From: Steve Schild
It’s sad, fundamentally unfair, and dangerous to the democratic process when conscientious public officials such as Winona County Commissioner Chris Meyer are criticized with oversimplified opinions about a complex public-policy issue.
In his April 21 letter in the Post, Jayston Seeling is just plain wrong in stating the new jail will be “much larger than what is needed in our county”— the new jail will be rated for three fewer beds than the current jail, and its capacity will be based on extensive research. Furthermore, Seeling should credit rather than criticize Meyer for basing her vote partly on abiding by state law requiring the county to provide “a suitable and sufficient jail.”
Maybe the worst thing, though, about Seeling’s letter is its distorted criticism of Meyer for having the courage to publicly state that emotions played a role in her vote. Meyer’s stance is based on the reality that even the best prevention and treatment efforts won’t erase the need for correctional facilities, and that inadequate facilities such as the existing jail are inhumane, making things even worse for people already in crisis. The time to worry about public officials’ emotions is when they play no legitimate role in decision-making.