Posts Tagged ‘Superhighway Stalinism’

Mayor Pave Drives Off A Budgetary Cliff

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

Wisconsin State Journal headline screams:

“Madison to face budget deficit for the first time in at least 20 years.”

Wow. We had no idea this was coming, now did we?

As usual, Dean “the last journalist standing” Mosiman gives Mayor Pave a pass, and fails to address the root cause of the emerging budget catastrophe: Mayor Pave’s paving proclivities. (I guess sycophancy pays off).

For a better perspective on how paving has produced this very-predicted budget catastrophe check out this key quote from that abovelinked November 2008 Op-Ed regarding 2009’s budget:

This is a highway-heavy road budget, as anti-green as it gets. And when I say anti-green, I’m not necessarily talking about the tree-hugging kind. This budget is bad for our economy. The emphasis on cul-de-sacs, cars and sprawl sets us up for broken budgets forever.

Forever just started.

And forever is getting worse given 2010’s continued paving spree (more critique here).

Note to Madison’s pliant council: You can’t go on jacking up paving budgets by double digits, year after year, and expect to achieve responsible budgets. You simply cannot. Cut up the credit card (i.e., rein in all that roadbuilding debt), sharpen your pencils, and set up a budget that is within your means. You’ll find that supporting deathmobiling to the exclusion of all else just won’t be sustainable economically, much less environmentally.

Mayor Pave on the March: Massive Paving Budget Passes

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

They passed it. On a voice vote (for all intents & purposes, unanimously).

Mayor Pave is on the march.

And the zombies on the council are following.

Meanwhile, Dean Mosiman, ‘dean’ of the local Dying Mainstream Media completely missed the record borrowing for paving in the budget he ‘covered.’ He could only focus on Ald. Jed Sanborn’s tantrums against projects that actually improve our quality of life. (What is it about fiscal conservatives and their hatred of fun?)

The fact that not one “progressive” member of the council stood up to the massive paving spree is continuing proof that there are no friends of the enivronment, our health, or fiscal prudence at the political level in Madison, Wisconsin. Indeed, I’d agree with Mikhail Gorbachev’s recent assessment that

There is the wall between those who cause climate change and those who suffer the consequences. There is the wall between those who heed the scientific evidence and those who pander to vested interests. And there is the wall between the citizens who are changing their own behavior and want strong global action, and the leaders who are so far letting them down.

By passing this pro-car budget, our local leaders ignored the scientific evidence regarding car emissions and global climate catastrophe; instead they pandered to the shrinking-but-still-powerful motoring interests. They ignored the fact that their own constituents are indeed “changing their own behavior” and consciously driving less than they have in a generation. (Yes, driving has been down year-over-year for three years in a row in Madison, Wisconsin. The only mode of transportation to increase? Bicycling.) They are ignoring the local calls to action (and here, and here, and here, etc., et cetera, Et Cetera).

Our local leaders have, as Gorby said, let us down. Gorby was a brave leader who had the guts to open up his Stalinist system to the light of day and let it wither and die a relatively peaceful death. Our leaders, unfortunately, cling to a failed ideology; an ideology of car-worship that rivals Stalinism in its brutal results. The evidence is all around us: the carnage on our streets; the destruction of our climate; the cascading fiscal catastrophes emanating from the automobile industry out to the cul-de-sacs; and then the obvious — our recent oil-wars in Iraq & Afghanistan (and those are just appetizers for more oil wars to come).

Mayor Pave, Tear Down That Wall of Paving!

Mayor’s Budget Puts Madison on War Footing

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

Last night the mayor made a perfunctory resolution honoring veterans in commemoration of Veterans Day (Kristin Czubkowski live blogged it here; see 5:45 PM). It was sponsored by him and him alone.

How magnanimous.

As a veteran, here’s something I’d like to see him and his pliant council read as they wield their rubber stamps for a budget bloated with paving, automobile promotion, energy gluttony and thus more war forevermore.

Instead of doing something about the repercussions of our automobile addiction (i.e., war), the “green” mayor has budgeted for:

  • Doubling overall spending on paving since taking office ($33M in 2003 -> $68M in 2009).
  • Doubling the overall paving debt of the city (from an already bloated $47M in 2003 to $96M in the 2010 budget).
  • Trebling the annual increase in the paving contribution to the city’s debt ($11.5M in 2003 -> $35.3M in 2010).
  • Bloating debt service by 33% as a percentage of the operating budget (from 9% of the city budget to 12%).
  • An explosion of debt service to a whopping 17% of the operating budget by 2013.

Where does this fit into the big picture of the city budget? Well, guess what the single largest item in the capital budget is? Paving. The fastest growing component (ongoing) of the capital budget? Paving.

And the mayor’s passion for paving isn’t just a fiscal disaster. The capital budget is one of the major determinants of the look and feel of our city for generations to come. The budgets put together by this mayor have been highway heavy in the extreme. So he is creating places that promote automobilism to the exclusion of sustainable ways of getting around. His highwayscapes endanger pedestrians, terrify bicyclists and make transit untenable. Every tool we have to help pull us out of the climate/energy/fiscal tailspin is nixed by his highwayscapes.

Moreover, the ever tightening squeeze on the operations budget will mean budget difficulties for our quality of life, social & basic services. Saliently, Madison Metro bus service, considered an “operating” expense, will forevermore be in a vise between anti-transit/highwayscaped land use patterns (which cost more to serve) and an eternally squeezed operating budget (that is, a squeeze induced by debt service on those selfsame highways.)

Indeed, at this year’s “Neighborhood Roundtable” the mayor declared his intention of completely cutting all city funds to Madison Metro.

Yet he brags that this is a “reasonable budget for hard times.”

I call it a warmongering budget, Mayor Pave.

MSN Mayor Paves His Way to a Higher State of Enlightenment*

Saturday, October 3rd, 2009

We are so benighted, yet so lucky to have such an enlightened leader:

While I don’t have a problem with our Capitol view preservation height limit, I generally view height limits and rigid growth boundaries as anti-urban polices that are, in the end, also not in the best interests of our natural environment.

Mansion Hill Neighborhood, he’s talking to you! Just accept that ugly bloatitecture in your midst!

Critics of his bloated paving budgets, just deal with it: more concrete is better; it is a sign of having reached the highest state of enlightenment.

*Alt title: “Mayor Pave’s Ghost in the Growth Machine”

Olympic Dreams Dashed, but Cyclocross to Come to Olin Park

Saturday, October 3rd, 2009

I suppose it is good to see local business leaders finally recognize the economic power of bicycling. But to see Kathleen Falk and Mayor Pave hogging the limelight on the Olympic bid was, well, quite disgusting given that both have done a lot to destroy all that makes biking great around here: Mayor Pave doesn’t have the first clue about designing a city for bikes; Falk rubber-stamps of all that ticky-tacky sprawl development devouring Dane County’s best cycling landscapes plus the super-sized highways to serve them.

Separately….

This just in…..

UrbanThoreau.com exclusive from the first article linked above re:

But Madison officials said Friday they are already working to bring other big biking events to the area, with Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz promising news soon about a “very exciting bicycling event.” The mayor’s office declined to provide additional detail.

It will be a fancy-pants cyclocross event. Likely held at Olin Park. Replete with Belgian beer, no doubt.

You heard it here first!

Mayor Pave Kills Bus Ridership

Sunday, August 16th, 2009

Gee, ya think? The MSM finally catches up to what we’ve all been saying would happen for years now, and most especially during the last budget cycle when Mayor Pave rammed through a draconian 33% increase in bus fares. Fares go up; ridership goes down. It’s the ol’ supply & demand. Econ 101, people.

But the MSM never would have noticed it had former alder–and Mayor Pave’s bête noir– Brenda Konkel not posted her analysis last Friday. Once again, the intrepid blogging masses are driving the news cycle and keeping lazy journalists in check. I mean, that article was sheer sycophancy. Not one person outside of the mayor’s circle was quoted. I’m predicting that Joe Tarr will be the next communications director for Mayor Pave.

In any case, looking at the numbers on ridership, I said as much in an Isthmus column last year before budget time:

The loss of bus ridership due to rising fares and declining service means more congestion, longer commute times and less available parking for everyone who drives.

A lot of us said as much. Too bad we’ve got a mayor who is incapable of listening. To sense.

While Madison Rests on its Cycling Laurels….

Monday, August 10th, 2009

Mike Ivey recently wrote a lengthy article on the state of bicycling and bike infrastructure in Madison. Though fairly milquetoast in the arc of the narrative, he did get some good blasts in there from John Burke (Trek Bicycles head honcho) and yours truly.

He omitted some key numbers I gave him, using only those which kind of soft-pedaled the mayor’s paving proclivities. So I wrote a letter to the editor to drive home the point that Mayor Pave’s highway expansions–built for speed–are detrimental to cycling.

Ivey’s impetus for the article was Pedaling Revolution, which highlighted Madison. (My review of the book here.)

Mayor Pave’s Green Paving, Shingling

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

Budget season is upon us.

The Pavin’ Mayor has it all worked out that paving & shingling over 2500 acres is somehow ‘green’.

And he’s got the money to do it.

Here’s how it works. In the good times boost paving budgets through the stratosphere (in the adopted 2009 budget he boosted the paving budget by 60%, while every other budget but the police department went stagnant or was cut). This sets a new, outrageously elevated “adjusted base budget” for the highwaymen to work from. So even if the highway department had to endure a 6% cut along with the rest of the departments, their budget would still be some 55% higher than it was in 2008. (This, in a deflationary financial environment and a population growth rate of under 1%….)

In other words, a cut would not be a cut in the big scheme of things. It would be paving as usual for the highwaymen.

The rest of the city departments would continue to experience real cuts upon real cuts that get progressively deeper and are compounded each year. When looked at over the course of the 7 years that this mayor has been gratuitously paving, we’re starting to look at amputations in the non-paving departments.

We should expect to see drastically cut bus service, more fare hikes, and a myriad of other cuts to city services and hikes in city fees after this budget is ground out.

But definitely expect a lot more paving. For unimaginative politicians konkrete is the solution to everything.

Lucky in Paving

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

Mayor Pave on the retirement of the City Engineer:

Larry will have many legacies, luckily many of them literally cast in concrete.

Luckily. Umh-hmmm.

Setting the Bar Low…

Sunday, August 2nd, 2009

…on energy efficiency. Pitiful. In fact, it is no better than we’ve done since the dawn of time. We’ve always been able to increase efficiency by 1% a year. So this report says absolutely nothing.

We could easily cut energy use by 90% if we set up the right incentives. Start with a tax that starts low and ramps up over a few years. Then, just sit back & watch the gluttons scramble to invest in energy efficiency.

But no. Instead of going on a crash program to implement basic, fun energy saving measures like these, we’ve got to do cap & trade giveaways for wasteful, gray, old industries (with the help of the enviros). And we’ll continue to subsidize wasteful land use & transportation patterns with “shovel ready” pork (with the help of enviros). And then pay people to buy more cars (with the help of the enviros).