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An open letter to government officials: Stop with the letters already

By Joe Yovino

Does anybody talk on the phone anymore?

The amount of letters being written to and from Scott Walker since he won the election for governor is rivaled only by children writing to Santa.

The bulk of the letter-writing has revolved around high-speed rail, the latest coming Thursday from the Minnesota AFL-CIO to Walker begging him to reconsider his stance on killing the project between Milwaukee and Madison (which, by the way, makes no sense considering Walker doesn’t give a golden gopher about what Minnesota thinks).

Previous letters have included Gov. Jim Doyle’s statement on high-speed rail on Nov. 8, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood’s letter to Walker on Nov. 8, and Walker’s response to LaHood, in letter form of course, on Nov. 9. Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn also jumped into the fun with his letter to Talgo saying he’d welcome the company to his state if the train set maker wants out of Wisconsin.

But there also have been letters written on other issues, including a letter exchange on the Charter Street Heating Plant in Madison. First, Walker wrote a letter to Department of Administration Secretary Daniel Schooff on Nov. 10 requesting “the Doyle administration begin making plans to shift to natural gas rather than bio-fuel” at the plant.

Schooff’s response to Walker (basically telling the governor-elect he didn’t know what he was talking about) came a day later.

I understand letters are the industry standard when it comes to communicating among government entities (with fancy letterhead and all), but I can’t help but think maybe some quality one-on-one conversations would lead to actual results.

How about using that cell phone for more than checking Facebook?

Joe Yovino is the Web editor at The Daily Reporter. He’d be happy to set up any government official with a Skype account.

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