You’ve got a lotta nerve to say you are my friend;
When I was down you just stood there grinnin’.
— Bob Dylan, “Positively 4th Street.”
Madison alders should treat each other in a welcoming, fair, respectful, and equitable manner.” So reads a proposed city ordinance. It should be amended to read: “This means you, Ald. Keith Furman!”
If anyone runs the dunking stool in city hall it’s Furman, president of the Council. Intolerant, judgmental, and vindictive — that’s Keith Furman. Commissar Furman jumped all over the revelation that, for a whole two months two years ago, Ald. Gary Halverson was a member of the Oath Keepers, an organization that pretties itself up on its website but was one of the instigators of the January 6 (2021) insurrection at the nation’s Capitol.
Halverson had already quit by then. He denounces the insurrection. Not good enough for the Woke scolds running city government. His “secret” was out, Furman and Council Vice President Jael Currie rejoiced. Explains his votes, they crowed, without detailing which votes. Thereupon followed — this being Madison WI — threats and vandalism to Halverson’s residence. The alder resigned, citing his wife’s PTSD, rather than fight back.
“Having unknown individuals come onto our property and vandalize it is traumatic … absolutely terrifying,” Halverson wrote. “I am deeply saddened that our current state of politics is filled with fear and intimidation tactics.” Halverson continued: “The threats from democracy comes in many forms.”
The real threat is clearly from the far right — from those who instigated the assault on democracy on Jan 6. … I can’t equate those attacking me with the same poison or same threat level —- but the seeds of toxicity come from similar desire shut down discourse and demonize opponents.
Furman is so toxic he should come with an FDA warning label!
The Council’s #1 character assassin
In late February, two alders of color, Nasra Wehelie and Barbara Harrington-McKinney, resigned from a committee examining city government structure alleging lack of respect by its chairman, Furman.
Worse, Furman helped railroad Ald. Paul Skidmore off the council by alleging that Skidmore had used a sexist epithet to describe a citizen who was testifying. The City contracted a forensic audit of the 09-01-20 meeting conducted on-line via Zoom. That audit determined it could not have been Skidmore because:
• His microphone was not live when the notorious C-word was heard AND
• The culprit likely was wearing a headset due to proximity to a microphone. Skidmore wore no headset.
Ironically, USA Forensic concluded, the voice could well have been Furman — who WAS wearing a headset! (The Werkes broke it down here.) So Furman felt the need to double down: “Though the report results were ultimately inconclusive, I believe that there was a pattern of highly unprofessional behavior by Alder Skidmore during that meeting and around the same time as the slur.”
Citizen calls for Furman to resign
Excerpts from the testimony 09-15-22 to the Common Council Executive Committee from citizen Bonnie Roe, active with the Madison Area Safety Connection:
“Have any Alders ever seen or heard or read or witnessed any hint of racism or white supremacy on Gary’s part? … I haven’t. Gary is one of the nicest, smartest, most inclusive leaders I know. … When asked by Gary to denounce the threats, vandalism, and graffiti you incited … you, and the Mayor, who immediately tweeted the article and said “I’ll just leave this here” … with the link to how to run for Alder. …
“Alder Bennett publicly called Alder Halverson a Nazi Do you understand what this does to someone’s reputation? You, the leaders of the Council, incited harm against Gary, which led to horrible problems for his family, and when asked to denounce it, you doubled down. …
“I ask you, Chair Furman, to seriously consider tendering your resignation from the Council. Or at the very least to step down from leadership.”
Blaska’s Bottom Line: Bonnie Roe was testifying in favor of the fair and equitable treatment proposal. More irony: it is sponsored by Alds. Nasra Wehelie, Sheri Carter, AND Gary Halverson!