Thuy Pham-Remmele is angry and she should be. The mayor slighted her when he appointed her to a committee for which she has no interest or expertise. He ignored her expertise when he declined to reappoint her to a second term on the Community Development Block Grant Commission.
I counseled Thuy to wear this slight as a badge of honor. My last term in office, The Kathleen refused to appoint me to any committees. (No sweat, in my case. The real power at the county level is the County Board's own committee structure.) While some tried to promote Brenda Konkel as a counterweight to Mayor Cieslewicz, I pointed out that the true check and balance was one Thuy Pham-Remmele. Who else almost single handedly stopped the mayor's trolley fixation and forced him to concentrate on the bread and butter issues of crime and neighborhood quality of life?
Thuy will not be silenced. Nor will she quit. The real question is whether Mayor Dave wants to make an enemy of this particular dynamo. Some enemies should be made - defines one's character. As Thuy told me:
"Please rest assured that I am committed to serve the common people who trusted me to represent District 20 on City Council. I am beholden to no special interest and have no obligation to support Mr. Cieslewicz's personal agenda & pleasure."
Thuy is incredibly popular here on the southwest side of town - and not just in the 20th Aldermanic District. She is a folk hero for organizing two community meetings in the summer of 2007 that changed this city's direction. She will not be silenced. She won re-election unopposed for a reason.
Joe Tarr has a good story on The Daily Page. But the update is Thuy is not quitting.
In fact, she has asked Council President Tim Bruer to remove his request for reconsideration of the appointments.
In an e-mail she shared with me, Thuy wrote: "I refuse to be a pawn in his hands.
"Remember my words when I was first elected, 'I am as cute as a porcupine but don't sit on me'?"
Ald. Thuy's curfew amendment is up at Tuesday night's Common Council meeting, which starts at 6:30 p.m. It would move the curfew up one hour from the current 11 p.m. on weeknights (Sunday through Thursday) for anyone under age 16. There are exceptions for returning home from work and recognized school activities. Also, may we remind you, if you are accompanied by an adult you're O.K.
It is co-sponsored by Alds. Jed Sanborn and Paul Skidmore. (It is #102 on the agenda.)
- Does Madison have the same problems as Mt. Horeb, DeForest, and Cambridge?
- Is the recommendation of children - the Dane County Youth Commission - for uniform curfews to trump the judgment of adults elected to represent the electors of Madison?
- Why is uniformity desirable in the case of curfews, which has long been held to be a community issue, but not, say, in minimum wage - which has always been considered a state/federal issue?
- Who actually believes that a teenager returning home from band practice with a tuba in its case is going to be hassled by the police?
- For that matter, what kind of organization would release their charges after 10 p.m.?
- Do we distrust Chief Noble Wray's Madison Police Department so much as to deny them a tool they are asking for?
- No, the enhanced curfew won't repair broken families. But it's not supposed to. Is that a reason to oppose it?
- Is it really a civil right worthy of ACLU support for 16 year-olds to be out and about, unsupervised, at 11 p.m. on a weeknight?
- What is a kid age 15 doing unsupervised that late at night?
Fiat buying Chrysler?
That puts me in mind of the Fiat 128 I purchased sometime in the mid-1970s. I had been driving since the age of 15 and had owned a 10-year-old 1955 DeSoto and then my father's Chevy Impala. But this was the most fun to drive car I had ever laid hands on. After work at a daily newspaper in northern Illinois, I'd drive that little front-wheel driver through all the back roads at breakneck speed and take corners that were never meant to be taken.
More than once I spun out into some tall DeKalb seed cornfield. Eee-ha!
Got to the point where the red paint faded and scarified like an Old Master's painting. When it killed at a stop sign, as it often did, I had to get out and push from the driver's side door then hop in and pop the clutch. Always started. I was much younger then.