It would be interesting to know which political constituencies politicians kneel to when offering ideas. In the case of Madison Alderwoman Lisa Subeck her desire to reduce funding for the Overture Center was clearly not intended to assist the city, so one has to wonder whose bread she was hoping to butter by her actions.
Subeck had offered an amendment to reduce funding for Overture from Mayor Paul Soglin’s proposed budget of $1.75 million dollars for 2015 to $1.6 million. Never mind that Soglin’s budget is still far shy of the $2 million annual payment that had once been pledged by the city. Never mind the negative consequences that would have accompanied such an action when it came to private fundraising if once again a budget battle sprayed out negative headlines in the press.
Subeck’s amendment was sure to drive a wedge into the city council and create lots of unneeded strife. In the end she withdrew the amendment before the Board of Estimates would have gladly chucked it into the trash.
But Subeck should not get off easy for taking her proposal and tossing it aside. She still needs to be held accountable for coming to the wrong conclusions regarding Overture in the first place.
What drives Subeck and others like her to always find a way at undermining Overture remains a mystery to me. I often hear that those who oppose Overture do so based on a severely misguided notion that there are ‘not enough shows for the average person’ priced so ‘everyone can participate in enjoying the performances’.
That is just pure horse-rot.
I often tell James we are rich, and he instantly responds that since he likes to balance the checkbooks we certainly are not. He knows my definition of being rich has far more to do with enjoying life and not about accumulating money. One of the things we do to enjoy life is by being subscribers to the Madison Symphony Orchestra and so we see a show during the season each month. In addition we take in other performers such as the Choir of Westminster Abbey.
I can assure my readers that the average person to these shows–which nearly fill Overture Hall–are not made up of aloof stuffy elitist snobs. The people who sit and enjoy music are the same folks who stop at Culvers after shopping at the mall just before heading to the grocery store to buy groceries they then go home to prepare for a meal. These folks are our friends, neighbors, and fellow residents of Madison. We just all happen to firmly believe that the arts matter, and society is richer–there is that word again–with having a flourishing arts community.
People who use Overture for their political gain, as I am most sure Subeck tried to do, miss the importance that Overture gives to this city. The Overture is a powerhouse for economic activity, and the data proves it. Any one of our neighboring cities would jump through rings of fire to have the chance for such an arts center, and the benefits that come from it.
Perhaps if there was a way to tie reproductive rights to Overture funding Lisa Subeck could come to that realization too.
Meanwhile many people in Madison are very thankful to the other alders who pushed Subeck on this matter and let it be known that Overture funding matters to many rank-and-file folks in this city.