Saturday, August 17th, 2019

James Wigderson and his critics, the other Patton

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I’m criticized in a letter to the editor in Thursday’s Waukesha Freeman for criticizing Patton.
No, not this guy:

This guy:

Alderman Roger Patton

Alderman Roger Patton

Our friends at SOPHIA have leapt to Alderman Roger Patton’s defense from a perceived slight:

Wigderson’s attack on Alderman Patton highly offensive

To the editor: In response to James Wigderson’s Dec. 4 column, we find his attack on Alderman Roger Patton highly offensive, both as to choice of words and subject matter.

Mr. Patton proposes the minimum wage being raised from $7.25 to $10.10. Anyone opposed to the raise is encouraged to live on $7.25 for a month, giving your additional income to any of the worthwhile “people” agencies. Many, who live on minimum wage, must work other jobs, taking time away from parenting.

To cite Mr. Patton’s age and health as factors in having difficulty lighting the tree is mean-spirited at best. The fact that he was seen in a wheelchair later is irrelevant. At least he was at this event.

Mr. Patton willingly serves the city of Waukesha and the county because he loves both and being an advocate and voice for the voiceless has been a significant part of his life, pre-retirement and now in retirement. Waukesha could use more people with Mr. Patton’s spirit and commitment.

Ralph Schultz and Judith Williams,

co-chairs SOPHIA’s religious leaders caucus

Let’s start with the obvious, “At least he was at this event.”

The “event” was the City of Waukesha Chamber of Commerce Christmas Tree Lighting and, for the record, I was there, too. That’s how I could report on the alderman’s condition at the public event.

“To cite Mr. Patton’s age and health as factors in having difficulty lighting the tree is mean-spirited at best. The fact that he was seen in a wheelchair later is irrelevant.”

Let’s look at what I actually wrote in my newspaper column from December 4th:

Patton’s age and health may make him too sympathetic to be recalled. He had to be helped to get to the button to light the downtown Christmas tree and he was seen in a wheelchair later. A recall election campaign could look like people are just picking on an old man.

I’m trying, really trying, to find what was mean-spirited in that statement. I pointed out, accurately, that Patton was seen publicly in not the best of health, and that it might be seen as “picking on an old man” to try to recall someone in such a state.

I guess the good news is those wanting to recall Patton need not worry how it looks. To not recall Patton because of his age and health, to treat him differently than other politicians at his level of incompetence, is “mean-spirited.” Time to get those petitions circulated lest you insult the alderman!

As for raising the minimum wage, I have written quite a number of articles on the minimum wage and it’s effect on workers on the bottom end of the economic ladder. Raising it would be quite mean-spirited, as it would mean less entry-level jobs and more unemployment. In addition, Patton’s constituents would be directly hurt by such an increase, a fact our friends at SOPHIA conveniently ignore.

Schultz and Williams challenge the readers that are opposed to the minimum wage increase to give their additional income to “worthwhile ‘people’ agencies.” By all means, I would encourage anyone who can to contribute to those groups that directly help the poor rather than lobby for more government programs, more taxes and more bad public policies that hurt the people SOPHIA and Patton claim to want to help. While groups like SOPHIA would have us render more unto Caesar, let us like the Apostle Matthew turn away from tax collecting to follow a better calling.

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