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Mayor Soglin Needs Public Support To Stem Homeless Problem Downtown

July 30, 2015

The fight for the future of downtown Madison is not solely about the design or funding for Judge Doyle Square. While that is a vital component to a vibrant and ever-more financially strengthened isthmus there is another battle that has been waged way too long that needs attention.

It is a battle that Mayor Paul Soglin has been fighting, but too few of his fellow citizens have actively joined alongside him up to this point. The issue surrounds the homeless and the manner in which they have started to change the face of the downtown area.

We can all say with sincerity that we want to help those who need to find a path forward.   We all can empathize with those who have lost everything and seek a helping hand. It should be noted that many taxpayers are willing to do their part. But there also comes a time when we need some blunt talk about those who are homeless and not inclined to help themselves.

More and more problems have developed from the actions of the homeless.  Now due to their increased numbers, and the lack of support from elected officials and committees  who have the power to make changes Mayor Soglin has proposed some of his own changes for the downtown area.  They are not radical or mean-spirited in any way. They are simply common-sense.

He wants to see an ordinance passed that would limit use of public benches downtown to one hour and prohibit people from lying on benches, public sidewalks or right-of-ways for most of the day and night.

Personally I am tired of the smell of uirine in public places and knowing that public employees feel concerned for their safety at the city-country building.

There is no doubt the city council will dither over and at some point fail to pass Soglin’s proposal. Too many council members, such as my Alder Marsha Rummel, only listen to the loud voices from the homeless advocates who demand so much from the city and county and yet hold those who need taxpayer help to so few benchmarks of responsibility.

For many long months Soglin has been saying what this city needed to hear. But the more strident set of voices, the ones that never effectively resolve the simmering problem, were the ones most heard.

Therefore it is time for the rank and file in Madison to say enough is enough when it comes to this matter and stand alongside the mayor.

There is enough crap (literally) to be found in places it does not belong, enough empty beds the homeless refuse to use, and programs that the homeless refuse to participate in to make a sane person wonder what in heck is wrong in this city.

People cannot complain about being homeless and then not avail themselves of every opportunity to change their situation.

Our city is a grand place. We have the resources and spirit to assist those who need our help. But those who seek our helping hand also have a responsibility to not make matters worse.

Soglin needs our support to make sure the downtown is not turned into a stink pot. If the city council can not find their way to act perhaps the citizenry can call and write to alert them that those who pay the bills demand some changes.

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