Letter to the Editor: McMillan resident responds to previous letters
PHEW! At first, I thought the letter dated Nov. 28 and referring to a Board member’s wife (which I am) was referring to me. But when I read his description of the writer as elitist and liberal, when politically, I fall between moderate republican and pro-life democrat, I thought maybe I was mistaken. Then, reading his quotes from the email, knowing such words are not found in anything that I wrote, I cemented my conclusion that it was not me. Furthermore, stating that the email writer’s board member husband considers the average working person as a “lowly day laborer” is not attributable to my husband (in campaign materials, he noted he gets along with folks from day laborers to physicians). He would never use the word “lowly” to describe average working folks. Ask his colleagues and patients if he’s elitist. I think you’d uniformly find that description inaccurate. Finally, calling the email writer, her friends and neighbors a “mob” must refer to someone else as we are anything but that, and we don’t own an SUV. So, I am not sure who this person is!
Referring to the email I did write, I offer a sincere apology for any offense taken by my choice of the word “irrational” to describe the motion put forth at the McMillan town meeting Nov. 13. Here’s how it happened:
At the Town Meeting, a citizen requested a line by line review of all the items in the budget before voting on the proposed $665,815 levy which was determined by our elected board over a period of two months, with lots of deliberation and discussion. All of her objections were resolved.
She then abruptly moved that the budget be approved with a $500,000 levy, which was seconded by her husband. I made the comment at the meeting that this seemed like an irrational motion; the person who made the motion actually agreed it was an irrational motion. The vote came in at 51 yes and 39 no, so it passed. This was so perplexing that a group of citizens would support an irrational motion, so termed by its author. Luckily, we have a videotape of the meeting to verify this.
McMillan is blessed with an amateur videographer who captures each McMillan town board meeting, including the disrespectful language in out-of-turn public comments. In fact, authors of recent letters to the editor who describe others’ actions as verbally attacking people and characterize the word “irrational” as “vile” can look at those videotapes to find the profanity (yep, actual swear words!!) used to describe board members and their actions; that is an example of actual vile language and verbal attack. Yet, when board members try to restore civility at a meeting by calling for an end to far off-track discussion, they are called disrespectful.
Generalizations and taking numbers out of context are not useful tools for coming to consensus. I made a mistake to generalize that all supporters of a self-proclaimed irrational motion are also irrational. The letters to the Hub City Times editor have given insight into a rationale for those votes. Good to see the reasoning behind what seemed quite irrational to me at the time of the vote- thank you to all those who wrote. Many numbers, however, were provided out of context. A $270,000 surplus during October is diminished when November bills come due; indeed many annual Town bills come due at the end of the year. A list of surpluses without context of expenses that the township had during those years cannot be judged accurately. A “surplus of over $114,000 in their budget to squander as they wish” needs context: the board has earmarked this year’s surplus for next year’s road and bridge repairs. There is no slush funds, never has been. Why criticize a surplus when in fact this is a demonstration of careful budgeting and spending within the Town’s means?
There is a fresh horizon in McMillan that has not been covered by local media. At the Nov. 13 meeting, it was announced that all the criminal allegations brought against the town board chair were found to be completely without merit. It took an expensive and lengthy investigation, paid for by taxpayers, to conclude that all 13 criminal allegations were baseless. Additionally, years-old complaints of misuse of funds and missing funds are also baseless. Investigators and auditors have accounted for every dollar of township funds alleged to have been squandered or misused or misplaced. The board had to protect the township legally from a repeat of this reckless effort, by hiring a consulting attorney to be present at meetings. Time to put the distrust to rest and start building understanding.
The letter writer also refers to circumventing the vote of a substantial majority of the electors at the meeting. In fact, only 4.5% of the town was represented at the Nov. 13 meeting and there was a huge backlash after the meeting. Townspeople didn’t understand what had happened and demanded action from the Board. The Board listened to its electors. Again, time to put the distrust to rest and start building understanding.
We elected the Town board, we should let them do their job (a thankless one at that, being attacked regularly by a small minority of Town residents as you saw in the Nov. 28 letter to the editor). The Board does not spend the Town’s money needlessly. Funds are going to a bridge that needs to be rebuilt, roads that need to be fixed, and to replace out of date fire protection equipment. Board members actually care about the Town and have its best interest in mind. There is no evidence of Town funds are being spent frivolously or on things the Town doesn’t need. Once more, time to put the distrust to rest and start building understanding.
As an admired politician is commemorated this week, let’s remember GHW Bush’s famous “read my lips: no news taxes” speech. When context changed, he had to change his tax policy. Another 41 example to follow is getting along with folks who think differently, seen in the friendship and collaboration between Clinton and GHW Bush. McMillan has a diverse group of residents all of whom contribute to the unique fabric of the town, whose different needs and aspirations should be heard and respected. A friend from Dallas, TX, remarked as she drove through this beautiful area of the Wisconsin “this looks like land that is very much loved.” She saw the genius of our farming neighbors, our rusty metal artist neighbors, as well as our Prevention Genetics and Marshfield Clinic neighbors. We all love this little community of McMillan. Let’s get everyone at the table on Friday, Dec. 7, 6 p.m., and respectfully share views to find consensus.
Town of McMillan