Posts Tagged ‘Bryon Eagon’

Another go at student ALRC vote

October 5, 2009

It appears Bryon Eagon will be presenting his proposal to add a student voting member to the Alcohol License Review Committee at tomorrow’s meeting of the Common Council Organizational Committee.

Although the proposal was defeated by one vote about a month ago, Eagon hopes that some of the edits he put into the measure, such as allowing students from MATC and Edgewood to qualify for the position, will win him additional support on the committee. If the committee rejects the ordinance yet again, Eagon may then take it to the full Council for an up or down vote.

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KK suspended – where will the jersey chasers go?

September 16, 2009

That’s the question one commenter asked on the Herald article about the Kollege Klub’s one month suspension.

Surprising to see only one council member voted against the suspension. You’d think Bryon Eagon and Bridget Maniaci might have voted against. Of course, even a very pro-bar alder can make a good case for supporting the suspension – fights. Even those who oppose police raids and underage citations can say that the KK had legitimate security issues and there needed to be consequences. In fact, if you oppose bar raids for underage drinking, you can point to the KK as a place where cops actually should be.

UPDATE: According to Eagon, the vote on the Council represented an approval of the deal worked out between the KK owner and the City Attorney’s office. Therefore, a vote in favor was in many ways a vote to accept a sort of plea bargain.

The Herald also discussed the prospect of a student member on the ALRC, but anybody who read the article is probably extremely confused:

Ald. Bryon Eagon, District 8, had made a motion during the previous CCOC meeting to have a student have a vote on the CCOC, but the motion to amend the proposal failed.

The second CCOC should be replaced with ALRC.

Keep in mind: the suspension will take place in December and January, when many students will be away over break.

Herald supports student ALRC member

September 9, 2009

The Badger Herald Editorial Board argued in favor of adding a student rep to the Alcohol License Review Committee. The most important aspect of the editorial.

Before Mr. Eagon’s proposal can be realized, however, there are several details that must be worked out. First, there was substantial debate regarding whether the representative had to be 21. As with any other city committee, any adult should be allowed to serve. Regardless of how much some may wish to pretend otherwise, most college-aged students are aware of and can offer meaningful input on alcohol issues, whether or not they are 21.

This is perhaps the only aspect of the editorial that took any guts to write. The rest was very intuitive for a student newspaper, although the Herald often fails to achieve even that in some instances (the drinking age, tuition). The point could have been supplemented with the logic used by Ald. Shiva Bidar-Sielaff, who argued that not only was an underage student possible, but he/she might be preferable considering the unacceptable lack of activities for underagers in the downtown area.

Also guys, if you insist on the courtesy titles, please, be consistent. You switch from Mr. Eagon to Ald. Eagon in one article. Tst, tst, tst.

Bryon Eagon’s alder hours

September 9, 2009

If you live in the 8th district and have a concern, whether an issue with a landlord or any other neighborhood worries or ideas, take a few minutes and talk to Bryon Eagon, who will be holding alder hours on Mondays from 10 am to 11 am in Lakefront on Langdon (Memorial Union) and Thursdays at Gordon Commons between 1 and 2 pm.

Even if you live outside of the district, Eagon, like Eli Judge before him, has positioned himself as a student alder, meant primarily to represent student interests.

Compliment him on his ties. I guarantee you it works, even if he doesn’t show it.

University Square bar dies in ALRC

September 4, 2009

There is a grocery store coming to University Square.

But not a bar. Or a restaurant. What to call it was exactly the source of the controversy that ended developer Scott Acker’s hopes of a gigantic Badger-themed eatery/watering hole next door to Lucky apartments. Cardinal writer Todd Stevens seems to suggest that the Alcohol License Review Committee rejected the plan because it didn’t believe the bar would be able to provide a non-alcoholic environment for underage customers as well as be a bar.

That may be partially true, but that’s not the story city officials I’ve talked to have been pushing. Ald. Michael Schumacher, an ALRC member who voted against giving Acker a second chance to present a restaurant plan, was very straight forward in explaining his opposition: the project violated the downtown alcohol density plan. He didn’t believe it would be a restaurant and he was convinced that the place would ultimately derive most of its profits from alcohol sales. This matters to Schumacher not only because his German heritage instilled an obligation to follow the law (his words), but because if the place becomes a bar late at night it means hundreds of drunks leaving at 2 AM, which inevitably causes problems for cops trying to keep an eye on bar-time exodus.

Ald. Bridget Maniaci voiced the same concern – does the city want to deal with a bar with a capacity of 900?

So what is the real tragedy of the death of the new bar? Is it the lost investment or the lost opportunities for fun? Proponents of the bar say both. Ald. Bryon Eagon was openly disappointed with the dismissal of the plan by some of his colleagues, and sent me the following:

This was surely and opportunity lost and has brought up the need for discussions about downtown business investments and general alcohol policy, specifically about changes to the density plan so we don’t scare off potential good investments. Speaking of scaring off applicants, I was also disappointed that there were some votes against referring the application, which not only seems to be unprecedented, but sends the wrong message to this and also future applicants and investors.

Ouch. A good, above-the-belt knock at Schumacher. Stevens uses the same arguments – stupid Madison is being anti-business. Granted, his assertion that we have an anti-business reputation isn’t so true – Madison was recently rated one of the best places to find a job. Of course that’s largely due to the public sector…but I digress.

However, business be damned, the sad end to this story is that yet another door to underage entertainment is closed and many of the anti-bar crew aren’t proposing alternatives. Ald. Shiva Bidar-Sielaff seems to be an exception. A supporter of the density plan which restricts the number of bars downtown, Bidar-Sielaff nevertheless is a vocal proponent of expanding social opportunities for 18-20 year old students. When I asked her if the city lacked entertainment for underagers she was blunt: YES! “We need more live music, more movie theaters, more places to dance.” She spoke eloquently about the issue when voting in favor of adding a student voting member to the ALRC the other day (proposed by Eagon). Why not have an underage member of the ALRC, who could push for establishments that have liquor licenses as well as non-alcoholic options?

If Madison city officials make it known that they welcome such places, prospective developers would be eager to put forth plans that integrate drinking and non-drinking better. There are way too many concerts, for instance, that you have to be 21 to get into. It’s unacceptable.

Council rejects student voting rep on ALRC

September 1, 2009

The Common Council Organizational Committee approved adding two new voting members to the Alcohol License Review Committee, one alder and one citizen. In the process it rejected an amendment by Ald. Bryon Eagon which would have replaced the citizen appointee with a student representative. Currently there is a non-voting member of the ALRC, Mark Woulf, who you may remember as Eagon’s vanquished opponent in last spring’s 8th district aldermanic election.

The debate was long and confusing. The Council president, Tim Brueur, had to ask the members to re-vote on the various issues several times because some of them did not quite understand what they were voting on at times.

In summary Eagon won the support of Alds. Marsha Rummel and Shiva Bidar-Sielaff. That’s all I can say for certain. It was hard to understand who was voting against, although I do know that Alds. Michael Schumacher and Judy Compton, who asked that the issue be referred to the mayor, voted against.  Later Eagon explained that he was happy to see members support the “concept” even if they aren’t ready to commit to adding a student vote right now.

Among concerns raised were the age of the student rep who would be voting on alcohol issues. Would he or she be expected to be of legal drinking age? While Compton said that should be the case, and Eagon said he would expect the person to be 21, Bidar-Sielaff voiced skepticism of the legality of such a restriction to public office. After all, an 18 year old can serve on the council, how can there be more stringent restrictions on one committee?

Bidar-Sielaff also emphasized the potential of having an underage student representative, who could be a voice for the thousands of 18-20 year olds who often feel left out of the entertainment planning in the city. I expect she was implying that having an underage rep could be useful in pushing for liquor licensed establishments that also allow underagers in for non-alcoholic entertainment.

It was disappointing to see no presence from the Herald or Cardinal at the meeting. This would make a great story for the start of the school year. Whether or not people find Eagon’s request legitimate, this could have been a very important moment for students to increase their clout on city alcohol policy.

Another voting member on ALRC?

September 1, 2009

The Alcohol License Review Committee – easily the most politically important committee in the Council. No, it has nothing to do with approving the $100 million renovation of the Edgewater Hotel or the development of “car light” neighborhoods or city trolley systems, but alcohol is the only issue to a fair number of voters, especially if city elections don’t take place during spring break.

Today the ALRC is considering adding another voting member, which would bring the total number of votes on the committee to eight. Currently there are two alders, Michael Schumacher and Mike Verveer, as well as five “residents,” some of whom have technical expertise on the issue, and some of whom are selected by the mayor because…well, he thought they would be chill additions.

In another discussion with Schumacher about alcohol policy, my favorite German on the Council expressed tentative opposition to the proposed plan, mainly because he believes eight voting members would be harder to manage than seven, considering the likelihood of tie votes. Nevertheless, he did indicate support for an alternative plan, which would replace one of the resident members with an alder but keep the overall number at seven. His point is that although many like the idea of resident members, and see their participation as evidence of a keen sense of civic activity in the city, they are still appointed by the mayor, meaning they are less democratic than alders, who are elected officials and are held accountable by their constituents.

But here’s another idea that may be thrown around – how about making Mark Woulf, the non-voting student rep on the committee, a voting member? It’s an idea Bryon Eagon has thrown around. Add Woulf and an alder and bring the number up to 9? That way students get a vote on their favorite issue (I guess some care about book theft) and the committee has an odd number of reps to prevent ties.

Is that possible? No, at least not according to Schumacher, who says he fought a tough political battle just to get a non-voting student rep on ALRC in the first place. Despite that success, the student rep is still only a temporary position that must be re-approved in three years.

What is most surprising about the alcohol politics in this city is the opposition to student participation from, of all places, the bars! It’s the alcohol industry that doesn’t appreciate the presence of a policy maker who represents but mere customers (students). Does that make sense? Why would bars shun a reliably pro-bar vote on the license committee? Schumacher doesn’t quite understand. Would they rather have an anti-alcohol soccer mom?

Brunch Links

July 17, 2009

Cap Times: WI unemployment up to 9.2%

Paul Soglin: What right-wing think tanks don’t tell you about the garbage tax.

Bryon Eagon: “I am frustrated with the process of these non-renewals, even as the Alder, I was not included in any discussions with city staff or police about serious actions proposed in my district and I would appreciate future inclusion in future discussions.”

Critical Badger: UW to crack down on ticket scalpers. Don’t they have something better to do?

La Crosse Tribune: Assembly Democrats renege on fundraising pledge. Reschedule canceled fundraiser.

State Journal: Monona City Council: Then again, maybe you shouldn’t be allowed to have chickens.

Cap Times: Consultants from Illinois are robbing UW blind.

Sexism on city council?

July 9, 2009

Brenda Konkel suspects it.

Essentially, whether you believe the post has any credence depends entirely on your trust in Brenda Konkel. I for one believe she is not just making things up or even exaggerating, because if she were her case would probably be more convincing. She admits that the examples she lists are not particularly noteworthy, but she thinks that little gestures of disrespect to women may be a trend on the council with some of the male members. Not knowing anything about Council protocol, it’s hard for me to judge the incidents she lists. Maybe a couple of them were valid, but a couple of the descriptions were mind-expanding:

“As she is talking, Bruer is talking to Schumacher. Schmidt and Eagon are listening to Shiva more or less and looking at their materials and thinking about things but not clearly actively listening but also not actively not listening.”

Bryon Eagon’s blog

June 25, 2009

I was the first commenter on Bryon Eagon’s new blog. Eagon is a student alderman representing Madison’s 2nd district 8th district (my very own).

It would be very much appreciated if more Common Council members started blogging. That way I wouldn’t be dependent on Brenda Konkel for news on the happenings of that lot. Nothing against Brenda but her devotion to her work has sometimes led her to report each meeting, rather than analyze it. Ald. Blank sets his drink down, clears his throat, and asks if anybody has change for a 5 – discussion on iced tea ensues.

Eagon admits that he still hasn’t mastered the blogosphere’s “set of tubes,” but he does have a blackberry and a twitter account, which is connected to the blog. That makes things so much easier, and I realize that I should do the same. NOTE: I do not have a blackberry – I am still a man of the people.

Update: Kristin Czubkowski asks us who from city government we want to see blogging. She suggests Ald Jeb Sanborn, a “libertarian-leaning conservative.” The void that most obviously needs to be filled is that of the “fascist-leaning conservative,” which of course is filled by David Blaska in the Dane County blogosphere. By the way, I am honored by Blaska’s response to my heaps of praise on his anti-sagged pants cause.