Will Madison Homeowners Be Forced To Shovel Concrete Bus Stops In Winter?

Read the update to this article here.

In clever language the Madison City Council will take up Tuesday night a provision that will place the responsibility of clearing concrete bus stops of snow and ice  to adjacent property owners.  With an ever-increasing interest in holding down property taxes, and making the bottom line look better for city hall, some Madison homeowners (between 200-300) are about to be stuck with a big task.

Depending on much snow falls this winter it could be a big heavy unforgiving job for property owners ‘lucky enough’ to have a  concrete bus stop in front on their residence.  The  Madison City Council will accomplish this by cleverly changing the wording for the definition of a sidewalk.

Here is what is proposed:

 It will expand the definition of “sidewalk” to include concrete pads that serve as bus stops, as well as a five foot wide path from the sidewalk to the pad and to the nearest lane of travel in the street. By expanding this definition, this ordinance will require adjacent property owners to remove all snow and ice from concrete bus stops and make a path, at least five feet wide and to the ground, from the sidewalk through the concrete pad and to the nearest lane of travel in the street. This will include a continuing obligation to remove all snow or ice that continues to accumulate in the street between the nearest lane of travel and the bus stop. The purpose of this amendment is to ensure that the bus stops are accessible to persons with disabilities during the winter.

While my street is too narrow to be used by city busses I am very aware that some in the neighborhood try to do whatever is possible to keep the concrete bus stop cleared in front of their homes.  They do that as a common courtesy.  They voluntarily to do that for others.

But there is no way to do the job when monster storms produce huge snowfalls, or we have winters that get marked down for the record number of inches on the ground. On top of that the city snow plows keep sending huge hard chunks of snow into the bus stop area that only makes a bad situation even worse.  That is why city employees are needed with their machines to clear the concrete bus stops.

Last December when all the snow hardened into ice was a prime example as to why it should not be the homeowner’s responsibility for the clearing of the concrete bus stops.  That was just one impossible winter storm that Madison is noted for experiencing many times every year. 

What happens if a resident takes off three weeks for Arizona, or has a broken arm, or a dreaded case of the flu, and can not take on the additional burden that Madison City Hall wants to place on the homeowner’s shoulders?  If someone were to fall and break a leg due to the snow or ice not getting moved from a concrete bus stop who gets sued?  The homeowner? 

This is crazy!

This is an unreasonable burden to place on property owners.  The fiscal note shows that they are shifting the cost of this maintenance on the adjacent property owner, but I am told by those who will feel the impact that they have not been notified of this proposed change.  Seems like Mayor Dave might now have a topic to use his blog for real soon!

This nutty idea needs to be voted down…..by all the alders when they meet on Tuesday.

But just in case they do not I am going to look at the Old Farmer’s Almanac and see how many inches of snow they are predicting for Madison…..

Jupiter Will Be Very Close To Earth Tonight, Sky Show In Your Backyard

From Spaceweather.

Tonight, Sept. 20-21, Earth and Jupiter converge for their closest encounter in decades. They will not be this close again until 2022.  The giant planet will soar across the sky at midnight, outshining everything except the Moon itself.  Although big, bright Jupiter will remain close to Earth for weeks to come, tonight is the closest of all,

Jimmy Carter Wrong About Blaming Ted Kennedy Over Health Care

There was bound to be blow-back from the “60 Minutes” segment last night where President Jimmy Carter made statements against Senator Kennedy on the issue of health care.  A very well-written and researched response was posted on History News Network.  (HNN is a wonderful source for news and comment.)

I was a bit stunned by the anger that still lingers in Jimmy Carter.  I really felt that he had let it go, and that his books (many which are on my shelves) reflected a more serene and evened out life.  The interview that aired last night on CBS was not Carter’s best performance, and that makes me sad. 

Jimmy Carter is bright, and one of the best ex-presidents this nation has had.  He need not linger on the past.  I also add that I very much liked the foreign policy achievements Carter made while in office, and applaud him for the Panama Canal treaty and Middle East peace treaty. 

After losing the White House Carter made a grand example of what can happen after a personal defeat.  By going on national TV and airing the past did not serve him well.

Here is a small section of the larger article from HNN.

Throughout the 1970s, Ted Kennedy campaigned for comprehensive national health insurance (NHI)—a single payer, compulsory system open to all.  It was much like the “public option” touted by liberals in 2009-10.  Kennedy’s backing was personal:  he saw healthcare reform as his contribution to his family’s legacy.  Medical treatment was a civil right.  Kennedy often pointed out that “We are the only industrialized nation in the world outside [apartheid] South Africa that does not have universal, comprehensive healthcare insurance.  And here, as well as in South Africa, black people are sick twice as often; they receive less care; they die younger; and sooner.”

But the NHI proposal did not start or end with Ted Kennedy. The multi-million member Campaign for National Health Insurance (CNHI) was bankrolled by the AFL-CIO and managed by the United Auto Workers union.  So convinced was labor of the popularity of reform that they refused to endorse any healthcare package other than NHI.  In 1975, Kennedy pulled out of negotiations with Gerald Ford over a compromise bill because the CNHI denounced it.  Polls showed that the Democrats would recapture the presidency in 1976, so why, they asked, accept a tepid Republican offer?  Wait a year or so and the Democrats could put together their own.  The CNHI didn’t count on Jimmy Carter being the nominee.

Picture: Library Desk Made From Recycled Books

Hat Tip To Rolf who is both a friend and college librarian.

This is most incredible.  Needless to say I love it!

Whoever thought of this idea is pretty bright… After a devastating fire in the Architecture building burned down a portion of the library, Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands purchased a new collection to replace the old volumes. Instead of throwing away the old, unburned books, they stacked them up to create this awesome administrative desk, which they appropriately placed in the library.

See more pictures on link above.

Christine O’Donnell Wanted $6.9 Million In Gender Discrimination Lawsuit

I am assuming if elected to the United States Senate the GOP will not be able to count on Christine O’Donnell for tort reform.  Just saying.

Court documents obtained Saturday by THE WEEKLY STANDARD reveal surprising new details about the gender discrimination and wrongful termination lawsuit filed by Christine O’Donnell in 2005 against her former employer, the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, a conservative non-profit based in Delaware.* O’Donnell, who is now challenging moderate congressman Mike Castle in the September 14 Delaware GOP Senate primary, sought $6.95 million in damages. In a court complaint, she extensively detailed the “mental anguish” she suffered after allegedly being demoted and fired because of her gender. And, although she didn’t have a bachelor’s degree until this year, O’Donnell implied she was taking master’s degree classes at Princeton University in 2003.

O’Donnell alleged in a July 1, 2005 complaint filed in district court that she had been demoted because ISI’s conservative philosophy dictated that women must be subordinate to men. She claimed she was fired when she contacted the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission regarding her demotion. ISI told the Delaware News Journal that she had been “terminated for operating a for-profit business.”

O’Donnell’s finances, honesty, and stability have been called into question in light of her false and strange claims. The court complaint raises further questions on all fronts. O’Donnell, who made an annual salary of $65,000 at ISI as director of communications and public affairs, sought up to $6,952,477 million in damages, claiming, among other allegations, that ISI had defamed her and had violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. O’Donnell sought:

–Up to $3,952,447 in “Direct Damages, including back pay” and “lifetime lost income and liftetime damage to reputation.”

–Up to $500,000 “for emotional distress, humiliation, emotional pain, embarrassment, depression.”

–Up to $3.5 million in punitive damages for “willful, legally-malicious and outrageous conduct” by ISI.

O’Donnell claimed that ISI had caused her to suffer “mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, mental and physical pain and anguish”–and that, according to an amended complaint, she had to “seek treatment for her distress.”

According to O’Donnell’s July 1, 2005 complaint submitted by herself:

Miss O’Donnell was and is profoundly humiliated by this demotion of being asked to perform clerical and administrative tasks, after appearing on national television as a media and public relations expert and spokeswoman, for a man who was hired straight out of college as ISI’s receptionist and clerical assistant, and whom she had been asked to train previously [emphasis in original]. […]

For at least six months after being fired, Miss O’Donnell suffered enormous pain, cried frequently at the sense of personal loss and failure caused by ISI, and at the sense of injustice, and could not sleep at night, often wide-awake, replaying the whole scene in her mind, until 5:30 am, and has suffered from understandable and resulting depression.

“Miss O’Donnell’s mother and sister both noticed and spontaneously told her at the time, prior to litigation, that she was differently [sic], and urged her to seek medical evaluation,” according to the complaint.

The amended complaint also claimed that in one instance a male colleague made a lewd comment to her. “On one occasion during her employment, a co-worker, Mr. Cain, in connection with Ms. O’Donnell’s efforts and work on the Gala, ordered or stated to Ms. O’Donnell to ‘strap it on,’ which was a crude and demeaning reference to an artificial male sexual organ used by some females in order to act like a male in sexual acts,” the complaint alleged. “To Ms. O’Donnell’s knowledge and belief, Mr. Cain was never disciplined or reprimanded for making this offensive statement.”

Rich Folks Just Do Not Have Enough Money

This is perhaps the best newspaper column of the day.

Anger is sweeping America. True, this white-hot rage is a minority phenomenon, not something that characterizes most of our fellow citizens. But the angry minority is angry indeed, consisting of people who feel that things to which they are entitled are being taken away. And they’re out for revenge.

No, I’m not talking about the Tea Partiers. I’m talking about the rich.

Yet if you want to find real political rage — the kind of rage that makes people compare President Obama to Hitler, or accuse him of treason — you won’t find it among these suffering Americans. You’ll find it instead among the very privileged, people who don’t have to worry about losing their jobs, their homes, or their health insurance, but who are outraged, outraged, at the thought of paying modestly higher taxes.

The rage of the rich has been building ever since Mr. Obama took office. At first, however, it was largely confined to Wall Street. Thus when New York magazine published an article titled “The Wail Of the 1%,” it was talking about financial wheeler-dealers whose firms had been bailed out with taxpayer funds, but were furious at suggestions that the price of these bailouts should include temporary limits on bonuses. When the billionaire Stephen Schwarzman compared an Obama proposal to the Nazi invasion of Poland, the proposal in question would have closed a tax loophole that specifically benefits fund managers like him.

Now, however, as decision time looms for the fate of the Bush tax cuts — will top tax rates go back to Clinton-era levels? — the rage of the rich has broadened, and also in some ways changed its character.

For one thing, craziness has gone mainstream. It’s one thing when a billionaire rants at a dinner event. It’s another when Forbes magazine runs a cover story alleging that the president of the United States is deliberately trying to bring America down as part of his Kenyan, “anticolonialist” agenda, that “the U.S. is being ruled according to the dreams of a Luo tribesman of the 1950s.” When it comes to defending the interests of the rich, it seems, the normal rules of civilized (and rational) discourse no longer apply.