I did manage to attend the first hour of Mayor Dave Cieslewicz's summit meeting Wednesday morning. I had to leave before the second hour in order to make a previous commitment.
I give the mayor credit for holding the meeting, hastily called in the wake of the murder of a 17-year-old, allegedly by two 16-year-olds and a third juvenile accomplice, in Meadowood on June 9.
Dean Mosiman of the Wisconsin State Journal covered the story and if you haven't seen it, here is his Thursday write-up: Violence hits home: Shootings are call to action, residents say.
I'll add something that he did not cover. Mayor Dave seems to have backtracked from the Better Homes and Gardens school of crime-fighting and neighborhood restoration. In other words, there will be no bulldozers or construction crews at Balsam and Leland Roads, unlike the CDBG money thrown at Allied Drive.
Cieslewicz called the Allied Drive remake, "Incredibly expensive. The cost in dollars (over $10 million) is way too high."
Ald. Thuy Pham-Remmele tried to make that very point - (in essence) that new drapes is not going to fix anything. For that common-sense observation, she was booted off the CDBG committee.
The mayor was kind enough to stop by and chat with me before the meeting began. He reminded me that I had endorsed him for his first term. I recommended that he "go to Meadowood." Take up residence; hear what we hear, see what we see.
I am a big fan of Police Chief Noble Wray. He wants to go after the "no snitch culture" and take guns off the streets. (Although, on the latter, the real problems are the people who get the guns. Going after guns strikes me as no more profitable than removing needles from a cactus.)
"The bottom line is it comes down to Africa-American males who are being victimized by gun violence." Wray said he has reached out to another African-American, the Rev. David Smith. "I need help," the chief said. "This is more than a law enforcement issue."
What he was getting at is that it is a self-respect issue.
Ald. Thuy will hold own strategy session
For all that, I still got the feeling that the Wednesday summit meeting was something of a dog and pony show to show that the city was on it. It also seemed canted toward crime to the near-exclusion of the quality of life issues that the Broken Windows theory tells us create the breeding ground for crime.
That is why, afterwards, Ald. Thuy told me, "I am planning a Neighborhood Symposium of concerned area leaders to work on solutions for our District to actively take back our community, hopefully soon. If something is important enough to do, let's do it right from the start."
No dates yet.
I also made sure the Mayor got my proposed action list. Gave one to West District Police Captain Jay Lengfeld, as well.
Blaska's action list
I see that the action list I proposed on Tuesday is already getting reaction. Lukas Diaz, who apparently runs his own blog (possibly from a pirate vessel beyond territorial waters) puts forward a running commentary on my list.
He objects to the paid work detail I propose as "age discrimination." That's odd. Recognizing age differences is written throughout our laws. Age minimums are set for everything from driving a motorized vehicle to drinking alcoholic beverages to voting. Juveniles have their own court system. And if you would prohibit the interposition of "values" based on their ideology than perhaps you should re-examine the liberal ideology.
Brenda Konkel, who accuses the Orchard Ridge and Meadowood neighborhoods of holding "whites only" meetings -- and disparages Ald. Thuy Pham-Remmele every chance she gets -- offers her own remedies. It is not surprising that seven of them are for more spending. ("Adequately fund …", "Beef up funding …") Remember that the next time she bleats, "hold on to your wallets" when some of us ask for more police protection. What is surprising is how many ape my own.
I have to question the credentials of anyone who professes a neighborhood improvement plan who, as an alderman, wanted to legalize urinating in public parks.
Facilitating bad lifestyles
Madame Brenda particularly objects to Mosiman's quote of Dennis Lochner, who owns a hardware store in the Meadowood Shopping Center on Raymond Road, where I often shop.
"As a community, we facilitate freeloaders and bad lifestyles."
Brenda has heard this before. Police Lt. (now Captain) Joe Balles said the same thing about the Konkel-empowered vagrants who were busy destroying the quality of life in the State Street/West Washington/West Doty area.
The other quote I especially love from Mosiman's article is from a landlord trying to get out of Balsam.
"The shooting was horrible but it was another progressive step in this trend of trashing everything. Now we're trashing lives. It's children having children and having no idea how to be parents. There is no sense of right or wrong."
Isn't that what I said in Mayor Dave is invited to Meadowood?
The troubles in Meadowood and elsewhere are a continuum. This homicide did not occur in a vacuum. The filthy language, littering, vandalism, intimidation, drugs, gangs, killings are all part of the same continuous loop. The homicides are only the climax forest - the oaks that follow the aspens that follow the bushes that follow the tall grass.
The shooting victim, at 17, was already an absentee father. The victim's father, at 37, a grandfather!
The Konkel-Diaz model is the ACLU model - no discipline without a full vetting of the punk's Miranda rights. For criminal matters, yes. By then it may be too late. Discipline starts early if the child is to succeed.
Discipline is what makes winning football teams, high academic scores, successful businesses, well-run households, and tidy - dare I say it, "inclusive" neighborhoods. It is consideration for others and for oneself.
Everything in Brenda's and Lukas Diaz's worldview is outwardly directed. More inputs, never any demand for outputs. The R word may only be whispered in polite society (Shhh: Responsibility).
Brenda: "Thumbs Down:
- Stereotypes and blaming.
- More police."
Unless it is Brenda Konkel stereotyping those who complain. ("Whites-only meetings") BTW: I haven't seen Madame Brenda down here, have you?
I note that of all the people Dean Mosiman quoted in his Monday WSJ article on Ald. Thuy, only two bad-mouthed our 20th District Common Council representative: Brenda Konkel and Mayor Dave ("Asked how Pham-Remmele is doing, [the mayor] said, 'Not particularly well.'")
That hurts Mayor Dave in these parts.
More typical is Orchard Ridge Neighborhood Association president Tom McKenna:
"She is standing up for the people."
The action plan:
Let us review the Blaska action plan - this time arranged in order of priority:
- Come to Meadowood, Mayor Cieslewicz. Take up residence in the 'hood and vow not to leave until victory is achieved. I hear that at least four landlords have extended invitations for the mayor to take up residence here, rent-free.
- Send in the surge. Police foot patrols in Balsam/Russett, Park Ridge, and Hammersley/Bettys Lane areas.
- Require Madison Public Schools to cooperate with police; station one officer in Toki Middle School (principal: Nicole Schaefer) and Orchard Ridge elementary (prinicipal: Barb Dorn).
- Renew and aggressively enforce the Chronic Nuisance ordinance.
- Train citizens on proper safety precautions and physical interventions. (More on that in an upcoming blog!)
- Promote positive values. Abandon the victimology message. Get the education and faith communities to pro-actively preach empowerment, self-respect, consideration of and responsibility to others - to balance off the over-emphasis on "rights."
- Repeal mandatory Section 8 housing.
- Require month-by-month leases for anyone on active parole or probation.
- Enact a stronger curfew ordinance, including 10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday for anyone under age 18. Currently, Madison's curfew is weaker than Chicago's.
- Purchase for the library and made as school-required reading the book, Come on People, on the Path from Victims to Victors, by Bill Cosby and Alvin F. Poussaint, M.D.
- Enact and enforce ordinances prohibiting display of underwear or other obscene gestures, profane language heard beyond three feet; enforce jaywalking, excessive noise and other ordinances.
- Create neighborhood clean-up work details for teens cited for these. Pay participants $3 a hour. Encourage voluntary enlistments.
- Appoint Thuy Pham-Remmele to the Public Safety Review Committee and the Community Block Development Grant board.
- Require prospective tenants to show proof of citizenship.
Things we do not need:
- Early release of prisoners. Contact Gov. Jim E. Doyle and tell him you are opposed to early release!
- Brenda Konkel's race baiting. "Whites-only meetings" is how she describes the two listening sessions Ald. Thuy held in 2007.
- Racial disparity studies. A Waste. Of. Time.