Tim Johnson says Progressive Dane would like to 'ban all free enterprise and set up a socialist utopia' (Letters, 3/16/07). I'm a member of PD, but somehow I missed that.
Johnson alleges that candidates 'must either outright lie or at least tap dance around' whether or not they're connected with PD. Again, news to me, and to Brian Benford, Brenda Konkel, Austin King, Ashok Kumar and John Hendricks, to mention just a few of those who make no secret of their PD ties.
Progressive Dane is a political party, so yes, it has an agenda, but maybe Johnson could get a little clearer on why he thinks that has to be in conflict with representing the people. We can all be proud that PD's push to raise the minimum wage in Madison, along with similar efforts in other cities, provided the impetus to raise the minimum wage statewide.
The candidates for Madison mayor agree that poverty is the source for the miseries experienced by the residents of the Allied Drive neighborhood ('The Candidates Size Up Allied Drive's Problems,' 3/16/07). In truth poverty is the symptom, not the source. This misdiagnosis explains why none of the proposed solutions will work.
Our crew conducted the census of the Allied Drive neighborhood in 2000. We went into the homes and spoke to the residents. We found what every scientific survey has found. The greatest predictor of poverty is a single-parent family structure. Census data shows that 78% of the families living in the Allied Drive neighborhood are led by a single parent, compared to 23% overall in Madison.
Our survey recorded a large proportion of absent fathers and women who became mothers at a young age. These facts are seldom discussed because they are associated with the repugnant racist stereotypes of irresponsible males and promiscuous females. Teenage pregnancies and absent fathers are problems that persist across many cultures and societies. We found what we found, and ignoring the data has led to misunderstanding the problem.
Job fairs, apprenticeship programs, new housing, after-school programs, neighborhood associations, Boys and Girls Clubs, and social programs may make the patient more comfortable, but they won't cure the disease. Maybe shotgun weddings weren't such a bad idea.
As a proud member of the MATC board, I have made it my top priority to ensure that the entire community, most importantly our poor and disenfranchised Madisonians, know of the wonderful educational opportunities at MATC. We are the only institution of higher learning in Madison open to everyone. No high school diploma? MATC can help.
Can't read? MATC can help. Anyone who wants to improve their education is welcomed here.
Your article indicated that students cannot come to MATC without having a GED or basic educational training. Nothing could be further from the truth. Indeed, MATC offers classes in basic life skills, along with developmental classes for basic skills in math and reading, high school diploma classes, ESL classes, and dozens of apprenticeship programs. MATC has been offering these classes ' and changing lives ' for decades.
We applaud Diana Shinall's work with the Allied neighborhood, and I know firsthand what a difference she is making. MATC is making that difference too. As the county board supervisor representing Allied Drive, as well as an MATC board member, I have been working to increase MATC's community outreach and high school recruitment programs.
Carousel Bayrd MATC board member Dane County supervisor, Dist. 8
Due to a technical error, the answers I submitted to the League of Women Voters questionnaire were not printed in the LWV insert (3/23/07). They can be found on both the LWV Web site and mine. I would never disrespect the League of Women Voters by not returning its questionnaire.
Robbie Webber Alder, Dist. 5 Madison Common Council