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Letters to the editor: Thank God Trump's not an elitist, right?; Hydro dams: Need to know exact tax impact

Thank God Trump's not an elitist, right?


Republicans friends, remember when we talked about what was important regarding the American presidency? You said, "He has to be a family man—no divorce or scandal."

Then you voted for Trump, a womanizer-misogynist! You said "Has to be of good moral character, dignified, intelligent, able to represent the U.S. in the world at the highest level." Then you voted for Trump, who doesn't read, learns political theory from FOX, knows nothing about protocol or world cultures, and you feel fine he has the nuclear codes.

You said, "Needs to represent the best of democracy—freedom of the press, equality, justice, the sanctity of civil rights." Still, you chose Trump, who quashes the fourth estate, is a birther conspirator and still insists the the Central Park Five, who were DNA exonerated, should be executed. Moreover, he uses hate speech, is anti-immigrant, and a white supremacist xenophobe.

You said, "Christianity's a must," yet you voted for a lying, profane, hypocrite.

You insisted our president have integrity/ethics. But you knew Trump ripped off his undocumented hotel workers; declared multiple bankruptcies, sued people over nothing. He wouldn't even show his tax returns.

He met none of your criteria. Somehow, you forgave him everything and voted for him. Why? Because, apparently, this proves HE IS NOT AN ELITE! You say "He's just like US!" And you're proud of it!? Anyone, who has not, BY NOW, denounced this man is protecting one of their own. So own it. But, as a nation, we'll have to talk If you think whites are superior to other races, let's talk. If what Trump says is really what you say around your kitchen table, how come? If you think morals, ethics, dignity, intelligence, and honesty are no longer criteria for the presidency, why?

Are these attributes of the "intellectual class?" Are you tired of "elites" (democrats/lefties) using technological terms, acting superior, and, by gosh, it's time someone who's street smart, like you, like Trump, who's got more money than God, to show us elites we ain't so hot? You made us progressives look dumb, losing to Trump! I'm sorry you felt disrespected. But Trump's "divide and conquer-fight back" mentality isn't the remedy for our "union," our "united states." Forcing our political system into a class war, instead of revisioning a working democracy for the common good, is a HUGE mistake.

We sell ourselves short by living up to the lowest common denominator the Republican party has to offer. Democracy demands the best and the smartest of us all.

Linda M. Alvarez

River Falls

Why can't we ...


Rush Limbaugh has famously called politically progressive women "femi-nazis." Does it necessarily follow that every conservative is equally idiotic? Of course not! An example of an articulate conservative commentator is David Brooks of the New York Times.

Because David Duke of KKK fame is a rabid supporter of Mr. Trump does not automatically mean that every Republican is like either of them. But where are those on the political Right who are able to discuss systemic racism?

Because many on the political Right oppose a woman's right to reproductive choice, and identify as "pro-life," shouldn't we be able to collectively discuss the potential right of children to attend school without the fear of being shot and killed?

Because many believe that voter fraud is a national crisis, shouldn't we be able to discuss why gerrymandering and voting restrictions are good ideas?

If a person on the political Right wishes to write of "liberal policy failures," shouldn't we also have a reflective conversation about the power of giant corporations, like Walmart, to move into communities and drive out of business thousands of small "mom & pop" stores that used to be part of living neighborhoods?

Can't we have a reflective conversation about "how much is enough?" Seriously, must around 90 percent of all new wealth in this country go to the already fabulously wealthy? Why is this either a "right" or "left" question?

Why does the CEO of Nestle think water is not a right — yet life is?

Why does unlimited profit trump the protection of soil, air, seed, and water?

Why are the homeless demonized — yet over 90 percent of both women and men homeless were sexually abused as children?

Why can't we honestly acknowledge Dreamers and the economic and moral value they bring to this nation?

Robert Daniel Smith

River Falls

What is happening to my country?


Believe it or not, I am shedding tears, tears of sadness, coupled with anger and frustration! What is happening to my country? All that I was brought up to believe in is being destroyed.

Honesty, faith, love for neighbor and creation, equality and respect!

So now, are we to throw away the words depicted by our beloved Statue of Liberty?

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teaming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest tossed to me.

I lift my lamp beside the golden door."

The words I learned as school child, some 75 or more years ago.

And replace them with: send me your white educated persons, but don't allow them to bring parents or relatives. Give them a chance to become citizens after they have added to the wealth and progress of our country. We will no longer accept those fleeing from the violence of war torn countries, or those affected by climate change which causes hunger, illness and death. These cannot contribute to the wealth of our country, we are led to believe. We don't want immigrants from those African countries or others where the population is brown skinned for they come from terrible, dirty places and could not add to the progress of our country!

We are going to change the image of our country for the world to judge and we will pay the price, not only economically but before the image of a God/love most of us profess to have faith in.

Barb de Souza

River Falls

A great shout out to snow maintenance


How wonderful to see our snow maintenance crew featured on the front page of the paper. Their work to limit salt use and pollution of the river is laudable. I give another great shout out to them for their work clearing our roads from the latest blizzard.

Yes, when I am in bed and hear the plows go by at 3 in the morning, my first thought is "curses, my driveway just got filled." But after a moment I think of these friends and neighbors who get out of their warm beds, slog out into bad weather and work to make sure the rest of us can get to work, school, medical appointments and stores. Then I say a heartfelt "thank you," Keep up the good work!

Bill Cordua

River Falls

Dust in the wind


I write this before the coming State of the Union address fully aware that the speech delivered by Donald Trump will have more to do with the state of his mind and political theater than any honest assessment of where this country is right now. I do not trust the man. As he has worked to dismantle the judiciary as well as the ability of numerous government agencies to even function during the past year, my already negative opinion of this president simply plummeted.

We as a country are playing make believe with a man who is so inept at being a responsible leader that all we get to talk about is what his actions are destroying or dismantling or degrading today. Whether it is the land, the water, the air or the level of discourse in this country, Donald Trump has proven to be a toxic substance willing to subvert and degrade the quality of all he touches. He is openly hostile and hateful toward huge segments of society, even as he champions legislation which by design either endangers the lives of millions or has us collectively handing over trillions to the wealthiest among us.

I do not need to hear this man's assessment of the state of the union. I have watched and listened and been made aware of him as a the largest threat currently facing this country. I know it sounds like a hyperbole. But in this age of ridiculous trumpisms where he showers us with claims of "best ever" and "the likes of which you've never seen," it is important to remember the danger he poses to our country. They may credit him with sounding presidential on Tuesday but I know he is an enemy to the health and future of the Union .

Paul White

River Falls

Who cares about sea level rise?


Here we are in Wisconsin, completely safe from the dangers of sea level rise.

Well, not so simple.

The thing that has come home to me lately is the overwhelming cost for the nation to deal with sea level rise, either to protect against it (best) or to recover from it ( worst).

A recent study in Miami Dade County estimated about $60 billion in total losses for that county if the currently expected sea level rise of 5 feet happens by 2100. If Miami Dade starts now on protection, that cost could come down to around $10 billion.

Miami Dade County is about 100 miles long, so you can imagine what total U.S. costs will be.

So how will this affect Wisconsin? In short, somewhere mid century there will be no federal tax dollars left to spend on anything except protecting or recovering from sea level rise.

Let's take the lower cost option and start now and require every coastal county in the country to have a protection plan in place ASAP.

David Matthews

Town of River Falls

They're worth it


The DACA youth are worth more than a government shut-down. These young people who were brought to our country through no fault of their own are some of the most productive students and professionals in the USA. They work harder than most to be worthy of legal status and a path to citizenship. They are top students, young teachers, tech-savvy entrepreneurs, and police officers — patriotic tax-paying men and women (and many who want to be!)

They are worth every reasonable concession their Democratic sponsors can offer: (1) Chuck, put the 25 billion for border security back on the table—they're worth it! (2) Drop the immigration lottery program—they're worth it! (and reassign these 50,000 slots a year to family reunification); (3) Limit "chain-migration"/family reunification to just spouses, parents, and children of American citizens rather than aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews! (4) Give the military a raise—they're (both) worth it! (5) Tell the radical liberal Democrats—the "all or nothing" faction of your party—to back off and unify! The Dreamers are worth it!

And for goodness sake, Chuck, relax! This is the final test of whether the GOP is truly racist and un-American. If they don't give the DACA Dreamers a legal path to citizenship after all these concessions, then the 90 percent of the American public who are for the Dreamers will vote the GOP out in November! Evangelicals may realize how much they have betrayed the Biblical Good Samaritan for single-issue politics, and a host of conservative Republicans like me will vote a straight Democratic ticket for a Democratic majority in Congress. They're worth it!

Robert Lillo

River Falls

Hydro dams: Need to know exact tax impact


The cost figures for dam removal seem to vary and the project may include many more costs than just removal. A clear statement of tax impact for River Falls property owners needs be made before the Council votes.

One pamphlet put the dam removal cost at $2.8 million (+/- 50%). The Kinni Corridor Planning Group in "Potential Cost of Dam Removal" had an estimate of $12 million. This document also listed other items of cost such as sediment removal. It also listed a series of costs not included such as bluff stabilization and cost to replace lost electric generation capacity. The Utility Advisory Board according to the Journal estimated the removal of both dams at $8 million and the removal of just the Powell dam at $1.9 million.

The UAB was given an estimate of the cost of residential property tax increase per $180,000 of house value at $117.78 for 20 years assuming a bond at 4 percent interest for the removal of both dams.

The Kinni Corridor Planning Group has recommended removal of both dams, one in 2026 and one after 2040.

Before the Council votes it would seem appropriate to have the costs thoroughly presented which includes not just dam removal but other costs that result because of relicensing and/or dam removal, projects recommended through the Community Design Workshop and other projects, such as storm and sewer maintenance that have been discussed as needing to be done.

Maybe fees will alleviate a little of the cost, perhaps a grant or two but I believe property owners of River Falls need to have some idea of what type of 20-year bill they are looking at before the Council votes.

Robert Scott

Town of Clifton