bit as well as Obamacare did." Coverage of preexisting conditions is one of the most popular parts of the ACA, and Republicans can't afford to look like they want to do away with it. So the bill's sponsors, including Johnson, must hide the truth about what the bill really does to preexisting conditions coverage.

To repeat, Obamacare requires coverage of preexisting conditions by health insurance companies, with no wiggle room.

But a fact check by Politifact published Sept. 22 finds Johnson's statement "false."

According to Politifact, while the Graham-Cassidy bill says that preexisting conditions are covered, it lets states "obtain waivers that would allow insurers—unlike under Obamacare—to charge people with pre-existing conditions premiums and provide them lesser benefits. We rate Johnson's statement False."

Sen. Johnson's constituents need to know what he's doing in the Senate, and that he's not telling them the truth about it.

Richard Wylie