Now is the time for all good mayors to come to the defense of their cities. And Madison's mayor, the Honorable David J. Cieslewicz, which I think is the proper way to address such personages, has risen to the occasion in penning our cover story for this week, "In Defense of Madison."
Of course Cieslewicz prefers to be called "Mayor Dave," a complement to the rather casual demeanor he exhibits in most situations. He's not folksy I've yet to see him with a hayseed dangling from his mouth but he does project what you might call Madison informal.
He has availed himself of various forums, including his blog on the city's website (cityofmadison.com/mayor/blog), to confront some contentious remarks from boorish guests of the city i.e., certain state legislators. His efforts attracted the attention of news editor Bill Lueders, who has also overseen the mayor's various efforts at explication within our pages, usually in the Opinion venue.
Cieslewicz has in the past weighed in on the Edgewater debate, the Central Library wrangle and other areas of discussion. In "Defense," he deals with a whole litany of supposed Madison shortcomings and miscues. Agree with him or not, but you've got to admit he's not ducking the conversation.
Over the years Madison has found itself the object of criticism and/or derision from a gallery of pundits, some of whom have had legitimate, or at least reasonable, commentary on Madison's affairs, others of whom were merely playing to the uniformed masses baffled by the dynamic of Wisconsin's political and cultural center.
Madison has its flaws as well as its charms, as those of us who reside here are well aware. But for the most part, citizens of this town are pretty happy to be where we are. In his article, Cieslewicz does a good job of giving reasons why we like it here so much. Which is just what a good mayor should be able to do.