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Uppity Wisconsin - Progressive Webmasters

« Environmentalists Trash Madison Rights-Of-Way With Signage | Main | Business Studies Rank 78% of States in Bottom Quarter »

June 29, 2006


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Mr. Soglin:

In order for an admission fee to the Halloween party to be unconstitutional (Federal or State), the public assembly would have to occur within the definitions provided by either document. The assembly never has been 'peaceabl[e]', nor was it formed with the intent 'to consult for the common good, and to petition the government, or any department thereof'. Not by any definition in any dictionary ever published. If either case were true, you would be correct; given that neither is true, your objections should adopt a different argument than of constitutionality.

You offer a positive solution, or 'carrot', encouraging responsible behavior and ensuring 99% of the crowd behave civilly. But 1% of 80,000 is 800, which is twice the number of arrests made in 2005. Controlling the crowd may require more than brandishing the stick, and actually using it, ostentatiously: set fines at $2,500 for any infraction, and Madison could even turn a profit.

I grew up on Madison's west side and went to college there, and was at the first three Halloween parties. I share your desire to make the party fun and safe, and exclude the criminals.

Theo Ehlert

Madison Guy

Excellent post. Hope the powers that be are listening. We seem to have forgotten everything the city learned years ago about crowd control, especially Chief Cooper's ideas of nonthreatening police officers interacting with the crowd in a positive way and aligning with them against the few extreme troublemakers.

I'm nostalgic for a time when there was common sense, competence and concern for the rights of ordinary Madison residents in both the mayor's office and the police department. You wouldn't happen to know if it's possible we might see their return one of these days?


Theo: with the exception of the last three years, most Halloween parties were peaceful. More importantly (and I do not have the cite) the Wisconsin courts have specifically ruled that a 'party' with music and other festive activities falls under the protected free speech.
Here is hoping, as you suggest, that they come up with a solution that is fun and safe.

A..J. Love

Great post Paul. I agree with you 100%! It is ironic that a few of Madison's progressives seem so inclined to play fast and loose with the 1st Amendment. But then that is yet another example of how much of Madison has gotten a psuedo-liberal reputation in recent years...

Mark Garthwaite

Why can't we suspend bar time on Halloween? Does it make any sense to dump everyone onto State St. simultaneously and expect an orderly dispersal?

Alternatively, blast classical music along the street all night. Or maybe that crazy Greek music they play at Parthenon Gyros. That seems to lure drunks in droves. It can't be the gyros can it?

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