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Gay and ordinary, late-cycle dynamics, Channel Three overlooked, separate companies and the MPD

Gay and ordinary

Being a 46-year-old native Madisonian and a gay female, I have to say this about your article 'That's So Gay' (3/23/07) showing a vast array of sexual orientations in photos: I an incensed that we gay individuals are always lumped in with every other sexual identity, when in reality we're much more like your average heterosexual in our daily lives.

The photos you chose to print were all at bars or like venues. What's up with that? How about showing happy, contented gay people walking their dogs, buying groceries, mowing their lawns, and proudly owning their homes?

Why must newspapers, including my beloved Isthmus, show photos of cross-dressing male and leather-clad transgender individuals, right along with young lesbians out on a bar dance floor? This does not even come close to my personal life, and I know I speak for many.

It's been like this since I came out, back in 1980. I can't believe it hasn't changed. I am and have always been a mainstream, happy, well-adjusted woman who happens to have been born gay. Big deal.

It's no wonder mass society doesn't want to accept gay men and women as part of 'their' society. The majority of 'happened to have been born straight' people are constantly being shown images of gay life from the fringes.

C'mon, Isthmus: Change UP!

Margene Ray

Editor's note: Just to be clear, this was an entertainment story about gay nightlife, not a report on how ordinary gay home life is.

Late-cycle dynamics

Terrence Wall may be right that the Inclusionary Zoning ordinance is a failure, but the fall-off in apartment construction that he unequivocally blames on the ordinance can be explained by normal late-cycle market dynamics ('How Inclusionary Zoning Backfired on Madison,' 3/16/07).

As a real estate market cycle approaches its peak, land zoned for multi-residential use is typically bid up to prices at which apartment development is no longer economically feasible. The development mix consequently tends to shift away from apartments in favor of condos.

This tendency is particularly pronounced in urban markets where buildable land is scarce (Ã la Madison), all the more so when the market cycle itself is marked by speculative excesses, as the most recent one was in spades.

In sum, the housing market trends that Mr. Wall bemoans can be largely if not entirely attributed to normal market forces, IZ or no IZ.

David Lehane

You forgot us!

In heaping praise on the morning paper's coverage of the UW women's hockey team's championship game in Lake Placid, N.Y. (Sports, 3/23/07), Jason Joyce overlooked the fact that Channel Three weekend anchor Alanna Rizzo and photographer Amy Wallace also made the trip with the team.

Our coverage included everything from the team leaving Madison, the Friday and Sunday victories, stories on team members and, yes, a story on Mark Johnson returning to the site where he won his Olympic gold.

We covered the post-game victory celebration and the team's arrival back in Madison later that night. Plus, we were live at the welcome-home ceremony at the Kohl Center.

Maybe your writer should do more TV news watching!

Tom Bier
station manager

Separate companies

We were pleased to read 'Let It Rain' by Mary Ellen Gabriel in the Isthmus Abode supplement (3/30/07). We were even more pleased to read your references to the Graham-Martin Foundation and our company, Agrecol Corp.

However, we feel it necessary to make a couple of clarifications. The Graham-Martin Foundation and Agrecol Corp. are two separate companies. The Graham-Martin Foundation is a nonprofit dedicated to preserving and restoring natives throughout our eco-region.

By aiding homeowners, neighborhood associations and schools with the purchase of native rain garden and prairie plants by offering matching funds, the Graham-Martin Foundation is deeply committed to education as well as restoration and preservation.

Agrecol Corp. is a for-profit grower of native seed and plants, as well as manufacturer of proprietary erosion control products and systems. Agrecol is aware of the importance of local ecotype plant selection, and is dedicated to their preservation.

Still, Agrecol does have close ties with the Graham-Martin Foundation, as both were founded by the same person. Thanks again for the great story.

Sarah Krahn
Agrecol Corp.

The choice

It would seem that the Madison Police Department is above outside control and can do whatever it wants in regard to interrogation and use of deadly force ('The Arrogance of the MPD,' 3/9/07).

What the deception and deadly-force issues really are examples of is the choice between barbarity and civilization. Lying to rape victims is justified by the police chief on the basis of the end justifying the means, the end being 'finding the truth.'

Of course, the first problem with this practice is that the interrogator has already made up his or her mind about the truthfulness of the victim. Deception supposedly would only be used if the interrogator believed the victim to be lying.

The reasoning is similar to that used at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo: The prisoners have been predefined as guilty, so any treatment they get is justified.

In the case of the mentally ill person who was shot and killed, it appears that the main reason he was shot was laziness. It would have taken time and patience to wait him out. It also would have taken a larger set of skills than marksmanship.

John Hamilton

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