We ? Madison
Terry McCoy writes "The Madison I remembered for two years on the other side of the world is gone," and "I'm not privy to the hopelessness that has enveloped Madison" ("Not My Madison," 7/29/2011). If Terry had been here and seen 100,000 Madisonians cheerfully circling the Square and felt the camaraderie inside the Capitol, I think he would have an entirely different perspective. We are not "hopeless." Quite the contrary. Many of us are energized and active in the recall campaigns.
The humor and creative outpouring seen in the protests speaks volumes of our city's resilience. Maybe we can never go back to the way things were, but I wouldn't trade tractors, zombies, bagpipes, palm trees, Prosserzilla, vuvuzelas, Raging Grannies, heart-shaped balloons and wagons full of poop for the world.
The only part of the protest that is sad is the circumstances that compelled people to be so reactionary. The act of the protests themselves was historical and moving. Personally, I feel less politically cynical then ever before.
I understand Terry McCoy's sorrow at the transformation of Madison from being a town of "warm smiles" to "something frustrated and dark." But when public education, land stewardship, water quality, collective bargaining rights, the state ownership of heating plants, BadgerCare, voting rights - our very democracy! - are under attack, would McCoy prefer that the Wisconsin citizenry simply roll over and say okay?
The author has been gone four years, in Cambodia, and says Madison is not his Madison. Well, this is Madison. My question is: do we really need another long, boring article that moans about the state of the state? What we really need is action, and organizing that can actually make a difference.
"Not My Madison" is so full of misinformation that I finally broke from the paper entirely. Editors are responsible for letting Terry McCoy's inaccuracies stand.
McCoy says "protests against Scott Walker have failed [...] Madison has lost." Meanwhile, eight Senate recall elections loom, and efforts to recall Scott Walker are under way.
McCoy states, "I am more interested in the people of Madison than in the politics." New legislation attacks Planned Parenthood, recycling, craft brewers, BadgerCare, voters' rights, concealed carry, public schools, freedom of speech and other issues impacting the people of Wisconsin.
McCoy blames the current lack of compromise on Walker's "radical, polarizing" proposals and doesn't mention closed-door meetings, extraordinary sessions and many other dirty tricks destroying our democratic process.
The most accurate slant in this article is that Wisconsin is polarized. And there sits Isthmus, trying to "balance" somewhere in the nonexistent middle, completing its descent into complete irrelevance.
My next Isthmus will serve as free fire starter next winter.
Editor Dean Robbins replies: Of course, you're free to burn Isthmus if a writer's opinion doesn't completely match your version of orthodoxy. But it won't change the fact that there are different views of the current political situation even among people who, like Terry McCoy, are on your side.
To clarify ("County Supervisor Calls Liberals Hypocrites on Redistricting," 7/29/2011), while I did not serve on the Dane County Redistricting Committee, I assumed that the population shift to the communities outside of Madison would have been reflected in the maps the committee drew. Not so.
The Dane County population is 488,072, with 233,209 people living in the city of Madison and 254,863 outside. By trying to create more districts inside the city of Madison than outside, the board is effectively disenfranchising 21,655 people in the cities, villages and towns of Dane County.
A basic tenet of redistricting is to keep municipalities wholly within a district. The committee applied this rule to the municipalities outside of the city, while Madison was parsed out to maintain a Madison majority of districts. This was accomplished by selecting districts based on a target population of 13,191, plus or minus 5%, or a 10% differential across districts. This is five times as large as the standard plus or minus 1% deviation that is made possible by new mapping techniques (mandated for state and federal redistricting) to yield equal representation.
Excluding 21,655 people outside the city is like eliminating the votes of the city of Middleton (population 17,170) and the town of Westport (population 3,801). If Middleton voters were denied their vote, Supv. Hesselbein would object mightily and rightfully. The point of redistricting is to give equal representation: one person, one vote. The Redistricting Committee missed the point. They chose to protect the current majority of Madison supervisors rather than the electorate.
Eileen Bruskewitz, Dane County supervisor