On Saturday I posted that “I suspect many local politicians will try to feign a shocked look when trying to explain how this never was considered a possible outcome.”
The outcome were the many crimes and incidents of violence including stabbings, sexual assaults, batteries, thefts, police officers hurt, robberies and drug deals in downtown Madison during and after the Mifflin Street Party.
I also posted Mayor Soglins’s comment made before the party was held concerning the way the Mifflin event was organized this year. (emphasis below is mine.)
Soglin stated, “Just when we thought there were no new ways of having a block party, we’ve found a new way,” Soglin said. “This is a rather different and much improved effort to celebrate spring.”
Now that the event is over comes the tough words from Soglin, and a leading member of the Madison City Council, Mike Verveer. Rather as I predicted back on Saturday that hindsight would provide clarity of thought.
Mayor Paul Soglin vowed to end the process of issuing a permit for larger events, known as a picnic beer license, without formal approval from the mayor and City Council. A picnic beer permit now requires only an administrative review by the city clerk’s office.
“In retrospect, the issue of a beer permit was a tragic mistake,” Ald. Mike Verveer, 4th District, said. “I should have realized when we got the advice from the city attorney’s office that there was no way to ban carry-ins, the deal should have been off.”
“The sheer quantity of beer and liquor being carried into the event was obscene,” Verveer said. Allowing open consumption “gave a sense of entitlement, invincibility, to partygoers, like there were no rules,” he said.
Soglin, who on Sunday called for an end to the event, acknowledged Monday that change will take time.
While this type of Monday-morning quarterbacking is not unusual, the taxpayers, voters, and residents of Madison have watched year after year as this annual embarrassing drunk-fest is allowed to continue. For long-time politicians who well understand Madison and the issues we confront, not to have known in advance that the lifting of the ban on open alcoholic beverages in the streets would be utter insanity, is a statement in and of itself. That it just one more embarrassing part to this story.
The events at the Mifflin Street Party nearly claimed the life of a man this weekend after he was stabbed. That makes the snow event that everyone barked at Mayor Dave Cieslewicz about a couple of years ago seem rather tame in comparison.
Major Soglin is now in charge, and this Mifflin Party is a problem on his watch. An event he now has stated he wants to see come to an end. I applaud him for that statement, and wish him well in bringing it about. Many will be watching and making note of his promise.