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Our Views: Pick another polling place if possible

Objections to turning the Janesville Police Department headquarters into a temporary polling place are understandable from the perspective of the black community. It’s no secret many blacks don’t trust the police, and asking the black community to vote at a police station seems both insensitive and unnecessary, especially if the city has other alternatives.

Negative perceptions about the police are, of course, no reflection on the Janesville Police Department. It has a reputation for acting fairly and working closely with the black community. The African American Liaison Advisory Committee meets regularly at the police station (and in the same room that would be used for voting for the April and August elections, according to Police Chief Dave Moore). That Janesville has managed to avoid a high-profile racial incident is a credit to Moore’s leadership.

Nevertheless, the city council made the right call last week by seeking out other polling place options ahead of a Feb. 26 state deadline. There was likely nothing nefarious behind the proposal to move voting from City Hall to the police station across the street. A remodeling project at City Hall requires the relocation, and the police station’s proximity makes it a tempting choice.

But decision makers should have foreseen groups’ objections, given that the Fourth Ward, where a large portion of Janesville’s black population lives, would be voting there. Leaders from Beloit’s NAACP and the African American Liaison Advisory Committee told council members that voting at the police station could have a “chilling effect,” causing some people to stay home.

It’s no surprise Cathy Myers, a Democrat seeking the 1st Congressional District seat, has latched onto this issue to advance her candidacy, but her concern about disenfranchisement—“If a single voter is discouraged from exercising their right to vote due to the location of a polling place, it’s one too many”—is valid.

In a news release, Myers also noted the Janesville Police Department has made “great strides in reaching out to minority communities, thanks in large part to the ongoing dialogue between police and the African American Liaison (Advisory) Committee.”

Chief Moore shouldn’t take personally Myers’ or other community members’ concerns, though we can understand how he might feel hurt because he takes pride in his department’s outreach efforts. In an interview with The Gazette, Moore expressed support for using the police station as a polling place, stating it could have a positive effect on race relations.

“I view this as a wonderful opportunity to welcome citizens to the police department in a friendly, non-confrontational manner,” Moore said.

Moore also posed this question, and it’s one for all of Janesville to consider: “If we continue the dialogue that the police are unfair and biased, how will we ever make change?”

His argument is an idealistic one, and we’d support it in an ideal world. But we live in a world tainted by suspicion and misconceptions, and lost votes over a polling location aren’t worth risking.

The simplest way to quell this concern and ensure the integrity of the April and August elections is to pick a different polling place.


Columns
Pitts: The guy who paid Stormy Daniels to shut up

Dear Michael D. Cohen, Esq.:

So you’re the one who paid Stormy Daniels to shut up?

According to The New York Times, you claim to have forked over $130,000 during the 2016 campaign to Stephanie Clifford, a pornographic film “actress” who performs under that nom de coitus, in exchange for her promise not to talk about having sex with Donald Trump shortly after his wife gave birth to his youngest son. You say—and Clifford’s attorney backs you up—that you did this out of your own pocket.

“Neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Ms. Clifford,” your statement says, “and neither reimbursed me for the payment, either directly or indirectly. The payment to Ms. Clifford was lawful, and was not a campaign contribution or a campaign expenditure by anyone.”

That’s the part that has made headlines. But I’m drawn to something fewer people seem to have noticed. Namely, your rationale for paying such a hefty sum given that your client insists he didn’t do anything wrong. Apparently, in your role as Trump’s personal lawyer, you are willing to go above and beyond the call of duty.

“Just because something isn’t true,” you told CNN, “doesn’t mean that it can’t cause you harm or damage. I will always protect Mr. Trump.”

So just to make sure I’m clear on this: It doesn’t matter whether or not the claim is true? If it could damage your client, you stand ready to write a six-figure check?

Dude, me and Donald had so much sex.

We did crazy sex things everywhere. In the East Room, in the situation room, on the desk in the Oval Office. It was me, him and Nancy Pelosi.

We also did meth with some illegals in the Rose Garden. Snorted cocaine off April Ryan’s chair in the White House Press Room.

And then we robbed a liquor store.

Now, Stormy Daniels demanded $130,000 to keep mum about sexing your boss. But me, I’m a reasonable guy. I’m willing to stay quiet about all of the sex, drugs and robbery things we did for a measly $100,000. You’re never going to get a better deal.

And right now, I’m thinking you could use a break. After all, many observers are finding your story hard to swallow.

They think it exceedingly unlikely someone would essentially give away $130,000 out of the goodness of his heart. They also find it hard to believe your client knew nothing about the payout. Besides, he’s been accused—and even confessed to—worse things than doing the horizontal bop with a porn star. What’s so different about this particular case? What is it about Stormy Daniels that would make you dig into your personal coffers for such a large sum to stop her from telling a supposed lie?

But I wouldn’t worry about the people saying those things. They’re just being logical.

I also wouldn’t worry about Daniels’ attorney announcing that, with this statement from you, the porn star feels liberated from her nondisclosure agreement and will soon begin telling her tale. She probably won’t do that.

I mean, why would she admit she slept with Donald Trump? Think of what that would do to her reputation.

Anyway, you have my offer. So I trust I can expect a $100,000 certified check to be overnighted to me care of this newspaper? I’ll be waiting.

Oh, and I forgot to mention how Donald ran over a guy in the presidential limousine while he was high on meth. I promise, I won’t talk about where we buried the body.

No charge. I’ll throw that one in for free, ’cause I’m that kind of guy.


Sound_off
Sound Off for Sunday, Feb. 18

On Janesville City Council seeking to move polling place: This is in reference to the story (Tuesday, Page 2A) about people not thinking it’s right to have a polling place at the police department. Shame on those people for not feeling comfortable after everything that the police do for us, and double shame on the city council people who agreed with them. Something tells me you’re not living your life right if you’re afraid to go to a police station.

On Friday’s fog: I don’t think that parents should have to tell their kids to turn on their lights when it’s foggy, but I just counted seven cars with no lights on today during this dense fog. I think it should be common sense. I tried to flash my lights at one girl to let her know that her lights weren’t on, and she was too busy texting to notice.

On Sound Off criticism of Janesville plowing: Damned if you do. If you don’t like the way your street is plowed or when, why don’t you do it yourself? Gripe, gripe, gripe. And for you people who have trash bins or vehicles on the street, you should be ticketed. Trash bins can be put at the edge of your driveway. A little common sense goes a long way.

On Milton athletic facilities: Saying the swimming pool loses water is a half-truth. Water loss is due to the normal process of evaporation for a pool of that size. The evaporation increased some after new heat exchangers were installed, but the water loss is still in the acceptable range.

  • About the Milton School Board meeting (story on Tuesday, Page 1A), it was very disappointing because it seemed like it was an orchestrated effort to belittle board member Brian Kvapil because he does not first and foremost jump on the athletic facility upgrade bandwagon. He instead has been steadfastly trying so hard to keep the safety and security of the buildings at front and center of the school district, and he gets belittled for that.

On U.S. gold medalist Shaun White: Let him enjoy the gold medal. Enough of the sexual misconduct. Aren’t we all guilty of it at one point in our lives? Don’t make it so we’re afraid to even smile at a woman or a man. I am sick of it. Please stop with the sexual misconduct allegations.

On election security: All indications point to the imminent cyberattack on our mid-term elections. A possible solution to stifle such attack: Return to pen and pencil votes and non-computer, hand-ballot counting.

On Feb. 10 story, “Deficit hawks? That was then” (Page 1A): The headline was terribly misleading. The GOP haven’t been deficit hawks for at least 40 years. If you look at real numbers, the deficit has grown under the GOP and only cut in years when there’s a Democrat in the White House. The GOP likes to say they’re against deficits, but they only use it as an excuse to cut the strings off the safety net for the poorest and weakest among us.

On Rep. Paul Ryan: Wouldn’t it be nice if our congressman was interested in our problems like the outrageous price of prescription drugs, the outrageous increase in the price of cable TV and the outrageous price of dental care? Does Paul Ryan even see these bills?

On tax cut effects: It’s Thursday, Feb. 15. Today is the day employers have to start withholding your taxes at a lower rate. That means more money in your pocket at the end of the week. Who can you thank for this? Not the Democrats because not a single Democrat in Washington voted in favor of you getting more money at the end of the week. That’s because they believe that the government can spend the money better than you can, and that’s one of the fundamental differences between Republicans and Democrats.

On last Sunday’s special section: Just wanted to say thanks to Parker High School, the Janesville School District and The Gazette for putting together such a nice celebration for 50 years of Parker High School being in existence. Congratulations, and it’s fun to look at the pictures and how the kids are so happy.