Ah, Madison, the eternal jewel. Ever since the Native American inhabitants chose it as a place of worship and ceremony, the location has been deemed special by those who inhabit it and, sometimes problematically, by those from other places who succumb to its natural charms.
Not that its allure is strictly geographic. The rise of the University of Wisconsin and the numerous talented people it has attracted and/or nurtured have helped develop an intellectual and artistic tradition that only enhances Madison's physical blessings. The people who live here live here by choice. They like it the way it is and often don't want to see it changed.
Dave Cieslewicz liked it well enough to serve as mayor for two terms, narrowly missing a third in the 2011 elections, yet he seems to think Madison can be improved upon. In his cover story for this edition of Isthmus, "What Do We Want To Be?" he cites seven changes he thinks are necessary to take Madison into the future, at least into a desirable future.
Since last summer, Cieslewicz has blogged on the Isthmus website, TheDailyPage.com, under the banner "Citizen Dave." He has written from sort of an inside-baseball perspective, showing us how civic leaders think and work toward their goals. In his contribution in the paper this week, we get a good distillation of the civic/regional challenges that face us.
The former "Mayor Dave" spends his time these days preparing his lectures for the two classes he teaches at the UW, consulting on near-west-side development plans, and writing. He's contemplating a book. As for future political plans, he says he loved being mayor but hated the election process, specifically the money-raising part. For now he professes himself "happy as a clam." We'll see how content he is when 2014 rolls around.