My name is Bryon Eagon—and no, my first name isn't misspelled. In addition to being a student at UW-Madison, I have the privilege of representing the 8th District as an alder on the City Council here in Madison. Technically, we call it the Common Council, but that's just semantics. Students are the economic, social and cultural engine of Madison, so our opinions and ideas are vital to shaping the future of this great city. But my voice is just one among tens of thousands of young people here in Madison; that's where you come in. I want to know your thoughts, complaints, suggestions and ideas to help inform my priorities and decisions. Why should students care about the micro of micro levels of government when there are more attractive and flashy issues at the state or national level? Let me try to explain.
The discussions of advising services here on campus have not yet cooled off. But for years, most suggestions have been limited to increasing the number of advisors, and not changing how the program is run itself. While the student-to-advisor ratio is certainly a factor in quality advising, mere statistical improvements would not guarantee better services for students. Last week, a novel advising plan got funding from the Madison Initiative for Undergraduates. After wandering aimlessly for so long, we may be approaching a solution to this advising problem.
In recent months the nation has become deeply involved in the subject of health-care reform. According to a recent CNN poll, 83 percent of Americans favor health-care reform. The way to do it, however, has been a hot topic for months now and the top domestic policy item on President Obama's agenda. The battle to reform health care is now coming to an apex in Washington. After passing in the House, all eyes turn to the Senate to see if this $1.2 trillion bill will pass. If you turn on CNN, Fox or MSNBC these days you can hardly avoid it. Yet even with so much news coverage, many people still know little about it. The Senate is getting ready to vote on a bill that will affect one fifth of our nation's economy, and, in typical Washington fashion, they have managed to convince Americans that if this is not done right away, the world will end at 2 p.m. on Friday.
Last week, the Wisconsin legislature's Joint Finance Committee passed legislation setting up a new public financing structure for Supreme Court candidates. This public financing would provide campaign funding for viable Supreme Court candidates who agree to forgo private financing, totaling $100,000 for primary elections and $300,000 for general elections. Clearly lawmakers were reacting to last year's campaign between Justice Michael Gableman and former Justice Louis Butler Jr., which was widely considered to be one of the nastiest statewide campaigns in recent memory.
I am writing in response to the article ""Student involvement and interest in politics on the decline,"" published November 1, 2009.
On Tuesday the Madison city council heard the plea of WYOU community television members to retain Public, Education and Government (PEG) fees needed to run the station. Like most media outlets, WYOU is having a hard time securing funding for the foreseeable future, but unlike most media outlets, there is a date when WYOU's funding will run out.
A roomful of reporters simultaneously gasped in shock. Thørbjorn Jagland, leader of the Nobel Committee, had just announced Barack Obama, a man who had been inaugurated president of the United States only twelve days before the February 1 nomination deadline for the prize, as the committee's selection from a field of 205 candidates for 2009. In the United States, the reaction was similar. Republicans, and even many Democrats, wondered what Obama could have done in 12 days to warrant being nominated for the prize and how what he had done in less than nine months as president could have warranted winning it. Obama himself seemed surprised. ""To be honest,"" he said, ""I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who've been honored by this prize.""
When the White House announced President Barack Obama would be visiting Madison, the public's eyes immediately turned to the Kohl Center and Monona Terrace. Both are standard venues for big occasions, and both played host to Obama during his campaign. To everyone's surprise, the president chose Wright Middle School for this visit to talk about our primary education system.
It is often said that the world becomes smaller every day. Technology continues to connect us more intimately from vast distances in both a physical and figurative way. Information sharing has never been easier, with the internet constantly at our fingertips. Getting from place to place has never been so efficient, either. Asia has been the leader in innovation, with Japan and China pioneering high-speed rail systems that presently reach speeds of almost 200 miles per hour. Efficient transportation is becoming a major issue in the world. Places with efficient transit systems in place are more appealing for development, while those that are lacking become victims of their archaic systems.
After Lt. Gov. Barbara Lawton's surprise Oct. 26 announcement that she was withdrawing from the 2010 governor's race, the obvious reaction was, ""Why?"" Lawton was the first and only Democratic candidate announced against several Republican candidates. She has nearly eight years of experience as Wisconsin's first female lieutenant governor. It had seemed like Lawton had been gearing up for this moment for years now.
I will appoint a UW student to the Alcohol License Review Committee. Ald. Bryon Eagon, The Daily Cardinal and Badger Herald have made convincing cases for the benefits of having a student as a voting member of the ALRC. Students have a unique perspective on these issues and their voices should be heard. Moreover, when UW students show an interest in civic issues, that interest should be encouraged. My hope is that student interest in alcohol policy issues might be the opening for increased student interest in other important civic issues like transportation, economic development, education, lake water quality and downtown redevelopment.
For the past week, The Daily Cardinal has called upon students to contact city alders and express their support for District 8 Ald. Bryon Eagon's proposal to add a student voting member to the Alcohol License Review Committee. Spurred by the ALRC's unanimous rejection of the proposal, we have lauded Eagon's idea, printed contact information for the Common Council and called for a boycott of the Nitty Gritty, the bar owned by Marsh Shapiro, one of the most vehement and dismissive opponents of the student voting member. We feel all of these actions have been important to improve the chances the full Common Council will approve the proposal.
Last Thursday, Gov. Jim Doyle sent out an executive order clarifying an existing statute on health insurance to young adults. This would allow citizens in their 20's to be covered under their parents' health-care plan starting January 1 next year. Any Wisconsin resident would be eligible if you are between 17 and 27 years of age, unmarried, and either not eligible for health coverage through your employer or your premium contribution is more than the amount your parents would pay to add you to their plan. Currently, only childless full-time students can stay in their parents plan till the age of 25. But with the passage of this new policy, potentially 100,000 young adults in Wisconsin could benefit.
When is a costume ""too soon?"" We've all joked, cried and projectile vomited about the crucial question. But, as with the war in Iraq, there can be no standardized timetable to redeploy costumes from distasteful to hilarious.
When we declared a boycott of the Nitty Gritty bar for owner Marsh Shapiro's comments about a student voting seat on the Alcohol License Review Committee, we were not just asking students to seriously consider where they spend their money. We were also pointing out to city officials and businesses that students have a clear impact on neighborhoods across the Madison community.