I am a neighbor and a huge fan of the Barrymore ("From Porn House to Our House," 7/6/2012). I have not attended a show recently because my back cannot withstand the punishment of the old dilapidated seats. My ears suffer equally from the dated sound system, which creates cacophony from what I imagine to be some great musical groups.
I believe that those of us who love the Barrymore would support a fund drive to give the theater new life. I hope someday to sit in the Barrymore again and revel in this treasure of my neighborhood and this city that I love.
Bakery in Brooklyn
Madison is not the only beneficiary of the recent boom in great bakeries ("Flour Power," 7/6/2012). The tiny village of Brooklyn, on the Dane/Green county line, has been the fortunate home to Steiny Jo's Bakery since April 2011. Owner and master baker Sara Perkins spent 10 years with La Brioche learning the trade and the business of turning butter and flour into magic. Word of mouth (pun intended) has expanded her customer base into northern Illinois and eastern Iowa. Closer to home, Steiny Jo's has a growing group of very loyal customers. It's worth the trip south for a visit.
Tom Dehlinger, Brooklyn
The jobs at home
We agree with Marc Eisen when he says public employee unions can be allies with citizens and taxpayers ("Waiting for a New Public Unionism" 6/29/2012). As union members, we would like to alert citizens that wasteful contracting out is a problem in Wisconsin state agencies and the UW. In recent years, the state has spent over $400 million a year outsourcing work to the private sector, allowing our tax money to build up these companies' profit. Because private companies do the work, the taxpayer pays the same amount but gets fewer services in return.
No one knows exactly how many private contractors are working for the state, but we do know that contracting out creates many jobs outside of Wisconsin, instead of here at home. For example, UW-Madison's "Administrative Excellence" project is directing over a million dollars to Illinois-based Huron Consulting, and Huron is billing up to $325 per hour for work that could be done better and cheaper by UW administrators and staff. We call for a halt to such wasteful contracts.
Barbara Smith, steward, Wisconsin Professional Employee Council, AFT local 4848, and GEF 1 Stewards Committee