There are three threshold issues as the election season opens. These are issues that do not necessarily measure a candidate from left to right, but establish a basis for my support. The candidates I did not endorse fall in a range from unacceptable to excellent.
I imagine this discussion will go on through the April election and beyond.
Trolley: On December 22, 2006, Waxing America said: Trolley Follies: Let The Voters Decide
The Question: "Will you vote to put a referendum on the ballot for the bond issue needed to fund the eight miles of Madison light rail?" In other words, let the public decide on the largest financial commitment in the history of the city.
Three weeks later, Stuart Levitan put the question to the mayor and got a squishy response. During January most of the aldermanic candidates and two of the principal mayoral challengers made it clear they supported a referendum. Finally, on Thursday of this week, the incumbent mayor, Dave Cieslewicz, indicated support for a referendum.
Let's move on to important issues.
Poverty: The problems of families living below the poverty level is paramount.
- Mayors and Public Schools: Another Collision ...For over thirty years I said, "There is nothing a mayor can do that has the impact on a city that is as great as the public school system."
- New York Times Plays New Years Joke on Madison ...A lot of attention to the problems of a sociable downtown, and not much attention to the issues of crime, poverty, and race.
- Madison's Allied Drive Needs Far More Than Improved Housing and Social Services ...Yes, and badly needed is a plan that works off of the resources of the community and the skills of the residents. If the skill set needs enhancement, then the requisite job training is the highest priority. Once again the city of Madison, particularly the progressive left (with the exception of Golden and a few others), focuses solely on housing, and ignores programs designed to ensure economic stability
In judging a candidate's commitment to battling poverty, I look not at the rhetoric but at the effectiveness of their position:
- There must be be acknowledgment that poverty is a major problem in Madison and that Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians are not receiving equal benefit of Madison's educational and employment opportunities.
- There must be a commitment to involving the private sector in job development and training.
- A claim to be the candidate 'furthest' to the left does not cut it.
- A commitment to support low income housing is not sufficient.
Administration: While the mayor is the chief executive officer, every elected official is obligated to support clean government and efficient administration. That does not invite a meat-ax or employee-bashing approach to management. It represents a commitment to fair and equal hiring and personnel practices, quality management and open government. Time management is also an issue-the allocation of staff resources to support trolleys as opposed to combatting poverty, working with the schools, confronting discrimination, making sure there is public transportation for folks without cars.
Old and new endorsements:
District 1: Aaron Backer
District 5: Troy Thiel
Distrct 6: Marsha Rummel
District 8: Eli Judge
District 9: Paul Skidmore
District 10: Br1an Solomon
District 11: Chris Schmidt
District 12: Mike Basford
District 13: Julia Kerr
District 15: Vicky Selkowe (sorry for the previous spelling error)
District 18: Michael Shumacher
District 20: Gary Poulson
More to follow.