One of these is out of whack, the City of Madison or Dane County government, Thuy Pham-Remmele or Ashok Kumar. On April 1, we'll find out which.
(Full Disclosure redux: I am advising some candidates in the April 1 election.)
The Progressive Dane-liberal coalition that runs the Dane County Board admits as much. That is what makes this spring's election so darned interesting.
And so mind-blowing! I never thought I'd see the day when the Madison Common Council had more sense than the Dane County Board. No wonder my friend Vern Wendt, a farmer (now retired) from Black Earth, quit going to county meetings. It's enough to drive you crazy.
(Maybe that explains my blogs.)
The biggest contrast is law enforcement. When 750 of my neighbors here on the southwest side jammed St. Maria Goretti in early August in a meeting organized by Ald. Thuy Pham-Remmele, it sparked a series of similar neighborhood meetings throughout the city and a sea change in priorities.
Out went the mayor's bid for trolleys -- he had already spent $300,000 of local tax money on a trolley study. In its place went a new commitment to the basics of any successful society -- public safety. The mayor and a majority of the City Council (minus the Progressive Dane contingent) voted to hire 30 more police officers.
While the City of Madison was sending in the surge, the Dane County Board was marching to a different bongo player. The Prog-liberal coalition governing the county board agreed to Kathleen Falk's plan to quadruple the number of prisoners released into the community. The equation works like this: City hires more cops to catch more lawbreakers = more lawbreakers released back into the community by the county.
There is a certain absurd symmetry there that plays best in a Joseph Heller novel.
Welcome to the story
The Wisconsin State Journal finally got on top of that story on Friday, March 14. Its top-line headline in Friday's editions read: "Sheriff, judges clash over monitoring."
Reporter Matt DeFour was writing about the ankle bracelet scam, wherein the sheriff wants to send 200 jail inmates back into the 'hood at night instead of returning these work-release prisoners back to secure detention at night. Nighttime, of course, is when so much of the mischief occurs. DeFour's excellent article reported:
Chief Judge William Foust said the judges ... have a 'fundamental philosophical difference' about the deterrent effect of electronic monitoring versus jail.
But readers of my post on March 7 already knew that. "Our circuit court judges are worried," I wrote.
- They have been trying now for over two months to get some kind of guidelines from Sheriff Mahoney about whom he might release and when he might release a lawbreaker that has just been sentenced to jail. The judges are said to be very frustrated, because, right now, when a judge sentences someone to a year in jail, the new sheriff could release them in 48 hours.
- They are particularly worried that drivers convicted of multiple drunk driving convictions will be released.
- It is so bad that judges are sentencing some defendants to prison where the rules are known rather than to the county jail where it is anyone's guess.
Now the daily needs to get on the other two legs of this unsteady stool. The sheriff's deputies say they don't have enough manpower to monitor 200 criminals released into the community. Even the district attorney is disquieted.
The county's goal, of course, was never public safety. It was pure cost savings. Indeed, while the Prog-liberal majority was continuing spending on buying up more parkland, the sheriff's budget was being reduced -- cut back -- by $1.2 million.
Pride goeth before the fall
What is more, the Prog-libs are proud of it!
The headline in October 31, 2007 edition of The Capital Times said it all: "City's Priorities On Justice At Odds With County's."
Of course, I would have phrased it the other way: "County's priorities on justice at odds with city's." But either way. It reads, in part:
The city is proposing a great increase in the number of new police officers...
In contrast, when looking at what Dane County is proposing, we see that the two entities are moving in opposite directions.
Who wrote this provocative essay? Six supes signed their name: County Board Chairman Scott McDonell, Dorothy Wheeler, Barbara Vedder, John Hendrick, Al Matano, and Ashok Kumar.
Ashok Kumar! Well, case closed if public safety expert Ashok Kumar says! After all, the college kid was the author of the County Board resolution designating what had been known as Columbus Day as the new and improved "Indigenous Peoples Day." Cutting edge stuff, that.
Ashok -- in fact, the last four named of the six authors -- are Progressive Dane. Does that demonstrate PD's influence on this county board? And downtown Scott McDonell is married to Progressive Dane operative Megan McDonell. She is treasurer of a mysterious prog-lib front group called "Citizens for Dane County's Future."
Quick hits and cheap shots
- I picked up a copy of the March 17 edition of The Nation, John Nichols' magazine, for funsies. I found this hardened coprolite left by hatemonger Alexander Cockburn, advising the Dems how to handle John McCain:
How about some Swiftboating of the 'war hero'? How much of a war hero is he? Just how steadfast was he as a prisoner of war?Bring it on, loser boy. (In the current edition, he claims Eliot Spitzer's downfall was engineered by "a right wing conspiracy." That Karl Rove doesn't miss a trick, if you'll pardon the expression.)
- Then there is the mother of all identity politics free-for-alls between Clinton and Obama. Geraldine Ferrraro says Obama wouldn't be taken seriously if he was white just as she would not have been nominated for veep in 1984 had she been named "Gerald" instead of "Geraldine." Hey, we knew that 24 years ago.
The superb Noemi Emery of The Weekly Standard predicted this PC kerfluffle in her article "The Wages of Sensitivity". (You may have to be a subscriber to read the article... hey, if I can read The Nation.)
- And the minister of hate, Jeremiah A. Wright, whose close mentorship of Obama seems to be fading away like the Cheshire Cat, arguing that this nation is actually the U.S. of KKK-A. That is to say, racist. Which makes no internal sense since Wright's prize parishioner is poised to be the Democrat(ic) nominee. Who says black people can't be racist?
How does Obama not catch even a whiff of that racism? Or was racism politically expedient to build his grass roots?
- Bring on the recession. We cannot spend our way out of it so let's get it over with. Remember 1982, the "Reagan Recession"? The network TV news, then influential, night after night led with soup kitchen/dust bowl imagery. What did Reagan do? Nothing. He said: "Stay the course." Recession is how a free economy purges the putrescence (in 1982, Jimmy Carter's inflation). It's like the college freshman after his/her first big binge. Drive the porcelain bus and heave ho!
CNN makes the case that a recession could be the best medicine.
- Indigenous Peoples Day! Ashok Kumar! They're coming to take me away, ha ha!