Words Of Reason At This Time Of Madison Rioting

A Facebook friend of mine. Brian Austin wrote the following words about Madison, local law enforcement, and the current situation we find ourselves.  It is perfectly stated and correctly toned.  I support each word.  As such I post it in its entirety.

I am incredibly proud of the men and women of MPD. It has been an exhausting couple of days, with possibly more to come. I am not going to try to process the last few days until I have had some sleep, but I will say this:

I loudly and publicly denounced the murder of George Floyd, as did my coworkers. The City of Madison has an educated, caring police department that wants to be a partner in the solution to the disparities in our community. Yes, there is institutionalized racism throughout our society, and there are also police allies who want to be a part of positive change. I beg you not to be so cynical that you believe this is not possible. I can acknowledge the role policing has played in the oppression of people of color. I can also acknowledge the incredible talent, compassion, and contribution the women and men of MPD bring to our community. Those two concepts are not mutually exclusive.

MPD has done everything in our power to protect the First Amendment rights of those protesting. While I wish as a human that the anger wasn’t doled out in such a wide swath, I understand why it is so and will continue to work to establish common understanding and compassion with an outstretched hand.

But the grotesque behavior I have witnessed occurring after the protests are over is utterly unacceptable. Just as I call out the murder of George Floyd, I call out a situation that has to stop. Our small business community, already struggling to survive, is being utterly destroyed. My coworkers have endured rocks, bricks, large chunks of concrete, flaming dumpsters, spit, and physical assault. My team was shot at 2 nights ago. The men and women of MPD have responded with restraint and judiciousness under extraordinarily trying circumstances. If you think otherwise, I am happy to discuss offline, but I am telling you with every fiber of my being that you are mistaken. For those willing to still have a conversation about how we move forward together, I am, as always, ready and willing to truly listen.

For those who are burning my City and hurting my officers, this must stop now.

These views are my personal observations. I don’t speak on behalf of my employer.

Another Open Letter To Madison Police Regarding Dangerous Situation On Statehouse Square Friday

Another reader passed along a letter that was submitted to Madison Police regarding the dangerous situation that is to be created Friday on Capitol Square. That letter is below.

Protestors are rallying to undermine science and medical advice concerning Governor Evers closing businesses in the state during the COVID-19 pandemic.   Late yesterday another reader dropped me this  note that was also written to local police. 

I also have posted about the concerns with a local business that is being targeted by the protesters to use as a restroom facility.

As such,  older customers at the Main Street location of Walgreens need to be mindful of the dangers posed during this pandemic with the protesters not following health guidelines.  

I understand your concern about a possible Mifflin Street Block Party and your efforts to curb it this Saturday.   I hope that you will also be as diligent in your concern about people disrespecting the public health and safety when protesters, carrying guns at that, present a public health and safety threat to the citizens of Madison, especially the businesses on the Capitol Square, like Walgreens and the Inn on the Park, tomorrow.   As they have publicized, these protesters are planning to invade private businesses on the Square to make use of their restrooms.  Similar protesters in Lansing and other cities have shown total disregard for public health and safety, including the right-of-way of emergency vehicles.

At least the potential Mifflin Street Block Party participants are not planning to spread their germs to other non-participants.  

Thank you.

Open Letter To Madison Police RE: Gun-Toting Rally At Wisconsin State Capitol Friday

Many residents of Madison are very concerned about the mob of malcontents from the far reaches of this state, and the ones that will be brought in from neighboring states, to shout and show their disdain for the prudent measures put in place in Wisconsin to combat COVID-19.  Measures, it should be noted, that polls demonstrate to be supported and approved.

I have posted about those who have nothing more in their life than to show disdain for government and demonstrate why they think 100 is a perfect IQ score.  I have also posted about the protestors making public their desire to use a local merchant’s restroom during their rally.

Tonight a resident of this city reached out to me with a letter sent to the Madison Police Department after the news was made today that authorities will be cracking down on Mifflin Street Party participants this weekend.  While I applaud that action, (and have for many years) it goes without saying that what is being trucked into Madison Friday is a lot more dangerous to the health and well-being of our city and those who live here.  Police should be as diligent in what takes place around the statehouse as they plan to be on Saturday. 

Here then is open letter to the Madison Police Department.

Will MPD be writing $376 tickets for the maroons who will be invading our city Friday to protest the extension of Safer at Home?

If the videos from other cities are indicative of what we can expect, they don’t respect the 6′ social distance, they don’t wear masks, they impede emergency vehicles, they disparage people in the first responder and health provider community, they have no permit and they have no facilities for sanitation (because they can’t get a permit).  They’re talking about using Walgreen’s bathrooms.  What definition of a public health nuisance is the city using that would not apply? What are the downtown residents supposed to do if they need to pick up an Rx or supply and not know what the yahoos have touched in a drug store?   The police should encourage Walgreens to close from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for their own employees’ safety.

Any of these statements written in the Mifflin release pertain equally if not more to the unpermitted rally on Friday.  I would expect MPD to be at least as diligent and assertive as busting a few porch parties.  At least the students don’t parade around with AK 47s around their necks.

Madison Being Contacted By ‘Police Organization’ Asking For Money, Is A GOP Front Operation

This home is one that can be counted on to support the Madison Police Department.  We are proud of the work the men and women in blue provide on a daily basis to our community.  So when there is an attempt to play on those sentiments by interlopers who ask for money for financial assistance for ‘police causes’, and then get rude when pressed to explain, and then finally hang up the phone on me…..

….that is when I turn to my blog.

This morning a call came to our home from (608) 299-9239.  The person on the other end of the line had what I would term a professional radio type voice.  He expressed the need for our assistance to help fund ‘police causes’.  He said that that they were a 527 non-charitable organization.   I asked to have that explained to me–as the 527 description was not one that I readily connected with.

He told me he did not know and would need to pass me to a “manager”.  The woman who then picked up the conversation would not answer my question but instead gave me this website—–National Police Support Fund.

And then promptly hung up on me.

This is–quite clearly–not the behavior I expect from anyone who calls my home when asking for money.  If I have a question that needs to be answered before forking over cash I expect an honest response.  And some civility.

When I looked at the website following the “manager” hanging up on me I discovered that the ‘police causes’ that they wanted my money for were to assist with their own described mission as a “political organization” so to “to influence the selection, nomination, election, or appointment of candidates to federal, state, and local offices.”

One does not have to search very deeply into the website to quickly ascertain this is a Republican operation dressed up to lure those who appreciate our police by providing financial support to those we would not otherwise ever give assistance.

The National Police Support Fund is a con job impersonating an honorable person dressed in blue.  The organization claims to care about police but are really are only interested in bankrolling Republican conservatives at election time.

Those who pick up the phone need to be aware!

Thank You Mike Koval!

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It comes as no surprise to any of my readers that I send a sincere Thank You to Mike Koval as he starts another chapter of life.  His service to our community as Chief of the Madison Police Department has been an honorable one.  Others can pay heed to it as an example of how to lead with character.

Koval resigned from his position over the weekend.  While he has most certainly earned down-time, it also goes without saying we will miss him.

No one can say Koval did not face headwinds.  The times in which any major city now finds itself means all who wear blue are faced with social unrest and never enough revenue to meet the needs of a department.

This blog has been four-square behind both the Madison Police Department and Chief  Koval.  I simply reject the knee-jerk reactions to our local officers based on events that happen in places around the nation.  There are no easy answers to any of the complicated elements about those stories.  But I know that in Madison we have men and women who wear blue who rise to the high standards of their profession.  Koval made sure of that.

I have been able to talk with Koval over time and know him to be most able not only to communicate effectively but also to make solid points with his words.  He would wish us never to forget, when headlines scream of mayhem, that police are human like everyone else, hurt like everyone else, and desire strong safe communities like everyone else.

I would add that the very ones who often place themselves in harm’s way to protect us need far more recognition than they have received.  At the top of that long list of names is Mike Koval.

Thanks, Mike, for what you did for our city, and who you are as a person.

Admit It: Madison’s State Street Has Serious Safety Issues

I am the first to praise Madison.  I love our isthmus, statehouse, UW, local lakes, and kind-hearted people.  I often post about how wonderful it is to live here.  Just this weekend I posted about the Wisconsin Book Festival taking place this fall.

But as with every post I place on Caffeinated Politics I play it honestly.  I call them as I see them.  As such, I need to be upfront and point out what many wish to deny.  Iconic State Street is not the safe place we all want it to be, and that it must be to retain its overall appeal.

About two months ago James and I started down State Street from Capitol Square.  We noted a number of police vehicles parked in the area with a number of our finest walking about and conversing with others.  Clearly, something was not right.  That night on the late local news it was reported shots had been fired in that block.  And from what we came to learn, it was only minutes prior to our walk to the Memorial Union in search of a brat while watching a sunset.  (Which is a must-do when visiting our city!)

This past week we again were on State heading up from the UW to our car parked at the Capitol.  It was a night, I remarked to others, which impressed me so much as we saw the eager and energized young men and women, clearly UW students, confident in their walk and the way they presented themselves, feeling ready to take on the world.  I felt good about the future in a way that is hard to deny when looking at university students.

James and I grabbed a malt from a shop, and as we sat for a moment, soon realized that the area was not suited for us.  One person was clearly having a drug (whatever) episode and fell back on the pavement while in a sitting position.  Another person nearby laughed and said the person was “wasted”.  That was more than enough to witness and we moved to enjoy our ice-cream elsewhere.

As we walked back to the top of State it was now getting dark.  I have become accustomed at those hours not to look at faces but to watch hands.  That probably comes from reading too many books about espionage and hand-offs on a Moscow street.  But to my left (in front of what had once been an art supply store) two men walked into each other as a blond-haired woman was close by.  I see a packet smaller than a cigarette pack being transferred from one man to the other.  All walk to the intersection where the dealer heads left in the direction of a parking garage as the one who received the packet crosses the street where he then meets another man who passes close.  As soon as they glide past each other the man again hooks up with the blond woman who has walked slowly ahead.

We do not have to be reminded that this element comes with guns and the real likelihood of violence.  The fact that this deal was done with no effort to take it to a place less crowded speaks to the ease with which State Street is seen as an area to ‘conduct business’.

Now I am no prude or conservative in liberal clothing.  I just happen to have been raised to consider how we treat our bodies to have meaning.   It seemed so jarring to me to have seen those young minds eager for learning, and life, up near the UW campus, and then to see other youngish people who looked weathered and thin wasting life by selling and buying drugs.

I have heard others say they have no interest in participating at the Dane County Farmers’ Market or strolling down State Street for a night out.  While that upsets me as I love this city and know the vast majority of people would never harm anyone else, I also am aware that if I were to advise an older couple about walking away from the Square I would recommend a different path than State Street.

Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway is playing to her progressive base when she says the homeless population is not to blame for the behavior which alarms business owners and frustrates police.  But those of us who are not wedded to a mere slogan that sells at election time knows the criminal and violent behavior is created by a cast of characters who need to be dealt with in a fashion that will end the problem.

Some in city government think winter weather will stem crime in the State Street area.  There is another option.  Perhaps a policy that does not cater to people who are classified as homeless would also be an answer.  Sometimes putting forth a tough and strong policy is better than adding toilets.  (I could not fathom what I read today in my Sunday newspaper.)  After all, most of us have a car and can take our money to other areas and spend it where shootings and drugs are not part of the urban mosaic.

But our city council seems not to agree.

ACTION ALERT: Remove Ali Muldrow From Madison School Board–Sign Petition Now

Yesterday I posted my sincere thoughts about the most damaging statement made by Madison School Board Member Ali Muldrow.  She linked Madison police with Nazis and concentration camps.  She stepped over a line that can not be forgiven or forgotten.

I just signed the petition “Madison : Remove Ali Muldrow From Madison School Board for AntiSemitic comments” and wanted to see if you could help by adding your name.

Our goal is to reach 500 signatures and we need more support. You can read more and sign the petition here:

http://chng.it/LwrMPYdmWD

Thanks!

Gregory

Madison School Board Member Ali Muldrow Used Trump Tactics

UPDATE–ACTION ALERT–Sign Petition and remove Ali Muldrow from Madison School Board.

To say I am very disheartened with Ali Muldrow would be a severe understatement.

Since 2015 I have lamented the tone, style, and tactics of Donald Trump with his use of bombastic language, lack of facts, and wild exaggerations.  I have wondered how deep his impact would be on the body politic.  While our political discourse has always been frothy in the history of our nation there is no doubt the wheels appear to be coming off the bus since Trump arrived on the scene as a presidential candidate.

But with the words and statements used by Madison School Board member Muldrow regarding local police, Nazis, and concentration camps I am truly saddened, given this is a very liberal and seemingly educated area.   If we can not rise higher in our discourse and ability to argue a point what hope is there for the hinterlands?

On Saturday, Muldrow said on Facebook, “I think that (it’s) important to talk about what it is like for the students who are arrested at school and end up in the Dane County Jail. We would not talk about the role of the Nazis and act as if the experiences people had in concentration camps is a separate issue.”

I was stunned at her words, and equally so at the lack of her awareness of what occurred during one of the most inhumane chapters of the 20th century.  I am sure she has a number of degrees and diplomas, but this weekend she acted as if she had never opened a history book in her lifetime.

There is no excuse for making such an outlandish and hurtful statement.  It was not as if Muldrow misspoke, as what she offered was in writing which takes more time and awareness to prepare.  The harm she did with local efforts to unite people who have varying perspectives on local police and oversight issues will take time to sort out.  That she consciously linked our police with Nazis and the efforts to stem violence in schools with concentration camps is stupefying. 

I have never been to the sites where concentration camps were set up by Hitler’s men.  But I have studied history, read a great deal, and saw enough documentary coverage to know that what happens to teenagers who run afoul of society’s expectations in high school are not being subjected to anything comparable to a concentration camp.

The bar in our country for political discourse is pathetically low.  I do not have a great deal of hope from conservatives in lifting it, as they seem only willing to support Trump’s tone and style.  But I need to have faith that liberals and progressives can elevate our conversations that are much needed if we are to govern and learn from one another.

What Muldrow did was of such lack of principle and common sense that she will not find any soft words of apology will carry away the harm and hurt she purposefully placed into the community.

And so it goes.