November 3 will tell the tale
Late last night (10-21-19) the city Finance Committee voted down additional police officers by a 3-2 vote, with Ald. Donna Moreland abstaining. (Dammit, people, you are paid to vote; it’s ones and zeroes, a binary system. Absent a conflict of interest, it’s yes or no.)
But the Common Council still could add three additional police when it votes on the budget [CORRECTED] Tuesday, November 12. Three ain’t 12 but it’s better than zero — symbolically it’s a small victory. Public safety champion Ald. Paul Skidmore has picked up an important ally: downtown alder Mike Verveer, a past council president and the longest-serving alderoid. Verveer referenced the vigorous testimony of Dan and Maria Milsted, property owners on increasingly troubled State Street.
Maria Milsted (42:15 to 45:43):
It’s disgusting the way you treat police in this town. I don’t want to hear about P.C. or discrimination. My parents were immigrants from Sicily. All we ask is to be able to get up every morning, go to work, and go home safely. I get so tired of you bashing and trashing the police. So I decided I was going to take a class … to find out what it takes to get concealed carry. I am not advocating concealed carry [but] It was the best five hours I have spent. … I learned more about what the police do and how they feel … the sense of responsibility they feel in order to carry weapons. Who is going to protect you? … Let them do their job. …
(Dan Milsted at 36:55 to 40:12; Blaska at 25:22 to 28:56)
By the numbers
Alds. Barbara Harrington-McKinney, Sheri Carter, and Samba Baldeh (all persons of color) support more police. Remarkably, so, too, does new alder Christian Abdouras, who once co-chaired the Policy and Procedures ad hoc committee. Zach Henak and Mike Tierney also support more police. With Skidmore and Verveer that makes 8. Could three more be in play?
Ald. Zach Henak from District 10 is a huge improvement over Mo Cheeks. The new alder offered several cost-cutting motions to free up money for more police; they were all knocked down. There does, however, remain $168,000 of play in the budget if the city takes the property tax to the state-limited max. That buys three cops.
The white lab coats at Blaska Policy Werkes are still exercised that the $200,000/year police critic survives. (See Monday’s blogge.) An insult. The police union promises to flood the zone at the November 3 meeting. They should scald the Council for this slap in the face. Even Ald. Moreland wondered where the figure $200,000 came from. (Hint: thin air.)
Council president Shiva Bidar-Sielaff said the so-called police monitor will restore faith in police among the city’s minority population. Then why do Alds. McKinney and Carter (both women of color) oppose it? (A. Because it’s counter-productive.)
Also rejected was $160,000 for Traffic Engineering to improve safety at high-risk intersections by adding signs, pavement markings and speed reductions. Ald. McKinney, 1st District, said she was “ashamed” and “discouraged” that the committee didn’t have room in the budget for public safety measures.
Shoot-em-up at Raymond and Verona Roads
Madison police incident report
10/19/2019 – 9:17 PM
4902 Verona Rd.
A father was walking out of a convenience store Saturday night with his three young daughters when he heard people arguing in the parking lot. Instantaneously he saw several muzzle flashes. The dad grabbed his children and ran back inside the Speedway gas station, 4902 Verona Rd.
A 59-year-old military veteran was standing at one of its doors. In his life, he has done nine combat tours, and he knows well the sounds of bullets fired at close range. He stayed calm, and instructed panicked customers and staff members inside the store to stay safe by getting down of the floor.
While at the door, a guy ran past the veteran and yelled out: “They’re tearing it up out there.” The witness saw people get into a black sedan and into a SUV and drive away. There were no reports of injuries or property damage, but there were several people left badly shaken by the gun violence.
Driver hangs onto hijacked car
A woman spotted a stranger behind the wheel of her rental car as she was leaving a home on Madison’s Southwest Side Saturday morning (10-19-19). As the woman yelled at the man, he started to drive away and she jumped on the hood of the car.
The 23-year-old woman tried to hang on to the 2019 red Toyota Camry, but she said the man “started driving like a maniac,” fleeing the scene on the 1900 block of Reetz Road around 7:15 a.m. The man slammed on the brakes at the intersection of Gilbert and Raymond Roads. Witnesses in one car saw the stolen car coming directly towards them, nearly hitting their car with the woman holding on.
Blaska’s Bottom Line: A scene out of an action movie? No, Satya Rhodes-Conway’s Madison.