Dear Tell All: I'm starting to worry that Paul Soglin has made Madison a gloomy place. Former Mayor Dave Cieslewicz was the fun mayor, the one who made witty comments, thought up Freakfest, promoted biking, proposed a public market and pushed the Central Park idea. He even tried to convince Madison to install trolleys - and what's more fun than a trolley?
Soglin, on the other hand, has been saying "no" since he beat Cieslewicz last spring to return to the mayor's office. He initially cast doubt on rebuilding the Central Library and wants to kill the Mifflin Street Block Party. He's expressed reservations about the Public Market, Central Park and the Overture Center.
During the campaign, Soglin mentioned that his wife says he's happiest when he's mayor. But I don't see much evidence that he's happy, and suddenly I'm not feeling so hot myself.
Sunny Side Up
Dear Sunny Side: I'll grant you that Soglin can come off as a bit gloomy. But consider the situation he finds himself in, with a severe budget crisis exacerbated by Gov. Walker's cuts to state aid. Now is probably not the time for jollity in the mayor's office, Sunny Side.
If he ever catches a break with the budget, though, don't discount Soglin's knack for showing Madison a good time. After all, in his previous stints as mayor, he shepherded through such projects as Monona Terrace, the Capitol Concourse, the Civic Center and the State Street Mall, all places we go to play. And don't forget that he once presided over a city council meeting in a duck costume.
The gauntlet has been thrown, Mayor Soglin: Get that duck suit out of mothballs at some point during your new term and prove to Madison that it still fits.
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