Posts Tagged ‘City Council’

City budget starts tomorrow (thanks Smathers)

August 4, 2009

And to maintain services at current levels, the budget will have to grow 5.7 percent. Hmmm…doesn’t that sound suspiciously familiar? Close to the 6.4 percent the state budget grew, due largely to stimulus funds.

The city faces a tough budget with the prospect of layoffs, a wage freeze or service cuts, Cieslewicz has said.

When Mayor Dave starts talking about service cuts, you know the situation is dire. The rumor is the mayor, who puts together the budget, is going to ask for an across the board six percent cut in every department. Much like Doyle put in place a five percent cut in the state budget.

The council will be discussing a variety of other interesting policies tonight, including the approval of a study that will gather data on traffic in the city. That’s all. What it was originally going to be was a study with a goal attached – to reduce car use in the city by 25 percent by 2020. Very ambitious goal, and I have tried to contact both sponsors of the ordinance, Ald. Brian Solomon and Ald. Satya Rhodes-Conway.

Nevertheless, that language was stripped from the policy, and now it’s simply a fact-finding mission. However, according to Bryon Eagon, the Madison Chamber of Commerce has not backed down from its opposition. To a study – on traffic. Slippery slope I guess.

Kristin Czubkowski has a good run-down of other issues coming before the council tonight. The city may very well approve the use of stimulus money to prevent foreclosures and fund employment training.


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.”

Live blogging council – Update

July 7, 2009

Update: Thank you Brenda Konkel, for the link you gave me on your blog, even though you referred to my account of the events as “weak sauce.” You humbled my unforgivably big ego and also introduced me to a new phrase. Dear readers, I promise my next council meeting will involve an attempt to stay the whole thing…almost. I will have to go a lone – friends and Madison politics don’t mix.

Here’s what happened in the first 40 mins of yesterday’s council meeting:

Brenda Konkel’s repping. Bryon Eagon is wearing a blue tie.

Alcohol licenses – incredible. The amount of deference to Mike Verveer and the ALRC is impressive, but nevertheless, expected. No matter what restaurants comes up – Hooters, some Mexican place etc.

Item number 14? New license for Electric Earth Cafe? Ald. Verveer? Move to adopt and refer to the ALRC. Is there a second? All those in favor say aye…all those opposed? The motion is adopted.

Ald. Schumacher wants to call the council’s attention to the unique names of the sandwiches on the menu.

Royce Williams, a citizen, is coming down to voice opposition to something. A retired individual from district 10. He’s talking about “Madison being green.” He’s upset about the bus terminal demolition – if you’re not up to date the Badger Bus/Greyhound terminal is getting bulldozed to build an apartment complex.

Williams is talking about how Champagne-Urbana, in Illinois, is the model for this plan, which is apparently inappropriate because it’s a third of the size of Madison.

Rose Mary Lee to support the plan:

The Meyer family has been in Madison for 100 years – they’re reliable, says RM. A bunch of people support it, she says. It will provide attractive, new landscape, new buildings. Provide construction jobs during the job. Poor greyhound? Whatever. It’s part of the largest conglomerate in the world. Who cares? Don’t feel sorry for Greyhound (actual words).

Susan Devoss to add her opposition:

They should delay.

Some guy whose name I didn’t get:

The city has only one inter-city bus terminal. This plan will eliminate that illogically. There’s too much traffic. Langdon St. can’t support additional traffic, which it will if all the other buses have to go to the Memorial Union instead of this bus station.

Randy Bruce, in support:

Oh great, we get visual aids. He’s one of the architects for the project. He says a lot of late 19th century industrial architecture in the neighborhood? What? I didn’t know Kelly’s Market was [insert pretentious architectural term]. He’s showing a brick building, and unnecessarily justifying this thing. Everybody is going to just vote it through. Nobody cares. UW does not want to act as a bus depot (memorial union) but that’s what this plan will force it to do.

Barbara Smith in opposition:

There needs to be a strong alternative plan. The alternatives leave Greyhound “homeless.” They will leave the service pick up customers on unsafe street corners. This will make bus travel inconvenient.

Beth Harper in opposition:

Librarian for UW, member of Progressive Dane. Chooses not to drive a car. A story about a bus terminal. My two companions are interested in leaving, so it looks like I’ll have to try next time to make it  the whole way through.

By the way

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.

Who’s going to challenge Mayor Dave? Will he ban underwear?

June 19, 2009

Interesting forum up at the Daily Page about potential challengers for Mayor Dave Cieslewicz in 2011. This is of course in light of a Cap Times article a couple weeks back that discussed Dave’s alienation of Madison’s hard left. Although some of the descriptions of the mayor go to comical extremes, Dave has clearly become disillusioned with much of the progressive coalition that got him elected in 2003 and 2007. And that of course, is his biggest political sin.

Although he’s taken more centrist positions on a couple of issues, notably the bus fare hike, the main case against Dave seems to be that he’s a traitor. Of course, the group of people who actually take his “rejection very personally” is very small, however, it will be sure to make plenty of noise in the next couple years to remind us that authoritarianism is not restricted to governments with nuclear capabilities – the streetcar proposal was simply the development phase of National Socialism.

Anyhow, it’s really entertaining reading some of the potential candidates people have suggested at the Isthmus. In terms of absurdity I think it’s a tie between Dave Blaska and Mike Verveer. Although I would say Verveer has a better chance, I would not be able to make a truly educated guess until I got his stance on safety, which I’ve already got from Blaska, who included the following as part of his 14 point plan to make our streets safer:

Enact and enforce ordinances prohibiting display of underwear or other obscene gestures, profane language heard beyond three feet; enforce jaywalking, excessive noise and other ordinances.

Although I do agree that it is a degradation of western society when a woman’s bra strap is visible under a tank top, I am slightly concerned that this type of policy could potentially harm those of us who ocassionally use under-garments for alternative purposes. Personally I like to wear boxer-briefs on my head from time to time. I don’t think I should need to explain myself to the fashion police because of this.

Recycle that plastic bag or put it over your head

June 17, 2009

Good news, the city council voted in favor of requiring Madison residents to recycle plastic bags.

Under a new program — which is tentatively scheduled to begin Sept. 1 — residents will  be required to collect and drop off clean, recyclable plastic bags at 13 designated collection sites throughout the city or at other businesses that recycle bags.

The program was OK’d by a 17-1 vote at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

Plastic bags that are considered recyclable include: grocery and retail bags, bread bags, newspaper bags, dry cleaning bags, toilet paper bags and paper towel bags. Soiled bags — such as those used to line garbage bins — cannot be recycled, Dreckman said.

Oh snap, we haven’t even talked about the penalties yet:

The penalty for not complying would be $100 for a first offense, $200 for a second and $400 for subsequent violations in a year. However, Dreckman said he did not expect citations would ever be issued for failing to recycle plastic bags.

How ironic. Set a penalty but immediately declare that it will never be applied. Isn’t that kind of like a Bush “signing statement”?

The council hasn’t gone far enough. Plastic bags should be banned at grocery stores and other retailers. Rather, stores should have to apply to get a permit to distribute them. They are a waste and an environmental disaster. The amount of litter created in the area makes this a local issue as well as a national energy affair. If localities take the lead on this issue they can pressure retailers to use paper instead of plastic, reducing billions of gallons of oil consumption, and cleaning up the environment.

Construction waste will be recycled

June 15, 2009

Well at least 50% of it will. The other half will presumably be thrown into Lake Mendota.

Brenda Konkel’s pumped about it.

Hopefully some good will come of this war zone the city of Madison has become yet again this summer. The bill before the council will mandate contractors in 2009 to recycle half of their waste, and the percentage will increase to 70% in 2010. Knowing nothing about the recycling of cement and other industrial waste, I can only say that the plan sounds awfully ambitious.