Sunday, January 14, 2007

Madison Mayoral Challengers

I see no evidence that the City of Madison will not continue to be lost to the most socialist faction of the Democratic Party. This is not to say there are no divisions within the local Democrats. Steve at Letters in Bottles notices a Paul Soglin post in which the ex-Mayor continues to have disagreements with the Dave Cieslewicz administration.

This dissatisfaction is not, however, translating into a challenge for the job. That task falls to a couple long shots who are at least giving voice to the discontent of those of us concerned about the misguided direction of our city. The Isthmus asks: Are you running to win …?

Ray Allen: As mayor, my focus will be on crime and poverty because I believe if we want to fight crime in the long run, we have to fight poverty now. Unfortunately, city hall is focused on trolleys, which have been reported to cost between $15 million and $25 million per mile. I see this as a waste. To put this in perspective, the cost of one mile of trolley tracks is enough to make affordable housing a reality in Madison, or enough to pay for the replacement of all the wells that have elevated manganese levels. The cost of one mile of trolley track can go a long way toward fighting crime and reducing poverty.

Peter Muñoz: Madison is one of the most desirable cities in the world. The city and its surrounding areas are blessed with a bounty of natural beauty. Its economy is seemingly indestructible. Its community is recognized for being open-minded, tolerant, and forward-thinking. But these qualities cannot be taken for granted lest we lose them. I am committed to not only preserve them, but to improve them. I will not lead Madison with dreams of trolleys that will congest streets and deplete limited city resources. I am extremely sensitive about the hardships many folks and businesses experience in trying to balance finances and meet basic obligations, including property taxes.

The best hope to keep Dave Cieslewicz from further destroying this safe and beautiful city is to at least demonstrate the substantial citizen resistance to his expensive delusion that rail based mass transit is a good idea for our small city. At this point, I am willing to vote for either Allen or Munoz but I hope they both ratchet up the noise level about the single issue which at least has the possibility of putting a dent into the reflexive votes for incumbency.