It was simply stunning to watch the Madison City Council this week play to the lowest common denominators. The worst part was they did so gleefully as they proved to all of Madison that they are not desiring to show support for Chief Mike Koval or the force of professional men and women he leads.
The passage of the funding for a purely anti-police department study was most troubling. From a financial perspective it was using funds from the reserve that should have stayed put. To know that fund is so depleted after the council vote leaves a bad taste in the mouth of many who do care about the fiscal shape of our city government.
If this matter is of such merit then using the budget process would have been the place for this weak-minded idea to be proposed. But there was no way for the alders such as Marsha Rummel to make that play with all the other credible and worthy ideas up for consideration and competing at budget time. Who knows Rummel might need support for more intersections to be painted in summer so the winter salt and snowplows can peel it away in winter. This is really a matter that the council has weighed in on.
From a squeaky wheel perspective it is most clear who the ones are that the alders hoped to quiet, and for what reason. Using taxpayer funds to stem the black lives group is most troubling and to have only ONE alder (Skidmore) who could see the way to cast a no vote sends a clear message about the entire council.
There is no way to have any faith in the city council—from President Mike Verveer, who I had hoped would continue to show sound fiscal stewardship but failed to show any signs of being able to lead or dissuade the council from this massive disregard for taxpayers, to junior member Samba Baldeh, who should feel the heat for the most absurd comments about the police during the meeting. (And given all that was said at the meeting my last comment is saying a great deal!)
Taxpayers and those who care about sound governing can all join together and denounce this most lousy action from the city council. I especially found it disconcerting to see the list of co-sponsors contain names that now and forever will be linked with the most undesirables members when it comes to fiscal reasoning in the council.
I have resided in the city since the closing days of 1986. I have followed city government for all those years and also worked for a decade in the statehouse where I assisted in helping to craft state budgets through our legislative office. But I have never witnessed a more poorly reasoned excuse to use taxpayer monies coupled with a method outside of the normal budget process to allow it to happen.
I was embarrassed for the council as I watched the seemingly never-ending meeting. True to form the council seemed adrift from reality as they showed their continued disregard for the police department and their stunning display of disdain for the taxpayers of this city.