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Madison Mayor Paul Soglin Wrong About City Motto

July 12, 2013

New ideas seem no longer to be Madison Mayor Paul Soglin’s strong suit.

This morning the Wisconsin State Journal ran a front page story that might have worked better on April 1st.  The problem is the story is not a joke, and worse yet will be an item that the city council will need to spend time dealing with in the coming weeks.

Mayor Soglin will offer a resolution establishing Madison’s motto as “77 Square Miles Surrounded by Reality,” with a provision to  change the size as the city continues to grow.  While everyone who loves this city understands the joke that has long been referenced since the days of Governor Dreyfus’s playful comment, there should be no serious consideration of making this our city motto.

This is a vibrant, eclectic, intelligent city that has often been derided by those living elsewhere, and are miffed that we have so much going for us here.  So it is understandable why so many Madisonians are opposed to the idea that Soglin has bounced around to the point that he is going to take city time, and resources to debate it.

“I have a sense of humor. I have my pink flamingo. But I don’t think it’s a good  motto to have for the city,” said Council President Chris Schmidt, who intends  to vote no. “We’re feeding a meme. This is more harmful than helpful to us.”  

As the news story notes other places have mottos that lift the sails, and accentuate the positive.  This feeble attempt at finding a city motto for Madison says much about Soglin’s waning leadership abilities.

6 Comments
  1. Solly permalink
    July 27, 2013 12:26 PM

    Oh, the old “it’s been talked about before, nothing to see here, no hearing on the written-in-secret-super-amendment plopped down at the last minute, get away from me kid,” routine. I believe page 37 in the Fitzgerald Walker School of Government textbook. IOKIMLDI (It’sOKifMadisonLiberalsDoIt)

  2. July 15, 2013 10:28 AM

    Solly, if memory serves me correctly all the items in the amendment you mention had been talked about and the public had the opportunity to discuss them. When they were all placed into a vehicle that allowed for the city to do its business with the budget, it then seemed to me a proper way to proceed. Joint Finance at the state level held hearings on the budget, but then also needed to make motions and craft amendments later in the process. We may or may not agree on policy, but I think the process was fair.

  3. July 15, 2013 10:10 AM

    I get that Soglin is trying to be ironic and use “reality” as a pejorative, but I don’t think most people will get it. Plus, you sound like a snob when you try to insult the rest of the state. How about “Isthmus of Ideas”

  4. Solly permalink
    July 14, 2013 2:54 PM

    Maybe Chris Schmidt would be more comfortable with “Madison, where Council Leadership meets in secret, secures (buys) votes for a veto-proof budget Christmas Tree super-amendment and plops it on the table at the last minute without hearings” That pretty much describes Chris Schmidt’s leadership as council leader. And Deke Rivers, normally obsessed with “process,” approved. Made Mark Clear, Tim Bruer and former (thank God) Mayor Davey look like pikers.

  5. Mark E. Bye permalink
    July 13, 2013 8:11 AM

    Paul Soglin sure ain’t the same guy who spoke to my high school sophomore class in 1970 about idealism and fighting for what’s right (sigh).

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