Madison City Council To Vote On Future For Downtown Tonight

When I started working in state government in January 1987 I was surprised that the downtown lost its energy and became a ghost town at the end of the work day. I started listening to the debates among city planners and those who had big ideas for the future of the city. Over and over there was a stated desire for some job-producing business in the downtown. With high-tech jobs at the heart of so much of the dynamic economic growth this nation wants there is no reason for us not to do what is required to now make this proposal with Exact Sciences happen.

If approval comes from the city council a most ambitious investment project of $46 million would signal to others that Madison is able to effectively encourage business development.

I fully understand that there are tough choices and judgment calls to be made with this proposal. There are items that I would shape differently but I also would compromise in the needed ways to make sure the end result allowed for this investment to move forward. We must not lose sight of what we want our city to look like and become as we move forward. If we only listened to the ones opposed to everything we would still be mired down over how to proceed with Monona Terrace.

While there are many components to the deal one part stands out as precisely what the downtown needs. Exact Sciences, creator of Cologuard, the first and only FDA approved noninvasive DNA screening test for colorectal cancer, would be able to construct a building.   There has been a guarantee of 400 jobs with high incomes and assurances that financial penalties will be applied if agreements are not met.

This is exactly the type of jobs and incomes that we should work to encourage.  Any city that is vibrant needs to have a robust downtown.

The only question that remains is whether Madison has the ability to still make big things happen that can shape and transform our city?

Update On Dennis Hastert And High School Sex Play

When we last left the story about former House Speaker Dennis Hastert a grand jury had indicted him on two felony counts in May, alleging that he agreed to pay a longtime acquaintance identified as “individual A” $3.5 million to compensate for and conceal past misconduct. The indictment did not say what the misconduct was, but published reports citing anonymous sources have said it was sexual in nature and involved a former student at the Yorkville, Ill. high school where Hastert worked as a teacher and wrestling coach before entering politics.

Today we learn that there are plea negotiations underway with federal prosecutors in an effort to resolve criminal charges that he allegedly illegally structured bank withdrawals, and lied to the FBI about a plan to pay $3.5 million to a longtime associate in connection with past misconduct.  This came to light at a hearing in federal court in Chicago, where U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Durkin pressed the two sides to explain in more detail why they were seeking a third extension of deadlines for pretrial motions in the case. Both sides then revealed that plea talks were underway.

And so it goes…..and CP will continue to follow as events unfold.

High Tides Possible World-Wide From Supermoon

If you are like me there is still a smile on your face from the amazing night-time sky last evening.  James and I watched the event from the top of Monona Terrace on Madison’s isthmus.  There was a haunting beauty to the red moon at the height of the show.  Leading up to that moment Lake Monona shimmered and glittered with light on the soft waves as the moon reflected off the water.

Today I read something most interesting about the tides that many in the world can or are experiencing as result of the supermoon and lunar eclipse taking place.

The phenomenon will have a dramatic effect on the Earth’s tides, according to Environment Canada meteorologist Linda Libby.

“For a couple of days after this moon we’re looking at the highest tides for 2015 and, in fact, probably for another 18 years,” she said. “We’re also looking at some of the lowest tides of the year at the same time.”

Libby said the tides could cause some local flooding — especially around the Bay of Fundy and Minas Basin areas, but she said major flooding isn’t expected because there aren’t any storms in the forecast.

Flowing Water On Mars Raises More Questions About Life There

This is simply amazing news that will mean for more questions than we have answers.

NASA scientists say they believe they have confirmed that water intermittently flows on the surface of Mars.  Needless to say this discovery will have many pondering about the search for past or present life on the planet.  We have known for years that Mars has water frozen at its poles, but the idea of flowing water is a big development.  Can a NOVA special on PBS be far away?

Senator Ted Cruz Working Against Public Mood

Leave it to Senator Ted Cruz to try and force a square peg into a round hole.

On the one hand Cruz plans to fight in the coming days and weeks for a showdown in Congress over Planned Parenthood and the budget.  He thinks this a sure-fire way to showcase his conservative fighting spirit to the soon to be voting base of the party.

But on the other hand a new Quinnipiac poll finds 69% of Americans oppose shutting down the government over funding for Planned Parenthood.  Just 23% support closing the government over the dispute. Even among Republicans, 56% oppose a shutdown due to Planned Parenthood.

What is a three-thumbed politician named Cruz to do?

Tommy Thompson Missed A Sister Souljah Moment

If we question why it seems so hard for Republican presidential candidates to speak with authority as to why Donald Trump is damaging the party and not good for the nation we need to keep in mind that it is also somehow hard for others in the GOP to speak out clearly on the matter.

This weekend I was rather surprised to see the elder statesman of the Wisconsin Republican Party, former Governor Tommy Thompson, not speak more forthrightly about Trump.  Appearing on UpFront With Mike Gousha it was clear that a direct and candid answer was not something Thompson was interested in giving about the current leader in the presidential contest.

The former leader of this state did comment twice that he firmly believed Trump would not be the eventual nominee. Most lucid-minded people think the same thing.  But when pressed by the host to answer who would get his vote should the contest be between Hillary Clinton and Trump there was a strong statement that Thompson would vote Republican.

I fully understand the reason that people tied to a political party answer in that fashion.  I could vote for Joe Biden as easily as Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders.  I know that Thompson could have easily said the same about Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio or a list of others running for the nomination.

But Donald Trump is simply an embarrassment with no substance on the issues that deservers nothing short of repudiation.  There must come a time when the seasoned and respected establishment within the Republican Party stands up and makes it known that what played out this summer was nothing short of absurd and can not continue.

In short, the Republican Party needs a Sister Souljah moment.  Gousha had teed up the question so Thompson could have once more scored for the party who he has long supported and worked with.  But Thompson bunted the ball.

At some point very soon the adults in the GOP will need to once again drive the bus and a real contest for the nomination must get underway.  I was hoping when the questions by Gousha started that this would be the moment when such a line in the sand was drawn.  After all, Thompson is someone who has respect on both sides of the aisle and can still command attention when he wants to say something of importance.

Had Thompson given the answer about Trump that I know he truly feels it would have shown that he may be older but no less a leader.

Madison Alder Marsha Rummel Dithers Over Lights On Bike Path After Violent Rape Case

Within just blocks of where I reside a most horrible crime was committed. The violent beating and rape of a woman took place on a bike path–a portion that was not lighted and was surrounded by high weeds.  The local police have stated this was the worst such case of rape in decades and the intent was to have killed the victim.  News reports have noted the number of future surgeries that the victim will need to undergo.

In other words hell opened up and this woman will continue to live the horror.

When discussing this matter with out-of-state residents recently it was noted that if this had happened where they live matters would have moved quickly with the local government making sure the underbrush was cleared and the path well lit.  I can only think that if this had happened in any other section of the city (God forbid) that the alderperson of that area would call immediately for the placement of lights on the darkened area.

But that has not been the case when it comes to local Alderwoman Marsha Rummel.

Why the reticence in leadership on a matter that impacts the whole city as the bike path is not just used by the local neighborhood is a mystery that must not be allowed to linger.   There now needs to be a loud  and sustained demand from the public–weeks after the violent crime–to demand that lights he placed on the path.  I would hate to think that the fringe element that somehow thinks protecting women from such crimes would add to light pollution–only something that a small befuddled segment of Madison’s near east side could concoct–has gotten Rummel’s’ attention.

This issue should never have been allowed to fester.  It should have been corrected at once.  I strongly suspect that other alders in this city would have had the matter in hand within 48 hours.  They would have contacted the mayor’s office and the department heads needed to affect change.

But then other alders in Madison care less about dithering than Marsha Rummel.   They know how to act for the constituents they serve.

Perhaps we can again have an alder like that, too.


It was reported this week that something really rather quirky and icky took place after Pope Francis finished his speech to Congress.

It was then that Democratic Congressman Bob Brady from Pennsylvanian walked up to the rostrum where the Pope had stood and swiped the half-empty glass from which the Holy See had just drank during the speech.

Then it was reported that with the glass in hand Brady walked back to his office where he, his wife, a friend and a staffer took turns sipping the water from the glass.


I am just glad that Brady was not in the same restroom that the Pope used while in the Capitol.