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What Does Madison Alderwoman Marsha Rummel Think About Racial Issues In Madison?

March 14, 2015

I think it only fair to say to my readers that Marsha Rummel and I are very conversational when we meet.  She stops by our place in the warm months to talk and from time-to-time has a glass of wine.  She knows me to be forthright in my opinions and not one to dodge an issue.   Therefore, I would not be an honest blogger if I did not write the following.


I can only speak for myself when it comes to topics I post or share on Facebook.  Suffice it to say I do not post things I am in disagreement with, but instead post commentary and links from those people I endorse, or views I support.   I strongly suspect everyone does the same.

So it is most unsettling that a couple of Facebook links from Madison Alderwoman Marsha Rummel who is my representative on the city council–which gives me more than enough reason to lodge this complaint–has posted links that raise some questions.

Both of Rummel’s shared links are from The Guardian.

In the first of the two about the shooting of Tony Robinson was this portion in an otherwise factual account of the incident.

Olga Ennis, a 43-year-old retail associate who lives across the street and knew Robinson well, remains traumatised by what she saw next.

“I watched them drag his body out of the house,” she said. “That image is not leaving my head, and it’s really killing me inside right now. I watched them drag him out like a piece of garbage.”

As images on the local news proved this week the staircase where Robinson attacked a police officer and then was shot is very compact.  There would have been no way to allow for medical procedures such as CPR to be attempted without quickly removing the victim.   Being artful in moving a body in such a tense situation is not the first call of duty.  For world-wide readers of The Guardian one has to wonder what their impressions are of Madison?  And are they the impressions we want to endorse by further promoting?

The reason I mention this article or the portion above is that I believe a member of the city council might ponder what image we want to advance of our city.  I am not suggesting a whitewashing of events–as a former broadcaster and reporter that is far from what I support–but I do suggest that we work to provide information in ways that do not lead others to get the wrong impressions about where we live or how we handle matters here.   That might be my old-fashioned values about loving the place I call home, but they are the values I hold close. 

The second article posted by Rummel was written by the Young, Gifted, and Black Coalition.  In ends, in part, with this paragraph.

We are calling for the Madison Police Department, the City of Madison and Dane County to end state violence that they perpetuate. Officer Matt Kenny should be immediately fired, and officials should implement a policy of firing any officer who kills an unarmed civilian. A community-appointed police accountability board – with a say in hiring and firing decisions – must be established to review police activity in our communities. And we demand a moratorium on plans to build or renovate jails in the county; that money should instead be invested in black community-led initiatives and infrastructure, through which we can effect real change in the lives of the people in the other Madison.

As a constituent of Marsha Rummel, and one who thinks about issues of the day, I have to ask given the material that she posts and links on her Facebook page what does she think about the matters at hand?

Does Rummel believe that the Madison Police Department, the City of Madison and Dane County perpetuate a state of violence against black people?

Does Rummel think that Officer Matt Kenny should be fired?

Does Rummel think a policy should be implemented to fire any officer who kills an unarmed man?

I do not believe Rummel posts links she does not read.   But she also rarely ever voices opinions until the 11th hour on a topic of the day.  So one has to ask what are the feelings she harbors on the issues the rest of us discuss freely over the backyard fence and to those we meet on the sidewalk?

This week in this neighborhood only one topic has dominated.  And if I am to read between the lines of what Rummel posts on Facebook she does not view Madison in the same way I do.  And that deeply concerns me.  If she has other thoughts she should share them openly.

Rummel seeks another term this spring, and has no competition.

  1. March 19, 2015 11:04 AM

    I do have a few things to say and want to do.

  2. March 19, 2015 10:54 AM

    Write in Greg Humphrey for Common Council.

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