Archive for May, 2009

Growth Machine’s Filthy Water Imperils Mayor Pave’s Growth Machine

Friday, May 29th, 2009

The contamination at this proposed well site on Madison’s far southeast side has been known for a long, long time. Staff is portrayed as astute, even heroic, in “their” (latter day) decision to nix the well at this contaminated site. Nothing could be further from the truth. It was the brave stand made by a few very, very diligent, civic-minded and hardworking citizens on the Madison Water Utility Board that ultimately nixed this site. Staff couldn’t overcome their objections and the rift between staff and the board was about to become public. Staff was at least politically astute enough to head off that PR disaster.

But MWU staff has made it clear that there will be repercussions for commissioners who went against them. So get ready. The drumbeat against one of the most thoughtful commissioners has already started.

This will be a continuation in Mayor Pave’s campaign to rid all city commissions of thoughtful dissent. Their replacements? Zombies only need apply.

Why is this well site so important? It is all about keeping Mayor Pave’s Growth Machine humming. Without this well, his continued sprawl/march into the countryside is imperiled. Maybe he & his gluttonous ilk should have thought of that before they allowed polluters to pollute in the name of The Father, The Growth, and The Holy Profit.

Our Incandescent City Council

Friday, May 29th, 2009

I live for these told-ya-so moments….

A couple of years ago our city council was mulling a ban on incandescent light bulbs, and mandating compact fluorescents. It was well-intentioned, given our current energy gluttony, but misguided in its application. I encouraged my friends on the council to avoid an ordinance that dictated a certain type of technology. I warned them that new tech in lighting is always emerging, and thus they should not foreclose options for the future. I suggested that they instead, look to performance standards. In this case, that standard would have been lumens/watt.

They couldn’t hear. Anything. As usual.

It was a time of compact fluorescent mania, twisty bulbs were all the rage, and city councillors wanted to be hip with the latest in-style tech….

The upshot is, as I predicted at the time, other technologies are coming on line that may leave CFLs in the dust, energy efficiency-wise. Heck, even the old incan may exceed CFLs in overall performance.

I think I hear Nelson somewhere out there…yes…I do! “HAH-ha!”

NYC Makes Space for People

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

I’m not a huge fan of Bloomberg,* but it is great to see that he has empowered a visionary Transportation Commissioner to make NYC a more livable place for pedestrians & bicyclists. Janette Sadik-Khan has been very aggressive in taming NYC’s streets to the benefit of people (as opposed to cars). Her latest project hints at a Copenhagen-style renaissance for the Big Apple. YAAAAAAAY!!!!!

*His police-state attacks on cyclists were reprehensible.

Left & Right Agree: Obama is a disciple of Bush/Cheney/Rove

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

Just as we predicted, He’s all show & no go. And the Left and the Right are in firm agreement on this.

Frankly, I think Obama is easily intimidated. Intimidated by both the bullying brass and the torturers who still lurk in the halls of power.

He always reminded me of another back-stabbing politician, animated by “the projection of appealing images.” (Thanks for that great quote, Karl!) That politician, Madison Mayor David J. Cieslewicz, not only stabs his supporters in the back, he smiles graciously as he twists the shiv.

Big Pharma Peddling Hg, Suppressed Immune Systems

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

Gee, ya think? You mean, being exposed to earlier, milder versions of the flu can give you immunity in old age? Wow. What a concept!

Yet another data point exposing the flu vaccine hoax contrived by Big Pharma. Your own natural immune system is a much more reliable deterrent than those Hg-laden vaccines peddled by the vaccine quacks.

Meanwhile the quacks have been demonizing the good people who have been warning about Mercury in vaccines for years now. More & more it looks like the folks over at the Safe Minds Coalition have been right all along.

Bartell Theater: “The Little Dog Laughed”

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

My favorite local actor/producer/sandwich maker, Colin, tells me this is the thing to see right now in local theatre.

It’s Official: Cities Are More Efficient and Theoretical Math Proves It

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

I love Olivia Judson’s column in the NYT. It is always fascinating, a good humanistic look at science. That is to say, there is something more there than science for science’s sake.

Today’s column is particularly interesting (by a guest columnist), especially for the urban geographers among us. Even theoretical mathematics verifies it: Cities are just more energy efficient.

Trashing the Earth. Black Earth Creek, That Is

Saturday, May 16th, 2009

Below is a letter I recently received from a great, fairly new group seeking to preserve Dane County’s countryside.

Apparently yet another developer, thinking most selfishly (as per usual), is trying to develop on fragile lands. Worst of all, it is planned in a way that dictates automobile use for every move.

Thus, the Western Dane Coalition for Smart Growth and Environment could use your help.

The letter is long & involved, so here is the Cliff Notes version:

1. Write/email to the addresses at the end of the letter (Co. Exec., Mayor, CARPC, +your county sup, etc.), SOON–like, today. (The meeting is in early June, but we need to build momentum now.)

2. CC: Steffi Harris (email below)

3. Tell them that you oppose the sprawl development proposed on sensitive lands in the Black Earth Creek Valley near Mazomanie and that you support the CARPC original decision to deny the development.

In a subsequent post I’ll be sending out the DNR letters–which were astonishing in their ignorance of natural processes. But don’t get wrapped up in the details (the DNR letters are quite obfuscatory), just write your letter!

************************************

Dear Friends 5-12-09

This is an appeal to all of you who are alarmed by the speed at which thousands of acres of Dane County’s farmland have been paved and shingled over, its previously wild and natural areas despoiled, its many creeks and wetlands turned into drainage ditches for cookie-cutter suburbs that emerged in the wake of seemingly unstoppable destruction. We have a fair chance to control this insidious process here in Dane County by stopping an approval for a single, but important, request for an urban service area (USA) to the Capital Area Regional Planning Commission (CARPC) for a large development proposal near the Village of Mazomanie. We need you to write letters to appropriate agencies; and even more significant, we need you to attend CARPC’s public hearing next month.

Some of you might be aware that a year ago, the Village of Mazomanie applied to CARPC for an USA extension on 187 acres of farmland, located at the junction of US Hwy 14 and State Hwy 78, approximately 1.5 miles east of the village. What distinguishes this USA request from all the others is that it is the first time that CARPC had refused to recommend a USA request for the approval to DNR. As a result of the refusal, the village – goaded on by their developer — then appealed to DNR to grant its own approval for the development without the benefit of CARPC support. Instead of making a decision, DNR sent Mazomanie’s USA request back to CARPC for reconsideration along with a thinly veiled directive to approve the request this second time.

The direction in which Dane County will turn in regard to sprawl, environmental protection and smart sustainable growth hinges on the outcome of Mazomanie case. If CARPC caves into pressure from the developer, the village and their allies, and approves the Village of Mazomanie USA request on the second round, that agency will never be able again to say “no” to any other proposal for sprawl, no matter how destructive such a proposal might be from environmental and smart growth perspective. The agency will render itself ineffective as a protector of the county’s water quality, open spaces and farmland. Smart and sustainable growth will become a dead letter before it even is given a chance to work.

Although most of us do not live near the proposed development, this case is relevant to all of us who live in this county. Just remember, as Mazomanie goes so does the rest of Dane County.

Description of the Proposed Development

The developer, Hawthorne and Stone LLC proposes to build 488 housing units, a supermarket, a liquor store and a strip mall in the amendment area. What is proposed here is a self-contained suburban island, separated from the mother village by about 1.5 miles and surrounded by cornfields and marshlands. This development was not planned in response to any community needs. It was superimposed on both the Village of Mazomanie and the Town of Mazomanie by the developer who apparently saw it as an opportunity to buy cheap land for easily accessible low cost financing widely available to developers prior to recent mortgage industry fiasco.

Ironically the Village of Mazomanie seeks the USA extension for an area where the most essential urban services are either insufficient or non-existent. For example, the wastewater treatment plant built in 2000 lacks capacity to absorb usage of additional development of the magnitude cited in Mazomanie’s USA request. Likewise, State Hwy 14, which is to serve the proposed development’s as the main arterial connector to the village and to Madison, is already congested during peak traffic hours. The Village of Mazomanie has no stormwater management utility, or any kind of public transportation for disabled or senior citizens.

Environmental Impact

The proposed development would affect three natural coldwater streams and several wetland areas located in or adjacent to the amendment area: Black Earth Creek, Halfway Prairie Creek and Wendt Creek. The affected segment of Black Earth Creek supports both warm and coldwater aquatic communities. Halfway Prairie and Wendt Creeks were degraded over the years and are now classified as forage fisheries. The wetlands present in the area are remnants of once more extensive wetland network located along the creeks in the low lying areas. Up to this day nearby residents of rural homes report seeing sand hill cranes wading through swampy terrain. All three creeks and surrounding wetlands retain their restorative potential.

History of Mazomanie’s USA application Process

In May 2008, the Village of Mazomanie applied to CARPC for the USA extension. In August 2008, after two public hearings, CARPC turned down Mazomanie’s USA amendment request on 7 to 4 vote.

In October 2008, the village went directly to DNR to ask for the USA extension approval.

In March 2009 DNR sent Mazomanie’s USA request back to CARPC for second consideration, along with a sharply worded admonishment for CARPC to approve the request upon the second review. In addition DNR stated that CARPC criteria for USA and LSA (limited service area) reviews, which were adopted 2-28-08 after the completion of a full public hearing process and approved by DNR 12-13-08, were not to be applied any longer. Instead DNR letter insists, only narrowly defined water quality criteria should be used on review of Mazomanie’s USA application. (Those who wish to see the original material relating to this DNR created problem, should examine the attached files.)

What needs to be done at this time

The CARPC hearing on Mazomanie’s USA request is tentatively scheduled for June 11, 2009. At this time the developer and their law firm, which is also the legal representative of the village, are working very hard to get the majority of the CARPC votes. We need to work even harder. So please, help us.

Spread the word about the intended urban sprawl project in the cornfields and wetlands east of Mazomanie. Tell your like-minded friends about this outrage. Contact us if you want more information. E-mail a letter to CARPC, Kathleen Falk, Mayor of Madison, Dane County Towns Association. If you are in town on the day of the hearing, please do not miss it. Please speak up or just be there in solidarity for this worthy cause.

Thank you for anything you might be able to do to help us.

Respectfully

Stefi Harris, Dennis Franke, Arnold Harris
Western Dane Coalition for Smart Growth and Environment
3427 County Rd P
Mt Horeb WI 53572
(608) 798-4833
stefiharris@tds.net

E-mail addresses of:

CARPC
info@CapitalAreaRPC.org

Dane County Executive
falk@co.dane.wi.us

Mayor of Madison
mayor@cityofmadison.com

Dane County Towns Association
mhazel@tds.net

Mayor Pave’s Paving Problem

Saturday, May 16th, 2009

Hmmm, we haven’t heard any of this before have we? (That would be a webpage of mine–ca. A.D. 2002–on the very topic of parking reduction, including citations of Donald Shoup.)

Mayor Pave won’t have the guts enough to do anything more than nibble around the edges of the vast paving problem in this community, I guarantee it. It just doesn’t have the cachet of a solar panel (see Greenwashers & Greenwashing). And the greenies will let him get away with it because they still can’t bring themselves to understand that deathmobiling, and all of the paving & manufacturing that supports it, is the most polluting of all human activities.

Zombies vs. Democracy, Part II

Saturday, May 16th, 2009

Madison’s cops are getting political, i.e., out of line, again. My suspicion is that this is more of a warning shot across the bow by Madison’s Mayor Pave. He has ousted a long line of progressives since his re-election. Now he is ramping up the velocity and viciousness of the ejections to include not just outspoken opponents, but *anyone* who happens to wear the progressive badge–even eminently pliable ones like Verveer. So even the Boy Scouts are fair game.

His latest Boy Scout target is Carl DuRocher, current chair of the Transit & Parking Commission. Nicest guy in the world. His crime was in looking out for bus riders’ interests and following Robert’s Rules of Order.

It will be interesting to see if the alder who represents him will finally stand up for one of her constituents. Already several of the 6th District Alder’s constituents have been dumped from various city commissions for the crime of <*gasp*> doing the right thing.

The drumbeat has also begun against a hardworking citizen Parks Commissioner as well as a Water Utility Board member (both also of the 6th Aldermanic District). (More on those soon.)