"At long last, have you left no sense of decency?"

This is taking a local disagreement way to far.

Deputy Mayor Tony Palmeri, on his blog, compares Oshkosh City Manager Mark Rohloff to Stalin:
I hope we can all agree that a city manager ought not have the power to direct an organization or individual to discharge firearms in violation of city codes. Giving a local executive that kind of power is more in line with the old Soviet Union than the US Constitution.
Here is a little lesson in history for Mr. Palmeri (via Wikipedia):
Researchers before the 1991 dissolution of the Soviet Union attempting to count the number of people killed under Stalin's regime produced estimates ranging from 3 to 60 million.[72] After the Soviet Union dissolved, evidence from the Soviet archives also became available, containing official records of the execution of approximately 800,000 prisoners under Stalin for either political or criminal offenses, around 1.7 million deaths in the Gulags and some 390,000 deaths during kulak forced resettlement – for a total of about 3 million officially recorded victims in these categories.[73]
While I understand that Mr. Palmeri feels very passionate about the lives of the deer in the city, he admits in his post that he is in the minority on the council for this:
Unlike last year, when only I spoke in opposition, this time the deliberation would have included the voice of Bob Poeschl. Mr. Poeschl openly opposed the deer cull during his campaign
That is still just 2 votes. We still, by Mr. Palmeri's math, have a council that is 5-2 in favor of the cull, even after the election we had during the initial cull.

We should have a debate about the deer cull, a vigorous one, if Mr. Palmeri demands it. And we did. It was passed overwhelmingly by the council.

Calling the City Manager Stalin does not advance the debate. It seems to me that Mr. Palmeri is breaking a sub-set of Godwin's Law of the internet here (also via Wikipedia):
Godwin's Law (also known as Godwin's Rule of Nazi Analogies or Godwin's Law of Nazi Analogies)[1][2] is a humorous observation made by Mike Godwin in 1990 which has become an Internet adage. It states: "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1."[3][2]
I would expect better discourse out of someone with a Doctorate in Rhetoric:
* 1984 - 1987: PhD, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI. Rhetorical Theory and Criticism, American Public Address
* 1983-1984: M.A., Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, MI. Rhetorical Theory and Criticism
* 1979-1983: B.A. St. John's University, Queens, NY. Rhetoric and Public Address
But, maybe not if you look at the main definition of rhetoric in m-w.com:

1 : the art of speaking or writing effectively: as a : the study of principles and rules of composition formulated by critics of ancient times b : the study of writing or speaking as a means of communication or persuasion
2 a : skill in the effective use of speech b : a type or mode of language or speech; also : insincere or grandiloquent language
3 : verbal communication : discourse
Lets look further into (2)(b)(also):

: a lofty, extravagantly colorful, pompous, or bombastic style, manner, or quality especially in language
Sounds about right.

By the way, in case you want background on the title of this post.


Jb said...

We'll be live blogging next Tuesday's city council meeting over The Chief.

Tell your friends, and come join us to vent!

Anonymous said...

I was always confused by the contradictory position of the Councilmember on the deer. They mentioned that they found a deer dead who starved to death.


December 4, 2005
Op-Ed Columnist
For Environmental Balance, Pick Up a Rifle

Here's a quick quiz: Which large American mammal kills the most humans each year?

It's not the bear, which kills about two people a year in North America. Nor is it the wolf, which in modern times hasn't killed anyone in this country. It's not the cougar, which kills one person every year or two.

Rather, it's the deer. Unchecked by predators, deer populations are exploding in a way that is profoundly unnatural and that is destroying the ecosystem in many parts of the country.

What's the alternative to hunting? Is it preferable that deer die of disease and hunger?

Ron said...

Hi Jef,

Just an FYI: there were a number of leaders in the Soviet Union, not just Stalin. The hallmark of the Soviet structure was unaccountable decision making and zero transparency - consistent more or less from 1917 until Gorbachev's Glasnost in the 1980s.

So to interpret: "Giving a local executive that kind of power is more in line with the old Soviet Union than the US Constitution."


"Calling the City Manager Stalin..."

is a little bit of a stretch. Given Palmeri's style of rhetoric, I suspect that he was actually referring to the soviet executive style of government, not Stalin.

Just my two cents.

Anonymous said...

Ron, are you saying you agree with his comment?

By defending, are you agreeing that the local Oshkosh govt is in-line with the old Soviet Union, whether it was meant as the system overall or an individual?

Will this be part of your campaign?

Ron said...

No, I don't agree with his comment.

If Jef wants to go "rhetorical" on Tony, I just think that someone ought to point out that Tony did NOT compare Rohloff to Stalin. That is a leap from what Tony actually wrote. I'm sure there is some rhetorical "law" that describes taking one statement and leaping from it to accuse the person of saying something else, but that isn't my field.

Personally I have found Mr. Rohloff very accessible and easy to work with. Part of my campaign is that I am both able and willing to work with city staff to get us moving in the right direction.