Thursday, April 15, 2010

No new Natatorium--yet

Surprise, surprise. UW students voted against a referendum to renovate and expand the Natatorium, an exercise facility near the Lakeshore dorms. Had the referendum passed, students would have faced a $54 per semester increase in tuition for the next 30 years.

In this economy, that's a tough sell. However, it's unfortunate that this Nat expansion won't happen. It's badly needed, especially the pool, which due to its lack of a 10-meter diving board prevents the Badgers from ever playing host to the Big Ten Championships.

Still, let's not forget what happened with the Union South. The referendum failed twice but was brought back a third time when it passed by a count of 1,418 votes to 996. That's currently costing students an extra $96/semester for the next 30 years. And the lesson learned is: if at first you don't succeed, keep bringing up your measure until it finally passes.

That process was an absolute joke (how did the referendum keep coming back?), but it may give hope for the Nat.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Glad Target got approved

Kristin Czubkowski of the Capital Times wrote an intriguing piece titled "Target at Hilldale gets approved in one of the shortest City Council meetings ever." It says that Tuesday's City Council meeting took only 20 minutes and that the proposed Target at Hilldale was approved. Some thoughts:

1) City Council meetings should be fast! When they run into the wee hours of the morning, as they're notoriously known to do, it keeps citizens from participating in the process.
2) Congrats to Target--it will make a fine addition to Hilldale. I'm sure the City Council and the neighborhood assocation feel pretty good about themselves that they got something down their way. This just proves that developers unfortunately have to let the baby have its bottle; in other words, you pretty much have to make the aldermen and residents feel like they're king because they're on such big ego trips. If it wasn't so hard to build in Madison, places like the near east side (E. Washington from Blair to First) wouldn't be so dilapidated.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Parking enforcement

Q: What do you call a person who fails the police academy?
A: A parking enforcer.

Yep, these cop-wannabes don't need a degree, real-world experience, athleticism or good looks (the traits needed for any other job), they just need to be heartless bastards. In fact, they grew up to be this way because they were picked on as children and now are taking it out on others.

I have not been ticketed or towed recently. The motive for writing this rant comes from the news that the City of Madison is going to increase parking tickets fines by $5.

The city's funds have been mismanaged for years, and a bad 2009 economy didn't help. So now the city needs its thugs--I mean, parking enforcers--to go collect more money. (It's a dirty job, but somebody's got to do it). This is why you'll see parking enforcers camp out at meters about to expire or in two-hour parking zones.

Hell, we just increased meter and ramp rates citywide, so we may as well increase the fines, too. Just don't expect any mercy from the parking enforcers.