I am disappointed in the Sentinel’s decision to print Mr. Hess’ letter the week before the election and leaving me no time to respond before the election. His letter to the editor is full of misstatements and it seems to be aimed at causing confusion and division.
He stated that I contacted the election commission to discredit the town, clerk and the opposing candidate. I did contact the election commission because I thought it was odd that the Trade Lake Town Hall was being used to promote one candidate—particularly after other groups seeking to use the building had been told that it was unavailable due to COVID. In the April 9, 2020, Town of Trade Lake minutes, it states:
Closing of Town Hall to nonessential public gatherings: Motion by Hinrichs that the Town Hall remain closed to all nonessential public gatherings until the County offices open to the public. Seconded by Lade. Motion carried by voice vote.
Similarly, in the July 16, 2020, Town of Trade Lake Minutes state:
Liability Insurance for Town Hall: Supervisor Lade spoke with Rural Mutual Insurance, we have insurance coverage if the town hall is rented for public use. The town hall is currently closed for public events due to Covid 19.
The County did not reopen until 4/1/21, so I questioned why was the Town Hall open for this event when it was closed for all other public events? The fact is that I never mentioned the clerk or other candidate.
I guess some folks really don’t like it when people ask questions!
Mr. Hess claims I “crashed” the meet and greet. My understanding is that all residents of Trade Lake were invited. When residents were upset about the Town’s website being used to promote one candidate for the meet and greet March 13, and were questioning the supervisors at the monthly meeting, they were told by the board it is a public event and all are welcome to attend—so I took that to heart. If that did not apply to certain of us, I guess someone should have made that clear.
Finally, Mr. Hess stated that I contacted the election commission regarding the opposing candidate’s yard signs. This is simply untrue—once again, a made-up claim by Mr. Hess. I have now checked the rules, however and Mr. Hess is wrong about whether such signs need to say who paid for them. Wisconsin State Statute §11.1303, entitled: Attribution of political contributions, disbursements and communications says:
(1) No disbursement may be made anonymously and no contribution or disbursement may be made in a fictitious name or by one person or organization in the name of another.
(2) (a) Every printed advertisement, billboard, handbill, sample ballot, television or radio advertisement, or other communication containing express advocacy which is paid for by any contribution or disbursement shall clearly identify its source.
(Since this issue came to light some of the signs have been “edited” to disclose that they were paid for by the former board chairs’ family—which may be why the rule was not followed in the first place.)
So, Mr. Hess does not know the facts or he does not care whether he speaks the truth, and he does not know the law. He apparently just wants to rant and sow the seeds of division in Trade Lake.