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"I think people were done getting warnings for the day"

What are the things that puzzle, enrage, delight and tickle you as you go about your life in Madison?

"I think people were done getting warnings for the day"

Postby jjoyce » Tue May 04, 2010 10:11 am

http://dustinchristopher.com/2010/05/po ... n-hammock/

A great Madison story, particularly if you're interested in the town's vibe (and I think we all are, right?).

I'm eager to get Walter's reaction here, but I think if you ask 100 people about this, 99 would say the officer should have told the guy to take his hammock down and not put it up again or there'd be trouble. Thanks, have a nice day and don't make me come back here.

Having to deal with jackasses all day is regrettable and I'm among those who don't think Mifflin is an untouchable tradition (indeed, it would be a good opportunity for the city to recoup just some of the expenses dedicated to protecting students from themselves the rest of the year). But the "perp" in this case appears so clearly goofy and inoffensive that he ought to have been given the benefit of the doubt.
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Re: "I think people were done getting warnings for the day"

Postby gargantua » Tue May 04, 2010 11:26 am

Assuming the account was accurate, a warning was the most appropriate response. The guy didn't know he was doing anything wrong, and was polite and cooperative.

Lucky for him.....or she could and would have nailed him for everything in the book by the way it sounds.
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Re: "I think people were done getting warnings for the day"

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Tue May 04, 2010 11:40 am

Maybe he should have been a little less polite and cooperative, and I say that from experience. Almost 20 years ago now I worked at Late Night Video (anyone remember that?) and we delivered movies. I was working the day of the Mifflin St. Block Party and had a delivery to Ogg Hall. I pulled up in the yellow zone and proceeded to run inside to make my delivery. Two cops were hanging out in front and one of them started hassling me for parking illegally. I was used to some hassling as my car was unmarked, but I was always able to point to my delivery permit and get a pass in the past. This cop was having none of it and repeatedly insisted that I move my car -- but I was having a bad day, so after a few "Are you serious?"es from me, I blurted out, "Right now, there are literally hundreds of underage drinkers mere blocks away from here and you're gonna hassle me while I'm trying to do my job? If it sucks for me to have to work today, it must suck triply for you, I know. So how about you let me finish my delivery so both of us can get back to work?" He waved me by and grunted, "Just be quick!" I noticed his partner was laughing as I went inside -- never was sure at which of us.
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Re: "I think people were done getting warnings for the day"

Postby Walter » Tue May 04, 2010 9:57 pm

I'd like to do a little more reading before saying anything, so stand by for that.

We've been having problems near the area of "Concrete Park" (between the Towers and the Statesider) with people basically camping there so I want to know exactly where this hammocking happened. That may play a role.

Although I can say the Sgt. in his story has not worked 15 years on State Street nor been assigned there as a regular duty assignment prior to this year as far as I know and, depending on the time of day, may not have been part of the Mifflin Street assignment at all.

Wags, I would have been laughing at both of you. But then again, you always make me laugh.
Last edited by Walter on Wed May 05, 2010 4:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "I think people were done getting warnings for the day"

Postby lysander » Wed May 05, 2010 12:48 am

As someone who appreciates the fact that we have trees planted in the very center of Drunk Wisconsin College Kid zone, I agree with the issuance of this single citation. He can argue it in court, but expecting the MPD to issue a warning to every single downtown camper after they set up their tree-based housing solutions is kind of farfetched. It sounds like he got a ticket on the minor end of the spectrum.

Additionally, they aren't his trees and he really shouldn't have had the sense of entitlement to hang his hammock while the bums out there curl up at his feet. Besides, if this was perfectly legal, the odds are that some full-time panhandler would have already claimed this and any other such locations downtown.

The comments section of Christopher's blog are amusing though. Sure, if enough citizens demand the right to string up hammocks on public trees, the law may very well get changed. And then, plenty of folks will hang things between trees and call it home. And then we can truly take a shit on anyone who dares to do business in downtown Madison. Brilliant. Let's turn all public spaces into improvised homeless shelters. What could possibly backfire with that plan?
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Re: "I think people were done getting warnings for the day"

Postby green union terrace chair » Wed May 05, 2010 2:06 am

lysander wrote:As someone who appreciates the fact that we have trees planted in the very center of Drunk Wisconsin College Kid zone, I agree with the issuance of this single citation. He can argue it in court, but expecting the MPD to issue a warning to every single downtown camper after they set up their tree-based housing solutions is kind of farfetched. It sounds like he got a ticket on the minor end of the spectrum.

Additionally, they aren't his trees and he really shouldn't have had the sense of entitlement to hang his hammock while the bums out there curl up at his feet. Besides, if this was perfectly legal, the odds are that some full-time panhandler would have already claimed this and any other such locations downtown.

The comments section of Christopher's blog are amusing though. Sure, if enough citizens demand the right to string up hammocks on public trees, the law may very well get changed. And then, plenty of folks will hang things between trees and call it home. And then we can truly take a shit on anyone who dares to do business in downtown Madison. Brilliant. Let's turn all public spaces into improvised homeless shelters. What could possibly backfire with that plan?


WHAT A FUCKIN' ASSHOLE WHY DIDN'T THIS COP SHOOT HIM ON SIGHT?!
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Re: "I think people were done getting warnings for the day"

Postby Walter » Wed May 05, 2010 3:48 am

green union terrace chair wrote:WHAT A FUCKIN' ASSHOLE WHY DIDN'T THIS COP SHOOT HIM ON SIGHT?!


Too much paperwork.
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Re: "I think people were done getting warnings for the day"

Postby narcoleptish » Wed May 05, 2010 8:11 am

I can't comment because upon clicking the link I realized it was a (grooooan)...blog.

If I want to hear about the Boring Life Of Guy/Girl, I'll sidle up to some drunk at a bar.
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Re: "I think people were done getting warnings for the day"

Postby Walter » Wed May 05, 2010 9:30 am

After some review, here's my take:

This happened around 11:45 pm in front of 127 State Street, so it wasn't in the Concrete Park area where our Children of the Dirt have been trying to establish their hangout on the terrace since Peace Park has been closed. The report makes mention that the Hammocker was attracting attention and a crowd around him. There is also no mention that this was an on-going problem and the Hammocker has done this in the past to the Sgt.'s knowledge. Also, the Sgt. was not on a Mifflin Street assignment but on a Downtown Safety Initiative Grant after working her regular patrol shift. The basic DSI ground rule is that ordinance violations, especially ones involving liquor law violations on the street and disruptive behavior, are to be dealt with using citations or physical arrests where appropriate as a tool to demonstrate that those behaviors will not be tolerated in the State Street/University/King Street "entertainment corridor".

I can't say what the guy's attitude was or if he talked himself into the ticket since I wasn't there to see it. The report refers to the Hammocker as cooperative, but that doesn't mean he was nice and polite, either.

It will be up to the judge to decide if suspending a hammock using trees growing out of terrace is "placing" items on it. The ordinance, if I remember correctly, is geared towards preventing city property being used for commerce or storage of personal property, which is why she asked him if he had a license or permit.

A case can be made that it applies in that the intent of the ordinance is to prevent people from using city land for personal use even if the letter (exactly stating no hammocks) may not be there. There are public benches on that block of State that can be used if the Hammocker wanted to sit outside and enjoy the nightlife atmosphere of the street parade.

My feeling is he wanted to put up a hammock to get some attention and be a source of entertainment...and he got that attention, both positive and negative from his standpoint. This is not an unusual thing on State Street; a lot of people do things there they think are amusing for the sole purpose of getting attention. A friend of mine has often told such entertaining people that just because they are on State Street doesn't mean they're in some kind of fantasy land where they can do whatever they want. Rules apply, even to people who think they are being clever or cute or whatever.

The rule under scrutiny here is no doubt obscure and it's unlikely the Hammocker knew it, but ignorance is no defense either. Nor is intoxication, not that I know he was intoxicated, although given the date and time, it's likely inhibitions were lowered a bit by the use of alcohol on his part.

So then, I think the ordinance was violated and a citation could be issued. I would have told the Hammocker to knock it off and take it down and not written the ticket, unless he refused to voluntarily comply. I don't know why the Sgt. felt it was necessary to write the ticket, other than she was on a DSI assignment.

Some people are more prone to writing and not giving warnings. I've never worked side-by-side with the Sgt. and don't really know her threshold for citing people out. For whatever reason, it was crossed that night. I don't think the DSI intent was to cite people for putting a hammock up on State Street, but it doesn't prohibit it, either.
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Re: "I think people were done getting warnings for the day"

Postby Kyle Motor » Wed May 05, 2010 11:24 am

lysander wrote:Additionally, they aren't his trees and he really shouldn't have had the sense of entitlement to hang his hammock

This was the first thought in my mind while reading the story. It's not your property, so don't use it as if it were, even if it's for harmless lounging.
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Re: "I think people were done getting warnings for the day"

Postby fennel » Wed May 05, 2010 11:34 am

Walter wrote:The ordinance, if I remember correctly, is geared towards preventing city property being used for commerce or storage of personal property, which is why she asked him if he had a license or permit.
Huh. In my neighborhood, folks sometimes carve out sections of the street terrace for personal parking. How does that rate? It's clearly an established practice, in any case.
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Re: "I think people were done getting warnings for the day"

Postby jjoyce » Wed May 05, 2010 11:42 am

Here's another established practice: Being publicly drunk and shouting obscenities. Happens every night on State Street, often in full view of a peace officer. I know; I lived and/or worked on State Street for seven years or so.

The more I think about it, the more I'm convinced that he should have been warned and that the officer's statement that serves as the title of this thread is the real reason why a citation was issued.
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Re: "I think people were done getting warnings for the day"

Postby supaunknown » Wed May 05, 2010 2:42 pm

The dude was probably drunk after a day spent at the Mifflin Street Block Party. It goes without saying that drunk people can be annoying, but he probably still should've been offered a warning first. The ordinance cited doesn't really seem to accurately apply to this particular case. Much like the umbrella'd vagueries of the oft-cited "disorderly conduct". Regardless, dude should've damn well known better than to try a stunt like that. There are way too many homeless folks he unwittingly thumbed his nose at by hanging that hammock.

fennel wrote:
Walter wrote:The ordinance, if I remember correctly, is geared towards preventing city property being used for commerce or storage of personal property, which is why she asked him if he had a license or permit.
Huh. In my neighborhood, folks sometimes carve out sections of the street terrace for personal parking. How does that rate? It's clearly an established practice, in any case.

What's a "street terrace"? Is that the strip of lawn between the curb and the sidewalk?
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Re: "I think people were done getting warnings for the day"

Postby fennel » Wed May 05, 2010 2:53 pm

supaunknown wrote:What's a "street terrace"? Is that the strip of lawn between the curb and the sidewalk?
Yes. I'd never heard the term before moving to Madison.
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Re: "I think people were done getting warnings for the day"

Postby Walter » Wed May 05, 2010 4:47 pm

fennel wrote:
supaunknown wrote:What's a "street terrace"? Is that the strip of lawn between the curb and the sidewalk?
Yes. I'd never heard the term before moving to Madison.

Same here.
fennel wrote:
Walter wrote:The ordinance, if I remember correctly, is geared towards preventing city property being used for commerce or storage of personal property, which is why she asked him if he had a license or permit.
Huh. In my neighborhood, folks sometimes carve out sections of the street terrace for personal parking. How does that rate? It's clearly an established practice, in any case.


If people are parking on the terrace, it's a parking violation. It's called "No Parking On Terrace". I've written that one many times.
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