Repurpose Mayor Soglin’s Public Market
Blaska’s Third Law of Government is this: If Moses could get by with only 10 commandments, your public policy proposal should be even shorter.
A few blogs ago, the idiot savants at the Stately Manor announced that the good news is that the Madison City Council has taken a temporary detour from bashing the police and is now studying crime. “The bad news is that the Madison City Council is now studying crime.” We said:
That is because Ald. McKinney wants to view crime as a public health issue, not a law enforcement issue. Read this report and tell me it doesn’t look like Hillary Clinton’s original health care flow chart from hell.
The record will show that Alders Matt Phair and Mo Cheeks also have been posing for holy pictures. It’s the two alders’ two-fer: Mollify constituents rightly concerned about the gun battles raging in their neighborhoods and keep your race cards up to date with the Blame the Police crowd.
Phair and Cheeks are the authors of a 15-point, $3 million plan to address “racial disparities, violence, recidivism.” Fifteen points! That’s not a plan, that’s a grocery list.
It is too big to get out of its own way. The two alders announced the plan a full year ago. Earlier this month, city bureaucrats told the Council it’s still not ready for prime time. Maybe sometime this fall? Requests for proposals. Bids. Staff review. That sort of thing.
There is also evidence that they looking at the wrong thing.
Cheeks and Phair emphasized that “root causes,” like housing, employment and education gaps. They were working off Michael Johnson’s Focused Interruption Coalition.
No housing? Young Madison men of color are shooting at each other because they’re homeless? The forest of “Now Hiring” signs in Madison are a Potemkin Village? People! The shooters aren’t looking for jobs, they’re looking for trouble. Education? Sure. Go to school, do your homework. Where does that get enforced? Madison’s left wants cops OUT of the schools!
Let us not forget “racial disparities in the justice system,” cited every time a Madison politician or community activist gets in front of a microphone. NOT disparities among the perpetrators but “in the justice system.”
This is based on crime data show that more young people of color are being arrested for gun crime. Somehow, the police are to blame for arresting the wrong people.
“It’s absolutely true that we’re living in a city where depending on where you grow up, your outcome could be predictably different,” Cheeks said a year ago in announcing the plan.
It is absolutely NOT true that WHERE you grew up is dispositive but HOW you grew up, Ald. Cheeks.
Repurpose Mayor Soglin’s public market
The real hope is turning around young men at risk of following their older brothers to prison or the morgue. The Policy Werkes has devised this do-able and understandable plan and it’s only six points:
1) Support the police. Mayor Soglin, Alders Phair and Cheeks: walk arm and arm with Chief Koval and the mothers of Meadowood through Bettys Lane and Russet Road. Michael Johnson, you’re welcome if you’ll lay off the race hustle and read this letter to the editor.
2) Get offenders off the streets, no double standards. Tell Brandi Grayson and Brenda Konkel to get out of the way.
3) Support Sheriff Mahoney’s plan for a big beautiful jail that will provide mental health, alcohol and other drug abuse treatment — no skipping classes in jail!
4) Expel students who disrupt classes.
5) Send them to the equivalent of Kaleem Caire’s Madison Prep charter high school. Make it residential, with its own campus, and live-in guidance counselors. Issue snappy ties and blazers for uniforms. Lights out at 10.
6) You want restorative justice? Judges of the circuit court, feel free to sentence first-time offenders to #5 above.
Pay for it? Ashcan the mayor’s $15 million public market boondoggle. Build the Madison Prep campus on the First Street/East Wash/Johnson Street site. The kids can run aspects of a smaller-scale public market. Absorb Phair/Cheeks’ $3 million annual tab and you are in business.
Education, mentoring, work, and drug-free discipline. The three (or four) R’s!
Pick up the panhandlers. Meanwhile, a Republican mayor in Albuquerque, NM: “I decided to do something rare in government. I decided to make the solution simpler rather than more complicated.” A van drives around, picks up homeless panhandlers, and takes them to work. Might it be tried here? Fitchburg’s mayor and one Madison alder say it might.