Following Tony Robinson Family Pay-Out Alder Skidmore Wisely Wants Madison To Weigh Future Settlements

From my conversations in Madison I find two trains of thought being discussed in relation to the record $3.35 million settlement over a lawsuit brought by the family of Tony Robinson, a man shot and killed by a Madison police officer.

The first and overriding expression I hear is that the award seemed truly surprising given what the facts involved, and that the family did not take their case to a courtroom for trial.  The amount of money paid was stunning for many citizens of this city to consider.

The second point of view I hear repeated again and again is how the legal representatives for the family, following the settlement, have aired their theories of what happened with press type briefings.  I am not a lawyer but I know what John Grishman would do about 150 pages into his case.  There would be a jury trial hearing about the evils of society.  But that is not how the Robinson family has handled their case.

All this makes for a very credible foundation for Madison alderperson Paul Skidmore with his proposal that the council and mayor decide whether to settle future lawsuits against the city or its employees.

I get the fact there is an 800-pound gorilla in the room when this type of topic is broached.  Namely the proposal may not find support over concern the city could lose its insurer.

What has created a lot of real heat and angst among the Madison Police Department, and the many who support them in this city, is that settlement between the Robinson family and the city’s insurer was made over the strong objections of the police officer who was involved in this case.  For background the city — which had been dismissed as a defendant in the case — was not involved in the settlement and had no ability to influence the court or the parties in the settlement.

And that is the part Skidmore and concerned citizens would like to further examine.  In the proposal that will weave its way through the committee corridors at city hall Skidmore’s idea says what has transpired “leaves the plaintiffs free to disparage the city of Madison and its employee without recourse to sworn testimony, cross examination, or the independent judgment of a disinterested judge.”

The summation of what is proposed makes sense to me and I suspect the rank-and-file voters of this city.

Decisions involving lawsuits brought by or against the city are properly the responsibility of its elected officials, not agents of an insurance company, and removing elected officials from decisions in such matters frustrates the accountability citizens expect from them.  

I get the fact there are large matters that need to be orchestrated for this proposal to mesh with the needs of an insurer for the city.   But I have to believe that there are people of good faith and sound judgment from each side of the matter who will be able to design a workable way forward so that this city need not again be forced to throw one of our professional employees ‘under the bus’ to make a fast settlement.

Skidmore should be applauded for listening to the people of this city.  He and I may not talk to the same people. But if he is hearing from his perspective the same thing I hear from my perspective means there is a  real message being sent from the people.  As such it might be wise for the entire city council to listen to the citizenry, too.

Welcome Back George Will!

I was very pleased to have George Will back on Meet The Press.   I truly admire Will for his grasp of policy and politicss.  I absolutely love how he talks, his word choice, his use of grammar and his ability to argue a point.  He is one of my favorite conservatives.  I usually always learn something from his appearances on news shows.  That is why I thrilled at the news from host Chuck Todd.

Syndicated columnist, George Will, he’s making his 52nd appearance on Meet the Press, but it’s his first since 1981. Where’ve you been? You know, I don’t know, have you been on some other show that I never, don’t think about?

 

Long Live Rock-And-Roll With Chuck Berry

There is a feel in your gut that comes with the guitar licks that takes one back in an instant to the first time Chuck Berry was heard.  It need not be when Berry was first aired on the radio or making his introduction to America.  That sense of musical freedom Berry captured in his music can happen for any kid in any decade.   Yesterday Berry died at the age of 90.  But nothing ever really ends.  The music continues.

“Chuck Berry, who with his indelible guitar licks, brash self-confidence and memorable songs about cars, girls and wild dance parties did as much as anyone to define rock ‘n’ roll’s potential and attitude in its early years, died on Saturday. He was 90. The St. Charles County Police Department in Missouri confirmed his death on its Facebook page. Mr. Berry died at his home near Wentzville, Mo., about 45 miles west of St. Louis. The department said it responded to a medical emergency and he was declared dead after lifesaving measures were unsuccessful.

“While Elvis Presley was rock’s first pop star and teenage heartthrob, Mr. Berry was its master theorist and conceptual genius, the songwriter who understood what the kids wanted before they knew themselves. With songs like ‘Johnny B. Goode’ and ‘Roll Over Beethoven,’ he gave his listeners more than they knew they were getting from jukebox entertainment.””Chuck Berry, who with his indelible guitar licks, brash self-confidence and memorable songs about cars, girls and wild dance parties did as much as anyone to define rock ‘n’ roll’s potential and attitude in its early years, died on Saturday. He was 90. The St. Charles County Police Department in Missouri confirmed his death on its Facebook page. Mr. Berry died at his home near Wentzville, Mo., about 45 miles west of St. Louis. The department said it responded to a medical emergency and he was declared dead after lifesaving measures were unsuccessful.”

No Visas Allowed For African Trade Meeting

Stunning, sad, pathetic.  This is what happens when undereducated people vote their top choice for the White House.

“Each year, the University of Southern California brings delegations from Africa to meet with business leaders, government officials and others in the U.S. But this year, the African summit has no Africans. All were denied visas. Visa issues are not uncommon for people traveling from African nations. … ‘This year it was 100 percent. Every delegation. And it was sad to see, because these people were so disheartened.’ [event organizer Mary] Flowers estimated that she lost about 100 attendees, including speakers and government officials. The countries affected included Sierra Leone, Guinea, Ghana, Nigeria, Ethiopia and South Africa. ‘I have to say that most of us feel it’s a discrimination issue with the African nations,’ said Flowers. ‘We experience it over and over and over, and the people being rejected are legitimate business people with ties to the continent.’