Hola Amigos. Like my slacker hero Jim Anchower from The Onion, it's been awhile since I was rappin' at you.
Been some big changes here at the Blaska Research Center and Experimental Work Farm. Basically, I have come back from the dead. How is that for a post-Easter theme? No, I do not expect to ascend bodily into heaven any time soon, but I was getting pretty ripe.
I'll be reporting at length upon this phenomenon in future installments, as soon as I get a handle on it myself. But my long strange journey has taken a few twists and hairpin curves. And I may have driven a bus-full of orphaned nuns off the cliff. I didn't say there weren't innocent victims.
But first, readers of the last installment have noted that my manservant Ruben Mamoulian has returned to the fold after his self-imposed exile among the vagrants of Peace Park on State Street. I asked if it was because he had forgiven me for the caning I administered for some indiscretion before he stole away in the night last fall.
He said, no, he had returned to Stately Blaska Manor because it was easier to get booze here.
I admire honesty in a man. That, and an impact-resistant padlock.
It's 11 p.m. Do you know where your elected officials are?
Matt "The Usurper" Veldran (so-called because he usurped the rightful, hereditary seat on the Dane County House of Lords from the master of Stately Blaska Manor) finally responds to my query for his stand opposing Ald. Thuy Pham-Remmele's proposed ordinance amendment. Thuy wants to move the curfew for teenagers under age 17 up one hour to 10 p.m. from 11 p.m. from Sunday through Thursday and to 11 p.m. from midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. The measure is before tonight's reconstituted (sans Madame Brenda) City Council, which convenes at 6:30 p.m.[It's Item #51 on the agenda.]
Anyway, here is Veldran's response:
I understand the frustration neighbors in my neighborhood have with noise later at night... But the problem with this ordinance is that I'm concerned that it will not be administered equally from neighborhood to neighborhood. The frustration comes with parents not watching their kids, I understand this. But clearly, it's the kids who are being targeted, rather than not holding the parents accountable. [read the entire response below]
Matt, that sounds like typical liberal-dygook. I know it's the parents' fault. If the parents won't parent (verb, transitive) - whether because they are absent, drunk, stoned, in jail or indifferent - then by God and by golly, the police got to step in and if the police won't step in then one angry old man will and he suspects he will be joined by the rest of the neighborhood. The graybacks have got to keep the young testosterone-addled juveniles in line.
For what it's worth, the Equal Opportunities Commission and the Community Services Commission oppose the measure. However, the Police Department supports the earlier curfew with an amendment to modify the curfew hours for juveniles and create an exception for returning home from work and organized school activities. That seems eminently reasonable.
Like a lot of graying Americans, I can remember my youth better than what I did yesterday. I am here to testify that nothing good can come from kids being out late at night unsupervised.
A seasonal tale
Cousin Johan concludes today's lecture with this tale (it may be apocryphal):
The old priest lay dying in the hospital. For years He had faithfully served the people of the nation's capital. He motioned for his nurse to come near.
"Yes, Father?" said the nurse.
"I would really like to see Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi before I die", whispered the priest.
"I'll see what I can do, Father" replied the nurse. The nurse sent the request to them and waited for a response. Soon the word arrived. Harry and Nancy would be delighted to visit the priest. As they went to the hospital, Harry commented to Nancy, "I don't know why the old priest wants to see us, but it will certainly help our images." Nancy couldn't help but agree. When they arrived at the priest's room, the priest took Nancy 's hand in his right hand and Harry's hand in his left. There was silence and a look of serenity on the old priest's face.
Finally Nancy spoke. "Father, of all the people you could have chosen, why did you choose us to be with you as you near the end?"
The old priest slowly replied, "I have always tried to pattern my life after our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." The old priest continued, "He died between two lying thieves. I would like to do the same."
Matt Veldran's entire response
David, I am sorry for not responding sooner to your email.
I did speak against the original proposed curfew ordinance change at the city's EOC commission last month. I first became aware of the proposal to change the times as a member of the Dane County Youth Commission last month when it was on our agenda. Coincidentally, there were many members of the Dane County Youth Board in attendance on an unrelated item so a serious and poignant discussion took place on the issue.
The kids, some of whom are from Madison and who would be directly affected by the ordinance change, voiced a variety of concerns. Some have been addressed by the ordinance change but not to my satisfaction in terms of fairness on how the ordinance would be administered. The youth members were concerned with how kids coming home from either a job or a friend's house from a different part of the city would be viewed if they were coming home from a bus stop as opposed to being dropped off by car after curfew hours. Or even though there is an exemption for school activities, kids don't always rush home after an event and do socialize.
I understand the frustration neighbors in my neighborhood have with noise later at night. But there is an ordinance to address that issue. There is the new nuisance ordinance if that is an issue; there is an ordinance to address "boom cars". But the problem with this ordinance is that I'm concerned that it will not be administered equally from neighborhood to neighborhood. The frustration comes with parents not watching their kids, I understand this. But clearly, it's the kids who are being targeted, rather than not holding the parents accountable.
I wouldn't want my kids running around late at night and I hope that no parent does. But when the police state that they don't intend to use it that much, doesn't that raise the motives and the reasoning behind the need to change the time? The majority of the curfew violations have been given out past the present curfew time. And when curfew violations are issued, they're given out with other violations. So clearly the kids getting curfew violations are engaged in other illegal activity which is being addressed. So there is really no need to change the time.
The problem only worsens when a kid gets issued a curfew citation which can become a part of their permanent record. If they would have a minor infraction a few years later, while still a minor, they will be viewed differently by the courts as opposed to a kid doing the exact same thing without a curfew violation. They will now have a prior record with a minor infraction as opposed to no record. Is this the message we're sending to our kids? I want community officers to make our neighborhoods safer and better places to live, but I don't think this is the best way to achieve that end.
I'm sure you'll remember that it was the Dane County Youth Board who worked to try to create consistent curfews around Dane County so that kids could indeed travel between municipalities without having to worry about the curfew rules in different cities, villages or towns. Doesn't that make sense? The Youth Board members I have met in the past year are engaged and passionate about the issues they are involved in, specifically the graduation rate disparity around the county. Clearly these are kids that care about bettering they're community. I'm sure you do to.
Again, sorry it took so long to respond. Thanks for your interest in this issue.
Dane County Supervisor, District 7