No Cops, no glory in Madison WI
Doesn’t anybody here know how to play this game? That’s what the ol’ perfessor, Casey Stengel, said of his woebegone expansion team, the New York Mets.
We say that about the Madison Common Council. Alders were hoodwinked by Progressive Dane on Wednesday 11-11-20. Result: No COPS grant, no four police to make up for the reductions in force strength. A victory for the cop bashers.
PD’s ruse was simple. The $230,538 federal grant was Number #10 in the list of proposed amendments to the budget. By the time the council got to the grant, the running meter of spending showed alders were close to the state-imposed levy limit.
Ald. Zach Henak — of all people — moved to kill the extra-police grant on file “because we’re up against the levy limit.” Ald. Grant Foster (Progressive Dane) was only too happy to second.
The game is afoot
Thank you again, Ald. Paul Skidmore, who pointed out that the running total on the levy limit in no way precluded accepting the grant. Indeed, that number was merely, Skidmore pointed out, “a convenient way not to discuss it.”
The happenstance that the police COPS grant was #10 on the agenda Wednesday night does NOT mean it must yield to the previous agenda items. It is immaterial that the running count on the levy limit had been reached. If alders had accepted the grant and the numbers didn’t add up at the end of the agenda, they could well revisit the remainder of the budget. A budget isn’t final until a vote on the package as a whole.
Nothing stopped the alders from dipping into the $450,000 Civilian Review Board budget. Or the $10,000 search for the damnable C-word. Or $750,000 in “COVID relief” to “prevent evictions.” Or any number of other spending items. A trim here, a trim there. Alders needed only $117,052, the city’s match to the grant, and still had $28,000 to play with.
Only Ald. Skidmore and Ald. Michael Tierney saw through the ruse and voted for the grant. Alders Carter and Martin were absent.
Virtue signaling versus real world legislating
We do have a shout-out to Ald. Barbara McKinney for putting Ald. (Mad) Max Prestigiacomo in his place. Compare the virtue posturing of guilty White kid Mad Max:
I am embarrassed to be part of this council; I’m so sorry to the community organizers. … I’m feeling very complicit in white supremacy. … in favor of this upper class, white narrative that madison police are progressive.
With the been there and done championing of police by Ald. McKinney:
I am not going to apologize. … Obviously I’m a Black woman … and I know what it is to live in a White world … so it does insult me that the insinuation is that I don’t know what it is to matter. … If something happened in my neighborhood, I thought “who would be there?” Public safety is a … responsibility that the city has. …. we made it a Black or white issue, why does it have to be either or? … I am not affluent, I’ve been homeless, I’ve gone to food pantries …
I want to come to a place whether black or white, rich or poor thrive in Madison WI. . … The police have a role in that. …
One bit of good news: Alders defeated 11-6 a proposal to make the police department pay if city employees don’t take enough voluntary, unpaid furlough. Instead, furloughs will be mandatory across the board. Voting for the scheme were Verveer, Evers, Foster, Prestigiacomo, Kemble, and Rummel — all Progressive Dane.
Blaska’s Bottom Line: At least alders defeated the poorly defined, $100,000 “community engagement” initiative. Isn’t that what alders are supposed to do, engage the community?