Save our taxis
Can someone please ask Ald. Scott Resnick how a two-tier solution plays out during the summer, when cab companies already have to lay off employees due to the lack of business ("Showdown Likely Over New App-Based Ride Services," 3/14/2014)? What happens down the road when unregulated cab companies get to cherry pick what remains of the business here and our community taxi companies start to fail? What happens to the elderly, the poor, those with wheelchairs, those with no Facebook account, Apple ID, credit card or smart phones and everyone else who can't get a cab because we can no longer keep enough drivers on the road?
My elderly parents both died within the last four months -- neither had a good death ("No Place for Dad," 3/7/2014). My father, who fought for freedom in World War II, was locked up in a "memory care" facility for the final four years of his existence. My mother wanted to die at the end of July 2013, but it took six agonizing months for her body to let her go. The end was horrific for both of us. Had physician-assisted suicide been legal in Wisconsin, she would've willingly signed on. We talked about it many times as she wasted away. I told her I was sorry I couldn't hasten her death... I knew I could be charged with homicide, if caught.
Twice over the past few years, I've found squirrels in my backyard that seemed unwell. In each case, I was able to cover the squirrel with a towel and drive the ailing animal to an emergency veterinary clinic, where it was humanely euthanized. I wish my parents could have been escorted out of their failing bodies so gently and respectfully.
I can only hope that the baby boomers who witness their parents' dilemma take action and change the laws. I have no interest in facing the standard future for our species. I would rather enlist than wait to be drafted.
Thank you to Catherine Capellaro for sharing such a personal story, and Isthmus for publishing it. It was moving.
Dave Cieslewicz was uncharacteristically brutal in his criticism of historic preservation recently ("Landmarks Commission Is Hurting the City," 3/7/2014), which is confusing because he concurred with us two years ago on our rehabilitation approach to the 100 block of State Street ("The 100 Block of State Street, Fire Escapes and Their Place in the City," TheDailyPage.com, 1/30/2012). Yes, the circumstances are different, but to generalize that historic preservation is "off the rails" is a wide swing. And accusing anyone of using preservation as an "excuse to just stop taller buildings" is pretty dated.
We completely agree that density is great for Madison. We moved beyond the obstructionist approach a long time ago, and regularly have productive conversations with development teams, city officials and property owners -- so preservation is doing pretty well.
We do take a stand in designated historic districts, city landmarks and places that are called out in planning documents for their contribution to the city's heritage. These are places where the city has made some commitment to maintaining historic character and cultural value. They constitute a small part of the whole city, and reusing them contributes a great deal to Madison's quality of life and sense of place. Preservation projects support local contractors and architects, reduce construction waste, give visitors reasons to stay longer and leave plenty of room for density.
Jason Tish, Executive director, Madison Trust for Historic Preservation