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Madison’s Mayor Dave Cieslewicz Responds To Snow Woes On City Streets

December 12, 2009

Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz writes a blog, and while most entries are somewhat routine though enjoyable, rarely do they rise to the level of interest or connection with the citizenry as the one he posted today.  Everyone, everywhere around the city is talking loudly about the city streets and the almost impossible ability to drive from Point A to Point B without packing a lunch.   I suspect most of  the people understand about the underlying reasons roads were cleared of snow before salt was applied to the main intersecting streets of the city due to the extreme cold.  But as Mayor Dave writes with a light-hearted touch the political reaction of such decisions are never far away from one’s thinking.  (For the record I liked Jayne Bryne.)

As for me, as is always the case after big storms, I got dozens of calls and emails to my office (many using the language of passion and enthusiasm) reminding me that Michael Bilandic lost an election as mayor of Chicago because of a snow storm. Many callers actually get it wrong, citing Jane Byrne instead. But it was Byrne who defeated Bilandic over the issue, and she turned out to be a pretty mediocre mayor herself.

But Bilandic wasn’t a bad guy or a bad mayor. During his term he brought peace to a number of union disputes, expanded Chicago’s recreational trail system and created ChicagoFest and the Chicago Marathon. He even ran the marathon and finished in four hours, which is a very respectable time. After he was defeated as mayor, he went on to get elected to the Illinois Supreme Court where he finished his career as Chief Justice. But his name has now become synonymous with a politician’s defeat over a single issue or misstep. I can only take comfort with the thought that “Cieslewiczed” is just not likely to catch on.

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