Sunday, March 09, 2008

Why County Board Elections Matter - Environmental Issues

It's easy to overlook the importance of the Dane County Board, and County Board elections, when we think about politics here in the Madison area. But the Board determines environmental, land use, and human services policy for the entire county, including Madison. As these ratings show, there's an enormous difference in the way liberal and conservative County Board members vote on environmental issues and land use.

The first chart shows ratings for every County Board Supervisor based on their votes since August 2006. I've grouped the liberal Supervisors (in blue) and the conservative Supervisors (in red) so you can see the rather astonishing contrast. The average score is 90% for liberals verses less than 20% for conservatives. Click on the charts for larger versions.

The full environmental voting record of each supervisor is shown below, followed by info on each of the votes used in the ratings.

Vote #DateMinutes PageItemSignificance
18/17/2006108-109Res. 73Purchase of conservation land - Dunn, Pleasant Springs.
9/21/2006147-148Res. 102Delay action on purchase of land next to Brigham Park.
39/21/2006150-151Res. 103Independent study on power lines.
411/15/2006193BudgetCut conservation fund from $5 million to $1 million.
52/1/2007269Petition 9335Zoning change to permit development adjacent to Military Ridge Trail.
62/1/2007270Petition 9632Re-refer loosening zoning restrictions - Blue Mounds
73/1/2007294-320Ord. Am. 26Loosen floodplain restrictions. (Sub. 2).
84/5/2007371-372Ord. Am. 34Delay effective date of Coal tar sealcoat restrictions.
95/2/200726-28Res. 290Delay action on Bio-Ag, Town of Dunn.
108/16/2007107Petition 9721Zoning change to permit construction - Vermont.
118/16/2007114-116Res. 57 Sub. 2RTA - Adoption of Res. 57 Sub. 2.
129/6/2007134-135Petition 9611Zoning change to permit construction - Vermont.
139/20/2007146-147Petition 9474Re-refer zoning change to permit development - Springfield.
149/20/2007155-157Res. 94Motion to cut Conservation Fund.
1511/1/2007207-209Res. 127Delay action on Saddlebrook purchase.
1612/6/2008244Petition 9474Zoning change to permit development - Springfield.
1712/20/2008271-274Ord. Am. 26Postpone action on Transfer of Development Rights (TDR).


1. Due to his voting record I listed Richard Brown as a conservative despite the fact that he was endorsed by the Democratic Party in his last run. The Dem Party actually endorsed Lisa Subeck against him this time around, and Brown was eliminated in the primary.

2. I ignored absences and abstentions when I calculated the percentage ratings, although all absences and abstentions are shown in the vote record above. Some County Board members miss a heck of a lot of meetings, so I encourage you to check out their individual voting records.

3. Although I did the ratings and made the charts, I didn't compile the actual vote data. Many thanks to my co-conspirator who did most of the hard work to make this post possible.

4. I apologize for using images rather than tables, but blogger has a hard time dealing with anything other than very simple tables.

5. I'll cover County Board votes on other issues in a future post. Watch for it...

1 comment: said...

This is not just good blogging, this is good citizen journalism. If all blogs were as informative as this post then mainstream media would be on its way out.

Nice job. Keep up the good work.