By: the Gazette Xtra
Thumbs up to new YMCA board members. The board of directors finally appears headed in the right direction with the appointment of three new board members recommended by a group spearheading efforts to make the board more transparent. Until now, the board has done little to demonstrate it is serious about addressing allegations raised by Paul Murphy and other Y members concerning former CEO Tom Den Boer. They say Den Boer unilaterally dismissed board members and suspended or terminated Y memberships without cause. We’re still waiting for answers. Hopefully, the appointment of the new members is a sign the board will soon become more transparent.
Thumbs down to teachers with three OWI convictions. A Janesville physical education teacher, Dennis H. Brunner, was placed on paid administrative leave after being charged with his fourth OWI on Feb. 23. Our question: How did he manage to keep his job after his third OWI conviction? Is the district OK with employing people with so many convictions and giving them the responsibility to teach children? A single OWI shouldn't necessarily doom a teacher's career--but three OWIs, and now a fourth? We recognize the district sometimes struggles to find qualified applicants, but surely it can find someone better than this. He allegedly threatened a police officer during his arrest, saying, "I know a lot of biker guys. It means there is going to be a bounty put on him." Yikes.
Thumbs up to U.S. Reps. Jim Sensenbrenner and Mike Gallagher. The two Wisconsin Republicans voted last week in favor of a House resolution opposing President Trump's national emergency declaration for the southern border. Both Republicans showed foresight in considering the precedent set by Trump's action. They worry future presidents will follow Trump's lead and use emergency declarations to circumvent the will of Congress. The difference between Trump's declaration and those ordered by past presidents is in the way Trump is using this declaration. For Trump, it's a tool to get more funding than Congress agreed to provide for a border wall. Sensenbrenner and Gallagher support the border wall but not at the expense of Article I of the Constitution. Partisan agendas come and go, but the Founding Fathers say Congress' power of the purse is forever.
Thumbs down to inflated property assessments. The city of Janesville continues to assess commercial properties as if there's no merit to numerous lawsuits alleging city assessments are too high. The city claims its assessment process follows state statutes, but if that were true, why have so many businesses successfully sued the city? Many brick-and-mortar retailers are struggling to compete against online retailers, as evidenced by a rash of store closings over the past year. These retailers need the city's support, but instead retailers are having to waste time and money fighting their inflated assessments in court. We hope the Legislature and Gov. Tony Evers resolve this issue soon in the businesses' favor.