The Squire can countenance the name-calling that comes with being a Reagan-Tommy Thompson-Act 10-supporting conservative in The Emerald City.
He will suffer the credulous whose answer to every ill is blame white privilege, take away the guns, and demand More Free Stuff. They are easily countered.
But insults to his intelligence curdles his cream.
So when Alders Phair and Cheeks bounced a PowerPoint against the screen at Meadowridge Library Thursday night, when they displayed a chart that showed spending on Madison police exceeding that of the fire department, Blaska went to DefCon 2. Even Kim Jong un was alarmed.
Whom does one think one is fooling?
We saw backstage how you did that little trick. You’ve been investigating police for the last two years, allowing the men and women in blue to twist in the wind while remaining silent in the face of riseable race demagoguery. Hey, looky here! The City spends more on police than it does on fire.
Yes, police are budgeted at $69,880,187 this year. (That includes uniforms and ammo but does not include patrol cars or other long-term hardware such as radios, which are part of the capital budget.) Fire is budgeted at $50,044,462 (same provisos). Police constitute 461 sworn officers and 114 civilian employees. Fire: 366 uniforms and 27 civilians.
Your Squire suggested that had PhairCheeks charted the Common Council, that line on the chart would have scraped the ceiling tiles.
Later in the meeting, Ald. Phair retorted that the alders are budgeted at just south of $600 grand. Ha! He had me there! he must have thought.
Do you mistake the Squire for a Progressive Dane voter? Do you dare compare 20 alders — part-time, at that — and two aides with the full-time equivalent of 575 police employees?
The white lab coats at the Blaska Policy Werkes unlocked the tool shed and fired up Old Sparky, our Eisenhower-era mainframe computer. It produced the chart below, suitable for beaming onto any Madison library or neighborhood center screen.
The lab coats could not verify a claim made by the Mayor-for-Life that the City Council budget has increased 153% since 2010. We get a cumulative increase of 55% in seven years compared to 16% for the police.
That does not factor in the new Common Council chief of staff, who will collect an annual salary between $94,365 and $127,391 next year. Soglin vetoed it. PhairCheeks voted to override.
The dynamic duo also voted to increase aldermanic salaries from $7,772 in 2014 to $12,692 today. The council president’s salary went from $10,352 to $15,444; the president pro tem from $8,710 to $13,692.
This PowerPoint sleight of hand was an attempt to mask the Council’s bid for a federal grant to add 15 more police officers — a grant that even PhairCheeks acknowledged Thursday would never come.
In fairness, the two alders did vote for the MidTown police station. But without extra police to staff it, what good is it?
For further study: “Acts of Kindness & Heroism by Madison police officers: a chronicle.”