Yahara stop is best option
In Yahara Station, Madison has a golden opportunity to be a leader in shaping the future of our nation's transportation system (Madison.gov, 9/4/09). The federal stimulus money has ensured that high-speed rail is going to happen, and it's going to transform the way Americans move around the country.
I can sympathize with Mayor Dave and the Department of Transportation not wanting to jeopardize Wisconsin's chances of bringing it here. But a transportation hub within walking distance of a vibrant downtown, located in a preexisting TIF district, spurring local business development, seems too good an opportunity to pass up.
It's certainly better than building something out at the airport, away from all the people and any possibility of further business development.
Stakes are high in Drumlin Farm fight
As an old-time agronomist who has, in the last 40 years, seen every dire prediction about worldwide population growth and declining food production come true, I believe I am speaking for every agronomist when I say to Alexander Co. that food production is the "best and highest use" of any currently producing agricultural land, especially in an urban setting ("Drumlin Farm's Days May Be Numbered," 9/4/09).
Soon, very soon, productive non-irrigated agricultural land will become the most valuable resource on the face of the earth. Further, I believe Fitchburg and the state of Wisconsin have a compelling interest not only in keeping this land in production, but in making improvements to enhance sustainable production. The words "eminent domain" come to mind.
What's the alternative?
Brian McCombie's article "The War Over Wind" (9/11/09) points out some significant problems with wind power, though I think he overstates some of the negatives. What is missing is any discussion of what an alternative might be.
The status quo, mainly fossil fuels such as coal, is clearly not the answer. Coal's problems may be more diffuse, but they are very real - mountaintop removal mining, mercury, CO2 emissions and climate change, to name a few.
The difficult truth is that there are too many of us living too large on the planet. There is not enough planet for us to continue doing what we are doing now, let alone to improve living standards for those currently living in poverty and leave something for the next generation.
New technologies should be used where it makes sense, but technology is not going to let us keep living as if land, water and other resources are infinite. The only long-term solution is to live more simply, more locally and stop having so many children.
Correction: Several readers have informed Isthmus that the stock photograph used to illustrate last week's Watch Out! item on a Madison police program to let officers buy AR-15s rifles is not an AR-15.