Progressive Dane runs this city
The late, great satirical magazine National Lampoon published an issue with one or the classic covers of all time. An endearing dog — a beagle, we think — looks worriedly to the side at a handgun pointed at its head. “Buy this magazine,” the headline read, “or the dog gets it.”
That’s pretty much Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway’s pitch. Pass the $40 wheel tax or we lay off police and fire fighters. Deny city employees a pay raise. Maybe we close Goodman swimming pool, who knows?
So the Common Council capitulated by an 11 to 8 vote Tuesday (10-29-19) to burden Madison families with a total $153 annual, per-vehicle tax, when accounting for state, county, and the new city tax. Expect the Council to increase the property tax to the state-mandated max on November 12, when the Council considers the full budget. (Those pesky Republicans and their spending constraints!)
Why this sudden and dramatic need for more revenue? Left unsaid, unexamined, uncontested it is the mayor’s push for rapid bus transit — an eventual start-up cost $120 million, minus a not guaranteed federal contribution. The white lab coats here at Blaska Policy Werkes do not recall pitchforks and torches during the mayoral election campaign this spring demanding rapid bus transit. But we’re going to get it, anyway. Because, said the mayor Tuesday, global climate change.
Not even a whisper of public safety
Can’t say we were not warned. This is Satya on her campaign website:
“It is up to cities to lead now, and we need city leaders who are ready for that and are able to take on that role. I’m ready to do that whether that’s on climate, racial equity, housing, transportation.”
Notice what is missing? Crime. Satya Rhodes-Conway is Progressive Dane. Madame Brenda Konkel’s left of left political party. Cops Out of Schools and Derail the Jail. But then, incumbent Paul Soglin didn’t talk crime either. Nine of the 20 alders are PD. That’s why Police Chief Mike Koval ran up the white flag.
These 11 alders voted FOR the $40 Wheel Tax
Progressive Dane in Red
Voting YES: Bidar, Furman, Lemmer, Rummel, Martin, Evers, Moreland, Foster, Verveer, Heck, Kemble — 11
Voting NO: Abbas, Albouras, Baldeh, Carter, Harrington-McKinney, Henak, Skidmore, Tierney — 8
Search Satya’s campaign and you will find the words “public safety” only once and then in regards to traffic. Her issues: stormwater management (more rain gardens and bio-swales), housing, transportation, climate change, “stabilizing families,” food policy, and — of course! — racial justice. Satya is big on identity politics:
Pat yourselves on the back, Madison, for being so broad-minded! If only the dear woman had been born with 1,024th Native American heritage.
Will the voters punish us?
A takeaway from Tuesday’s special Common Council meeting (10-29-19) on the $40 wheel tax:
Ald. Keith Furman: “I’ve got plenty of feedback that is is not a popular proposal … but we have to pass a balanced budget.”
Ald. Donna Moreland: “Have we, um, talked to the county to see what feedback they received from residents when they increased, or when they imposed, the $28 tax?”
The Mayor: “If there isn’t an objection I can answer that. I haven’t formally asked the question but in conversations with both the county executive and county supervisors, um, what I have informally gathered is that while … there was a significant amount of negative feedback um, that they hear very little after the fact.
“Just anecdotally I was talking to a county supervisor today and she says, um, you know we had all sorts of people saying things like we’re going to run against you because you voted for this and then, as a matter of fact, nothing appeared after the fact.
“Folks seemed to have gone back to the status quo.”
Blaska’s Bottom Line: Perfect timing, alders aren’t up for re-election for another year and one-half.
Petition the Mayor and Madison alders:
“We need more police and fire safety and we don’t need a $200,000 police critic!