The Sunday, June 7th edition of the Journal Sentinel's "Crossroads" section had particularly strong content.
Rather than post link after link, let me simply say you can access the entire section and its index, here.
I began to notice the strength of the section online Saturday when I saw that local historian John Gurda had produced a profound commentary, "Nature Heals Amid History," on the restorative power of the land at water's edge.
So I posted that yesterday with the short comment that I read everything John writes. Don't miss it.
Elsewhere in the section there is:
* A provocative commentary by Susan Mudd and John Norquist, both Democrats, former Milwaukee residents, and long-time supporters of school choice. As they see it, Democratic legislators and Gov. Jim Doyle are willfully undermining choice, about which Mudd and Norquist launch a broadside.
* A moving column by editorial writer James Causey about the sexual abuse scandal in the Milwaukee Archdiocese - - focused on the disclosure by Leonard Sobczak, Milwaukee businessman and former Fire and Police Commissioner, that he is among the victims.
* A package of commentaries, pro-and-con, on the proposal by UW-Milwaukee and the M-7 Water Council to build a School of Freshwater Science and related offices on the Milwaukee lakeshore between the Calatrava addition to the Milwaukee Art Museum and Discovery World at Pier Wisconsin.
The paper's editorial Sunday strongly supports the plan.
In separate essays, Bill Hibbard of Preserve Our Parks and I also favor building the facility, but on one of several alternative sites.
Tom Still, President of the Madison-based Wisconsin Technology Council, lines up with the paper.
So far, so good. Nice pretty even-handed debate. High-minded, if I do say so myself.
I've known Tom for a long time and always found him a solid wordsmith when he was writing editorials at the Wisconsin State Journal.
So I winced when I saw him providing good information about the value of water-based research and development - - arguments with which I wholeheartedily agree - - but undercutting it with off-note, silly and sarcastic generalizations about "preservationists" whom he thinks will ruin everything - - as if it's all or nothing: the lakefront site, or failure.
Wrote Still (his entire piece is here):
"More than two-thirds of those who spoke urged the [Harbor Commission] board to preserve the land, site of the former Pieces of Eight restaurant, as green space or public lake access.And this as the ender:
"Now, there's a tough choice: Build an indigenous portal to Milwaukee's water research cluster on a shoreline that has rebranded the city, or set aside 1.67 acres so people have another place to drop their jet skis in the lake?"
"Until people begin to value water as they do other commodities, the true surge in water technology research may not materialize. But that's a challenge facing all potential water research clusters, from Singapore to Australia to Milwaukee to France. The immediate challenge facing Milwaukee is for more business and civic leaders to seize the city's distinct innovation advantage, even if that means dunking a few lakeside preservationists."OK: Maybe these were jokes and throw-away one-liners, but earlier in his piece, Still said Milwaukee was something of a "riddle:"
Apparently so, as I think Still can't see the depth and breadth of preservationism's value to mainstream Milwaukee, and how it has connected people, water and land.
For a long, long time.
No better proof of that than John Gurda's essay: Look to it.
Anyway: Hat's off to the paper for a solid news and commentary Sunday section. Makes you love good newspapering.