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Misguided Effort As Madison Marina Condo Owners File Lawsuit

April 17, 2014

Over the past several years development issues in Madison have caught my attention, and needless to say I have weighed into the discussion.

While I clearly fall in the preservationist camp, I am also one who sees density as a positive thing for a city, and the isthmus in particular.

When it comes to the matter of a new development next to the Marina comdonimuns downtown I was able to see both sides of the argument but felt that in the end, after some compromises were made and a process was allowed to play out through various city committees and the full city council, that the new building should be allowed to move forward.

First, I think the property in question demands to be used, and frankly there is no good reason not to use it.  Second, I find it not a reasonable argument that the current owners at the Marina will have some of their views blocked, and therefore nothing can be constructed.

If the blocked view had been of the Capitol then there would be a matter to discuss, given existing restrictions.  But even though I feel for the people who will have their view of Lake Monona limited in this case, the larger reasons for allowing development to proceed are more convincing.

If I buy a home next to a bus stop I should assume that city busses will stop on a regular basis.  If I live by an airport chances are some low flights late at night are bound to be heard.  If I move into an ever-vibrant downtown with a clearly ‘vacant’ lot next door there is a real good chance that a development will take place.

In the current situation the development will be of a like-kind so the apples and oranges argument holds no water.  While there are contentious development projects underway on the isthmus that places historical districts and neighborhoods in the midst of needing to find alternative routes forward there is no comparison to that which is now taking place with the lawsuit from Marina owners.

While I do feel in some degree for the Marina owners I can not possibly believe they could not foresee future development right next door when they bought their home.    For me that is the main point, with a legitimate city process that allowed for the development to proceed as the second point.

There must be a lot of money at the Marina as they are throwing it wildly in a lawsuit that can only go south.

State Senator Glenn Grotham Quotes

April 17, 2014

glenn grothamn

A couple of weeks ago I commented that State Senator Glenn Grothman’s desire to run for congress will provide for cheap theatre.  One of my reasons for thinking this to be true was penned concisely.

The number of comments that will come back and haunt Grothman will likely rival the new ones he will utter without regard for the way they sound. 

I might have added without regard to who the quotes offend.

Now one of my favorite Madison reporters and writers, Jack Craver, offers his view regarding some of Grothman’s quotes.

For instance, Grothman hasn’t adopted the mellower tone that Republicans have taken on gender and sexual roles in recent years. If anything, he’s doubled down on his conservative Christian worldview.

Did people even know what homosexuality was in high school in 1975?” he asked the Cap Times in 2010. “I don’t remember any discussion about that at the time. There were a few guys who would make fun of a few effeminate boys, but that’s a different thing than homosexuality.”

And in 2011 he told me the following about homosexuality:

“If people adhere to the tenets of Christianity, the acceptance of that sin will not be the norm. How society deals with it is going to determine to a certain extent how much that lifestyle flourishes, and it should not flourish.”

He suggested that the pay gap between men and women was due largely to men seeking better pay because they expect to be the primary breadwinners:

“In my personal experience, the reason most men make more than most women is that most men set themselves up or view themselves as breadwinners in the family. So, frequently it’s not unusual to have a guy working 50 or 60 hours a week and the gal’s working 35 or 40 hours a week.”

Indeed, the real problem is the country kicking men to the curb, he has said.

“Our country is not going to survive if we continue this war on men,” he told a tea party rally in 2010.

Jews Ordered To Register In East Ukraine

April 17, 2014

From USA Today—Jews ordered to register in east Ukraine.

Words fail me….not an easy thing to accomplish.

Jews in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk where pro-Russian militants have taken over government buildings were told they have to “register” with the Ukrainians who are trying to make the city become part of Russia, according to Ukrainian and Israeli media.

Jews emerging from a synagogue say they were handed leaflets that ordered the city’s Jews to provide a list of property they own and pay a registration fee “or else have their citizenship revoked, face deportation and see their assets confiscated,” reported Ynet News, Israel’s largest news website.

President Obama’s Evolution On Gay Marriage

April 16, 2014

Before I get to the heart of this post let it be stated most clearly that there are now seventeen states that recognize gay marriage, and five others where courts have declared bans on it being unconstitutional but where the ruling has been stayed pending appeal.   When President Obama made his announcement in favor of marriage rights there were six.  There is no doubt the President’s support has been, and continues to be a significant factor in advancing the cause of marriage equality.

This Sunday The New York Times Magazine will feature an excerpt from Forcing the Spring: Inside the Fight for Marriage Equality, a new book by Jo Becker that gives an inside account of the behind-the-scenes effort to get President Obama to complete his long evolution on the issue of gay marriage.  I offer a snippet–but this is one very politically important article to read and consider.

Despite the president’s stated opposition, even his top advisers didn’t believe that he truly opposed allowing gay couples to marry. “He has never been comfortable with his position,” David Axelrod, then one of his closest aides, told me.

Indeed, long before Obama publicly stated that he was against same-sex marriage, he was on the record supporting it. As an Illinois State Senate candidate from Chicago’s liberal Hyde Park enclave, Obama signed a questionnaire in 1996 saying, “I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages.” But as his ambitions grew, and with them the need to appeal to a more politically diverse electorate, his position shifted.

In the course of an unsuccessful run for a House seat in 2000, he said he was “undecided” on the question. By the time he campaigned for the presidency, he had staked out an even safer political position: Citing his Christian faith, he said he believed marriage to be the sacred union of a man and a woman.

The assumption going into the 2012 campaign was that there was little to be gained politically from the president’s coming down firmly in favor of same-sex marriage. In particular, his political advisers were worried that his endorsement could splinter the coalition needed to win a second term, depressing turnout among socially conservative African-Americans, Latinos and white working-class Catholics in battleground states.   

But by November 2011, it was becoming increasingly clear that continuing to sidestep the issue came with its own set of costs. The campaign’s internal polling revealed that the issue was a touchstone for likely Obama voters under 30. The campaign needed those voters to turn out in the record numbers they had four years earlier, and the biggest impediment was Obama’s refusal to say he favored allowing gay couples to wed.

“We understood that this would be galvanizing to some voters and be difficult with other voters,” said Jim Messina, the manager of Obama’s 2012 campaign.

Caught between countervailing political forces, Obama called his top aides together and said that if asked again for his position, he both wanted and needed to drop the pretense and tell people where he really stood.

“The politics of authenticity — not just the politics, but his own sense of authenticity — required that he finally step forward,” Axelrod said. “And the president understood that.”

$50 Million Challenge To The N.R.A.

April 16, 2014

I have long felt the debate in the nation about guns and gun violence is truly taking place, and not as lop-sided as the leading pro-gun lobbyists would like to have everyone think.  Akin to the way the Wisconsin Tavern League works to castrate state officials the NRA has done the same with our gun violence policy.   Though we do not have tough enough drunk driving laws does not mean there is not a strong constituency for more control of the issue.  The same goes for gun violence.

That is why today I am thrilled former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will spend $50 million this year building a nationwide grass-roots network to motivate voters who feel strongly about curbing gun violence.   Like others around the nation I know there is a welcoming of this news as there is indeed a social need to get a clear political message out to not only balance the falsehoods of the NRA, but to then lead to political changes to allow for gun control measures to be enacted into law.

While it is an uphill climb, every trek starts with a first step.   In this case a $50 million step!

Much of the money will be put into an unseen field operation, an idea I very much concur with as I know this to be effective.  Consider the way gay marriage has been moving forward in this nation, and know that much of the credit goes not to large billboards or flashy advertising, but the one-on-one field operations that puts conversations in play and allows for mobilizing like-minded citizens to act for the social good.

As an advocate of strict gun control I very much applaud the investment Bloomberg has put into this project.

Quick Fact About Caffeinated Politics

April 16, 2014

This morning my 9,000th post was written for Caffeinated Politics.   I do not say it enough, but thanks to all those who stop by this little place in cyber-space and spend some time.

All Should Support End Of New York Police Department Spying On Muslims

April 16, 2014

It is too easy to say that in times of crisis abuses of civil liberties are just bound to take place.  That may be an easy place for the mind to go when events such as 9/11 take place, but any sober reflection on the matter will quickly dispel the idea that abusing civil liberties is a good  idea.  Sadly in the case of New York it has taken quite some time to end one of the most unfair practices aimed at Muslims.

It was announced this week that NYPD has abandoned a secretive program that dispatched plainclothes detectives into Muslim neighborhoods to eavesdrop on conversations and also build detailed files on where people ate, prayed and shopped.

Did the New York police bring in former East German secret police to make sure it was all done properly?  To seriously think that all Muslims need to be monitored or that they are all terrorists is just lunacy.

Instead of producing any results the only thing accomplished with this violation of civil rights was an undermining of faith the Muslim community needs to have with our government.  That is exactly the opposite direction any rational  person would consider if their first desire was national security.

One can assume the most the police got out of this exercise was the knowledge we all put our pants on the same way, and love hot coffee.  So the police discovered where Albanian men played chess, Egyptians watched soccer and where South Asians played cricket.

All those being watched and monitored were just like you and me except they were Muslims.

I hope the lawsuits that have been brought from this action by the police are settled in a way that sends a resounding statement to future leaders that this abuse of civil liberties is never acceptable.




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