To the Editor:

Years ago when I was growing up, my mother would tell us, “Make sure you smell the milk before you drink it!”

Her saying was not only meant literally, but also as a metaphor.

For the past month or two downtown Ripon has had a peculiar smell.

The funny thing about scents is that they don’t always garner a lot of attention. I think the group currently housed in 311 Watson St. may like it that way.

But the fumes are becoming noxious and the smell can’t be ignored, at least not by this Ripon resident.

Unfortunately, it’s taken me until today to do a little investigating. The group I speak of is We Are Wisconsin, but you wouldn’t know that by looking at the storefront.

Initially I thought the Fred Clark campaign was renting this space. I would have had no issues with that.

It turns out that We Are Wisconsin is a liberal activist group funded primarily by union dollars, most of those dollars coming from out of state, and most of them coming from AFSCME.

This in and of itself is may be objectionable to some, but is not a crime. However, the smell I’m detecting comes from the fact that there’s not much Wisconsin about We Are Wisconsin.

A stroll down Watson Street will verify that many of the cars parked in front of the building are from out of state.

I find it ironic that several of those out-of-state vehicles are themselves foreign and made by non-union labor. I guess union support is a matter of convenience for these folks.... What these out-of-state carpetbaggers are really upset about has nothing to do with education or health care or ...

It has everything to do with the fact that government employees no longer have their union dues automatically withdrawn from their pay checks and now have a choice in whether or not to continue to feed the monster.

The monster is very angry. So angry that by some reports, it’s invested $30 million in this batch of recall elections.

If by chance this letter gets published, I’m sure I’ll have written too late. The “Wisconsin” carpetbaggers will most likely have packed up and moved back to New York, Nebraska, Illinois, and Minnesota. ...

— Todd Rathkamp

225 1/2 Watson St.

To read the entire letter, see the Aug. 18, 2011 edition of The Ripon Commonwealth Press.

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