When cities grow, they create opportunities for people. They also create problems to be solved and challenges to be faced. We reflect a range of all that in this week's issue.
Our cover story deals with a situation born out of the mind-bogglingly large amounts of money involved in public construction projects. When you build, say, a stadium in a major city for an amount north of $400 million, a lot of money is going to be made by someone, and a lot of elbows are thrown by someones seeking to be among those making the money. That's the background to our article by contributor Erik Gunn, "Rise and Fall of a Golden Boy."
Peter "Nick" Hurtgen was a young and by all accounts extremely capable functionary in the state administration during Tommy Thompson's 14-year occupancy of the Governor's Mansion. It surprised no one when he moved to Chicago to take up a career in investment banking, specializing in government bonds. It was a shock, though, when he was federally indicted in a complex scheme involving the contruction and financing of a hospital project. Is this a regional version of the money-for-influence bombshells rocking Washington in the Abramoff-Scanlon-Rudy indictments? Refer to Gunn's account.
But not all reference to municipal development need be so sordid. With your Isthmus this week you'll also find the program for the upcoming conference "Nolen to Now," scheduled for May 18"20 at Edgewood College. During these times of rapid development, it presents a collection of speakers and panelists dealing with concerns related to the task of maintaining Madison on the path first laid down by the visionary planner John Nolen.
Nolen was the Harvard-educated planner who presented the city with Madison: A Model City in 1911, a blueprint that Madison has hewed to with surprising faithfulness ever since. This is the third Nolen-related conference since 1995, all of them organized by the same group of concerned Madisonians, among them Isthmus editor Marc Eisen. It's sponsored by a group of civic-minded organizations and citizens, among them Isthmus. You are heartily invited to share in the experience of "Nolen to Now." To learn more about it and how to become involved, refer to the insert. It's your city too - especially yours.