Is there a credibility gap in county government? First there was the 9-1-1 call center fiasco, which offered various scenarios and outright misstatements of facts (the polite way to say "lies") in lieu of what really happened with the non-callback to Brittany Zimmermann's cell phone. We learned subsequently that the center was chronically short-staffed and, probably, under-trained, despite a consultant's report four years ago demanding improvements.
Now we learn that a criminal cut off his ankle bracelet in Dane County in an attempt to evade authorities, thanks to the reporting of Matthew DeFour in Sunday's Wisconsin State Journal. The mope...
... was arrested 4 ½ hours after the bracelet was removed and found in an alley near his home.
That information was not included in the Sheriff's Office press release. Despite the sergeant in charge's demurrals, this could not have been an oversight.
The Sheriff's Office told the Dave Glomp county board campaign early this year that Dane County's bracelets were stronger than the state probation bracelet that Britney Langlois removed before she came to Madison and shot a man dead.
DeFour also tells us that the number of bracelet-wearing inmates are up to 138 compared to 57 on the same day last year and that we are still housing 32 inmates in other county jails compared with 115 a year ago.
The Sheriff has increased the number of bracelet-wearing inmates by:
- Doubling the electronic monitoring staff
- Unilaterally waiving the requirement that at least some jail time be served for certain crimes.
A southwest-side troublemaker sentenced to a year in jail for 72 counts of burglary did serve some jail time, at least. He walked out of jail after 60 days wearing the bracelet.
DeFour continues his excellent work on the Dane County electronic ankle bracelet issue. However, he is wrong to write that
A consultant last year advised the county against building new cells before trying a number of efficiency measures in the criminal justice system.
Dane County told the consultant that new jail space was off the table from the get-go.
But DeFour's report in Sunday's newspaper ( Sheriff to miss his jail target) is evidence that the greatly expanded electronic monitoring program can only delay the day of reckoning. Dane County is the fastest-growing county in Wisconsin. The Department of Administration projects we will add 112,000 people in the next 22 years, a growth-rate of 24%. But, no, we don't need to expand a jail that was intentionally built too small in 1994 and was overcrowded three years later.
Fourteen years later, one would think that safety would be the paramount issue, what with the recent murders of Joel Marino, Brittany Zimmermann and Kelly Nolan.
But the 9-1-1 center is a victim of - and the ankle bracelet scheme is the spawn of - a single-minded county executive whose mania is for buying marshland at the expense of prudent, and cost-effective, law enforcement.
Why Blaska gives thanks to Epic Inc.
Epic Systems, the big medical software company building a campus just outside of Verona proper, has laid down the law to its building contractor, J.P. Cullen & Sons. Epic has told J.P. Cullen that if it wants to keep wetting its beak in a construction project expected to total a half-billion dollars before it is through, it will have to wear, like an Ed Gein mask, Epic's politics.
And the liberals are rejoicing at this new, Obama-like age of consensus politics!
1. God bless non-union Epic Inc. for giving sprawl a good name with its suburban Verona (say again?) campus.
2. Now it has legitimized economic blackmail as the next level of smash-mouth politics. Like they say at the hamburger chain, I'm lovin' it.
As Marc Eisen writes, at the conclusion of Epic contractor J.P. Cullen & Sons drops WMC membership:
Of course, fairness is seldom a factor in today's politics.
WMC could only dream that anyone in the mainstream or even alternative news media would say the same about it. This is where the Progressive Dane shills write, "politics ain't beanbag." Now, finally, the lid is off and we can do politics as it was meant to be. First, Obama throws campaign finance reform under the bus (I know, it's a busy bus and its tires are getting very sticky). Now, Epic elevates the political boycott from a bunch of grapes to multi-million dollar contracts.
As many of the libs on The Daily Page Forum are saying, works for me.
3. Thank you, Epic, for adopting what liberals have always accused conservatives of doing: cloaking their actions in superior morality.
"We believe business exists to support society. When instead business undermines society's basic principles, then we each choose whether or not to tolerate it."
Violating society's basic principles? No, they're not talking about gay marriage. They're talking about conservatives weighing in on issues. That's just… wrong!
4. Thank you, Epic, for returning unvarnished spin to its proper place in American politics. Even John Nichols would be embarrassed to pour on the bovine fecal nutrients as thick as this:
"Epic is, and always has been, politically neutral."
As Ed Garvey would say, Whoa Nelly! Politically neutral? Not its founder, chief exec, and guru, Judith Faulkner. She's a Kathleen Falk supporter and worse. A big-time lib. Which is fine. Terry Kelly of Weather Central, locally, and George Soros, nationally, are libs as well. Maybe she meant "politically neutered." That would, of course, be J.P. Cullen.
Judith Faulkner's smackdown of WMC is pure payback for WMC's involvement in the campaign to defeat Kathleen Falk's bid for A.G. as much as the State Supreme Court race. Epic is Faulkner's show, make no mistake.
5. Thank you, Epic, for starting the Wisconsin business trade wars.
Healthcare providers are a big part of WMC's membership. Marshfield Clinic is one of three to serve on its board of directors. Would it be beyond the pale for Marshfield Clinic and the others to tell Epic to stuff its software where the sun don't shine, we're going with your competitor?
Not if we follow Epic's example!
If Epic has taught us anything, it is this:
1. Be all things to all people - even if it means you will be nothing to anyone.
2. Don't anger the liberals. It is important that you win the respect of Paul "Fidel" Soglin and Dave Zweifel of the Progressive Dane blog.
3. Quit complaining about high taxes. By endlessly and publicly depicting Wisconsin as anti-business and high-tax, you are discouraging companies from relocating here. Instead, sing the opposite song. Your corporate cousins in other states will disconnect their internet, unsubscribe to the U.S. Commerce Department's annual tax rankings, and dismantle their tax and research departments and migrate to the Badger State!
4. Join hands with WEAC to fight for better schools by sprinkling more money on them. Quash all alternatives, such as school choice, charter schools, and virtual schooling. After all, the easily unionized education factories must have their monopoly. After all, who knows better - the educrats or parents?
5. Support higher taxes, especially on corporations. Don't worry, corporations don't pass those higher costs along to the consumer. They take it out of their profits. Of course, that means less for workers' retirement IRAs.
6. We need high taxes to support our unusually high quality of life. Which, apparently, we've kept a secret. Otherwise, why is Wisconsin's population growth rank in the lower half of the 50 states - far behind Arizona, California, Nevada, Tennessee, Virginia, and other hell holes?
7. Drop tort reform and pony up those multi-million settlements to the ambulance chasers. It's better than the Lottery!
8. Business should leave the public square - and involvement in political campaigns - unless it tags along with the teachers union, AFSCME, and One Wisconsin Now.
Political? Epic? Of course not!
Affordable housing? Trust the market
Madison's Inclusionary Zoning ordinance is scheduled to sunset next January. What are its chances of being renewed? Not good. Two veteran Common Council watchers, one a sitting member and the other paid to watch, tell me that IZ is a dead letter, although it will get its votes. IZ needs 11 votes to survive but will get, at most, 9. Mayor Dave? Not willing to go to the mat for it anymore.
This despite Ald. Brenda Konkel's frenzied efforts to breathe life into the failed program, even to the point of rebranding it. I have likened it to a Rube Goldberg contraption, understandable to a select few and a bureaucratic nightmare to enforce. While it was still being debated five years ago, I argued on the airwaves of WTDY radio that it was pure folly to encourage home ownership by penalizing the accumulation of equity.
I.Z. was the ultimate act of liberal hubris - the notion that government can harness the economy, really a force of nature, and make it run uphill. It is also a reminder that the solution to housing problems are housing providers.
Marc Eisen has done the best work on this subject, writing this January (Mayor Dave's Housing Plan Fizzles) that,
As the IZ ordinance's fourth anniversary approaches on Feb. 15, only 41 houses and condos have been sold or have accepted offers to purchase. That's a far cry from the 800 to 1,200 units the public was led to expect.
Amidst a nationwide decline in property values, city assessor Mark Hanson tells me that property values in Madison will continue to decline.
Besides, what's wrong with renting? A newspaper letter writer a while back brought unusual clarity to the issue when he wrote (to the effect): If you can't afford to buy a home you should not buy a home. Seems like even better advice in these post-sub-prime days, doesn't it?