A cousin of mine who lives in California recently sent me a link to a YouTube video. She called it an advertisement for Madison, and that's pretty much what it was. Entitled "Smart City," the two-minute, 45-five-second film, narrated by Katy Sai, made Madison look pretty good. In fact, if I didn't already live here, I might consider packing up and moving here. (My cousin is seriously considering it.)
A lot of people feel that way these days; I guess that's why Dane County is the fastest-growing county in the state. This growth is the main reason the County Board recently voted to create the Dane County Regional Transit Authority - to consider the options for getting more people around to more places. Some folks see more nefarious reasons for the creation of the authority. And the fact that the body would have license to levy a half-cent sales tax is confirmation to critics that it is an unholy perpetration.
You wouldn't think that the task of getting to work or school would be a subject of contention between political factions, but, alas, these are the days we live in. Among the vocal contenders, perhaps none is more prominent than radio host Vicki McKenna, who rails (couldn't resist) against transit plans as a liberal conspiracy. They are "telling people how to live," she says of transit advocates. Come to think of it, isn't that what radio talking heads are all about?
If you want a more complete explanation of McKenna's opinions, and those of some others both with her and agin' her, read this week's cover story, "Stop That Train," by staff writer Joe Tarr. But it is clear that the County Board's creation of the transit authority is just the beginning of a long community discussion that may end in one or more referendums before anything goes down any track. One thing's for sure - McKenna is not going to like it that County Board Chair Scott McDonell calls her a "political ally" in the story.