The Wright context
Nathan Comp: Thank you for covering the Erdman office and shop issue ("Building Eyed for Demolition - and Landmark Status," 7/22/2011). Overall, I think you did a superb job. However, one major problem lies in the quote you attribute to me about builder Marshall Erdman and social life in Madison post-World War II. If I literally said what you say I did, then it was in the context of talking about the Wrightians, the group of architects and builders who formed such an important part of Erdman's social network. The Erdman building was, I feel, the nexus of the Wrightian world locally.
Your article on green businesses reads as a press release provided to the reporter ("Wisconsin Inhospitable to Green Businesses," 7/22/2011). The article refers to RENEW Wisconsin as "a nonprofit devoted to clean energy strategies," as if it is made up of public-spirited alternative-energy enthusiasts. The public would be better informed if Michael Vickerman were more accurately identified as an industry-supported lobbyist for these "green" businesses. Your reporter could have found easily that Michael Vickerman is a registered lobbyist with the state. On RENEW's website, one can see on whose behalf he is lobbying.
The claim that these industries represented by RENEW can provide large numbers of jobs for Wisconsin was investigated by the MacIver Institute, with the conclusion that the claims were largely exaggerated.
The article incorrectly cites the suspension of the wind turbine siting rules as an act of the Walker administration. This was actually done by the state Legislature's Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules. The JCRAR suspended the rules because they found them "arbitrary and capricious; and [to] impose an undue hardship on landowners and residents adjacent to wind turbine sites."
Douglas Zweizig, Vice chair, Wisconsin Public Service Commission's Wind Siting Council
We were dismayed to read last week's news article on green businesses. The headline gives a misleading impression about the current opportunities and vitality of green businesses in the region.
Every day, we see a very different reality from that described in the article. In fact, in May Madison received a coveted grant from the EPA, designating the city as a "Climate Showcase Community." In part, this grant gives our organization the opportunity to work with big and small businesses and helps them "go sustainable."
Every day we are seeing - and helping with - major accomplishments for companies "going green," from mom-and-pops like Lakeview Vet to American Family Insurance.
Yes, we understand your point that some proposals from the Walker administration are hurting wind and solar companies, but simplifying the issue with an attention-grabbing headline makes our job more difficult, and discourages the earnest efforts by dozens of local businesses to go green.
Kristen Joiner, executive director
Jessier Lerner, director, Sustainable Business Program, Sustain Dane