Tag Archives: Madison

Madison Alderman Wants Regional Transit Authority

Um… ok?

MADISON (WKOW) — Madison alder Michael Tierney is proposing a new ordinance that could provide a way to get rid of the city’s new $40 vehicle registration fee but still fund public transportation.

He’s hoping that if Dane County one day establishes a Regional Transit Authority (RTA), the city would be able to sunset the wheel tax. He said it’s a way to send a signal to Madison residents that they won’t have pay the “regressive” tax indefinitely.

“I want to set the stage to let people know there is a desire to have something more equitable and fair in place as soon as we possibly can,” he said.

But right now, Regional Transit Authorities aren’t even legal in Wisconsin. In 2009, the Democratic-controlled Legislature gave the green light to several of them, including one in Dane County.

Just two years later, the newly Republican-controlled Legislature made them illegal. This effectively ended all discussions and plans that were in the works.

Don’t you love it when a politician proposes something that is completely outside of his authority and illegal? Here’s what city official mean when they support an RTA: “let’s tax the suburbs to fund city stuff. Sure, we might run a bus or two out to the suburbs for show, but the bulk of the money will be spent in the city.”

Madison Plans to Inconvenience Drivers After Taking their Money

Typical.

The plan is still in its early stages, but the Transportation Policy and Planning board met Monday, discussing what routes downtown could look like. Lynch said BRT routes could overlap current Madison Metro lines.

The plan is to connect East Towne and West Towne with dedicated lanes for the buses, limited stops and frequent service. The BRT system is part of the mayor’s larger MetroForward plan announced in September.

“Our BRT buses, one bus will be taking 80 cars off of East Washington Avenue,” Lynch said.

Lynch estimates the bus rapid transit system’s operating cost will be between $3.5 and $4.5 million annually.

The annual $7.8 million coming in from the wheel tax must go toward transportation-related costs. Lynch said $1.4 million of that will go toward the BRT system and about $2.6 million will go to Madison Metro for things including “increasing costs associated with fuel, drivers’ salaries (and) maintenance concerns.”

Madison implemented a wheel tax on the people with cars. Now they will use the money to make it harder to drive in downtown and spend more on buses. Nice.

Madison To Implement $40 Wheel Tax

Madison gonna Madison.

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV)– The Madison Common Council passed a new $40 wheel tax for city residents Tuesday night, the highest of its kind in Wisconsin.

Alders voted 11-8 in favor of the tax, according to council members NBC15 reached out to.

Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway proposed the vehicle registration tax in her 2020 budget proposal, in an attempt to fill a budget whole and fund works such as transit upgrades.

The mayor estimates the tax hike will generate almost $8 million for the city.

Madison Toys with Full Time Council

Mark this day. I’m in full agreement with Dave Zweifel.

The task force charged with recommending changes in how Madison government is structured is toying with an idea that would reduce the number of alders from 20 to 10 and make them full-time with an annual salary of up to $70,000.

It’s a lousy idea.

All we need do is look a block away and observe what’s been going on in the state Capitol to understand how it would change city government for the worse.

[…]

When it was composed of part-timers — people who made their livings running family farms, small businesses, practicing law and even teaching — the Wisconsin Legislature was famous for its enlightened legislation and groundbreaking ideas. They’d pass a budget and deal with pressing issues that required new or changed laws, and then go home to work and live with their constituents. Most of them were people who were willing to make sacrifices because they had ideas and wanted to make a difference.

But, worse, they faced extreme pressure to keep their jobs at election time. When a part-timer was defeated, he or she still had a job. A full-timer, though, needs to keep that job or trot off to the unemployment office. That, in turn, has led to the poisoning of our elections with burgeoning campaign dollars, misleading attack ads and underhanded tactics.

Eclectic Group to Pick New Police Chief

This will not end well. They will undoubtedly choose the perfect politically correct chief who checks all of the appropriate demographic boxes, but will probably stink at actual policing. I hope I’m wrong.

The five people slated to pick Madison’s next police chief include a former UW-Madison basketball player targeted two years ago in an alleged racist attack, the author of a city-commissioned report on community perceptions of police body cameras, and a longtime union leader.

And in an overwhelmingly white city where the intersection of race and policing has become a flashpoint among a vocal set of police critics, four of the five are people of color.

Madison Mayor Prioritizes Rapid Transit over Safety

Budgets are a statement of priorities. It’s pretty clear what her’s are.

Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway is looking to impose an additional $40 vehicle registration fee on Madison drivers to get the motor running on an approximately $130 million Bus Rapid Transit proposal that was a main plank of her spring campaign.

The first-term mayor’s first city operating budget proposal, released Tuesday and totaling $340.4 million, also keeps police staffing flat — a move that former police chief Mike Koval said in July will necessitate moving 12 positions from units focusing on neighborhood policing, gangs and other proactive work to patrol. Koval had long complained of inadequate police staffing. He retired Sunday with one day’s notice.

Madison Cop Haters Drive Out Police Chief

What a shame.

After serving more than five years as the head of the Madison Police Department, Police Chief Mike Koval announced his retirement Sunday morning in his daily blog.

Starting Monday, Koval will no longer be chief.

“I did my best to be a guardian to the community and a guardian to the ‘guardians’ (cops),” Koval said. “It has been an honor and a privilege to serve this community.”

Koval’s sudden announcement came as a shock even to those who knew it was coming. Ald. Paul Skidmore, 9th District, said “probably around a year ago” Koval told him he was thinking of retiring this fall.

“I know it was coming, but it was still a shock when he called me this morning,” Skidmore said.

Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway said Koval told her Sunday morning that Sunday would be his last day.

[…]

Skidmore said over the last couple of years, Koval has been “beaten bloody” by “cop haters.”

In his blog post, Koval said he was “eternally grateful” to constituents who have encouraged and supported of the police department. He said those supporters will “never know how important” their efforts were “to the morale of our Department.”

Koval also had a message for those who have spoke in opposition to local police.

“To the ‘haters,’ thanks to you as well — for through your unrelenting, unforgiving, desire to make the police the brunt of all of your scorn — I drew strength from your pervasive and persistent bullying,” Koval said.

I give massive credit to those willing to wear the badge in a place like Madison. It’s a dangerous business in any community, but imagine going to work every day, putting your life, health, and livelihood on the line, for people who generally hate your guts.

Who is going to patrol Madison’s streets when nobody wants to do the job anymore?

Madison Slaps Down on Catholic High School

Wow. Way to use a BS technicality to hassle a Catholic High School, Madison.

Edgewood High School was evaluating its options, including possible legal action, a day after Madison’s Zoning Board of Appeals decided the school’s athletic teams can no longer do something they have been doing for more than 90 years: Play games on the school’s athletic field.

School President Michael Elliott said Edgewood officials are “incredibly disappointed” after the board voted 4-0 late Thursday to affirm that the school’s master plan allows for only physical-education classes and practices — but not games or matches against other schools — at the school’s Goodman Athletic Complex.

[…]

Thursday’s decision hinged on wording in the school’s 2014 master plan that describes the intended use of the field as being for athletic practices and gym classes — without mentioning competitions.

Tucker said that within the plan, the school is required to explain the intended use of any space. Any uses that are not covered need additional approval from the city’s Plan Commission. Since competitions are not specified in the plan, Tucker said, the school needs to go through this approval process.

But Edgewood attorney Matt Lee and two other attorneys arguing on Edgewood’s behalf said there are other areas of the master plan that explain the space was meant for competitions.

In UW-Madison’s master plan, Lee said, the Natatorium and Goodman Softball Complex are both zoned recreational. He said the facilities host swim meets and competitive softball games, respectively.

Lee also noted that “classes and practices” was not meant to be an exhaustive list of all activities on the field.

Board members disagreed.

Madison to Fine Businesses for Leaving Doors Open

Do you begin to see how the Global Warming/Climate Change jihad is all about controlling people? It can be used as justification for all sorts of Nanny State lunacy.

Madison businesses that leave their doors or windows open too long while running air conditioners could be fined under an ordinance to be introduced next week in the local fight against climate change.

Except in emergencies or when people or goods are going into or out of a business, “it shall be unlawful to keep open any door or window of a building or structure with a commercial use while an air conditioner is operating,” according to the proposed ordinance authored by Ald. Ledell Zellers, 2nd District.

The fine for a first-offense fine would be $50, rising to $100 for a second offense. Any third or subsequent offenses would cost $250, and “each day or portion thereof such violation continues shall be considered a separate offense,” the ordinance says.

Madison Pulls Plug on Internet Scheme

Heh.

A pilot program meant to bring internet access to four low-income Madison neighborhoods has ended after a second call for proposals to manage it went unanswered. The city severed ties with the local company originally implementing the project earlier this year.

Madison-based ResTech Services had been working to build a fiber-optic broadband network in Darbo-Worthington, Brentwood, Allied Drive and Kennedy Heights neighborhoods through the program, called Connecting Madison. The city and ResTech signed a $512,000 contract in March 2016.

However, the implementation process was slow and ultimately ended with the city sending a “cease and desist” letter to ResTech. The city is still working to resolve the matter, Assistant City Attorney Roger Allen said this week.

The city issued a second request for proposals April 12 to find a company that would operate the infrastructure in place as a continuous program but did not receive any responses by the May 25 deadline.

So the city spent half-a-million tax dollars to give 19 people cheap internet even though there are several private market options for those folks. And what did the city leaders learn from this debacle? They didn’t spend enough:

Edgerton said the outcome of Connecting Madison illustrated that the program needed more vetting of the vendor, dedicated staff to work with the vendor and funds to market the program.

 Yes, if only they had spent more to have dedicated city staff working with the vendor and a marketing program, it would have worked.
Stories like this are why people like me roll their eyes when governments whine about not having enough money.

Madisonians Fail to Register Bikes

And they think a gun registry will work?

In a city with a biking culture so vibrant it’s one of only five American communities to have achieved, in 2015, “platinum” status for bike-friendliness from the League of American Bicyclists, not even the people who control and influence city policies on bicycling bother to register their bikes.

Current, former mayors missing

Absent from the list of about 9,700 people who own one or more of the 13,982 currently registered bicycles in Madison are 19 members of the 20-member City Council, Mayor Paul Soglin and both “bicycle advocate” appointees to the city’s Pedestrian/Bicycle/Motor Vehicle Commission, Grant Foster and Aaron Crandall.

Also missing: Dave Cieslewicz, the former Madison mayor who pushed for Madison to achieve platinum status and started the Ride the Drive event, in which a couple of major arteries are closed to vehicle traffic and opened to bicyclists. After leaving the mayor’s office, Cieslewicz served as executive director of the Wisconsin Bike Fed for four years.

He did not respond to requests for comment.

Foster, who also did not respond to requests for comment, is president of the local bicycling advocacy group Madison Bikes. Of the 17 current and former board members listed on the group’s website, only four showed up on the registry.

Although I think this was my favorite “duh” comment in the article.

Madison police officer Howard Payne acknowledged that recovering stolen bikes is not as high a priority as, say, investigating violent crime, and that bicycles stolen as part of larger burglaries will probably get more attention than bicycles stolen by themselves.

Madison Taxpayers Waste Money on Broadband

Two years. Half a million dollars. 19 people served. Way to go

After two years and spending more than $500,000, Madison is well short of goals for the pilot program. ResTech had delays in extending fiber cable to the neighborhoods, and once there, found unexpected barriers in getting permission from property owners to connect to buildings and so far has signed up few customers.

The problems were outlined in a story in the Wisconsin State Journal on Nov. 20, the same day the termination letter was sent.

The “Connecting Madison” pilot program has potential to bring service to 161 buildings with 1,083 apartments in the neighborhoods with connections projected by the end of 2016.

But as of Nov. 17, ResTech had made broadband service available to just 86 buildings and had only 19 customers.

Digestive Issues in Madison

Only in Madison could Paul Soglin be the voice of reason.

Whether to continue city collection of food waste is shaping up as a major issue in upcoming budget discussions.

Mayor Paul Soglin has proposed letting the pilot program lapse for at least a year but two key alders are pushing to keep it running.