Opinion Archives for 2018-09

Letter to the Editor: Governor Walker's Foxconn Bait-and-Switch

By Senator Dave Hansen    

Since Governor Walker's initial announcement of the Foxconn deal he has been promising it will create 13,000 jobs.

 

But anyone who remembers his promise back in 2010 to create 250,000 jobs during his first term in office knows to take such promises with a large grain of salt.

 

The same day that Walker made his promise of 13,000 new jobs, Foxconn's owner Terry Gau would only commit to creating 3,000 jobs and even President Trump said 3,000 jobs would be initially created.

 

Since that time the Foxconn project has been a moving target with Foxconn officials recently admitting that they now plan to build a much smaller plant less than half the size of the original and one that will require far fewer workers.

 

That number is likely to become even smaller now that Foxconn admitted what many of us already said would happen:  that most of the assembly and production jobs will not be done by people. Foxconn executive Louis Woo admitted as much when he said it's more likely that Foxconn will only hire 2,000 workers initially and that the majority of the assembly jobs will be done by robots.

 

The impact on other state businesses is now a question mark as well since Foxconn also recently announced they will go to businesses in other states for the parts and materials they need.

 

The one thing that does seem consistent here, though, is that the people of Wisconsin will be paying off this boondoggle for a good part of their lives.

 

In fact, even if Foxconn doesn't hire a single employee, it can still reap up to $1 billion or more in public assistance including:  $764 million in local property tax subsidies, $164 million in new state and local roads for Foxconn at the expense of our own local roads and highways, $120 million for a new electric line that will be paid for by utility customers who may have no connection to Foxconn whatsoever, a $139 million sales tax exemption for building materials, and $15 million in state grants to help local governments pay for Foxconn.

 

It's been estimated that the Foxconn deal could cost every man, woman and child $500 or more and that taxpayers won't see their money returned in full until at least 2043 and possibly later.

 

Governor Walker and Republicans are fond of saying that "you know how to spend your money better than the government does."  Except, of course, when they're doing favors for their corporate friends. In this case they've decided that billions of your and your children's money is better given to a foreign billionaire than used to feed your family, pay your rent, put toward your health insurance or invest in your local schools and roads.

 

Given Foxconn's ever-changing stories, their past history of making big promises only to renege on them, and the Governor's own issues with the truth, it's time to call the Foxconn deal what it is, a classic bait-and-switch that is harmful to taxpayers and that will do nothing to help the vast majority of struggling families and communities around the state.

Opinion: Nicotine Recovery Makes Other Recovery Better

By Dakota Londo, Community Impact Coordinator for United Way of Door County            

September is National Recovery month, which increases awareness and understanding of mental health and substance abuse disorders and celebrate the people who recover.

In our area the Door County Alcohol and Other Drug Coalition work to prevent and reduce substance abuse and related problems by providing leadership, education and support to communities and institutions throughout Door County. They host town hall meetings, community conversations, film screenings, and panel discussions surrounding topics of substance abuse and addiction. Also, the coalition partners with the Door County Mental Health Focus Group to educate and promote mental health awareness to reduce the stigma of mental illness in the community. The coalition consists of government officials, local school faculty, non-profit groups, churches, counselors, and prevention specialists.
A partner of the coalition is Re:TH!NK, The Lakeshore Tobacco Prevention Network, which works to improve the health of residents by reducing tobacco use and exposure through prevention strategies.
Re:TH!NK and the Door County AOD Coalition are using Recovery Month to highlight the fact that 40% of all cigarettes smoked by adults in the United States are smoked by adults with mental illness or substance use disorders.

While that number is shocking, there is reason for optimism. One study shows that individuals offered tobacco cessation as part of their treatment for alcohol or illicit drug use have a 25% increased likelihood of long-term recovery. The statewide Wisconsin Nicotine Treatment Integration project (WiNTiP) raises awareness of the connection between tobacco use and other issues by helping behavioral health providers integrate tobacco cessation into the care they give.

Free help is available through the Wisconsin Tobacco Quit line at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (7884-8669). Medicaid recipients should also ask their physician about the Medicaid Quit Tobacco Benefit.

Readers can learn more by finding the Door County AOD Coalition and reTHINK on Facebook or visiting www.helpusquit.org for more information on WiNTiP

Letter to the Editor: Nicotine Recovery Makes Other Recovery Better

By Paul Schmitt    

September is National Recovery month, which increases awareness and understanding of mental health and substance abuse disorders and celebrate the people who recover.

In our area the Door County Alcohol and Other Drug Coalition work to prevent and reduce substance abuse and related problems by providing leadership, education and support to communities and institutions throughout Door County. They host town hall meetings, community conversations, film screenings, and panel discussions surrounding topics of substance abuse and addiction. Also, the coalition partners with the Door County Mental Health Focus Group to educate and promote mental health awareness to reduce the stigma of mental illness in the community. The coalition consists of government officials, local school faculty, non-profit groups, churches, counselors, and prevention specialists.
A partner of the coalition is Re:TH!NK, The Lakeshore Tobacco Prevention Network, which works to improve the health of residents by reducing tobacco use and exposure through prevention strategies.
Re:TH!NK and the Door County AOD Coalition are using Recovery Month to highlight the fact that 40% of all cigarettes smoked by adults in the United States are smoked by adults with mental illness or substance use disorders.

While that number is shocking, there is reason for optimism. One study shows that individuals offered tobacco cessation as part of their treatment for alcohol or illicit drug use have a 25% increased likelihood of long-term recovery. The statewide Wisconsin Nicotine Treatment Integration project (WiNTiP) raises awareness of the connection between tobacco use and other issues by helping behavioral health providers integrate tobacco cessation into the care they give.

Free help is available through the Wisconsin Tobacco Quit line at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (7884-8669). Medicaid recipients should also ask their physician about the Medicaid Quit Tobacco Benefit.

Readers can learn more by finding the Door County AOD Coalition and reTHINK on Facebook or visiting www.helpusquit.org for more information on WiNTiP

Dakota Londo, Community Impact Coordinator for United Way of Door County

Letter to the editor: Roundabouts not pedestrian friendly

By Rick Rogers, Sturgeon Bay      

It is good to hear that the Ahnapee trail is extended to Michigan Street in Sturgeon Bay.  The pedestrian traffic this may bring reminds us of an experience crossing at the roundabout at Hy 57/42 and Michigan Street last winter.   We were walking westbound along the south pedestrian crossing and were almost run down twice.  

From the curb on the southeast side we could clearly see the northbound traffic to our left and were able to wait for a break and cross safely to the south center median.  From there, because of the hill in the roundabout, we could not see or hear the traffic coming from the north.  Being unable to see or hear, we waited for visible traffic to clear and started on the crosswalk from the median towards the southwest corner.  We were part way across when a pickup truck came out of the roundabout without warning at full throttle—it couldn't possibly have yielded to us even though we had the crosswalk right of way.  We were barely able to run back onto the island to safety.  We waited for visible traffic to clear again and the exact same thing happened—a pickup truck suddenly came out of the roundabout at high acceleration forcing us to jump back.  Traffic was thankfully light and after these attempts we crossed safely. 

There are numerous safety and design issues here.  Drivers and pedestrians cannot see each other from behind the hill.  Drivers apparently do not realize there are blind crosswalks across the exits of the roundabouts.  The speed limit of 45 mph is much too fast for blind pedestrian crossings.  The roundabout design requires full attention and instantaneous decisions while traversing the circle and transitioning to the out ramp and drivers may not have time to see and respond to pedestrians in the cross walks close to the circle.  Aggressive drivers can traverse the entire roundabout in less time than it takes pedestrians to walk across the two lanes.  The recommendation of holding an arm out to pause traffic cannot work when drivers can't see us.

Possible changes to improve safety:  Remove the hill so it is no longer a blind pedestrian crossing.  Give extra marking to the crosswalks with signs, flashing lights, etc.  Post speed limits that are less lethal to pedestrians. Remove the pedestrian crossings and build a bridge for pedestrians.  Encourage pedestrians to traverse the circle in a counterclockwise direction which, while still dangerous, gives marginally better sight lines.




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