Best Line About Madison Mayor Paul Soglin

This says it all, and perfectly so.

Dave Cieslewicz is the former mayor of Madison and nails it.

At every stop during the 2011 campaign, Soglin said that he wanted to return to office because he was “happiest when I’m mayor.” This begs the question of what the man is like when he’s not.

I just think Soglin needs more fiber in his diet.

Ask Dave Cieslewicz What Should Be Done With Judge Doyle Square

I was one of those not overly surprised, but nonetheless disheartened, when Madison Mayor Paul Soglin showed lack of spine when it came to using all the city power to make sure the Judge Doyle Square plans were big, forward thinking, and aimed at making a ‘wow’ statement.  Instead of just leading the timid Solgin should have led the city into the future with boldness and firmness.  Creating a downtown draw for tourists and further enhancing the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center with a classy hotel remains one of the most important decisions this mayor can make.  The additional framing of this area with features that speak to our values and strengths as a city seems to me to be a no-brainer.

This week former mayor Dave Cieslewicz weighed into the matter with a pointed article that resonates for those who think beyond the next election.

This is a substantial piece of the city’s heritage. It has been a badly underutilized district for a very long time, and this is a once-in-a-lifetime — make that once-in-two-or-three-lifetimes — chance to turn some pretty sour lemons into some pretty sweet lemonade.

And the city is on the verge of squandering this opportunity.

We have always understood that the costs for placing the parking underground, replacing the city offices with a new building or refurbishing the current one, and building a new hotel are very high. That’s not news, and the specific cost projections have been public for several months. But after asking developers for specific proposals and working with two of them to refine the proposals for months, Mayor Paul Soglin suddenly decided last week that he wasn’t up for the fight. He wants the costs reduced and the project diminished.

The costs are higher than they need to be, but that’s largely because of Soglin’s own directions. The project could be improved by doing three things that would add public amenities, reduce some costs and, most importantly, create a much more exciting and useful public space.

Dave Cieslewicz Says Everything One Needs To Know About College Football

I find myself often in agreement with the sentiments of former Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz.  Today his Isthmus article was perfect.  I hope my readers will agree.  In part it reads…

The fundamental problem is that there is just too much money these days in the college game. The all-sports network ESPN is now dictating college game-day schedules and even creating made-for-television playoff systems. The Big Ten will soon add Rutgers and Maryland to the league only to get a foothold into the East Coast television market. Twelve-year-old kids no longer get a chance to hawk soda at Camp Randall, and you can’t buy a Coke there anymore because the athletic department made a concessions deal with a big corporate outfit so they could get a bigger take of the proceeds.

The power of money leads directly to a loss of perspective at major universities where winning becomes more important than any other value of the institution, and where star coaches like Paterno become untouchable until it’s too late.

Advice On Dealing With A Blizzard

I like the words from former Mayor Dave.

It’s December in Wisconsin. Pour another cup of coffee, grab a good book, put on some music. And deal with it.

The Problem With Our Politics

Former Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz writes a very compelling article for Isthmus about the nature of today’s politics.

When having an opprotunity to chat with a candidate I always remark in spite of the heat of a race not to fail at having some fun.

Politics, after all, can be fun.  Should be fun.

But there seems nothing fun for any of those running for office this fall, and that is harmful to the process, both in terms of the candidates who put their name on the ballot to the voters who need to endure the slugfest.

What’s missing from these debates is any sense of the fun of politics, the clash of ideas, the mixing it up with your opponent over honest disagreement on the issues. The jab followed by a gleam in one candidate’s eye as if to say, I can take as good as I get, so give me your best shot. A debate between intelligent people who have a sense of humor and love the fight can be enlightening and even entertaining.

We don’t have to hate each other when we disagree about issues.



Why Is Madison Mayor Paul Soglin So Cranky?

Why do I think there is already buyers’ remorse setting in among voters in Madison when it comes to Mayor Paul Soglin? 

We were used to Dave Cieslewicz and his youthful demeanor, his wit, his smile.  “Mayor Dave” exemplified an energy about government service along with an optomisitc  view about who we are as Madisonians.  That applealed to me.  

Meanwhile Paul Soglin comes across as cranky and pissed off.  There seems to me a deep negative reaction within Soglin for anything that Cieslewicz  succeeded at doing in the last eight years.  As a citizen of Madison I hope that is not the tone we have to look forward to whenever Soglin speaks.

With that in mind…

Isthmus’ Bill Lueders has the must read article from Madison’s weekly.

Ah, Mayor for Life Soglin, Madison’s sourpuss-in-chief. Here’s a guy who seemingly shifts between two phases of existence: being unhappy about not being mayor, and being unhappy about being mayor. See if you can spot the common theme.

Madison Mayor Paul Soglin Needs A Time Out

As I  noted yesterday Madison Mayor Paul Soglin is needlessly creating divisions with the new City Council.  The issue that I commented on yesterday regarding the Overture Center is also the one that was featured on the editorial page of today’s Wisconsin State Journal.

I stated yesterday…

There were many leaders of this city who painstakingly worked to fashion an Overture agreement that most think is viable and smart.  To come in at this time and want to tear apart a finalized agreement is not good news for Overture.  In addition, the strains that are put on the working relationship between Soglin and the council are needless.

The WSJ wrote today…

His ego-driven prediction this week that the Overture Center will “crash and burn” was irresponsible and insulting to his new City Council colleagues.

Soglin is not a high-profile blogger anymore, sounding off on city matters from the sidelines. He’s back in charge of City Hall for an unprecedented third time. So his words carry significant weight and come with serious consequences.

While it is clear Soglin has an ax to grind about the way Madison’s former leader Dave Cieslewicz ran the show during his eight years as mayor, there is no need for Soglin to undermine the final outcome after a hard-sought resolution was crafted for Overture.

The newspaper summed it nicely.

And we hope his third time as mayor turns out to be more of a charm than his blunt blunder this week otherwise suggests.

We all must hope for that or this is one long bumpy ride.  And needlessly so.

Now Comes Tough Words From Mayor Soglin And Mike Verveer Over Mifflin Street Block Party

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.