Archive for December, 2009

Ho-Chunk to buy Union Corners?

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

It is just a rumor, but my source is in the know with regard to all things real estate, commercial & residential.

This has the potential to be a Very Good Thing. Note that I said potential.

And no, it doesn’t necessarily mean casino, so calm down. Another aspect of the rumor is that there would be an attempt to keep to the original vision of McGrath. But we’ll see….

If this turns out to be true, I’ve just got to (giddily) point out that I’ve scooped the local dying mainstream media, as well as their nemesis, Brenda Konkel. Heh.

Sermon on the Baltic

Thursday, December 17th, 2009


On Zombies

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

For several months I’ve been tagging various politicians as “zombie politicians” (Mayor Pave being Exibit A).

For a definition of what I mean by “zombie politician,” check out this excellent article at

Jesus Chills with the Moneychangers

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

Greenwald eviscerates — quite rightly  & righteously — Jesus H. Obama over His sleazy, Big Pharma-, Big Insurance-friendly health care bill.

My congresswoman? AWOL. She should be scaling the capitol building with a megaphone and shouting rude things about this corporatist president. This is, after all, her signature issue.

Liberals one & all: Where’s your Jesus now?

Edgewater: Mayor Pave v. Historic Neighborhoods

Sunday, December 6th, 2009

Edgewater: Ugly beyond belief. Not just architecturally. Not just in scale & proportion. Not just in the way the developer bullied the neighborhood. Now we have a very ugly legal precedent brewing.

Indeed, the mayor is prodding the council to actually break the law. (More of his histrionics here.)

Fortunately, we have antidotes for such sociopathy in the form of civic-minded community leadership, well grounded in the ways of research, analysis and good will….

For starters, check out a clear-eyed view of Madison’s historic preservation laws brought to you by Brenda Konkel; details here & here.

Another former alder had this warning for current alders with regard to bully-proofing themselves.

Jay Rath at Isthmus has done a yeoman’s job of chronicling the Edgewater saga. He puts Madison’s historic preservation efforts in, well, historic context this week.

Civic leader Ledell Zellers lays out the moral case for historic preservation laws and the implications of breaking them (i.e., bulldozers coming soon to a neighborhood near you!):

Historic Districts in Peril—Speak up to help save Madison’s heritage districts.

The Hammes Co. has appealed the decision of the Landmarks Commission to reject the Edgewater proposal.  The proposal was rejected on the basis of it not complying with either the requirements of the Mansion Hill preservation ordinance or the provisions allowing for a variance from the ordinance.  The basis of rejection was that the proposed tower, because of its huge size (see attached), is not visually compatible with the small scale buildings with which it is “visually related”, nor with the historic district scale of buildings.

If this decision is overturned by City Council, it would essentially gut the provisions of the landmarks ordinance and open up all Madison historic districts for inappropriate development.

Your voice is needed if you care about Madison’s historic districts.   What can you do?

·         Email all alders NOW at to let them know you value our historic districts and you do not want an out of scale building to be built which the Landmarks Commission rejected as inappropriate; and

·         Come to the City Council meeting and testify on Tuesday December 8 at 6:30 pm in room 201 of the City County Building.

·         If you cannot stay to testify on Tuesday, please come and register in opposition to this out of scale, inappropriate project in our oldest heritage landmark district.

What are some of the issues?

·         The Landmarks Commission in following their charge under the Landmarks Ordinance rejected the proposed Edgewater tower as too large for the Mansion Hill Historic district.  The proposed tower is HUGE.  The total gross floor area and gross volume of ALL four buildings combined in the “visually related area” (an area defined by ordinance) is 60% that of the proposed tower.  On an individual basis the proposed tower is 3 to 16 times larger than each of the other buildings.  It was this massive tower that the Landmarks Commissioners found violates the ordinance which was established in 1976 to protect Mansion Hill.

·         Some people are arguing that building this building would create jobs.  Get the size right for the district and go ahead with the project.  But don’t build the wrong building in the wrong place simply to make work.  The jobs will last for a short period.  The historic district will be damaged forever.  This mistake will loom over our lake forever.

·         Commissions have a basis of knowledge on which they base decisions.  The Landmarks Commission considered this issue and discussed it in detail for 7 hours.  These are experts, informed citizens and one alder the mayor has appointed to look at details of the historic district ordinances and how they apply in specific situations.  To disregard, devalue and dismiss such judgments undercuts the committee process which has been long established and long respected in Madison.

·         The appeal ordinance requires that in order to overturn the Landmarks Commission the Council must find “that, owing to special conditions pertaining to the specific piece of property, failure to grant the Certificate of Appropriateness will preclude any and all reasonable use of the property and/or will cause serious hardship for the owner, provided that any self-created hardship shall not be a basis for reversal or modification of the Landmark Commission’s decision.” (Emphasis added.)  The Hammes Company does not yet own the land.  Other provisions of the appeal ordinance also appear not to be met.  Simply because a tower of the size desired by the developer cannot be built it does not preclude any and all reasonable use of the property.  Current owners are responsible for the deteriorated state of the 1940s Edgewater.

·         The precedent which would be created should this proposal be approved will result in a wall of towers hugging Lake Mendota.

Please act to save the Mansion Hill Historic district…to save all Madison historic districts.

Ledell Zellers

510 N Carroll Street

Madison, WI  53703

Appropriate scale? Proportionality? Me thinks not.

Appropriate scale? Proportionality? Me thinks not.

My take on the whole thing? Ledell for Mayor 2011!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Detroit Throws in the Towel

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009


(More grim & grisly on the Detroit Deathwatch….)

“As land is consolidated and cleared, one immediate productive use for it is urban farming.”

It’s coi’ins for Detroit. Of course, this was probably written by some lecturing/hectoring suburbanite, but, I think it captures quite nicely the predicament the-city-built-by-the-deathmobile-destroyed-by-the-deathmobile finds itself in. And while the self-satisfied suburbanites out there in car-only Oakland County hector about the ills of Detroit, they, too, are swirling around the same toilet.