by Kris Hampton

Wisconsin State Journal

January 2, 2010

I got a kick out of reading the rebuttals offered by Harley riders regarding Noise Free America’s critique of their noisy toys.

One writer apparently believes his bike is not noisy because no one’s ever told him so, and besides, in heavy traffic, he ‘can’t hear another Harley until it pulls along side.’ No, I imagine not. When riding in heavy traffic on a Harley, you wouldn’t hear much of anything.

Another writer uses the old ‘love it or leave it’ tact, telling us non-Harley folks to sell our houses and move to the country, as if Harleys don’t exist in small towns and on country roads.

Just as one writer had his playful theory about the Noise Free writer losing his girlfriend to a ‘roguishly handsome’ Harley guy, I have my own theory about Harley riders.

If you’ve ever observed children playing in the presence of adults, you may have noticed there are usually one or two kids who can’t seem to do anything without tugging on the sleeve of an adult and crying, ‘Look at me! Look at me!’ Nothing says ‘Look at me!’ like a garish leather outfit and a loud motorcycle.

– Craig Piersma, Madison

Need enforcement of noise ordinances

It’s fine that Wisconsin wants to honor Harley-Davidson. However, the State Journal should not minimize the noise issues related to Harleys and some other motorcycles.

It is not uncommon if you live on or near a major street in a residential area to hear some loud, obnoxious motorcycle noise at all hours of the day and night.

I’d guess the riders who enjoy doing this would not stop in front of their own homes in the middle of the night and rev up their bikes just to let everyone in the neighborhood know they’re home.

It would be great if some of these riders could be a little more courteous. If they cannot, then it would help if noise ordinances were enforced on a regular basis.

– Pat Malloy, Madison

Harley riders also support charities

The Noise Free America group should stop whining and start thinking about the good things that Harley riders do for others.

Most of the Harley owners I know try to keep the noise level low at night. They’re a considerate group of people. You rarely hear of other motorcycle groups doing rides to benefit charitable organizations like Harley riders do.

Why don’t the Noise Free people complain about car owners who drive around with loud mufflers that are actually louder than Harleys?

– Lisa Berman, Madison

Bad roads could limit legislative harm

Sen. Glenn Grothman, R-West Bend, says he was exaggerating when defining Madison’s citizens as having jobs walking to the co-op. I believe he has that uninformed view due to living in the safe cocoon of government employment, insulated from the people of Madison.

And of course his proposed legislation would mainly benefit our elite government representatives, not the little people going to work, even at the co-ops.

With all the state issues that he and the Democrats haven’t taken care of, I hope the roads get worse. The less time Grothman spends in Madison, the less harm will be done by poor legislation and arrogant senators.

Thanks for thinking about us, but we will be fine. Get some new tires and enjoy Madison.

– Jerry Gibbs, Madison

State should pay up before another plowing

So Friday’s State Journal runs an article about how the state can’t afford to cover its share for services provided by the city of Madison. Wouldn’t one of those services be snowplowing?

Maybe Sen. Glenn Grothman could have looked at the state’s bottom line before suggesting the city of Madison plow and salt better. Not only is his proposal unfunded, it turns out the state is not funding the current plowing operation.

Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz should order no plowing in front of state build ings. Maybe then the shortfall will be addressed.

– Derek Popp, Mount Horeb

Falk pushes 911 bill onto local municipalities

After seeing Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk on the news, I wonder how she can keep saying that she fully supports public safety in Dane County.

Falk has before her a decision on updating the 911 Communication Center but refuses to fully fund this needed update.

The county has fully funded 911 operations and maintenance since the 1980s, but now Falk wants to shift this funding to all the local municipalities.

As a town chairman, I cannot have this shifted to my local tax burden without cutting more services since I have not levied for it in the past.

Everyone in the county will support this new system that will ensure that police, fire, EMS and public works will have better communications when responding to emergencies.

The county should stop trying to force the municipalities to pick up this cost and do the right thing. Put it on the county tax levy and get the system built. The tax money that will be spent on this system is money from all of us, paid to provide county-wide services.

– Kris Hampton, chairman, town of Cottage Grove