As a born and bred Madisonian returning after 14 years in New York City, I was interested in the conservative argument against public rail. And I was impressed with Isthmus' decision to cover the opposition ("Stop That Train!" 11/13/09).
Now that I've read it, I'm pretty disappointed. I'll resist the urge to argue against conservative straw-man arguments like the inevitable Soviet blockhouses, and whether we "liberals" wish to tell Vicki McKenna how to live. Instead, I'll simply note that the way of life she seems to prefer is very dependent on public subsidy and taxpayer funds: Someone has to pay for those roads.
Why is that okay, but when the will of the majority chooses to pursue another, supplemental way of travel it cannot be allowed to proceed?
Vicki McKenna makes her living, like Ann Coulter, pissing off the left. Fair enough. I try to piss off the Vicki McKennas of the world whenever possible.
But let's draw a line: Your rights to pollute the air we share end where my lungs begin.
I am part of the problem, by the way, but not by thoughtless choice. I have commuted to Whitewater three times a week on average for about 25 years.
But, unlike McKenna, I feel I have a responsibility to my fellow citizens. I love rail travel and can only dream of a day I can board a train in Madison. And yes, I think public transportation should be subsidized by the public.
Republicans characterize health care for our citizens as socialism. Government should restrict itself to basic functions - like bombing other countries and subsidizing corporations.
The Transport 2020 commission recommended a commuter rail system on existing tracks and enhanced funding for local bus service. A regional transit authority will provide governance and a funding source.
No one is being told how to live. But the subsidies are drying up. Billions are no longer available for highways. Those with heavily subsidized commutes by automobile may have to pay the true costs of their way of life, which they currently impose on others.
Al Matano, Dane County Board
Ah, Vicki McKenna: proudly, stubbornly, combatively ignorant, as always.
She's fine with letting us have commuter rail (thanks!), but doesn't want to subsidize it. Of course, our development patterns of the last few decades - building farther and farther out into the country, making new roads, driving more and more - are heavily subsidized by all taxpayers, whether we live that way or not.
McKenna is welcome to stay in the mid-20th century. Most of us understand that we need to move on.
A rail line could help some already dense neighborhoods. Using buses to connect to rail lines and making both run earlier and later would increase ridership. In fact, the isthmus is already dense enough for a rail line.
I think Vicki McKenna is correct: We all deserve to live where we want to live. But not everyone wants to live in single-family home. So we need dense neighborhoods as well. Even with rail and bus lines in Chicago, there are plenty of single-family homes in all the neighborhoods. And they are not all beige.
Your article on radio entertainer Vicki McKenna overlooked her connection with Americans for Prosperity (AFP), a right-wing pro-pollution "Astroturf" organization disguised as a populist movement.
On Aug. 26, McKenna moderated AFP's so-called town hall here in Madison, opposing health care reform. AFP, funded by energy industry giants, is using the health care debate to build a movement focused on blocking environmental legislation, such as Congress' current "cap and trade" bill.
Having been the recipient of three email retorts from Ms. McKenna, I am convinced her opinions are as incoherent as her communications. She really hates it when you point facts out to her.
Jan Tessier, Oregon, Wis.
WORT fans sound off
I was very disappointed in Rich Albertoni's cover story "Pop Explosion" (11/6/09). What irked me was the simultaneous omission of community radio and the declaration that radio is "no longer a taste-making medium for new music."
What about the countless hours volunteers and staff sacrifice to bring alternative and quality programming to Madison. I know that WORT consistently tops your annual poll for favorite radio broadcaster, yet Albertoni's article fails to even mention local radio.
I have cohosted a radio program called "Psychoacoustics" on WORT 89.9 FM for many years.
I am disappointed that Albertoni omitted one of the Madison music scene's most valuable mainstays: WORT 89.9 FM. Wow, what'd we ever do to you?
Without the passion and energies of music director Sybil Augustine and WORT volunteers, most of the [people, bands and institutions Albertoni cites] would have no place to promote their products locally. WORT plays local music and promotes local artists more than any other station in this city.