How we roll
Bob Selk (Letters, 3/14/2014) promoted a completely false understanding of how the Landmarks Commission actually works. He asserts that the commission "hand[ed] their own project design to the developer" of the 100 block of State Street. This is patently false. My organization submitted drawings to city commissions and the Common Council for a rehabilitation approach to the block, but the Landmarks Commission did not, and does not, do this.
Selk also asserts that "facades are required to be pasted onto new buildings." The commission has absolutely no power to require such treatment of historic buildings. The commission's power is simply to approve or deny what is presented to them. City staff often suggest ways that the development team can amend their proposal to fit the standards of the Landmarks Ordinance, but then it is up to the developer to return with a proposal that meets the standards.
The commission is bound to professional interpretation of the standards of the ordinance. There is an appeal process, to the council, in cases where developers feel those standards have been misinterpreted. To suggest that they simply assert their vision on any development proposal is to betray a gross misunderstanding of how the commission works.
Jason Tish, Executive director, Madison Trust for Historic Preservation
Fast, cheap & out of control
We live in an age of "Get it fast and get it cheap." We look for the easiest, cheapest way to get what we want and hope it is the best way to go. But there are other factors to consider and when a service is regulated, it is usually the best.
When you use a taxicab service that does background checks on their drivers, has coverage for any and all possible liabilities and a commitment to safety and caring, you know you have the best service available. There is a new business in Madison that allows anyone to become an instant cab driver ("Showdown Likely Over New App-Based Ride Services," 3/14/2014). The only "background check" is their Facebook account. The "instant" driver uses his/her own car without the protection of insurance, safety and caring that would come with a professional. When you step into this vehicle, you are playing a dangerous game.
The big businesses behind this application only want to make money. Is it worth risking your safety, your loved ones' safety and lives? You get what you pay for!