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Mayor Paul Soglin Getting Bad Rap Over Wanting To Protect Workers At City-County Building

November 26, 2013

There is no doubt the City of Madison and Dane County have not acted with enough speed and determination to deal with the homeless.  There are too many homeless, and whether we are a magnet or not for such a population they are here, and we must deal with them.   Though the county and city have repeatedly talked about buying land, constructing a day shelter, and beefing up ways to combat the matter at the end of the day as the temps and snow fall there is still no resolution to be had.

But that does not mean the City-County Building should be one of the warming houses for the homeless.  One can have deep empathy over the matter of the homeless, and still come down on the side of being reasonable.

That is where I think Mayor Paul Soglin lands, and yet is being cast as some type of Scrooge.  I find that label not warranted.

Soglin’s proposal to hire a security guard to help restrict the homeless’ access to the City-County Building is not a harsh over-reaction.  It just makes sense given the situation that now exists.

The problems at the building are not new, but they are being better reported.   Those who show up drunk, quarrelsome, and wishing to piss around the building should not have some special ability to do so simply because they are homeless.

While I have respect for the intellect of homeless advocate Brenda Konkel I reject the idea of needing to somehow know the first names of the homeless so that when problems arise at the building people will be more cooperative.  I do not know the names of people I meet all the time as I walk downtown, but I do expect them to act within the norms of society.  That needs to be the case at the City-County Building, too.

What seems to have developed in this city is a class of chronically homeless, in spite of the resources taxpayers have willingly paid so to create needed social programs.  The issues present at the City-County Building are not simply homeless people needing to be warm, but a whole slew of social problems from mental illness to drug addiction that are brought into the building where city work is to be conducted.

Clearly the two are not mixing well, and should not be expected to mix.  The answers are not simple, and in some cases may not seem fair to everyone.

But the City-County Building is not a warming house.  The workers deserve to be safe and not presented with fights and urine in the hallways and elevators.

Mayor Soglin is right to fight for the best interests of the workers and the duties that must be completed within those offices each working day.

  1. November 27, 2013 11:37 AM

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family, too.

  2. November 27, 2013 9:36 AM

    Agree 100%, Deke. But why hire a private security guard? Madison police live in the building. It’s in the City of Madison (of course) so they have jurisdiction. The only thing is that Dane County actually operates the building and the sheriff may be unwilling. Happy Thanksgiving to your household.

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