Suggesting crime fills out jail, not racism, is ‘inflammatory’
I will say this for Sharon Corrigan, chairman of the Dane County Board. The lady runs a good meeting.
For awhile Wednesday night, at what amounted to a public hearing on the proposed $76 million smaller-but-healthier jail, it looked like a mini-riot might break out. WMTV-15 reported:
The meeting got heated as one man who took the podium made inflammatory remarks toward the African-American community regarding incarceration. NBC15 is following up on that speaker’s statements and reaction from attendees of the meeting.
You can guess who that “one man” was, and is. The proprietor of the Blaska Policy Werkes was wrapping up his allotted 5 minutes of compelling testimony when he observed that had Tony Terrell Robinson Jr. been given one year in the proposed new jail instead of probation for his armed robbery conviction, he might be alive today to observe his 22nd birthday.
That being due to the treatment he might have received for his chronic drug abuse and mental health services to address his anger and violence issues. But the “one man” didn’t get that far before shouts of “Racist” filled the room, along with other imprecations pertaining to body parts best left unseen.
Chairperson Corrigan was firm in demanding that all sides be heard and, by golly, the mob quieted — although not before several walked out. One shouter insisted that my time had run out during the fracas. The heckler’s veto in action! But Madame Corrigan said her stopwatch had 15 seconds remaining, wherein Blaska finished his point with this challenge:
Think how many more lives you could have saved if you had designed a bigger jail.
If you read Part #4, “the myth of institutional racism,” you’ve got the gist of my remarks but here is the audio. (Do consult the entire video. We’re at 28:09 to 34:44.) Look also for some wise and welcome commentary from my old colleague, former Fitchburg mayor and sworn police officer Tom Clauder.
Liberal-progressive-socialist echo chamber
That’s the problem, this county board is not hearing from our likes any more. Principally because there might be as few as two (2) conservatives remaining on the 37-member legislative body. Also because of primordial fear of The Race Card.
Which is why Squire Blaska said this county board had been mau-maued by the racial extremists. This county board is viewing everything — we do mean everything — through a “racial equity lens.” You play the identity politics game, you get bit by the race card.
“Derail the Jail! We can definitely tell, the project is racist as hell,” chanted about 50 race-baiters during their rally in front of the City County Building, led by people like Eric Upchurch and Supv. Heidi Wegleitner. Along with the obligatory “Power to the People.”
They testified that the proposed jail is a continuation of Jim Crow policies designed to keep the black man down. That the “entire justice system” is systemically racist. With a black man as Dane County’s elected district attorney! What is needed, say these people, is More Free Stuff: more “investment in the community,” more mental health services (have they read the new jail proposal at all?) and “more housing not handcuffs.”
Their message: police are the problem
The bullhorn people are not outliers. Wegleitner, a Progressive Dane supervisor from Brenda Konkel’s old Isthmus district, could actually say that “communities of color are over-policed and disproportionately arrested.”
Blaska, in his remarks, responded: “If you look at it proportionate to the general population, yes. But are you looking at the proportion to the crimes committed? No.”
Unless you believe that the racist, trigger-happy police are arresting shooters in Allied Drive but allowing those in University Heights to blast away, unmolested.
Believe which, they do. These people actually believe that racist Madison cops are grabbing hard-working, family-providing black men off their front stoops for throwing a cigarette butt on the sidewalk so they can fill the jails, aided by vindictive prosecutors and judges in white robes and pointy hoods. That is what their sociology professors teach, anyway. It’s all in The Nation and MSNBC.
And the Dane County Board of Supervisors is doing their best to reach out to them. Then again, this is Madison. Which is why WMTV-15 thinks it is “inflammatory” to suggest that behavior, not systemic racism, supplies our jail with customers.