The A.V. Club has a brief review
of Madison Sourdough which just opened on Willy Street in the space vacated by Escape Java Joint. The Dulcinea and I stopped by there on Sunday to grab some go-juice and here are some thoughts.
Firstly, I am a Just Coffee fan and am glad to see them carrying it. Secondly, the almond and chocolate croissants that she and I had, respectively, were quite tasty.
Now for the gripes. My first is that, while they had all of their other breads in stock, there was no rye bread. I was told that there was probably some day-old left but it was unclear to me as to whether it had sold out by 9:30AM or whether they just didn't bother to bake any. I mean, everyone knows rye is the superior bread eaten by Slavs everywhere. So where the hell was it? Lastly, their sandwich board advertised an almond butter and jelly sandwich which I was told went for $7. For that kind of money, it had better be made of organic almond butter and the jelly of berries picked by virgins. (Nichole – there's your cue.)
I recently read that the richest 1% of Americans now own more of the country's wealth than ever before and I'm sure that many an Isthmus liberal will recite this when confronting Republicans over one issue or another. But I can't help but think that a $7 AB&J sandwich on Willy Street as well as the seemingly ever-increasing numbers of people who buy organics and Madison's growing poverty rate
are indicative of something similar. One moment I read that one out of two students in the Madison schools is having their lunch subsidized and the next I see Kobe beef tenderloins for $45.98/lb. I don't have numbers but it feels like Madison is becoming more balkanized. Perhaps it isn't but it seems that the gap between the poor and not poor is becoming more pronounced. I hear about how it's a scandal that so few Americans own so much wealth but am I alone in feeling that a similar situation is developing here in Madison?
Again, this may all be a problem with my perception but, speaking as a voter, watching Mayor Dave offering up $16 million in TIF money for a public patio and then heading out to bicycle in Europe on lobbyists' dimes while poverty grows just puts a bad taste in my mouth. It's not that he can't address poverty and move on the Edgewater project and learn about Copenhagen's bicycle infrastructure all at the same time, but I see him putting a lot more effort into the latter two than the former. He's the mayor so he can make anything he wants an issue. All he has to do is open his mouth. Perhaps instead of blasting the landmark commission for being undemocratic, he can instead start making poverty in our community an issue.
I offer this not to begrudge those with money but to note how Madison has changed in my eyes. It seems that at one time the Broadway/Simpson and the poor in general was a much more prominent issue than the poor and, say, Allied Drive are today. I think Madison has moved from being a big town to a small city. The poor and marginalized tend to get press only when the middle class don't want to see them panhandling on State Street and when a co-ed gets murdered.
Can the fact that one-half of Madison students are receiving a subsidized lunch simply be attributed to an influx of poor people? Or is it possible that more and more middle class parents are sending their kids elsewhere? I don't know but poverty is increasing here in Madison and as a community I don't think we're making it an issue. I suspect we're seeing the first inkling of white flight now but that remains to be seen. Either Madison addresses poverty now or we're going to become an increasingly divided city with the organic/bike path crowd further distancing itself from the rest.