Thumbs down on Edgewater plan
It's bad enough that Mayor Cieslewicz is ready to throw a designated historic district under the bus by peddling a hotel tower that is much too big for its surroundings ("Edgewater Project Deserves City Support," 2/19/10). Worse, he appears willing to undermine all our local historic districts by crippling the Landmarks Commission.
The mayor ridicules the concept of visual compatibility. But that is the most important protection a historic district can have. The proximity of the bad-precedent-setting National Guardian Life building does not justify further degrading the district. Instead, the developer needs to follow the rules like everyone else.
As the nearby neighborhood of Tenney-Lapham looks to designate additional official historic districts, Madison would do well to fortify its commitment to pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods loaded with historic character and sense of place.
In denying approval of the Edgewater proposal, the Landmarks Commission did its job, following the guidelines for new construction in the district. The landmarks ordinance and the Landmarks Commission were implemented, as in thousands of other cities across the country, to maintain the special historic character of our Historic Districts.
The Hammes Co. has had ample opportunity to design a project that respects the design guidelines of the Mansion Hill Historic District. Chances are, if the tower was built to the elevation of the six-story Kennedy Manor across the street, the Landmarks Commission would determine that it fits the guidelines.
A rehabilitated Edgewater Hotel can add to our city's unique sense of place, but it should be done in a way that doesn't erode the sense of our history and heritage in Mansion Hill.
Jason Tish, executive director, Madison Trust for Historic Preservation
Where did our formerly green mayor get the idea that public money should support private profits for a few instead of increasing affordable, quality, public development?
Does he think "progress" means watching the Capitol or our lakes disappear behind trashy high-rise buildings? To provide some temporary construction jobs so a hotel can later expand their low-wage jobs or convert to condominiums? To allow development that doesn't meet future sustainability imperatives or protect and enhance what makes Madison unique now?
Welcome back, Wilmington
What a treat to see a movie review from Michael Wilmington published in a Madison newspaper ("Horror Hospital," 2/19/10). I first encountered Michael back in the early '70s, in the glory days of the campus film societies. He ran one called "El Dorado" (named after a favorite Howard Hawks film), and I hung movie posters for one of its many rivals.
We'd run into each other on the campus poster circuit after the last showings had started for the night, and he'd invariably launch into a fascinating discussion detailing all the reasons that Jean Renoir's Rules of the Game was a much better film than Citizen Kane, and then proceed to take all my poster spots!
He went on to a distinguished career as a film critic for the Chicago Tribune. It was Madison's loss, as his encyclopedic knowledge of film is sorely lacking in the work of other reviewers in the mainstream press.
Warren J. Gordon
Thanks for mentioning my show (DW's Show) in your insightful article on WYOU ("The Weird World of WYOU," 2/19/10), Madison's endangered public access station. I wish you would have printed the primetime first run, 8 p.m. Monday, in addition to the middle-of-the-night repeats.
I have worked at WYOU since the late '70s, when I started on The Vern and Evelyn Show with Leon Varjian and Jim Mallon. It would be a shame to see WYOU vanish.
AT&T attorneys wrote the Cable "Competition" Act, which passed the Legislature with some changes. It strips WYOU of funding and moved it to a new, hard-to-find channel. I hope new legislation fixes these problems.
Looking at the art on the cover of the Feb. 26 issue of Isthmus, one would be led to believe that there are no students of color in Madison schools. While I'm sure this oversight wasn't intentional, it is another example of the subtle forms of racism people of color encounter on a daily basis. It also encourages white people to assume that everyone else is white, or at least they should be.