Madison Has Reasons To Feel Good About Future

I admit to not always feeling good about how the world looks after reading the newspapers.  There are plenty of reasons to feel glum, from Sudan with the shootings this week, to the lack of proper road funding in our state.  So when positive news is reported there is a need, I sincerely believe, to call it out.

And even better to do so when there is not one, but two positive stories coming from the city where I live.

In the April election for mayor I cast my vote for Paul Soglin.  One of the reasons I felt the need to do so was based on his ability to govern with fiscal dexterity.  He knew the needs of the city, but also understood why fiscal restraint is a wise lever to use.

While I admire Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway for her political moves I also am watching her actions on budget matters and city finances.  So when I read the following in the paper today I smiled in agreement.

Rhodes-Conway, however, also strongly echoed former Mayor Paul Soglin’s long-running concern over increased borrowing and rising debt payments, which account for 17.5% of the city’s operating budget for 2019, far above the unofficial target of 12.5% of spending.

If that foundation of understanding can be held to firmly, and not allowed to be altered by, at times a wayward city council, then Madison has reason to be assured of a more solid footing in the years ahead.  I hope our new mayor is most determined to stand by her statement.

The second story that makes me feel very pleased, after years of teases and missteps, is the powerhouse of an idea for the inner part of Madison. 

After decades of dreams and recent design concepts, Madison is poised to spend serious money to explore how to better connect Downtown with Law Park and Lake Monona. 

The city is now finalizing a $190,000 contract with the national architectural, engineering and planning firm SmithGroup, which has an office in Madison, to create a brand for the initiative, engage the community, and do preliminary technical work on the site’s history, relevant city plans, existing conditions, future road and shoreline improvements and more. The effort would run through the end of the year.

Dynamic and robust energy in the heart of any city is what draws tourists and dollars.  The spectacular nature of the isthmus and its potential for expansion of a park and other associated projects is an idea that is long over-due.

Madison is a place we all can be most proud to call home.  We can keep it that way by just making sound decisions.

Never Before Have I Needed To Read This Lead Sentence In News Story

This should answer any questions about how far down in the hole our nation has fallen since the election of Donald Trump.

This afternoon I picked up my copy of the Wisconsin State Journal and started to read the front page story written by Johnathon Lemire, White House reporter for the Associated Press and Kevin Freking.   Lemire is someone I very much respect and have come to think of as insightful, and professional.  He is, at times, on air during cable news shows.

The place we now reside, and need to be made aware of with news reports like this one, should concern all Americans.   Never before in my lifetime can I recall when the word pugilism has been used in a story concerning a president of this nation.   (And Teddy Roosevelt, please recall, liked to box!)

The fact is that word fits for the behavior we witnessed from Trump on his trip to Britain, and then while in that country.  I fully grasp the fact that a large swath of the nation has no care at all about the thrust of this post, or why deportment matters when sitting in the most important elected office in the world.

That then means the rest of us who do understand need to step up our game and retrieve our nation away from the child-like ones.  History demands it.



Yes, Mandela Barnes Parking Tickets Are A Legitimate News Story–Here Is Why

This week WISC-TV reported the following news story, which made some progressives in Madison wonder if this was news.  I contend that this is, indeed, news.  For the record I supported Mandela Barnes in the primary and general election in 2018.

Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes says he has taken care of a $108 fine for unpaid parking tickets that prevented him from registering a vehicle he previously owned.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Monday on the nearly year-old fine. Barnes tells the newspaper that he paid off the fine Friday after learning the Journal Sentinel was looking into it.

A Milwaukee municipal Judge Valerie Hill found Barnes guilty of not paying for three parking tickets and fined him $108. He missed the two-month deadline to pay. He could not renew his vehicle registration beginning in September until he paid the fine.

I posted the following on a Facebook page of a former Madison alder as to why this was a news story worthy of attention.

It is news. Like it or not. The reason is we should expect our elected leaders to set the tone and standards for society. What does it say to Joe Blow about paying his tickets if this leader does not pay heed to his. We talk, and rightly so, about the undermining of institutional norms on the national level, but let us not forget that it is the small steps which lead to the greater problems. All the missteps should be addressed. This is indeed, a legitimate news story.

One of the problems that is ever-present in politics, and from both sides of the aisle, is the lack of awareness when ‘my side’ does something wrong, but always deeply concerned when the other side does the same thing.  I try to be consistent on this blog.  I try to be that way in the daily footsteps of my life.   To try and shave off the corners when one party does something, but demand strict accountability from the other party when the same deeds are done makes no sense to me.

I call the balls and strikes in politics.  Hopefully I get most of them right.  I did this time for sure.