Re "Proposal Sparks First Amendment Controversy" (9/23/2011): A Room of One's Own owner Sandi Torkildson has wisely expressed several legitimate privacy and First Amendment concerns. Ald. Mike Verveer surprises nobody in his desire to impose more law enforcement controls on pawn shops and secondhand dealers who buy used materials from the public. Verveer wants them to move from keeping a paper record of their purchases to an electronic database.
The dubious database means an intensified infringement on innocent Madisonians' constitutional protections. It's just another way of making clear our society no longer extends the presumption of innocence to its citizenry.
Dan A. Goldstein
I am glad to see that more people are speaking up against the use of shredded tires on children's playgrounds ("'Direct Action' on the Playground," 9/30/2011). Shredded tires that bake under the summer sun get hot and stink, releasing volatile organic compounds and polyaromatic hydrocarbons. Should they ever catch on fire (a reason we no longer stockpile used tires at landfills), the resulting release of hazardous compounds could trigger Superfund cleanup status, according to the EPA. Why would anyone knowingly allow their children to play in such a toxic and hazardous environment?
RIP Willy Street?
Re "Funky Town" (9/30/2011): Only in Madison would the glacial pace of a 40-year positive change in a downtown neighborhood, now gaining strength and attracting investment, despite near depression economic conditions elsewhere, create concern and objection. The only neighborhood offering perpetually increasing diversity, yet no disturbing changes, is the cemetery.
I lived on Willy Street twice, once during the 1970s as a young hippie and again in the late 1990s as an old hippie. Currently, if you're not among the building buyers, a member of a career caste, or desire "minionship" in some neighborhood goody-goody group, there isn't much reason for an individual to live there. What a crowd of conformists; I wish them well in their old age, when they can look back and say they made something in their own image.
Patrik Vander Velden, Monona