Letters to the Editor-April 17, 2014

Some reminders about our Letters to the Editor

Dear our valued readers;

When reading the letters printed on our weekly opinion page, please keep in mind that the letters are just that—our readers’ opinions.  The Madisonian does not endorse viewpoints nor do we guarantee the accuracy of information found within our readers’ opinions.

It is important to The Madisonian that we provide a platform through which our readers can express their opinions and engage in lively conversation with others about issues.  We welcome and invite your letters as long as they adhere to our letters to the editor policy:

The Madisonian encourages the opinions of readers on public issues and matters of local concern. Letters must be close to 350 words and include the writer’s name, address and phone number.  The Madisonian reserves the right to edit content for grammar, good taste and libel. We also reserve the right to reject or delay publications.  Announcements and letters of a commercial nature will not appear in this column.

(This policy is also printed each week and can be found in the lower corner of the opinion page.)

Thank you for your loyal readership.


Susanne Hill and Erin Leonard


Koch brothers facts seem incorrect

In a recent letter Ms. Wiancko worries about the Koch brothers.  However, her facts seem incorrect.  OpenSecrets.org shows individual candidate campaign donations as well as donations by specific industries and individuals.  From 1989 through 2014 the Koch brothers rank 59th in donations.  The top 10 donors include six unions who all, per Open Secrets, donate primarily to liberals.  The remaining four donors share between 40-59 percent between both parties.  Representative Daines, so far in this campaign, has raised between his campaign and PACs $2,402,818. The Koch brothers do not appear as a top 20 contributors to Mr. Daines, while a profile of John Walsh by Open Secrets shows his top 20 are primarily PACs from democratic senators and unions.  The fact that public unions are top contributors is worrying.  President Franklin Roosevelt and George Meany (AFL-CIO) both stated they did not believe in unionization of public employees (Google for more information).  Please check all information during the upcoming campaign, including those presented above.

Bob Williams



Apology for inaccurate information in last week’s letter

In my letter to editor for April 10, 2014, I made a typo.  Rep. Steve Danies has gotten $400,000.00 from the Koch brothers, not $4 million.  I apologize.

Rep. Steve Daines commented about the Supreme Court ruling on campaign finance by saying, “I respect the role that the Supreme Court holds in protecting our First Amendment rights and believe that today’s decision was made with that protection in mind.”

Sen. John Walsh commented on the ruling, “Today’s ruling is another consequence of the disastrous Citizens United decision, which set this country on a dangerous path of allowing corporations to buy elections.”

Sen. Jon Tester commented on the ruling, “The Supreme Court today allowed big money to continue its manipulation of our democracy, in an era where corporations are people and the wealthiest Americans buy elections, today’s decision further empowers a select few at the expense of the American people.  Make no mistake: this decision is a set back for our freedoms.”

Between the Koch brothers and American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), corporations hand state legislators their wish lists to benefit their bottom line. Corporations fund almost all of ALEC’s operations.  The American people have to out bid them, or out vote them.

Judith Wiancko



Free money is not actually free

There is a lot of talk about all the “free money” that is available to build or finance projects that we wouldn’t otherwise have the money to attempt.  We’re told that all that’s necessary is to apply for the many grants available and the money will flow like manna from heaven.  We are also told that there are no consequences to all this “free money” and that we should just ignore the incredible number of strings that are attached to most of these grants.

Well folks, I’m here to tell you that there is no such thing as “free money”, and anyone that thinks otherwise would likely believe in the Tooth Fairy.  Sure, there are some state or private grants that are fully funded, and on occasion I will support them, but even then there are always plenty of strings attached that most folks want to ignore—as if doing so will make them go away.

I constantly hear the argument that “if we don’t take it someone else will.” So, when did we start to justify being the first and biggest hog at the trough?   I can’t speak for anyone else, but isn’t it time for adults to run our economy instead of the selfish children that we’ve become.  How can we justify indebting unborn future generations so that we can have things today that we really don’t need?

According to the National Debt Clock, we are now $17.5 trillion-plus in debt with $126 trillion-plus in unfunded liabilities out there in the shadows waiting to destroy our children’s futures.  When are we going to grow up and start living within our means?

Our parents’ generation—the Greatest Generation—had a whole different attitude about debt than our generation—the Me Generation. Consequently, we have gone from the greatest creditor to the greatest debtor nation in fewer than 40 years.  What’s so difficult to understand about the concept of paying as you go with money that you’ve saved?  I grew up poor and in our house we heard “no” a lot.  Isn’t it time for us to become the responsible adults that say no when we can’t afford something?

Dan Happel

Commissioner – Madison District 2


Madison Valley Medical Center needs continued support from community

Dear Editor,

On May 6 at the Ennis High School from noon to 8 p.m., please join me in supporting the Madison Valley Medical Center’s (MVMC) request to make the existing mill levy structure permanent without increasing mills. Be assured, your taxes will remain unchanged with this yes vote.  MVMC needs the continued support of our community to ensure that the high quality care our community members deserve and have come to respect continues.  It is important for all of us; our friends and family to continue to have high quality medical care close to home.


Dottie Fossel

Chairman of MVMC Board of Trustees


Vote in own best interests

Mr. Tallant of McAllister gave Madison County electors a heads up on candidates for the upcoming county elections.  He identified himself, as well as his choice candidates—Happel, Bunitsky and Wagner—as proponents/doers and/or members/darlings of the Oath Keepers.   Oath Keepers in 2009, in Montana, peddled the Posse-Comitatus belief of supremacy of the county sheriff In Montana.  The Posse, a white supremacist group, views the sheriff as the highest legitimate law office in the land. This radical law and many other proposed unconstitutional laws were drafted in previous legislative sessions by ultra-conservative groups and their legislator advocates with ties to groups like Oath Keepers, The John Birch Society, Project Liberty Tree and American Stewards of Liberty.  These bills were ultimately defeated—even in a republican dominated legislature.

As Mr. Tallant observes, these folks are back in 2014.  But so are we, the electorate of Madison County.  It is imperative that we all go to the polls with full knowledge of who and what we are voting for rather than just casting a party vote.  It is also imperative that we vote in our own best interests.

Pat Bradley

Twin Bridges


Reckless mudslinging was not supported by facts

Ms. Judith Wiancko of Ennis wrote a letter to the editor that was published on April 10, 2014, and titled “What money can buy?” The long and short of it is that she has accused our congressional representative Steve Daines of corruption. Ms. Wiancko has also charged Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam of corruption. In both cases she states that both elected officials have received political contributions from the evil Koch brothers—and affiliates—and Representative Daines in return will “sell the Koch brothers’ agenda.” As to Governor Haslam, who she states vetoed a mass transit bill, Ms. Wiancko charges that the “Koch brothers own him and they want it (the mass transit) privatized for profit.”

Since I know little of Tennessee state politics I will not address her invective spew against Governor Haslam. Because of limited space provided by The Madisonian, I will not address Ms. Wiancko’s unsupported malevolent claims against the Koch brothers. I limit my response to Ms. Wiancko’s slinging mud at Representative Daines.

Ms. Wiancko’s letter is vituperative dribble. She does not cite one source or verifiable fact for her claims that Representative Daines is corrupt and thus a criminal. She does not cite one source or verifiable fact for other claims she makes in her letter.

Ms. Wiancko should be ashamed of herself. She does a disservice to the citizens of Ennis by announcing she is from our fine area. Under the First Amendment she has a constitutional right to voice her opinions and criticize others—something she would deny to those that desire to express their speech through political contributions—but she is not entitled to libel persons whether her targets are public figures or otherwise. I am afraid by publishing Ms. Wiancko’s reckless unsupported charges, The Madisonian is serving no community purpose and to the contrary is aiding and abetting the type of ad hominem attacks that only lead to breakdowns in civilized discourse. I ask that The Madisonian be more deliberate in the exercise of its discretion in selecting letters to the editor for publication.

Jay Bingham



Hit and run wake up call for individuals, community

Dear Editor,

On a Sunday evening, March 16, my car was totaled while parked in front of my house. I share this story because of the grave concern it has raised in our community. The driver of the vehicle was “allegedly” impaired to the point that he did not stop or recollect the event. Our community of kids was off from school the next day and was out and about at the time of the accident. The driver of the vehicle could have easily plowed into one of our kids that night.

I feel compelled to share this tory because of the tragedy that could have happened. Our kids deserve respect and their future should be honored. Our kids are more responsible and educated about the dangers of drinking and driving than many adults. Our kids know to walk or appoint a designated driver. Adult drivers need to employ the same common sense.

It was the act of an adult, who has become complacent, that made the choice to operate his vehicle while impaired that night. At some point in our lives, we must all learn to take responsibility for our actions. It is my hope and intention of this letter that this event will be a wake up call to the driver.

Thankfully, no bodily injury or death occurred from this hit and run. Nonetheless, such reckless behavior on the part of the driver has created great distress financially and emotionally.

Rather than waiting for a tragedy to occur, let’s be proactive in preventing the circumstances first. How about a crucially needed shuttle service that would provide a driver to transport an impaired person locally? Herein lies an opportunity for a responsible driver to earn money. Establishing a designated driver service would provide both a way to finance future goals and contribute to the community by keeping its residents safe.

Jacquie Elsbernd,



Heartfelt thanks

The family of Volker Saier would like to thank all his friends for making Volk’s sendoff a big success. Special thanks to Scott and Amy of the Gravel Bar.

During Volk’s last weeks, we were grateful to have the super care of the Madison Valley Medical Center and the Madison Valley Manor. As a community, we are very fortunate to have such good, caring people.

A deep, heartfelt thanks to all.

The Saier family



Thankful for quick response

On behalf of my mother, Liz Qualls, and Sheridan Bakery & Café I would like to thank the following people for their quick response to our recent fire:

Madison County 911, Madison County Sheriff’s Department, Sheridan Volunteer Fire Department, Ruby Valley Ambulance, Ruby Valley Hospital, Dr. Roman Hendrickson and staff, Joe Tate with L & J Plumbing, our employees, their families and our customers for their patience.

Thanks to all,

Catherine Qualls




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