What happened to Jay Rath's rant that he posted this weekend up at POST? In it he was critical of this editorial by the WSJ regarding the use of land around James Madison Park. By "critical" I mean he basically told the WSJ editorial folks to go fuck themselves and to let downtown residents determine their own fate.I went ahead and dug up the cached version of Rath's post to Post, which you can read in its entirety here. Basically, he strongly chastises the editorial for misrepresenting facts (for instance, that "the public can't access" certain parts of the park, which they can, in fact, do) and for basically arguing on behalf of the one lone voice that wants this sale to go ahead:
Ald. Brenda Konkel has also weighed in on this bit of controversy.
So far as I can tell, there's only one voice arguing for the sale of the property and nearby homes: the developer, Urban Land Interests. This is the same company that demands that the last portion of historic buildings on the Capitol Square be demolished (The Old Fashioned, L'Etoile and such), so it can put in a nearly block-sized development. This is the same developer that wants to demolish the oldest commercial building on the Square, the American Exchange Bank. This is the same developer that agreed to sell the Bartell Theatre property to the Bartell trust and Overture, and then reneged (because it wanted to demolish and put in a massive development), until forced by courts to comply with its own earlier written agreements; I reported all that, for Isthmus.
Yeah, I trust Urban Land. About as far as I can throw them.
It's strange that Rath's post on the subject appears to have since been removed from the website. I'm not sure if we should read some greater conspiracy into it, or if Rath himself decided to take it down for one reason or another.
Beyond that, however, those arguing against the WSJ article are all making good points. I, too, can't help but wonder why on Earth anyone would think the construction of yet more new condo developments would be good for Madison? Several current projects are already stalled due to the ever-tanking housing market, and that coupled with the general economic downturn doesn't exactly scream "Build more condos!" to me.
Why are we so intent on moving and/or demolishing the few historic structures we have in this town and this (relatively young) country anyway? And furthermore, why must every last scrap of undeveloped land go under the knife of "progress"? There's a major societal benefit in having more green spaces, parks, and just plain empty land. So how about instead of tearing stuff down and putting in yet more condos, we revitalize the existing downtown houses? There has been a plan floated in the city to create a fund to encourage families, etc., to buy older homes in the downtown area, so that if the current trend of students moving into newer housing and out of the old apartments continue, we won't be left with a slum. That's the kind of thing we should be encouraging. Leave the park alone.