The mayor’s budget is an insult to public safety

What’s in it for the average Madison taxpayer?

David Blaska’s testimony before the Madison Common Councuil’s Finance Committee, 4:30 p.m. today (Monday 10-21-19) in Room 215 of the Municipal Bldg, 215 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. It’s about 3 minutes. Will you join me?

Dick & Jane Crime scene

Members of the Finance Committee:

The WI State Journal nailed it: “If bus rapid transit is the biggest winner in Mayor Rhodes-Conway’s budget, public safety may be the biggest loser.”

Ask yourself:

  • How many of your constituents are demanding bus rapid transit?
  • How many neighborhood associations are calling for more buses?
  • How many people are afraid of the crime around bus stops and on the buses so they find another means of transportation?”

It is inexcusable that Monona and McFarland must provide ambulance service for the southeast side of town. We need more EMTs and firefighters.

And we need more police officers. Upper State Street is fast becoming a no-go zone. The opioid epidemic is sweeping through town like a scythe. … Teenagers are stealing cars and crashing them at record rates. Innocent drivers have been injured; it’s a matter of time before there are fatalities. Professional gangs are taking garage door openers and invading homes. Gun play is rampant all over town. 

But beyond the numbers is the message you, as elected city leaders, are sending. It is a  troubling message: More free stuff; less accountability, Blame the Police — all in the name of identity politics. And who are the real victims of this policy? The law-abiding taxpayers of this town we love.

It is significant that Alders Barbara Harrington-McKinney and Sheri Carter are asking for more police. Two African-American women who well represent their districts.

But nothing says Bash the Cops more than creating a $200,000/year, full-time professional police critic. Brandi Grayson’s revenge. Advantage: Amelia Royko Maurer. Let’s face it: the so-called police “auditor” is paid to find fault with the police. To second-guess every intervention. Our police officers should and DO feel insulted.

Some alders will feel obliged to throw good money after bad, having paid $360,000 to a Berkeley boutique for a study that found what Barack Obama and Loretta Lynch’s Justice Department found: that Madison has one of the best police forces in the country. You new alders don’t have that excuse. The rest of you are free to conclude that another layer of bureaucracy will only gum up the works. 

And how about that citizen review board that goes with it? As proposed, its membership must include: those with “lived experience with homelessness, mental health, substance abuse, and arrest or conviction records.” Talk about stacking the deck!

Speaking of a stacked deck, who served on the Policy & Review Committee recommending this $200,000 police baiter? Greg Gelembiuk? Brandi Grayson’s Young, Gifted & Black? Madison Urban Ministries? Justified Anger? The co-founder of the Innocence Project? Not one political moderate, never mind a conservative. No neighborhood association officers. And Brenda Konkel is chair of the public safety review committee!

The Mayor’s budget would impose the highest vehicle tax in the state — a regressive tax if ever — $40 on top of Dane County’s already existing $28 wheel tax. Her budget would jack up property taxes another 3.4% Now tell Mr. and Mrs. Madison WI what’s in this budget for them? All your bus routes will be for naught if people are afraid to ride them or congregate at the bus stops.

Blaska’s Bottom Line: Committee members, do not be afraid to throw this entire budget back in the mayor’s lap for a big-time do-over. 

Send a message to the mayor and alders!

About David Blaska

Madison WI
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10 Responses to The mayor’s budget is an insult to public safety

  1. Fritzderkat says:

    Hear, hear!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good Speech!

    An edit suggestion for the second paragraph change.

    “Ask yourself these things: how many of your constituents are demanding bus rapid transit? How many neighborhood associations are calling for more buses? How many people are afraid of the crime around bus stops and on the buses so they find another means of transportation?”

    Also here’s one really simple fix so it’s not confusing when you read it aloud.

    Paragraph 8 last sentence…

    “The rest of your are free to conclude…”

    should be

    “The rest of you are free to conclude…”

    Don’t stop your speech no matter what until you’ve read your last sentence and put extra special emphasis on on it; it’s damn near the most important sentence in your speech!

    “All your bus routes will be for naught if people are afraid to ride them or congregate at the bus stops.”

    Wish I could be there, I’ve been sick as a dog and hacking nearly constantly for a over a week.


  3. Paula Fitz says:

    Great speech, and I admire you for taking this fight on, especially after how that union treated you.

    Sorry, Blaska, I have no intention of being there this evening. I fought this fight for three years. It’s time for others to speak up.


  4. Diane Burgbacher says:

    As I’ve asked my alder and the mayor, what happens when the planned annexation occurs with the Town of Madison? More citizens with less police officers? And why is it that if this $40.00 wheel tax doesn’t fly do the cuts need to come from the police department? Surely this is NOT the only department in the city but it is the one most singled out.


  5. madisonexpat says:

    The next homeless shelter to be placed in Maple Bluff.
    Make Madison Upper State Street.


  6. sahmpaw says:

    Good luck and God Bless. I am home with the kiddos ortherwise I would be there! There are two smashed fences on the west side of Madison – Schroeder Rd and S. High Point Rd. This city is a disgrace!


  7. George's Son says:

    To reply to the Madisonian who feared for his all important …. Garbage Pickup Schedule yesterday, as well as today’s topic. No one here is suggesting shorting other services. But the $200K for another “loaded” review and the establishment of a citizen board of police critics, manned by felons and ne’er-do-wells, are ideas that suck both MONEY and ENERGY from the public safety sector. And, Yes, what’s with this emphasis on a bus system that is inherently dangerous and disconcerting to use. Since that fella w/ a bucket o’ gas got on a few years ago, up to the time drivers as well as riders have been frightened & assaulted, most citizens should avoid public transit -Unless we have enough police to devote to this dilemma…. Good luck, David and thanks for your past efforts, Paula….


  8. John says:

    The shorting of other services is on the table every year. I was trying to point out that PD and FD are not the ONLY services that should be associated with “public safety.” The people working to keep your shit separate from your drinking water are just as important. I would argue that engineers have saved more lives than all the “public safety sector” combined. How about a nice cholera outbreak? My all important garbage pickup controls all sorts of public health hazards. Heard of the plague? Thanks for putting your time in today, David. I like reading your blog. The rest of you guys: enjoy your club, I’ll leave now.


    • George's Son says:

      Sorry, John. It is that time of year when temperatures vary, and snowflakes may appear, but are not long-lived…..


  9. Pingback: Police union opposes ‘police monitor’ | Blaska Policy Werkes

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