Who Gave Best Soliloquy At Madison City Council Meeting?

Last night there was ample evidence to see why more people do not make an attempt to run for the Madison City Council.  It was most frustrating watching alders gazing at their navels while at times seemingly treating their speaking time as if it were a session with a therapist.  It was truly dispiriting to hear the most outrageous and nonsensical musings of citizens who surely just found a place to warm up from the frigid winter weather and then decided to turn the proceeding into open mic night.

Do not get me wrong.  I love democracy in action and have spent many, many hours over the decades wrapped up in C-SPAN happenings from the floor of congress.  And yes, it can be frustrating, but there is always the knowledge that the national shenanigans were taking place in Washington, far removed from where I live.   But to know that what I witnessed last night was only a few blocks away made the council proceedings almost painful to endure.

Alderman Mike Verveer brought up a motion to over-ride a mayoral veto of a liquor license request for Taco Bell on State Street.  He started out by saying the move was not likely to change the outcome from the first failed attempt to over-ride two weeks ago.  The only thing clear about his move was a desperate desire to carry water for a business interest that never had the votes to pass.   When Mayor Paul Soglin correctly pointed out the council members were being played as patsies over these types of liquor requests Vereer got touchy and irked.  But the mayor scored the win and proved why it never looks good to bring a matter to a vote just to look ‘concerned’.

The rag-tag group of locals who showed up to lodge some of the most dis-jointed and off-the-wall complaints about the police underscored what the vast majority know all too well.  That being it is vital that the grown-ups in this city govern and rule.  With wild and at times even crazy comments the rabble opined on the police and why the council should not allow for the hiring of 8 new officers and the funds to pay for them.  One of the oddest-hatted of the group tried to pin his lack of a degree from UW-Madison on Governor Walker’s policies, but given how poorly he presented himself before a governing body the only question is how he ever first was admitted to our esteemed school?


For over four hours the alders spoke to the issue of the police.  No one can say they debated the matter as the final outcome was never really in doubt.  While they all took pains to show their intent to have facts presented and the arguments weighed anyone watching at home fully understood this was a stage presentation of “Who Can Present The Best Soliloquy?”  I admit it was a close call but the winner had to be Alder Larry Palm, who in spite of stating he thought his cold was returning, did not limit his time to self-analyse his views while looking like he might fall asleep at his desk.  The vote came near 1 AM, and was 17-2.  The long play acting ended.

For those who care about the police–as I do–this was an important outcome.  It was a good night for those who know Mayor Soglin is a smart man who fights for the city.

But it was not a good evening for anyone who cares about effective governing and putting the best and brightest in focus for the city to watch.  Our council looks like they spend more time preparing to speak for the camera so they can massage and assuage the loudest and rudest elements in the city–based on who showed up to comment–than just cutting to the core and doing their job.

And so it goes.

2 thoughts on “Who Gave Best Soliloquy At Madison City Council Meeting?

  1. Mr. Strange Hat could not understand the 3-minute time limit despite several reminders from Mayor Paul until various alders shouted out, “Sit Down.” Later, he tried to pick fight with me out in the hallway.

  2. Strange Hat was also sharing about his divorce—very odd indeed. BTW–the funniest line of the night came from you–David Blaska–as you took the podium and wished Soglin many more years as mayor–that tone was needed more through out the long night. So thanks for some levity and your work to make the vote come out the way we, as a city, needed. Sincere thanks.

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