Half the damage at twice the cost?
A Madison task force studied the basic structure of Madison’s city government and came up with these recommendations:
- Full-time alders
- Reduce their number by half — to 10 from the current 20.
- Double the length of terms to four years from two (but term limit to 12 years.)
- Pay each of them $67,000 a year — up from the current $13,750.
(Read the report for yourself.)
The rationale? Identity politics, of course! The way city government is set up is fundamentally unfair to people of color and low-income residents! Or so says The Capital Times:
“Report finds Madison’s government structure ‘fundamentally unfair’
to minorities, low income residents”
⇒ Which is strange, considering that four of the 20 alders are African-American. In other words, blacks account for 20% of the council’s membership but only 6.8% of the city’s entire population.
The Capital Times quotes one of the members, Ald. Keith Furman, District 19:
“This can’t just be a job for retired people or people who are able to work through their workplace and get in places where they can put in the necessary time to do this job.”
But they can mount expensive, time-consuming campaigns for well paid and (given that this is Madison) hotly contested four-year political offices?
Go professional or go home?
The Task Force noted that transitioning to four-year aldermanic terms has some potential negative effects, including perhaps professionalizing campaigns, discouraging potential candidates who may not want to make such a long commitment …
If city alders are paid $67,000 a year that would be more than state legislators’ $52,999 to represent more than twice as many (59,000) people as a state assembly rep. For how many current alders would $67,000 represent a pay cut?
“The majority of the task force did not share the view that having professional politicians was necessarily a negative,” the task force reported.
Not enough poor people in government?
We suspect many enlightened thinkers here in the Emerald City will not be satisfied until every data point in the economic spectrum is represented on the council — although reducing the size to 10 members makes that statistically more problematic.
The especially “woke” profess that only the poverty-stricken possess the knowledge of what magic government nostrum will cure their condition. We must elect them to public office so that these programs can be brought to fruition. Blaska Policy Werkes asks, with impertinence: If the poor knew the way out of poverty, why aren’t they telling anyone?
Even the indentured servants here at the Manor would rather be represented by success.
Not all members of the task force are Lefties but they include Justice M. Castañeda, who was one of the most strident voices on the school board’s task force demanding Cops Out of Schools; Rebecca Kemble, member in good standing of Progressive Dane; and Eric Upchurch, one of the founders of Young Gifted and Black. (Derail the Jail!)
The committee on committees
The task force made one good recommendation. Work toward reducing city government’s 95 boards, commissions and committees. That’s too damn many! Muddies the waters. Wastes valuable staff time. Some are nothing more than knitting circles.
Please, appoint Blaska to the Sustainable Madison Committee! Where does the Room Tax Commission meet? What is served at the Madison Food Policy Council? Does the Vending Oversight Committee need change? Hose down the Integrated Pest Management Policy Review Task Force! Does the Complete Count Committee count for anything? Did Epstein hang himself?
Blaska’s Good News: We see the law of unintended consequences here. Fortunately, length of terms and number of alders are subject to the good sense of voters in referendum.