Dow’s opinion letter exemplifies why socialites don't belong in politics



SHOREWOOD, Wis. (March 26, 2004) – It is appropriate that the Shorewood Herald placed a public forum opinion signed by Anne Dow directly next to a picture of a sarcophagus in the March 25 issue with a headline “The Quest for Immortality.”


Dow’s argument in the two first paragraphs is like a sarcophagus -- an ancient Egyptian coffin – lovely on the surface but the inside is just bones and stinky spiritless gauze that even Botox can’t revive.


First, Dow, whose use of words is strikingly similar to those of her verbose husband, the reviled windbag Rodney Dow, refers to “vicious personal attacks” on Trustee Ellen Eckman, who “is keeping her campaign positive.”


“She won’t deceive you,” Dow writes.


These words must stick in Dow’s throat as the Shorewood Police Department has spent two days this week dealing with Eckman’s illegal campaigning.


Is it a vicious attack to say she cheated by utilizing unlawful campaign material meant to give her an advantage over candidates who do not use illegal campaign material? Is pointing it out “Depraved?” Is it “defective, faulty, invalid, impure, noxious, savage, fierce, malicious or spiteful?” Is it true? Yes or no? Did Ellen Eckman violate state election laws, yes or no? And is it vicious to state that it is so?


There is a way to find out; Dow’s word is not the source. Call Shorewood Police Chief Michael Meehan at (414) 847-2610


On the other hand, of what value is an endorsement that claims that Ellen “won’t deceive you” when it ignores the blatant illegal behavior Eckman has shown. Or was “the only educator running for Village Board,” IGNORANT of the law?


Poor Ellen, THE LAW APPLIES TO HER, TOO, poor darling.


Dow predicts that in the weeks preceding the election there will be “negative outbursts from several individuals.”


“Haven’t we had enough,” Dow asks, before Dow herself IN THE VERY NEXT SENTENCE enters into a negative outburst by writing that the “Mark Kohlenberg and Kellie Lang forces have given our village an 'attack mentality' that will continue" if two candidates she opposes are elected.


In the paragraph following the prediction of “negative outbursts,” Dow attacks this Web site and me, and claims that in her opinion I am “an ally of Phinney and Krieger.” The Web site, she continues in her negative attack, was named to give it “false legitimacy” and “shamelessly attacks good stewards of Shorewood, both past and present, especially Eckman.”


First, it is a false statement that I am allied with any candidate. By stating that in “your opinion” it is so shows your opinion is not based on fact.


Did you know that people are supposed to be critical of public officials? Is it shameless when you attack Lang and Kohlenberg? Aren’t they stewards of Shorewood? Why is it OK for you to bad mouth opponents of Eckman, the illegal campaigner, but this Web site is “shameless” for reporting the crime?


In the next paragraph of Dow’s letter, it goes on to ask whether candidates who are civil and support open discourse condemn this Web site or “find it convenient to allow such attacks against their neighbors?” As Dow has obviously found since she knows so much about this Web site, we support no candidate for any office. As Dow knows as an expert on this Web site, we have posted the official email of Lang and Kohlenberg, Eckman, Langenkamp and Village Attorney Raymond Pollen. The documents speak for themselves – Kohlenberg and Lang have disclosed more than the four e-mail released by Langenkamp and the 50 or so messages Eckman has saved over the past three years. Therefore, if you want to ask the elected officials who favor disclosure what they think of this Web site, you would have to ask Lang and Kohlenberg since neither Langenkamp nor Eckman have fully disclosed their records, as required by law. In fact, the few records disclosed by Eckman and Langenkamp reveal that they were involved in illegal meetings with FORMER Village president Rodney Dow, who tried to charge money to inspect his public records.


Finally, civility is one thing but closing your eyes is another. This last, desperate attempt to stop open, responsible and independent public service is not going to be ignored.


Please, name a single instance where Krieger, Phinney, Kohlenberg or Lang have been uncivil or opposed to open discourse. Name just one. It is easy to write a letter but to back it up is another thing.


Government is more than socialites dabbling in public affairs; it is about the public’s business and it should be done in public. Rodney Dow’s and Ellen Eckman’s illegal e-mail meetings are the antithesis of open discourse. Eckman’s illegal campaigning is just that: illegal.


To point this out is not vicious. It is the truth. It is the responsibility of citizenship to participate in government and we take this responsibility seriously. Satire, sarcasm and ridicule are legitimate forms of expression protected by the First Amendment SPECIFICALLY TO EMPOWER CITIZENS TO COMMENT ON THEIR GOVERNMENT. And you are offended! I am not responsible for the incompetence of the candidates Dow endorses. I am responsible for revealing it.


The continued, orchestrated defense of such failures of performance by Eckman and her like and the elitist yet mediocre character behind it are not strides to open discourse. People who cheat to obtain office should not advance.


Dow apparently thinks that people who share the sense of values and repulsion for negativity stated in the Shorewood Herald letter will not notice the complete negativity of the letter. The entire piece is an attack on those who challenge an incumbent who has illegally campaigned and who is the most uncivil member of the Village Board.


Unseating Ellen Eckman is an opportunity to bring civility and open discourse to local government. Retaining her would encourage the opposite.