Readers' voice

Dear Robin,
    It is my privilege to support Dale Pease and Dana Flanders for the two four-year terms as Paw Paw Board of Education members.
    There are certain characteristics found in great board members. A willingness to learn is extremely important. Your first year or more can be mind-blowing. Leading a school district doesn’t compare with any occupation. There isn’t any other type of board that operates in the same way a school board operates.
    Professional development is essential to serving effectively. Knowledge of school law and policy that literally changes constantly are two important areas. Board governance, board/superintendent responsibilities, building board relationships and conflict resolution are just a few of the areas where knowledge is required. Michigan Association of School Boards provides coursework and conferences to all school board members in the state. Yet currently, not one of our board members holding terms has even the minimal certification given by this organization.
    Dale and Dana see the need for knowledge and expertise as board members and embrace professional development. They understand the true meaning of leadership.
    Motives for seeking a school board seat are important as well. In my conversations with Dale and Dana, they have expressed no hidden agendas. Both of these candidates are excited about building on the excellence that Paw Paw Public Schools provides and thoughtfully taking on areas in need of improvement. Working as a team with other members is important to both of them. They realize that making positive change is needed, but each members is only one vote of a seven-member board.
    Dale Pease holds a leadership role within the Stryker Corpora-tion. He has served by appointment as a fill-in for a vacated position on two occasions. He is a thoughtful member who is a listener and votes his conscience. I had the opportunity to serve with Dale during his first appointment. He was an asset to the school district in every way.
    Dana Flanders has a background in finance and serves on the board of directors for Head Start in Van Buren County. She is a progressive individual who wants what we all want, an outstanding school district that serves all students.
    Please choose to support these two candidates for the four-year terms.
    Dana is running as a write-in candidate for the four-year position. There are three separate portions of the Paw Paw Board of Education area on your ballot. The four-year term has Dale Pease’s name on it. In the place where Dale’s name appears, make your mark. Then, please write in Dana Flanders’ name and make your voting mark.
    Thank you for your support of these outstanding candidates who are dedicated to moving Paw Paw Schools forward.
    OUR SCHOOLS
    OUR COMMUNITY
    OUR FUTURE!
    Sincerely,
    Karen Ayres
    Paw Paw

•••

Dear Paw Paw Village Residents,
    I am asking for your vote for Village Trustee of Paw Paw.
    I’ve listened to you in the past, and hope to continue to work for you in the future.
    Please vote.
    Thank you,
    Mary McIntosh
    Paw Paw

•••

Letter to the Editor:
    When Michigan went into an economic tailspin, Aric Nesbitt jumped up to the plate and helped wrangle Michigan back on track. While in office Aric voted to pay down our state’s unfunded liabilities. He helped eliminate a one- and-a-half billion dollar deficit while also working to help further introduce our children to skilled trade jobs.
    Aric termed out of the House of Representatives, Beth Griffin stepped up and reinforced sound fiscal policy. Beth has been able to further reduce debt and is fighting to reduce the cost of auto insurance.
    Beth and Aric are battle tested conservatives who know what it takes to run a state and make sure it is in sound economic condition. It is with great faith and confidence that I am publicly endorsing Aric Nesbitt for State Senate and Beth Griffin for State Representative.
    Robyn Peake
    Paw Paw

•••

Dear Editor,
    I would like to introduce myself to the Village of Paw Paw community as a candidate for council trustee.  I may be better known as an employee of Brewster’s at the Dyckman; however, I am also an active volunteer for the DDA, Wine and Harvest Festival, and our upcoming Christmas in the Village Parade. I am a homeowner and mother of two, a Western Michigan University graduate in Public History, and an active outdoor enthusiast.
    During my years living in the village, I’ve grown more and more involved in my community, and have come to feel that being of service could offer new perspective and energy, and bless me as well.
    I greatly appreciate everyone for their friendship and support in this endeavor!
    See you at the polls!
    Best wishes,
    Amanda Bartlett
    Paw Paw

•••

Letter to the Editor:
    A week from now, voters will go to the polls and participate in what may be the most critical election of our time. This is an election no longer about conservative philosophy versus liberal philosophy. That ship sailed long ago. It is simply and foremost about truth and civility versus lies and divisiveness.
    The White House is now occupied by a pathological liar. Provably, on a daily basis in tweets and at rallies this occupant lies.
    Worse, the Republican party supports and repeats the lies. The
latest, for example, is Mitch McConnell parroting the occupant’s claims that Democrats are the ones cutting Social Security and Republicans are the ones protecting pre-existing conditions. This  theme is repeated in Republican campaign ads across the country.
    Both are blatant lies. McCon-nell has repeatedly called for cutting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and the administration is fighting in court to eliminate the pre-existing coverage in the ACA. The Republican 2019 budget includes trillions in cuts to those programs. McConnell, Paul Ryan and the White House occupant have repeatedly lied that Social Security is the driver of the debt. Social Security adds nothing to the Federal debt, period. It is sad that so many retired folks are so entrenched in voting Republican they still vote for the people doing, and planning to do them financial harm.
    The candidates riding the deception bandwagon include Fred Upton and Bill Schuette. On March 2, 2013. Upton told the Herald-Palladium failure to stay serious about cutting deficits would “put us on even more treacherous footing,” going on to say “my sense is if we change this, folks would just laugh us off the street.”  Deficits no longer concerned the congressman when he voted for a “middle class” tax reform and a budget that have added trillions to the debt.
    Now Upton is running campaign ads actually calling his opponent Matt Longjohn a “lying liberal” who isn’t licensed and implying Longjohn isn’t an M.D. Not exactly a lie, but dishonest deception at best. Longjohn is a degreed M.D. By his choice to work in public health, he is not licensed to practice medicine in Michigan, which he has never claimed to be.
    Bill Schuette endorsed Re-publican Governor’s Association ads are worse. Gretchen Whitmer “wants a radical government takeover of healthcare” and she “missed 1000 votes while in the legislature.”
    First a lie, second a deception. Whitmer does not support a single payer health care system for Michigan, and the governor has nothing to do with the federal system. Yes, she missed votes while twice on maternity leave and caring for her mother, dying of cancer, over 12 years in the legislature.
    Schuette ads don’t mention her Republican counterparts during that time missed as many votes and took even more money from special interests. In contrast, I’ve fact-checked Whitmer’s ads as well and what those ads say are true. Schuette really does say one thing and vote the opposite just like Fred Upton. By the way, like clean water and air? The non-partisan League of Conservation Voters rates Upton’s voting record only 25% favorable to the  environment.
    No, this election is not about conservative versus liberal policy. It is about Republican voters saying enough is enough, we want our party back and we want to stop the picking of our wallets. We want an end to the endless lying about opponents and each other like Ted Cruz calling the current White House occupant a pathological liar, then grovelling at his feet, calling him a  great guy to get votes at a campaign rally. I’d say the same for Democratic voters, but so far haven’t been able to find any of  their ads containing the kind of blatant lies found in the Republican ads. I wouldn’t vote for them either if they did.
    Maybe it’s time for Republican voters to turn blue and let their party know they want the party of Bill Milliken, Barry Goldwater, Gerald Ford and the like; we may not have agreed with them, but respected their honesty, integrity and willingness to work across the aisle.
    Brian M. Smith
    Paw Paw

•••

Letter to the editor,
    Congratulations, Van Buren County citizens, on the recently announced 2.8% increase in social security benefits. Too bad the Van Buren County Road Commission wants it.
    On November 6th, I urge you to vote no... again!
    Gary Mattison
    Mattawan

•••

Dear readers,
    VOTE YES on PROPOSAL 2.  Why?
    It is a NON-partisan/ALL-partisan issue. Prop 2 creates an independent redistricting commission. It moves jigsaw-puzzle voting district lines (known as gerrymandering) from secret backroom decisions by politicians to a transparent process by voters.
    Every 10 years, a U.S. census is taken. After that, the current Michigan legislature sets new voting district lines. So, whichever party is in the majority at that time is the party setting voting districts. The result allows that party to unduly boost voting for their own party. Those districts stay in place until the next census.
    The next census is set for 2020. Currently, Republicans are the majority party in Michigan and that has been great for them these past 10 years. But if a “blue wave” occurs, then the Democratic big-wigs will swing the voting district lines to their advantage for the next 10 years. The Prop 2 process eliminates excessive influence placed with one particular party, lobbyists, and special interests.
    Prop 2 gives the job of setting up voting districts to an independent redistricting commission. It includes four Democrats, four Republicans, and five independents. They will be chosen randomly from the voting rolls and their political status vetted. They must follow strict criteria in the process and include compromise to set-up voting districts. Michigan citizens can offer public input at public hearings - a fair, impartial, and transparent process.
     YES on Prop 2 is endorsed by the ACLU of Michigan, League of Women Voters of Michigan, NAACP, UAW, USW, Michigan Association of School Boards, Michigan Municipal League, Com-mon Cause, Dr. Joe Schwartz (former Republican U.S. Congressman), and Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger, among many organizations, community leaders, and over 425,000 voters who signed petitions to get Prop 2 on the ballot.
    Learn more about Prop 2 at www.VotersNotPoliticians.com.  ALERT - Proposals are on the back side of your ballot, so turn it over to make your vote count. Please vote YES on Prop 2.
    Deb Killarney
    Kalamazoo

•••

Dear Readers,
    Ever since the 2016 presidential election, our country has not been headed in a positive direction. We, the people, will have a golden opportunity to help change that on November 6th. A key congressional race that could help point us back in the right direction is the race for US Representative between incumbent Fred Upton and challenger Dr. Matt Longjohn. Please consider these facts:
    1 - Upton says he does not endorse the Trump agenda, yet his voting record indicates otherwise. The Trump tax bill is expected to add $1.8 trillion to our deficit over the next decade. Mr. Upton voted in favor of this tax bill. Senate Republicans are already talking about the possibility of cutting Social Security and Medicare to try to rein in the ballooning deficit, while at the same time, spending billions on a wall that Mexico was supposed to pay for.
    2 - Upton says he will work to preserve our natural resources and protect endangered wildlife, yet his voting record indicates otherwise. Scientists overwhelmingly warn of the dangers of man-made climate change and encourage us to invest in clean energy. Yet Mr. Upton voted to open the Arctic Wildlife Refuge to dirty oil drilling. Dozens of wildlife biologists have written to Congress, urging them to protect the wolf under the Endangered Species Act. Yet Mr. Upton voted for HR 5538, which stripped ESA protection for wolves in the lower 48 states.
    3 - Negative ads approved by Upton that accuse Longjohn of deliberately trying to mislead the public and referring to him as a “lying liberal” are both untrue and Trump-like.
    Please join me in voting for honesty, integrity, and much needed change. Please join me in helping elect Matt Longjohn as our next United States Represen-tative.
    Sincerely,
    Harley R. Pierce, Jr.
    Paw Paw

•••

Letter to the Editor:
    Vote Mike Jones for school board. The right man for the job.
    Kim Jones
    Paw Paw

•••

Letter to the editor,
    My name is Daniel J. Ruzick, lifelong resident of Antwerp Township, past County Commis-sioner and Chairman of the Board of Commissioners, liaison member of the Van Buren County Road Commission, and current Ant-werp Township Supervisor.
    I have great concerns about the three (3) mill request by the Van Buren County Road Commis-sion and Van Buren County Com-missioners, who placed the re-quest on the ballot in August, which voters turned down, and are coming back to the voters, once again, in November.
    A three (3) mill increase is a significant increase in an annual tax bill. Here are a few examples within Antwerp Township:
• Paw Paw School District (PRE)
   9.8% increase
• Mattawan School District (PRE)
   9.6% increase
• Lawton School District (PRE)
   9.8% increase
    Your “NO VOTE” needs to be a unison message to Van Buren County Road Commission and Van Buren County Commission-ers YOU DEMAND CHANGE at the Van Buren County Road Commission.
    On November 6th, let’s send that message loud and clear!
    VOTE “NO”.
    Daniel J. Ruzick
    Mattawan

•••

Dear Editor,
    I think that it is time for all of us to recognize and stand up to hate speech when we hear it. Whether it is on the radio, television, or something someone says in your presence or on social media.
    We have all seen what can happen to a California wildfire when the wind picks up and causes the fire to go out of control and it  seems to take forever to put the fire out.  I’m afraid that is what we will experience with the hatred of “others” in our country if we don’t get a handle on it.
    This last week has been particularly tragic with the violent deaths of eleven Jewish people at their place of worship in Pittsburgh, two Black people doing their grocery shopping in Kentucky by a man who said “whites don’t shoot whites”, and pipe bombs being sent to terrorize the lives of political leaders including our former president and vice president.
    I had heard from relatives that there was an increase in white Nationalist type behaviors happening where they live in New York and Portland, Oregon area but I had no idea how prevalent some of these so called “hate“ groups had become until I read more about it. Many of these people are bringing unspeakable harm and fear to our country.  The Anti-Defamation League says there was a historic 60% increase in anti-Semitic incidents from 2016-2017, the largest single year increase in 40 years.
    Two years ago, during the campaign, I heard that Beth Griffin had brought a lawsuit against the Allegan Police Depart-ment and the Allegan Public schools so I researched and found that “Elizabeth Griffin” not only brought the lawsuits but the  articles named her as the president of the local chapter of ACT for America, an organization that the Southern Poverty Law Center refers to as a hate group. ACT spreads conspiracy theories about  Muslims for the sole purpose of making people fearful of “others”.
    It claims 750,000 members and 1,000 chapters nationally and as the SPLC says, “floods the American public and students on campuses with hate speech demonizing Muslims”. When the Herald- Palladium interviewed Griffin about this in 2016 she had no response. I spoke to her during that campaign and she admitted that she was the same person as Elizabeth Griffin who was involved in the lawsuits and leaders of the ACT chapter. I have also seen screenshots of her posts on social media.
    The Mayor of Milwaukee, Tom Barrett, publicly denounced ACT in response to the news that the group had planned to rally in his city after the Charlottesville violence. “We don’t want any Nazi groups here, any white supremacists or alt–right groups coming because this is a city of inclusion. It’s not a city of exclusion, and it’s not a city of white supremacy so go somewhere else and bother people there,” Barrett said.
    Most recently on October 22, 2018 the Huffington Post had the headline “GOP State Lawmakers Pal around with White Suprema-cists. Party group backs them anyway.” The article had a paragraph referencing Beth Griffin in Michigan, as one of these State Lawmakers and referenced her involvement in ACT for America. The headline was correct in saying that the “GOP backed them anyway” and was evident two years ago when Aric Nesbitt, interviewed by the Herald-Palladium, denied that this was true about Griffin and blamed the Democrats. She won and has represented us for two years now and her lack of truthfulness continues.
    We cannot have a state representative with these hateful views. A state representative must represent all of us, focus on the needs in our community, not the needs of their donors, be honest, and have moderate, not extreme views.
    At this season’s public forums both Beth Griffin and Aric Nesbitt used the exact same words and said that they “supported funds following the student” and wouldn’t expand when asked if they supported taking tax dollars from public schools.  This really means that they vote for taking money from public schools to give to “FOR PROFIT” schools with a CEO instead of a superintendent. Not very honest! We need that money here, in OUR schools, no matter how much money Betsy DeVos donates to the candidates for her agenda of privatizing public schools!!
    I know that this is a lot to read but I really believe this is a very important election in so many ways. I urge you to vote for
candidates who don’t have an extreme secret agenda and that will put our children and the needs of the people first, as well as not taking corporate money that will influence their votes.
    Please research Dan Seibert for State Representative and Garnet Lewis for State Senator to read their proposals. I will be voting for both of them and I hope that you will, too.
    And lastly, remember that you can put a stop to this hatred of “others” before it grows. Our children and grandchildren will be grateful when they live in a more peaceful world.
    Kathy Murphy
        Resident of Paw Paw for 40 years

•••

Letter to the Editor:  
    I would like to endorse Fred Upton publicly as a congressman who supports and understands the concerns of “Everyday People.” I believe that one of Matt Longjohn’s campaign messages was that Fred no longer supports this group and has moved too far to the right in the political world.  My experiences over the years has been quite the opposite.  
    I have had the pleasure of seeing Fred in action with his constituents who have brought their very heartbreaking concerns in regard to their family’s health issues and Fred engaged with them in a very personal and direct manner.  Not only to was he available to listen to their concerns but he was also instrumental in getting the bill passed in his Energy & Commerce committee to increase funding to the NIH for many of these issues.  I was fortunate to engage with him in both Kalamazoo and Washington, D.C. Regardless of the pressures and constraints of his position, he remained open and sympathetic to  a wide demographic of Southwest Michigan while being able to wield the power of his national political presence. Southwest Michigan will have lost a true hero if he is denied the ability to legislate for all of the “Everyday People” in his district.
    Vote for Fred Upton on November 6th!
    Carol Novak
    Portage, MI

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The Courier-Leader & Paw Paw Flashes

The Courier-Leader & Paw Paw Flashes
32280 E. Red Arrow Hwy. • P.O. Box 129
Paw Paw, MI 49079
(269) 657-5080

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