Madison seems always to rank near the top of livability rankings. Here is one from Utne.com on "America's Most Enlightened Towns." Madison ranks fifth. My former home -- Portland, Oregon -- ranks second. The criteria? Cities "making a special effort to foster connectedness and contentment among all the people who live in them." Cities that are "dealing creatively with the challenges they face, places that can provide inspiration and practical ideas about how to improve life in your own hometown." And cities that offer "access to alternative health care, lively media, a breadth of cultural activity, and diverse spiritual oppportunities." Of course, so-called "progressive" politics is also part of the mix. Despite my leanings toward the right side of the political spectrum, I must confess to sharing the sentiments of one of my closest friends, who stated, "Liberals make better neighbors." As long as they aren't setting my tax rates.
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