Regarding David Blaska's column 'Night of the Living Danes' (1/19/07): Not only was the article offensive, it also does a disservice to its readers by attempting to stifle participation in the democratic process. As far as I know, Progressive Dane is a group made up of Progressive Democrats, who have every right to participate in their political party.
It is a well-known fact that we live in a country with a rigid two-party system, and as such it should not be a surprise that liberals rally under the umbrella of the Democratic Party. Instead of igniting division within our party, we should work together to realize our common goals.
If Progressive Dane is successful in organizing local (Progressive) Democrats, they have every right to influence the political party by which they will be represented, and we should be applauding our citizens for fulfilling their civic duties rather than denigrating them.
Furthermore, there is nothing wrong with informing people about candidates, which is exactly what Progressive Dane was doing through its endorsements. It is a simple way for people with progressive values to find out about which politician best represents them.
Finally, Blaska's characterizations of Progressive Dane are misleading at best and bullying and slanderous at worst. He declared Progressive Dane's push for a city-only minimum wage and mandatory sick leave as a 'war on small business,' when in fact these are two of the most basic protections that our citizens desperately need.
Tammi R.A. Kral
I am always alarmed by David Blaska's politics but, Lord love a duck, the man can write!
He elucidates his errors with energetic eloquence and his fantasies with florid flourishes. Consider, for example, the conclusion of his recent essay. In an act of stunning boldness, he tarred the entire local conservative movement as McCarthyites by invoking in their name the famous catchphrase from the Commie witch hunts of the 1950s: 'Are you now, or have you ever been...?'
So rapt am I with admiration for Blaska's literary talents that I have chosen to believe that his entire oeuvre is profoundly ironic, and that David himself is a liberal operating under deep cover.
Should you ever wish to come in from the cold, my friend, rest assured that you will be warmly welcomed by your fellow progressives.
Until then, write on!
Richard S. Russell
David Blaska's column starts out with a great title and goes downhill from there. Am I supposed to be sympathetic to a Republican waterboy's complaint that an insurgent left-wing political group used underhanded methods to take over the debate on city issues?
Why those scoundrels! What has become of civility?!
Hey, I feel your pain, David. Really.
Just finished reading Dave Blaska's 'Night of the Living Danes': Clever, funny, spot-on take on Madison politics. More please!
The Fighting 12th
It is laughable for former Ald. Dorothy Borchardt to suggest that I hid the fact that I was a proud member of Progressive Dane and that I 'fooled' people into voting for me by saying I had her support (Madison.gov, 2/9/07).
Upon receiving the endorsements of PD, the Four Lakes Green Party, the Dane County Democrats, countless labor and social justice groups, elected officials and many of the good folks of this city, I joyfully and with honor placed these endorsements on all of my literature and on my campaign Web sites.
While I have often publicly stated my appreciation for Mrs. Borchardt's public service, for me to suggest that I had her backing would be akin to me saying that I love to drink battery acid and eat broken glass. I never sought her support nor would I have wanted it.
Perhaps it was a 'fluke' that I was elected, as she says. All I know is that over the last four years I have enjoyed all the great support and friendships I have garnered because of my service.
Ald. Brian Benford District 12 Madison Common Council
Recent history excluded, a city council seat is supposed to be a nonpartisan position; not Democratic, Republican, conservative or liberal.
Outside of city business, an alder represents his or her district, striving to make that district better. Better districts equal better city. This simple tenet has been muddied. To change things, I entered the race, taking no money and adopting no platform, in atavistic deference to past Wisconsin giants like Sen. William Proxmire, who only spent your donation to buy a stamp to send the rest of your money back.
Where everybody has an agenda, there is solace in the banal peace of the open mind. This is where I place myself. What I don't know I can surely learn. And what I do know cannot be taught.
To date, my opponents have outspent and outtalked me 20 to 1. In the face of that glut, I offer lean frugality. As Shakespeare said, 'Brevity is the soul of wit.' In plain speaking, the less said, the better. Don't count this cowboy out just yet. Dark horses run deep.
State Rep. Terese Berceau's letter (1/12/07) regarding voting lists got me reminiscing about working for the Legislative Technology Services Bureau. I helped legislators with their voter lists so they could send newsletters to their constituents. It always depressed me because they were actually newsletters sent to their voting constituents.
I can completely understand a campaign only reaching out to people who vote. But legislative offices should have both the funding and the desire to be in contact with all of their constituents, whether or not they are voters.