Madison’s Spaight Street Tree Loss, City Gain

This past summer I had  a lot to say about the tree damage on Madison’s Spaight Street caused by careless street construction workers.  The trees were large and beautiful, and in many cases part of the ‘cooling system’ for old Victorian homes in the neighborhood.  At the time I was somewhat critical of Madison Alder Marsha Rummel for being slow in responding to the concerns of those who were impacted by the sloppy job being done by these work crews.    Even after having a McDonalds breakfast conversation with Rummel on a Saturday morning in July I felt she was not quite ‘up to speed’ on the real level of concern that Madison residents had over the trees.   

But over the past months as I have followed this issue, and her work, I am glad to say the following.

I was wrong.

I want to take this opportunity to let the citizens of Madison know that in spite of my initial thoughts, I am most pleased with the level of interest and work that Alderperson Rummel engaged in to make this issue over our precious and much-loved city trees a top priority.  I think there is now the real start to a city ordinance that will have teeth and meaning when it comes to protecting one of the beautifiers of our city, our grand trees.  I will let the words of Marsha Rummel make the case for why there is reason for tree lovers and homeowners to be happy.

After the disastrous loss of trees on Spaight St last June, many residents became concerned about our tree protection policies. This prompted City Engineering and Parks staff to convene a work group to look at improving practices to protect street trees, better communicate risks to residents and revise the tree specifications during street reconstruction.  Staff is drafting specifications that will strengthen provisions in Section 107 of the Standard Spec book and locate all tree related specs to a single location. Contractors will be informed of our tree preservation specifications during preconstruction meetings and they will be required sign an acknowledgement that they understand our policies.  Penalties will include a fine based on the diameter of the tree damaged due to negligence and the costs of removal, stumping, planting replacement trees, or pruning damaged limbs. Standards will be established for how close to a tree a contractor can grade or excavate, when to seek permission of the City Forester to cut roots, and a prohibition on parking equipment within 5’ of any tree to prevent soil compaction. Staff is also proposing to improve practices between Engineering and Parks to insure that a City Forester reviews affected city trees as part of the checklist that goes to Board of Public Works public hearings, in advice of bidding out projects. Another improvement will be an enhanced letter to property owners that outlines the level of risk on a per tree basis.

Some details still need to be resolved but I plan to codify the tree specs into an ordinance soon.  Thanks to neighborhood activists who worked on this and to city staff who responded. Spaight St’s loss is the city’s gain… 

“The Big Picture”, Gripping Photos Of Earthquake In Haiti

The Boston Globe’s “The Big Picture” has some sobering photos that require a look as  they show the harsh reality of the Earthquake in Haiti.

Look at some 48 photos, and then open your wallet and help those in need. 

Rush Limbaugh, Cleary Drugged, Makes Outlandish Haiti Comments

There is clearly more drug rehabilitation time needed for Rush Limbaugh.

On his radio show on Jan. 13, Limbaugh vented to listeners that Obama – who was on winter holiday in Hawaii when Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab tried but failed to bring down a U.S. airliner – took three days to address the nation on that subject. In contrast, and much to Limbaugh’s ire, the president’s remarks on the devastation in Haiti came just one day following the tragedy there.

In the same program, Limbaugh suggested that Obama was happy for the quake in Haiti, as his administration will “use this to burnish their, shall we say, credibility with the black community, in the … the both light-skinned and dark-skinned black community in this country. It’s made to order for them.”

Is Rush suggesting that the Obama White House should have as much contempt for the black community as George Bush exhibited for eight years?

Pat Robertson Calls Haiti Quake ‘Blessing In Disguise’

Someone needs to give Pat Robertson a swift kick in the nards.  Then spin this clearly demented man around and send a foot straight up his godless ass.

Donate To Haiti Disaster Relief, 100,000 Feared Dead

I urge CP readers to act.

100,000 feared dead.

Three million in need.

This is the time for Americans to do what we have always done in the past when natural disasters strike around the globe.  We open up our wallets and give some money to an organization that can help to effect change in the needed area.  Haiti is in dire need of our help.  This is the time act. 

  • Red Cross fears around three million people affected by 7.2 quake
  • Up to 100 UN staff including believed dead after headquarters collapse
  • Charities launch emergency appeals to help stricken survivors
  • Presidential palace crumbles, hospital collapses and houses swept away
  • Britain sends emergency team as Obama vows ‘unwavering’
    support

The President of Haiti tonight said the death toll for the catastrophic earthquake could top 100,000 as the full-scale of the disaster began to emerge.

President René Préval described the scene on the streets of the capital Port-au-Prince as ‘unimaginable.’

Bloodstained bodies are piled high in the streets and rescuers have been forced to dig through the rubble with their bare hands to free trapped survivors. 

‘Parliament has collapsed. The tax office has collapsed. Schools have collapsed. Hospitals have collapsed,’ he said. 

BBC Pictures Of Haitian Earthquake

Words fail all of us as we look at the death and destruction.  Click for images.

Dave Letterman’s Top Ten Laughs At Sarah Palin’s First Day At FAUX News

After Dave Letterman’s Top 10 about Sarah Palin’s first day at FAUX News, there was a riff played by Paul Shaffer and his band.  Letterman smiled and commented that the music sounded like a Sam Cooke song.   Shaffer responds, “yeah we thought we would keep a Sarah Palin trend going so we played “Don’t Know Much About History”.

Great comedy.  And how true.

Here now is Dave Letterman’s Top Ten Highlights of Sarah Palin’s First Day at Fox News

10. Ruined office floor by drilling for oil.

9. Detached a retina from winking at the camera

8. Got confused –Thought she signed with QVC

7. Pistol-whipped three guys who called her “Tina”

6. Released a statement saying she won’t follow Leno

5 .At lunchtime, Todd picked her up driving snow mobile through lobby

4. Sad to learn there was no actual fox to hunt

3. Hosted a “Fire Dave” roundtable

2. Actually found a place with more white people than Alaska

1. Announced plans to run for president in 2010