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Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce in the news

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Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce in the news

Postby jjoyce » Wed Nov 21, 2012 11:27 am

Zach Brandon has landed at the GMCC as its new director, taking over for Jennifer Alexander. I'm a fan of Brandon's and think he's the kind of voice we really need in the local economic development discussion. I never thought Alexander's attempts to get political ever made much sense and I don't think the Chamber did a good enough job of really celebrating what makes Greater Madison businesses successful.

It's been interesting and a little bewildering to see how some area conservatives are heralding this news, particularly after they harshly went after Brandon when he ran for county exec. Instead of supporting him, they backed Eileen Bruskewitz, who never stood a chance. They're now calling for Brandon to "take the fight" to progressives and face down the teachers union. It's like they actually want Madison to be more like Waukesha (quick: Where would you rather spend a weekend dining, drinking and shopping? Dane County or Waukesha County?).

These conservative malcontents (I won't call them out-of-touch whiners, but you can) are apparently unaware that a fair number of Madison's biggest and most successful businesses are owned and run by unapologetic progressives (heard of a little company called Epic Systems?). Of course, acknowledging that simple fact would take all the fun out of their need for demagoguery!

If Brandon's new job means we can all now suggest items for his priority list, I'd like to recommend a relatively straightforward and non-controversial one that I haven't yet heard from any of the local conservatives: Fiber.

Friedman writes about Chatanooga's fiber network in the Times today. Madison should be doing that. Dane County should be doing that. Wisconsin should be doing that. More to the point, what are our leaders doing to get into position to do that? Why are we hearing more about doing away with same-day voting and producing ridiculous YouTube videos instead of something that might, you know, accomplish something meaningful?

Conservatives are supposed to be interested in economic growth, right? They're the innovators, we're told, opposed to the status quo. But it's blatantly clear that their anti-gay-marriage and confused education policies are anything but business-minded. They continue to trash Madison even as it's held up as an example of the kind of city poised to lead in the new economy. Of course, they're also intent on weakening the UW and cripple urban school districts. </rant>

I'm interesting in talking about tax and fiscal policy, but not with those who favor counter-productive and idiotic policies on the social side.
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Re: Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce in the news

Postby Jattpw » Wed Nov 21, 2012 11:46 am

So I actually ended up in the City of Waukesha for the first time. It is a very nice city. I think I would like to go back and try some of the local restaurants and take a stroll around town maybe even stay for a weekend.

The store fronts are filled, there are not people throwing gay people in front of cars, and I did not see anyone denying another person their civil rights. I don't know that I want to move to Waukesha; but lets not paint it as central Alabama without cause. It is still Wisconsin and many people there still have a strong desire to build local community, help their neighbor, and improve their local economy, they just might have different ideas of how to do it.
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Re: Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce in the news

Postby rabble » Wed Nov 21, 2012 12:15 pm

How much time did you spend in Wah keesha?
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Re: Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce in the news

Postby talagaster » Wed Nov 21, 2012 1:01 pm

I wish Zach Brandon the best of luck in his new position and hope he can be a moderating voice on the city, county and state level.

At the local and county level, I hope he can show that you can understand Madison while still being pro-business. I don't always agree with his views but I've always understood his views. I hope his experience with the city council will prevent additional Edgewater-esque scenarios that make everyone look bad.

Meanwhile, at the state level, I hope he can temper some of the anti-Madison legislation. Things like Act 10 and education funding cuts had a statewide fiscal impact, somebody needed to bleed to fill that budget hole and they chose to cut groups that were predominantly liberal. There's a justification for that. But how do you justify getting rid of the Dane County RTA? From my perspective, that just seems like spite against an urban county and an unneeded loss of local control. Zach Brandon can be an effective voice to argue for policy goals like the RTA that would help Madison business. We are stuck with a legislature that will be anti-public sector for a long time but that doesn't mean they have to be anti-Dane County.
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Re: Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce in the news

Postby snoqueen » Wed Nov 21, 2012 1:21 pm

The city of Waukesha is a pleasant place to visit. (I'm from around there.) The developed parts of the county, less. It's covered in sprawl, and a many acres of very scenic land, agriculturally prosperous and fertile, were lost as that sprawl crept across the county from the east to the west. Take the worst of Madison's west side development from the 90s and multiply it by hundreds and you'll get the picture.

The people who moved into that sprawl were mostly from Milwaukee and wanted to escape urban life. They've got every right to do so, but it's that attitude -- keep Milwaukee out of Waukesha County, with our green lawns and golf courses -- that drives the ultraconservative politics of that county and some of its neighbors.

The old city of Waukesha predates the sprawl and often votes a lot differently from the sprawl areas.

OK, back to Zach Brandon. The only info I can add to the discussion is I've seen him appear at committee meetings woefully and obviously unprepared and try to fake his way through, only to be called on it by someone with more experience. I hope he's learned to do his homework -- that was a few years ago. You can't fake your way through politics for long.
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Re: Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce in the news

Postby jjoyce » Wed Nov 21, 2012 1:53 pm

Jattpw wrote:lets not paint it as central Alabama without cause


Who is doing that?

I asked you where you'd rather spend a weekend? I'm sure some will choose Waukesha.

And those who like to have fun will choose Madison.
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Re: Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce in the news

Postby iwiw99 » Wed Nov 21, 2012 4:30 pm

Brandon was consistently against paying for train whistle quiet zones. Not to turn this into a train whistle thread, but while he was always on the losing side of that issue, it was a very irritating position he held. Maybe he has come around. To me it's a no brainer. I do wish him well.
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Re: Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce in the news

Postby jjoyce » Wed Nov 21, 2012 9:42 pm

iwiw99 wrote:Brandon was consistently against paying for train whistle quiet zones. Not to turn this into a train whistle thread, but while he was always on the losing side of that issue, it was a very irritating position he held. Maybe he has come around. To me it's a no brainer. I do wish him well.


My nomination for post of the year. There's still time, though!
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Re: Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce in the news

Postby gargantua » Wed Nov 21, 2012 9:59 pm

He was against quiet zones?!? Really?? That's worse than flipping over some kid in a floatie!
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Re: Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce in the news

Postby jjoyce » Sat Nov 24, 2012 10:35 am

Zach gets it; the conservatives who gleefully bash Madison at every turn don't.

http://host.madison.com/ct/business/biz ... f887a.html

If there is a message I want to give state business leaders or elected officials it’s this: when you are upset with what you think is an activist judge, don’t say an “activist judge from Madison” or a “liberal judge from Madison.” Just say “a liberal judge.” If you are upset about a labor union don’t say “a labor union from Madison.” By using Madison as a descriptor, it really hurts the private sector where in fact the private sector had nothing to do with it.
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Re: Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce in the news

Postby bdog » Sat Nov 24, 2012 10:47 am

Says the guy who gleefully bashes Waukesha at every turn.

I think people of all stripes have a lot to learn from Zach Brandon.
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Re: Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce in the news

Postby Detritus » Sat Nov 24, 2012 10:57 am

I have a certain amount of ambivalence toward Brandon. I had some interaction with him as part of trade missions to China during the Doyle administration, and he came off as ignorant and condescending. And that was after the mission was over. On the other hand...actually, that's it. There wasn't another hand. But at least he has been involved in business in some fashion other than running one he inherited from his wife, so that's something.
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Re: Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce in the news

Postby snoqueen » Sat Nov 24, 2012 2:53 pm

If there is a message I want to give state business leaders or elected officials it’s this: when you are upset with what you think is an activist judge, don’t say an “activist judge from Madison” or a “liberal judge from Madison.” Just say “a liberal judge.” If you are upset about a labor union don’t say “a labor union from Madison.” By using Madison as a descriptor, it really hurts the private sector where in fact the private sector had nothing to do with it.


Or just say "a judge." Try that if you're trying to sound nasty, because a whole lot of people think liberal is either neutral or complimentary.

On the other hand, saying things come from Madison (or Dane County) is actually a compliment. We have a pretty well-functioning city and county government here, with good services and a good debt rating, and a healthy private sector to boot. Evaluating policies by their results isn't irrational, it's clear thinking. We must be doing something right even while the C of C types roll their eyes.

So far it sounds like the defenses of Brandon for C of C head are mostly "they could do so much worse." With that, I can't disagree. But it's another example of setting a very low bar to acceptability.
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Re: Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce in the news

Postby Steve Vokers » Sat Nov 24, 2012 6:43 pm

Detritus wrote:I have a certain amount of ambivalence toward Brandon. I had some interaction with him as part of trade missions to China during the Doyle administration, and he came off as ignorant and condescending. And that was after the mission was over. On the other hand...actually, that's it. There wasn't another hand. But at least he has been involved in business in some fashion other than running one he inherited from his wife, so that's something.


I had the misfortune of dealing with him on a number of occasions while he was at the Department of Commerce. Yes, there is no other hand.
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