In defense of shoreland zoning
Having taught environmental management at the university for 30 years, I was concerned to see comments from Greg Hull and other County Board candidates opposing shoreland zoning, claiming they reduce property values and tax base ("Up for the Challenge," 3/19/10).
Clean lakes and protected shore lands increase, not decrease, property values. Shoreland zoning rules apply only to rural unincorporated towns, not cities and villages, as Mr. Hull and others contend. There are better ways to promote clean lakes and property values - rain gardens, detention ponds and stormwater treatment. We should focus on these solutions and stop trying to scare the public.
Board candidate Brett Hulsey deserves our support for his longstanding dedication to protecting our lakes and beach fronts.
Candidate's independence called into question
We write in response to Judge Edward Leineweber's statement that he is "personally pro-life" on religious grounds ("Blanchard or Leineweber: You Be the Judge," 3/19/10). For a judicial candidate or a sitting judge to declare allegiance to an ideological, philosophical or religious position that is likely to come before the courts undermines a fundamental expectation - that judges should be independent decision makers whose fealty is to the law, not to any particular cause or philosophy.
In fact, it raises the opposite expectation: that the judge's beliefs will guide his decisions despite the law. The best judges are stubbornly and consistently nonpartisan and non-ideological. That is what the citizens of this state should expect.
Judge Daniel LaRocque, Lester Pines
Being a self-proclaimed "festival junkie," I was hoping you would highlight some of the festivals happening in the Midwest this year ("Festival Junkies," 3/26/10). I was extremely disappointed that you only covered South by Southwest and other large, expensive and commercialized festivals.
What about the three-day Jam for Jam Festival in Sullivan, Wis.? Not only is it for a great cause (roofing projects in Jamaica), it is inexpensive, close to Madison and features a ton of great local artists.
Or you could've featured Project Earth, a fest that takes place in beautiful Harmony Park in Geneva, Minn. It's about co-creating and community; all proceeds go to charities.
Even if you wanted to feature festivals with big acts, how could you not mention Wakarusa? Held at the gorgeous Mulberry Mountain in the Ozarks of Arkansas, it's sure to have the best lineup of the summer and, at a ticket price of $150 (or volunteer opportunities), it doesn't even break the bank.
Madison is all about uncommercialized local things, so when it comes to festivals why would we feel any different?
What's the story on your wallet?
Great essay by Andy Moore on his wallet, of all things ("Unfolding Majesty," 3/19/10). It makes us realize how seemingly minor details in our lives can actually be an anchor. I have the same Rainbow wallet as Andy, which I bought at the REI store in Los Angeles in 1978, only because a giant pile of absurdly cheap black ones were heaped at the checkout counter. I'm still using it, and marvel at how it's in better shape than I am after 30 years.
Didn't like the review
The only thing I agree with in Dean Robbins' review of The Pacific (Television, 3/12/10) is that Saving Private Ryan was a great movie. Like most movies it runs for about two hours and is a work of fiction. The Pacific is a mini-series based largely on the actual experience of combat veterans. Your viewpoint [that the series "wallows in war-movie clichés"] would classify Roots as cliché because it depicts slaves being whipped, beaten, raped and mutilated. Calling The Pacific "an unintentional laugh riot" is an insult to every American combat veteran.
Randall Michaels, Belleville