I love Madison. I love to talk about the great things this city has to offer, and what we contribute to the rest of Wisconsin. This is my home, and a place in which I have lots of pride. That is why it really annoys and frustrates me over what took place this weekend during the Mifflin Street Party.
If this were the first time I was frustrated with this event I might feel different. But this is a yearly feeling when the reports of the drinking and arrests make the news. This year the two stabbings that took place were the last straw.
The drinking party that has been a yearly spectacle for this city, and a continuing embarrassment, must come to an end. Clearly there is no other reason for the crowd to assemble then to booze it up, create refuse, fill detox centers, needlessly cause city resources to be used, and create bedlam.
The event started in 1969 as a way to protest the Vietnam War, but today the crowds that descend on Mifflin Street could not explain the reason the event started, or what great social reason draws them together now. If they did try to give words to the reason they attended it would only come out slurred.
Madison needs to come to grips with the fact the ONLY reason the Mifflin Street Party takes place is so a large and often unruly group can abuse alcohol. It seems the organizers have no desire to see the event to be anything other than what we witnessed this weekend. If they did they never would have suggested lifting the ban on open alcoholic beverages in the streets.
Who could not see the end result of this policy disaster?
I suspect many local politicians will try to feign a shocked look when trying to explain how this never was considered a possible outcome.
“Just when we thought there were no new ways of having a block party, we’ve found a new way,” Soglin said. “This is a rather different and much improved effort to celebrate spring.”
I strongly opposed the lifting of the ban on open alcoholic beverages in the streets within the event zone for the party this year. That’s a big change from past years, when police had been ticketing people who had open containers of alcohol anywhere off private property.
Lets be honest about something here.
Anything that encourages more alcohol consumption at this event should be discouraged.
Why is that so hard for some to understand when it comes to this yearly embarrassment to the city.
Having said that it is time Madison makes a very clear statement about the future of the Mifflin Street Party.
Enough is enough.
The party must be over.
The Mifflin Street Party is something that I strongly suspect most taxpayers are not interested in paying for when it comes to the number of police officers it requires to keep order. This year the event turned violent with two stabbings, and 160 arrests. Detox centers had too many cases (at least 20 cases this year), and even a hospital had to be engaged as one stabbing victim required surgery.
Local politicians will try to tinker around the edges and try calming everyone down with tough words. Some will offer ideas on how to better manage a drunk-fest, which is all the Mifflin Street Party is at the end of the day.
There is no reason that the majority of the residents of this city should be embarrassed, or need to pay for the bad decisions that allowed for this party to take place. Likewise the residents of Madison should demand that no more permits be granted for this party in the future.
Too often we try to gloss over the hard facts. After this weekend it will be harder to do that.
This must be the final Mifflin Street Party in Madison.
Enough is enough.