Archive for July, 2009

Fightin’ the Good Fight Out West(ern Dane Co., That Is!)

Friday, July 31st, 2009

Here’s the latest from the good guys of the Western Dane Coalition for Smart Growth and Environment….

From: “Stefi Harris” To: “Stefi Harris” Subject: letter to friends 7-25-09 Date: Thu, 30 Jul 2009 14:19:07 -0500 7-30-09 Dear Friends of the Environment Many thanks to all of you who testified at the public hearing and wrote letters to the Capital regional Planning Commission (CARPC) against the proposal by the Village of Mazomanie to expand their urban service area into a sensitive watershed area for purposes of creating yet more urban sprawl in a cornfield. We won at CARPC in a vote of 7 to 5. We should all be proud of our collective efforts. We think that having lost unprecedented two times at CARPC Mazomanie‚s proposal will also be rejected by DNR. However, we‚ll keep watching the situation just to make sure and let you know of further developments in this case. This time we are asking you to continue our common efforts and join in a fight against the request by the City of Verona to create development in a highly sensitive environmental corridor near Badger Mill Creek and the Sugar River. Both of these are coldwater streams with unique and rare aquatic and terrestrial habitats. The proposed development comprises 572 housing units, 12.6 acres of commercial development and 20.4 institutional development on 265 acres in two areas, located near the intersection of the US Highways 18-151 and State Highway 69. Specifically, the proposed development threatens the two streams with further reduction of already low base flow, increased runoff, erosion, sedimentation and pollution, as well as with increased water temperatures. These threats extend also to the area‚s riparian wetlands alongside of both creeks and to the spring fed wetland in State Natural Area adjacent to the western portion of the proposed urban service area (USA). There are at least four springs in and immediately adjacent to the affected area. If the City of Verona is allowed to spill and sprawl over its current boundary in a direction of Badger Mill Creek and the Sugar River these springs will dry up in the foreseeable future. The proposed Verona USA is a home to several threatened and endangered species. They are Acadian Flycatcher bird, Mulberry Wing butterfly, Lady Slipper orchid and the entire communities of calcareous fen and sedge meadow wetland types. At present the amendment area is sparsely populated. It includes agricultural fields, isolated patches of woods, wooded slopes, a few houses and the streams which flow through. In the past this area, because of its richness and diversity of plant and animal life, was a place where through centuries Native Americans lived, camped, hunted, fished and were buried. There are ten documented archaeological sites in and directly adjacent to the proposed USA. Four of those are mound sites. Since we have the knowledge of these sites only through literature search and not through an actual field survey, the number of the archeological sites in the same area might be even greater than ten. The City of Verona promises a limited protection to water quality, threatened and endangered species and archaeological sites. But its promises do not match its plan for mitigation of detrimental effects of its proposed development. You can read more about Verona‚s proposal on CARPC website under „Upcoming Public Hearings‰ (google „CARPC DANE‰ to find it). NR 121 relating to areawide water quality management plans contains a provision for areas such as the one between the Sugar River and Badger Mill Creek to be saved from destruction through massive development as the one proposed by the City of Verona. This is what it says: „Major areas unsuitable for the installation of waste treatment systems because of physical or environmental constraints are to be excluded from the service area. Areas to be considered for exclusion from the sewer service area because of potential for adverse impacts on the quality of the waters of the state from both point and nonpoint sources of pollution include but are not limited to wetlands, shorelands, floodways and floodplains, steep slopes, highly erodible soils and other limiting soil types, groundwater recharge areas, and other such physical constraints‰ (NR 121.05 (4)(c). And that is what we should insist on because the amendment area contains all those conditions. Please e-mail to CARPC that you oppose the City of Verona USA amendment request and send copies to individuals listed below. Also please, come to the public hearing on August 13 held by CARPC at City County Building downtown Madison at 7:00 PM in Rm 201. Stefi Harris, Dennis Franke and Arnold Harris Western Dane Coalition for Smart Growth and Environment 608-798-4833; 608-798-4835 3427 County Rd P Mt Horeb WI 53572 stefiharris@tds.net It is important that you send your e-mail letters to CARPC with copies to all of the following: CARPC info@CapitalAreaRPC.org Dane County Executive falk@co.dane.wi.us Mayor of Madison mayor@cityofmadison.com Dane County Towns Association Gerry H Derr ghderr@verizon.net Renee Lauber ReneeLauber@consultant.com Mark Hazelbaker mhazel@hazelbakerlaw.com

Industrial Rote Labor Not So Great for the Intellect

Friday, July 31st, 2009

My intellectual lefty friends love to bemoan the loss of high-paying blue collar jobs. I’m not so sentimental about those losses. Given unions’ attitudes about everything but their own immediate pay (i.e., their anti-environmental record, failure to protect workers at the bottom of the income ladder, resistance to innovation, etc.), I’ve always questioned the relevance of rote labor as an end in itself. This article in today’s Detroit Free Press exposes a dirty little secret about how big unions and big industry colluded to keep their workforce as dumb as they could be.

Now we know why Michigan has been in a multi-decade depression.

Mayor Pave’s Latest Paving: Verona Rd & Beltline (Breathe Now, While You Still Can!

Friday, July 31st, 2009

Today I received the latest news from the Superhighway Stalinists:

From: “McDonald, Robert”
Date: Fri, 31 Jul 2009 10:02:01 -0500
Subject: Public Hearing on Amendment to the Regional Transportation Plan 2030
Thread-Topic: Public Hearing on Amendment to the Regional Transportation
Plan 2030
Thread-Index: AcoR79s4wePv09scSmC8tqhChFSkWQ==
Accept-Language: en-US
acceptlanguage: en-US

A public hearing on an amendment to the Regional Transportation Plan 2030: Madison Metropolitan Area and Dane County has been scheduled for Wednesday, September 2, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. before the Madison Area Transportation Planning Board (TPB) at the Madison Water Utility, 119 E. Olin Avenue, Conference Room A-B. The amendment adds major roadway and pedestrian-bicycle improvements to the Verona Road/West Beltline interchange area.

The project reconstructs Verona Road from Raymond Road to north of Nakoma Road and the Madison Beltline from Whitney Way to Seminole Highway. The Verona Road/Beltline Interchange will be completely reconstructed with additional capacity that extends through the Summit Intersection to the South. The Summit Intersection will also be reconstructed and includes a new east-west road under Verona road just north of Raymond road. Real estate acquisition is expected to begin in 2011 and construction in 2012 to 2014. Total cost for real estate, utilities, construction and engineering is estimated between $75.4 to 79.4 million.

All written comments should be submitted to the Madison Area TPB by September 2, the date of the public hearing. Depending upon comments received, the Madison Area TPB may take action on the plan amendment at the September 2 meeting.

The Madison Area TPB serves as the designated policy body responsible for cooperative, comprehensive, regional transportation planning and decision making for the Madison Metropolitan Planning Area and is responsible for the preparation of the long-range transportation plan for the region. The adopted Regional Transportation Plan is recognized as the official plan for this area for federal and state transportation funding purposes.

For more information about the Madison Area TPB and the Regional Transportation Plan, please visit the website at http://www.madisonareampo.org or contact the MPO office at 266-4336.

Robert R. McDonald, AICP
Transportation Planning Manager
Madison Area Transportation Planning Board
121 S. Pinckney Street, Suite 400
Madison, WI 53703

Phone: 608-266-4518
Fax: 608-261-9967
Email: rmcdonald@cityofmadison.com

Ok, so this will be a fun one to deconstruct…..

*First, note the loaded language: “The amendment adds major roadway and pedestrian-bicycle improvements to the Verona Road/West Beltline interchange area….” Um, improvements? By whose standard is a massive highway expansion, more pollution, more sprawl and degradation of the urban environment an “improvement?” Who, exactly, gave Robert McDonald authority to make such a politically loaded statement?

*Next, note the definitive language regarding the project:

  • “…reconstructs
  • “…will be completely reconstructed with additional capacity…”
  • “The Summit Intersection will also be reconstructed…”
  • “Real estate acquisition is expected…”

They don’t even go through the usual charade of presenting this as a proposal. According to the language of this document, written in definitive, no-exceptions-allowed language and ‘expectations’ (whose expectations? A passive-tense uttering God’s?) we have no choice but to accept the highwayman’s 65 mph pavement & rebar gulag.

*Who initiated this? I thought the mayor had nixed this idea. Someone needs to take responsibility for even bringing this idea up.

*Um, nearly $100m for one short stretch of highway? And our local politicians complain of declining revenues? Mayor Pave is already planning draconian budget cuts for every department in the city; except, apparently the highway department’s.

*”Real estate acquisition…” read: Eminent domain, destruction of housing and businesses which, in turn means, less property on the tax roles and thus even less revenue for local governments.

*”…[A]additional capacity…” means even larger expanses of concrete for bicyclists and pedestrians to overcome, and yet a further degradation of transit access to the area.

Make sure to go to the MPO website and look for the make up of policy board. Looking at the names of the folks on there, I’d say we are in for a huge rubber stamping of this monstrosity. With the exception of Al Matano, I’ve never known one of them to actually stand up to the highwaymen on anything.

Given the strident language of this announcement, one is left to wonder, is this a meeting announcement requesting public input, or a political harangue delivered by pavement obsessed bureaucrats?

In any case, these are the people in appointed by, and in the employ of our elected leaders, Mayor Pave and Konkrete Kathy. If you don’t like these plans, email those responsible at mayor@cityofmadison.com and falk@co.dane.wi.us; cc: rmcdonald@cityofmadison.com.

Silicon Valley’s Smart $ Finally Gets It Re: Energy Efficiency

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

It looks like the smart money in Silicon Valley is getting religion on energy efficiency.

Now to see if they can circumvent Jevon’s Paradox…… Doubtful. Enough is never enough for these people.

D-Nile-R-Us

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

Monbiot dredges up the data to show just how in denial we are–about everything, but especially on matters of *gasp* teenage sex-Sex-SEX (sha-doobie!). And other topics. He pins the blame on conservatives in the lede, but you’ll find farther down in the article that liberals aid & abet. Why? Reality is dangerous. They know what happens when politicians level with us…..we pitch them out!

Präsident Obama: Heimatssicherheitsdienst Sind Uns

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

Herr Obama tightens his grip: Der Sicherheitsstaat to be expanded as Busch envisioned it.

Jesus II Judas

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

The good constitutional law professor, a.k.a. Jesus H. Obama, now JINC (Jesus-in-Chief), seems to hate the constitution as much as Herr Busch did.

Over at his Salon.com column, Glenn Greenwald has been hammering home the bad news about this modern day Judas’s betrayal of our nation’s fundamental law (highlights here and here).

These warnings should be broadcast throughout the land, the airwaves and blogosphere. Tell your neighbors. Tell your representatives. Tell everyone. The republic depends on it.

Gizmoidality & das Traumstadrad

Monday, July 20th, 2009

This guy geeks out about bikes more than I do. He may even compete with my buddy Wacky Pat in terms of gizmoidality! And that’s saying something, because as I’ve been waxing eloquent about my Traumstadtrad, Pat has been sending me links to videos and sites just filled with new inventions applied to or based on the bicycle.

I don’t necessarily endorse the products here, just passing them along for general amusement and a furthering of the inventive mindset! As you’ll see, Wacky Pat is particularly partial toward the recumbent & “crank-forward” design (nightmares of Iacocca!). I’m not convinced about the crank-forward thing because it appears to put the lower back in a forward c-curve–a bad thing (life with a physical therapist and these things start seeping into your mind!). Recumbents are great for open road screaming, but in the city, visibility & ability to see become paramount over aerodynamics. Again, thanks, Pat for all this research!

http://workcycles.com/workbike/index.html
http://www.koolstop.com/Accessories/index.php#Anchor-Extra-57
http://bicyclebananas.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=BB&Product_Code=Jamis_07_Commuter3&Category_Code=14-Jamis
http://www.angletechcycles.com/bikes/hybrid/index.htm
http://www.crankforward.com/fusion%20evolution.htm
http://spincyclz.com/
http://www.bicycleman.com/crank-forward-bikes/day-6-bicycles/day-6-bicycles.htm
http://www.dynamicbicycles.com/bikes/chainless.php?gclid=CJWZ4NGA4JsCFRSfnAodC3ri_A
http://www.dynamicbicycles.com/buy/Bikes.php?prodid=75
http://www.bikeforums.net/archive/index.php/t-234570.html
http://www.cactusoutdoors.com/store/product/19431/09-Suede-Large-Black/
http://www.cannondale.com/bikes/07/cusa/recreation/daytripper/model-7DS2.html
http://www.jacksbikes.com/index1.html
http://www.jacksbikes.com/index1.html
http://www.coventrycycle.com/Crank_Forward_Bicycles.html
http://www.bicyclesports.us/raleigh_gruv_2_silver_or_blue.htm
http://www.ransbikes.com/
http://www.bikes4families.com/kent-compact-16-lightweight-aluminum-folding-bike-p-7.html?osCsid=208d8f65b6b734883f525839ad870a04
http://www.dynamicbicycles.com/bikes/chainless.php
http://www.dynamicbicycles.com/buy/Bikes.php?prodid=60
http://cruzbike.com/catalog/index.php?cPath=25

And then some videos of geeks geeking out about their new bike inventions (It is entertaining, believe me!):

http://www.downtube.com/Folding_Bike_News/Taipei_Bike_Show_2008/Hub/






Radomski Running

Monday, July 20th, 2009

….for mayor. Of Madison. My prediction. More to come….

When Politicians Level With Us….

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

We go into denial.

Can we learn from it?