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Friday, April 25, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 50.0° F  Fog/Mist
The Paper

LETTERS

Sticker shock; Fighting dirty; Not a fan

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Sticker shock

Publisher Vincent O'Hern referred to himself as a journalist in his "Making the Paper" column (6/8/2012). Sorry, he stopped being a journalist when he approved putting the advertising sticker over Scott Walker's nose and eyes. This was offensive, but doesn't surprise me coming from you entitled liberals.

John Burger

Hey, Isthmus, I love it! You post a big mug shot of Scott Walker covering your entire cover page, and then you paste a big yellow sticker for a cold study over his right eye. LOL! Somebody just try to tell me that wasn't intentional!

Jack Guzman

Fighting dirty

Re "Him Again..." (6/8/2012): If the recall election had been a boxing match, no one would have wanted one boxer to have an unfair advantage, such as taking steroids. Gov. Scott Walker had unfair advantages - the out-of-state money he used to buy TV commercials that told lies about Tom Barrett, and the residence requirements that made it difficult for students to vote. Instead of inviting legislators over for beer and brats, Walker should apologize.

Rosemary Sprenger

Not a fan

In his hagiography of Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne ("Keeping Minorities Out of Jail," 6/1/2012), Nathan J. Comp states: "The [DA's] office handles an ever-increasing number of cases, despite declining crime rates." Sounds like an issue of too many hammers in search of too few nails.

Ozanne whines about limited resources in the face of an onslaught of cases. Meanwhile, the ugly racial disparities resulting from his skewed prosecutorial decisions continue to embarrass our county.

Unfortunately, respecting the Constitution is not this district attorney's priority. Indeed, we've seen this prosecutor go after upstanding citizens for a whole host of "crimes" based on little or no evidence and for activities explicitly protected by the supreme law of the land: speaking out against abuses of authority.

First Amendment-protected activities are Ozanne's latest favorite target, as his docket of protesters attests. Guilty of nothing more than peaceably assembling and petitioning our government for a redress of grievances, individuals exercising constitutionally protected activities are being targeted by Ozanne; prioritized above even violent criminals.

So when Ozanne isn't searching for the easy mark of people who can't afford a good defense (disproportionately minorities), he is going after people who can't afford to have a criminal record - the conscientious of the middle class.

Michael D. Barrett

Things are being done to address the school-to-prison pipeline, but these efforts are often underfunded and not widely recognized. Investing in and bringing these programs to scale should be a priority in Dane County. The Dane County TimeBank, for example, ran youth courts in three of the four Madison city high schools this past school year in a community effort to prevent youth from entering into the system. Youth are referred to a jury of their peers and held accountable for their actions in a way that promotes positive youth development, outside of the juvenile justice system. Youth can avoid having anything on their record if they successfully complete their sentence.

We are slowly seeing a shift to a more restorative approach in dealing with youth behavior, especially in the schools. Ozanne deserves praise for his commitment to the issue.

Lorrie Hurckes, Dane County TimeBank

Dane County has the significant problem that a black person is 25.6 times more likely to be sent to prison than a white person here. This high rate for blacks is despite the fact that a large proportion of our criminal activity occurs in predominantly white areas. The UW-Madison, which is predominantly white, has a national reputation as a party school, where both drugs and underage alcohol consumption are accepted facts. The highest rate of break-ins and drug overdoses occurs in central Madison, which is also predominantly white. The legal system will arrest and convict criminals where they look for them. The current allocation of resources weakens the integrity and effectiveness of our criminal justice system.

Sue Hoffenberg

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