Virtue signalers may derail the jail!
Legislators like to say: the minority talks, the majority votes.
Proponents of improving the Dane County jail are the majority but lack the super-majority (28 votes on a 37-member county board) needed to tack on another $24 million to the $148 million already authorized for the project, due to cost overruns. They don’t have the votes, so they voted 22 to 15 Thursday night 02-17-22 to buy time — to keep talking — for another two weeks until the next meeting.
Barack Obama himself couldn’t get the additional 6 votes, it sayeth here. What that means for the project ain’t exactly clear. Either scale back new construction required to close down two floors of cells built in the 1950s or, conceivably, start from Square One if most of the already approved $148 million isn’t committed this fiscal/calendar year. A lot will depend on the April 5 election and that’s not looking good.
A member of the “Shovels in the Ground Caucus,” Supv. Andrew Schauer (Sun Prairie) moved for more time, promising that compromises were in the works that would bring doubters on board.
Supv. Richelle Andrae (Madison Hill Farms), a jail opponent, wasn’t buying. “For a year and a half now we’ve known this resolution is not going to pass. I don’t think anything is going to change anyone’s minds.”
Shovel-ready Supv. Jeff Weigand (Marshall) voted for the delay but could read the virtual room: “What are two more weeks going to get us? … This has been studied to death.” Indeed, 28 studies costing $15.3 million in the last 16 years.
“After talking to people for several weeks,” Supv. Melissa Ratcliff (Cottage Grove) agreed, “nobody can tell me what they want to do. We’re not the ones suffering; people in jail are the ones who are suffering.”
For good measure, Supv. Yogesh Chawla (Progressive Dane) accused members of “strong-arming to make supervisors vote a certain way. (Now they want) another two weeks to pressure.” (The horror! “Strong-arming”! AKA arm-twisting, is an essential ingredient of the legislative stew.)
Woke racists flood the zone
Because its meetings remain on line, the county avoided the disruptive tantrums BLM affiliates employed to shut down local democracy, pre-pandemic. Didn’t stop the usual suspects from using their screen time to preen their Woke virtues. “White supremacist,” “the carceral state,” buzz buzz buzz.
Derail the Jail/ Defund the Police regulars like Erika Bach, Allison Bell Bern, and Tyson Vitale — all white — accusing, when you come down to it, Sheriff Kalvin Barrett, Police Chief Shon Barnes, District Attorney Ismael Ozanne, and the judiciary (including Circuit Judge Everett Mitchell) of racism for racial disparity most foul. (For our foreign audience, those officials are people of color.) Because 59% of the jail population are P.O.C. For Progressives, correlation is causation.
Blaska’s Bottom Line: As we predicted in the last thrilling episode, the Shovels in the Ground caucus may become an endangered species. BLM noise maker Bell Bern taunted: “We tried to warn you we would have some new voices coming to the County Board. That’s the reason some of you are on your way out.”