Opinion Archives for 2018-02

Civil Discourse: An Occasional Attempt to Restore Civility to Our Civic Discourse--"An Open Letter to My NRA Friends"

By Roger Utnehmer

Civil Discourse: An Occasional Attempt to Restore Civility to Our Civic Discourse
By Roger Utnehmer
President and CEO

An Open Letter to My NRA Friends


Gun violence in America is now sadly a regular reality. Our children and grandchildren are expressing fears and apprehensions we never considered.
The most vivid and graphic violence we experienced was watching the assassinations of JFK, Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy. That is significantly less emotionally damaging than watching schools drenched in blood with multiple victims repeated over and over and over as gun violence becomes a frequent experience.
I have friends I respect and admire who belong to the National Rifle Association. None have ever shared with me their belief that the second amendment to the U.S. constitution guarantees them a right to own an assault rifle. They tell me sportsmen do not hunt with assault rifles. None are opposed to background checks that would be one small effort to keep guns out of the hands of people who should not have them.
Yet, the political power of the NRA has kept reasonable steps from being taken that will be part of stopping the tragic, almost perpetual gun violence that permeates our society.
So, today, after another tragedy that could have been prevented, I ask my friends who belong to the NRA to share how they can support positions that keep common-sense gun legislation from being adopted. Please, if you are opposed to background checks and a ban on assault rifles, share your logic.
May we be fortunate to be provided with a respectful discussion about what needs to change...because something must.
What keeps us from banning assault rifles and background checks that could be part of preventing the tragedies we report in our news today?
Has the political muscle of the NRA created such fear and apprehension in our legislators that they keep talking without action when it comes to the toxic topic of gun control?
As for me, I want my grandchildren to grow up in an America without assault rifles in the hands of deranged individuals in much more need of mental health care than the NRA is in need of more political contributions.
That's my opinion. I'd like to hear yours.

Letter to the Editor: Who's on first?

By Don Freix

With undeniable commercial preferences rewarded in the DNR's February 5, Sturgeon Bay waterfront OHWM declaratory judgement, how many of you phoned Frank Lasee's office to voice your concerns over this latest DNR decision undertaking a clear theft of public property for private interests?  After Frank Lasee unswervingly favored legislation to strip environmental protection and weaken regulations that barely provided any public oversight over commercial groundwater exploitation, and who worked diligently to remove local control over shoreline zoning, and who quit on his "constituents," to leapfrog experienced personnel into high level, DWD division management, a crony political position granted at the behest of our own unregistered Taiwanese business lobbyist, Scott Walker, who do we call now?


Would Senator Rob Cowles' office intervene on behalf of the public interest in this DNR issued betrayal of the state constitutional public trust doctrine in Sturgeon Bay?  Senator Cowles was quite busy explaining his own involvement in ignoring the Senate Committee on Natural Resources' mission  by blaming our state's economic downturn on wetland regulation, while forgetting to mention that no one at the DNR is enforcing the supposed wetland mitigation rules in his February 8, press release.  While describing his amendments as "conciliatory," this is akin to Rep Kitchens being falsely praised for "saving," state support for the Knowles/Nelson Stewardship fund, while the GOP succeeded beyond their wildest dreams, cutting that public interest expenditure in half.   Where's Kitchens' voice in demanding full 1st Senatorial constituent representation for us?


We the people must start protecting the public interest locally, and using Sturgeon Bay's alder races as an example, candidate Bob Starr, as former mayor and former city supervisor participated in decisions structuring the current stressed (failing) TIF developments.  With commercial real estate interests being the poster child for state degradation of the public trust, public health and safety, tenant's rights or any sort of sustainably livable or economic future for any of us beyond a wealthy few individuals, does anyone need to chance electing another potential business lobbyist to be determining fair future public policy?


Which city supervisor, now claiming he'd prefer saving the unique gem, the historic grain elevator, either failed to understand that the Kiesow contract never intended to save that structure, that much touted "compromise," idea behind David Ward's original motion, or who deliberately voted for awarding this raze contract, understanding the granary could never be salvaged under that Kiesow contract?  That would be Wiesner, who along with Fett, both previously serving on the WRA, whose decisions and influence were and are paramount to the current city legal controversies and growing TIF debts.


These local races are crucial in regaining any grass-roots led, government accountability.  Choose carefully next Tuesday, both locally and in the state races when you vote, as GOP indifference, singular nods to corporate profiteering and abject public interest failure from top to bottom cannot be left in control.  Reversing course starts at home.  YOU are on first.

Civil Discourse: An Occasional Attempt to Restore Civility to Our Civic Discourse

By Roger Utnehmer

When Sturgeon Bay taxpayers put up with piles of dirt for years and wait for the Department of Natural Resources to issue a ruling on the west-side waterfront for months, it is clear that people in government are not doing their jobs.

The dirt piles in downtown Sturgeon Bay are a community disgrace.  They symbolize the dysfunction that pervades city government and its failure to resolve the controversy over west-side waterfront development.  Mayor Thad Birmingham has refused to even discuss efforts to preserve the iconic granary and the more than $1.5 million in pledges to preserve it.  An intransigent city administration has consistently refused to negotiate with those who oppose its development plans.  And now the DNR has delayed the ruling on the ordinary high water mark along the west-side shoreline that will determine where development can occur and where lakebed must be preserved for public use.  The DNR delay is a disgrace.  If private-sector employees put off doing their job as long as the DNR has delayed issuing a high-water mark ruling, heads would roll.

The DNR has had more than sufficient time to research, review testimony, study case law and issue a determination.   It's time to rule.  And it's time to remove the eyesore that plagues Sturgeon Bay by leveling dirt piles now.  If there is any good reason why Mayor Thad Birmingham has not simply ordered city crews to level the dirt piles he should share it now.  It's time for action.

That's my opinion.  I'd like to hear yours.

Search Our Site



Do you support the taxpayer expense of Cap Wulf’s appeal of the compromise resolution of the Sturgeon Bay waterfront OHWM determination recently issued by the DNR?
Add a Comment
(Fields are Optional)

Your email address is never published.

Sports Poll

Will Giannis Antetokounmpo win NBA MVP this season?

Obituaries are provided as a service of the

Schinderle Funeral Home of Algoma


Elaine F. Dufek

Jerome M. Heinz

Rodney Vlies

Wallace Englebert


Sign up for our Daily Electronic Newspaper and/or our Shopping Show newsletter!


Get the latest news with our Daily Electronic Newspaper delivered to your inbox.


Get the latest updates for our Shopping Show delivered to your inbox every Friday.