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Wisconsin Republicans Place The Bottom Line Above Human Life

August 24, 2011

If anyone wants to boil down the difference between liberals and conservatives all need be done is pay attention to the issue over Madison’s fire code.

There is a Republican bill that is being concocted in the Wisconsin State Legislature that would prohibit municipalities from enforcing any fire ordinance that is tougher than the state fire code.

But in forward-leaning places like Madison, where the fire code is tougher, there is concern for the lives and safety of people if the new proposed law is passed.  Since 2007 Madison has championed and pursued a code that requires tamper-resistant or hard-wired smoke detectors.  That is a damn fine idea, and makes sense in a city that has a huge college-age population.

So why would Republicans wish to limit local control, a topic they are always championing?

Could it be money? 

When it comes to Republicans could it be anything other than money?

Well let us see.

But Brad Boycks, chief lobbyist for the Wisconsin Builders Association, a long-time backer of a uniform state fire code, says the bill would be a boon in tough economic times.

“In a time that we’re trying to look for ways to drive economic development, I think it makes sense to have one strong, solid, statewide code that folks throughout the whole state follow, instead of having a patchwork of changes throughout the state.”

I think it repulsive to talk about economic gains when it comes to undermining local standards that are designed to save lives.  Madison is proof as to why the local fire code is tougher, given the loss of life prior to the implementation of the tougher rules.  We also have demonstrated how fire code changes can be achieved in a manner that is consistent with community-minded residents.

Yup, there is a difference between liberals and conservatives.  But is it not sad that the line between us is so stark?

2 Comments
  1. August 25, 2011 9:33 PM

    Well, you are wrong in several ways.

    First my apartment was involved in a major fire that took down many an apartment in a complex in Madison two decades ago. Not long after I moved to the city. I know first-hand the needs of having strict fire codes. I worked tirelessly after the blaze to have tougher grill/balcony provisions in the code. I even made the front page of a local paper with my crusade, while ripping a local alder for making a dreadful, flippant statement about the needed changes. As you probally can surmise I did not carelessly start the fire.

    Since there are tens of thousands of students that live in this city, and they are not always thinking as adults, they should have the protections afforded to them with this code. Thoughtless landlords need to be treated as children, and instructed in what they need to do. This city knows the cost of not having all the protections that can save lives. That is why we made the change as a city. And it is working.

    If you really think this is the ‘nanny-state’ at work I suggest you give up eating meat that have inspectors behind its safety, or perhaps buy a car and place your kids in it without having the road-tested requirments that allow you to drive with a measure of security.

    In the world I want to live in, and fight to live in and have others live in too, we are our brother’s keeper. It is not some trite statement, but how we actually live, what propels our politics, and in the end gives meaning to our lives.

    If that means that we are laughed at and not understood by the rest of the state, so be it. But I always notice that this city keeps adding people. We must be doing something right in Madison for that to hapen.

  2. Patrick permalink
    August 25, 2011 8:02 PM

    “community minded” residents would not be prohibited from installing extra fire-prevention measures in their buildings, would they? If not, why are you concerned–aside from the chance to take another cheap shot at republicans?

    Perhaps there is little real difference between the “stricter” Madison fire codes and those proposed for a state-wide system. In fact, when you look at it from the liberal point of view, this will give you guys an excellent chance to nanny-up the rest of the state with your Madison codes when you take back the legislature. See, it s a win–win.

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