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It's 3 AM. Do you know where your mayor is?

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It's 3 AM. Do you know where your mayor is?

Postby Azog » Sun Aug 05, 2012 7:21 am

I'm trying to find a way to tell myself that the mayor of this city hasn't completely lost his mind. It isn't easy. Friday night we get the call that the mayor has taken to the streets with a camera crew to try and "bust" cab drivers to try to prove to the Downtown Coordinating Committee that we are... really bad people? What the hell is his problem? Three months now we have been working our butts off trying to make a bare living with the mayor painting a giant bullseye on us. It's so ridiculous. We have people getting shot at the university, Monty Ball getting beat up in a very public way, but somehow to the mayor Madison has no more pressing problem than to make sure cabs can't do their jobs clearing out the crowds from State Street.

I think he's gone nuts. I had a girl in the cab who was an intern for the city and she said when he came in and started this big huge ordeal about cabs not being able to drive on State Street anymore, everybody in the room was like what the hell is he talking about.

The rest of the city might not be aware but he is pulling out all the guns trying to squash our trade and yes, the nightlife downtown too. Look at what he did to the Mifflin Street Block Party this year, it was a nightmare. His version of solving a problem seems to be making sure nobody wants to go there. The Mifflin Street thing was a safety success this year because nobody wanted to go there. It was empty by 6pm.

First he said its because of too much traffic on State Street. We demonstrated that there's no traffic problem after 10pm. Then he said it would jeopardize Metro funding, but that was completely debunked. Now he's out there playing candid camera trying to find any example of a cab driver doing (what exactly) so he can prove to the city how terrible we are. ALL we try to do is help a very grateful public get home safe, not drive drunk, and not be stuck in large numbers downtown. Since the cab ban we have this.

NBC15 wrote:The detail will consist of officers, detectives, and members of the MPD's Crime Prevention & Gang Unit. Their collective goal is to deter criminal activity in the State Street corridor, to include the 600 block of University Ave. In recent months, large numbers of people have been congregating in these areas after 10:00 p.m. The composition of the crowd has changed dramatically from days when it has been predominantly students waiting to get into bars or area restaurants to large groups of people just hanging out. Officers report crowds are often stagnant, disruptive, confrontational, combative and hostile to police.


Its obvious he's taken everything personally at this point and has lost all concern for anything else besides getting his way. Apparently the idea is he's ready to retire and likes to go to bed early (except for when he's up photographing taxi drivers), so we all should be ready to retire and go to bed early. Downtown doesn't need a bar scene, right? Why not just target a completely harmless profession and pick on them because there's nobody there to stop him, right? True, he used to drive a taxi, but he's got zero credibility at this point. He's steamrolling us like a politician, an endless onslaught, vilification and trying to wait everybody out to try to sneak his plan into policy. When we heard he was out taking pictures another driver and I were just shaking our heads, unable to believe that this is what we get out of a mayor we both voted for. He's lost his marbles.

http://www.cityofmadison.com/council/di ... og/?id=701
http://www.thedailypage.com/daily/artic ... k.facebook
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Re: It's 3 AM. Do you know where your mayor is?

Postby snoqueen » Sun Aug 05, 2012 1:54 pm

I thought the last Mifflin Block Party was a whole lot better than the previous few. People can have fun without all the fights, assaults, and other damage. Do you seriously think those are a necessary tradeoff for a day of partying after finals? Can't we find some better way for the students and others have a spring party?

Seems like that's a separate issue from the cabs-on-State thing. I definitely see your argument cabs provide a safety service, and I agree cabs are a legitimate business with legitimate interests which you have stated very well. Ald Resnick's report made sense.

I find it hard to argue with the intensive police presence on University and the surrounding area late at night, again for safety reasons. I'd think the cab drivers and the police were on the same side of this one.

Aren't there some gray areas here?

I've got no idea what Soglin is trying to do with this. I generally approve of his administration so far except for this matter and the silly street signs thing. (For a while he was trying to frame that one as an esthetic issue, and the man has the esthetics of a fencepost.) I don't want it to be Soglin's Edgewater, because in so many regards he's a great administrator and knows this city and its processes very well.
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Re: It's 3 AM. Do you know where your mayor is?

Postby Azog » Mon Aug 06, 2012 6:31 am

snoqueen wrote:I thought the last Mifflin Block Party was a whole lot better than the previous few. People can have fun without all the fights, assaults, and other damage. Do you seriously think those are a necessary tradeoff for a day of partying after finals? Can't we find some better way for the students and others have a spring party?

Seems like that's a separate issue from the cabs-on-State thing. I definitely see your argument cabs provide a safety service, and I agree cabs are a legitimate business with legitimate interests which you have stated very well. Ald Resnick's report made sense.

I find it hard to argue with the intensive police presence on University and the surrounding area late at night, again for safety reasons. I'd think the cab drivers and the police were on the same side of this one.

Aren't there some gray areas here?

I've got no idea what Soglin is trying to do with this. I generally approve of his administration so far except for this matter and the silly street signs thing. (For a while he was trying to frame that one as an esthetic issue, and the man has the esthetics of a fencepost.) I don't want it to be Soglin's Edgewater, because in so many regards he's a great administrator and knows this city and its processes very well.


I don't know, I think the idea that only an army of police can solve a problem is so conservative. But anyway they're there. Just kind of pointing out that the violence DT spiked right around the same time Soglin stopped letting us on State. That 600 block of University they had to add all the extra police? That's where the crowds go now that we can't drive to pick them up. The bars close and everybody goes to the same spot all together. 600 University is the place where the most cabs are now, that's where the crowds are, that's where the police are. I think its gonna be a violent year, has been so far.

Whatever good traits Soglin has he's also proven himself to be a bastard. He wants the reason to be whatever it has to be so long as he gets his way. He'll give us five different reasons and not mean any of them. He's not willing to reconsider his position. He's not willing to acknowledge the difference between rush hour and bar time. He'd rather effectively close down the night life in Madison than admit we have a point. Maybe the early birds can live with him solving the problem by choking the city with police until no one wants to spend money there, but I don't believe that's the only solution. He's being completely unreasonable.
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Re: It's 3 AM. Do you know where your mayor is?

Postby peripat » Mon Aug 06, 2012 9:14 am

I appreciate Soglin's administrative skills and though I don't always agree with him in this case I think he is right. Have you never lived in a big city? Taxi stands are great. Your position seems to be 'heaven forbid people should actually know where they can find a taxi'. Limiting traffic on State St was intended to keep most vehicles off it and that included taxis. Cabs have flouted that rule for years, but, like smoking in bars, it is time for that to end.
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Re: It's 3 AM. Do you know where your mayor is?

Postby Azog » Mon Aug 06, 2012 9:28 am

peripat wrote:I appreciate Soglin's administrative skills and though I don't always agree with him in this case I think he is right. Have you never lived in a big city? Taxi stands are great. Your position seems to be 'heaven forbid people should actually know where they can find a taxi'. Limiting traffic on State St was intended to keep most vehicles off it and that included taxis. Cabs have flouted that rule for years, but, like smoking in bars, it is time for that to end.


Yeah and if we can just put our heads together and figure out a way to ban alcohol at the bars, we can really kill the night life in this town.

At night. We're talking about traffic at night. There is none. Since the mayor lost his marbles its a mess DT. Big city, small city, Madison isn't any other city. All the popular bars in Milwaukee are not positioned in the same five city blocks. Since the beautiful smoking ban bars lost population, everybody who wants to have fun goes to where they definitely know lots of other people are going to be.
Last edited by Azog on Mon Aug 06, 2012 9:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: It's 3 AM. Do you know where your mayor is?

Postby peripat » Mon Aug 06, 2012 9:37 am

Taxi stands will not kill night life, though they may mean fewer seriously drunken people staggering around.
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Re: It's 3 AM. Do you know where your mayor is?

Postby snoqueen » Mon Aug 06, 2012 10:42 am

I don't know, I think the idea that only an army of police can solve a problem is so conservative. But anyway they're there. Just kind of pointing out that the violence DT spiked right around the same time Soglin stopped letting us on State. That 600 block of University they had to add all the extra police? That's where the crowds go now that we can't drive to pick them up. The bars close and everybody goes to the same spot all together. 600 University is the place where the most cabs are now, that's where the crowds are, that's where the police are.


I thought this was a good paragraph full of good, on-the-ground observations. Boldfaced section highlighted by me.

What about taxi stands, but more of them in different and better locations?

What about staggered bar closing times, or none at all?
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Re: It's 3 AM. Do you know where your mayor is?

Postby Crockett » Mon Aug 06, 2012 10:53 am

snoqueen wrote:What about staggered bar closing times, or none at all?


Bingo.
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Re: It's 3 AM. Do you know where your mayor is?

Postby lukpac » Mon Aug 06, 2012 11:22 am

peripat wrote:Taxi stands will not kill night life, though they may mean fewer seriously drunken people staggering around.


Why will they mean that? Previous comments here suggest just the opposite.
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Re: It's 3 AM. Do you know where your mayor is?

Postby Azog » Mon Aug 06, 2012 11:39 am

snoqueen wrote:What about taxi stands, but more of them in different and better locations?

What about staggered bar closing times, or none at all?


Sounds good, I mean we're not intransigent about anything. Unfortunately it's been a one way conversation, as you can see in the above Isthmus link the mayor said he's not interested in negotiating. We are trying to negotiate. I believe from the meetings we got a bill sponsored to allow pedestrians to flag cabs after 10 pm. Which is what he's out roving the streets at night with a camera crew trying to prevent us from getting passed (it should also be noted the mayor has personally stopped and had shouting matches with a number of taxi drivers). I believe the State Street Downtown Coordinating Committee unanimously agreed with our position.

The taxi stands by themselves are a good thing. Also, they're already there. But people are used to hailing cabs downtown. There's just too many more people than there are taxi stands or even taxis for it to work. The taxi stand is convenient but that that system itself is a bottleneck as a stand alone measure at peak hours. Using just taxi stands there is a definite limit to how many people you can move per hour. Because of competition for the stands many drivers will just go to other parts of town because they can't afford to spend their whole night waiting for a spot in line. Being able to pick up flags means they will be there when the people need them. The result has been large crowds on the 600 block of University.

And, this is the slow season. Is this kind of trouble on University Ave. what we want when the students are back and there are thousands of people in town for a Badger game?
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Re: It's 3 AM. Do you know where your mayor is?

Postby Stebben84 » Mon Aug 06, 2012 12:34 pm

peripat wrote: Have you never lived in a big city? Taxi stands are great. Your position seems to be 'heaven forbid people should actually know where they can find a taxi'. Limiting traffic on State St was intended to keep most vehicles off it and that included taxis. Cabs have flouted that rule for years, but, like smoking in bars, it is time for that to end.


I've never been to a large city where I can't hail a cab.

If they want to limit traffic then they should do something about delivery trucks. That place is a clusterfuck in the morning and a serious hazard to peds and cyclists.
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Re: It's 3 AM. Do you know where your mayor is?

Postby seemunkyz » Mon Aug 06, 2012 4:42 pm

Azog wrote:
peripat wrote: Since the beautiful smoking ban bars lost population, everybody who wants to have fun goes to where they definitely know lots of other people are going to be.


That was until the entire state banned smoking within bars. Then people didn't have a choice. The loss in business was witht the City ban causing people to go to the outskirts.

Also, yes the Mayor is crazy, but you Taxi folk need to chill out. Of course the taxi stands won't work if you protest them and don't use them! It really isn't that hard to see a lit-up taxi on the side streets.

Maybe stop picking up people on the 600 block of University Ave and they'll stop congregating there! Or maybe if you could actually get a cab within a reasonable time-frame after calling people wouldn't need to congregate.

Frankly, as far as I'm concerned until I can call a cab and have it there in 10 minutes or less, you guys need to look at your selves instead of the Mayor. Give me proper service and then I'll care about your piddly problems, especially when there are severe safety issues that have nothing to do with where taxi's locate themselves.

(Not that I agree that Taxi's shouldn't be on State St., but one of those stop whining and take what you get situations. If you're not making enough money there are plenty of pizza places hiring delivery drivers.)
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Re: It's 3 AM. Do you know where your mayor is?

Postby Cornbread » Mon Aug 06, 2012 8:15 pm

peripat wrote:I appreciate Soglin's administrative skills and though I don't always agree with him

Interesting to see how certain posters say the same things, but some people's "disappear" while others stay.
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Re: It's 3 AM. Do you know where your mayor is?

Postby Piano_Displacement » Wed Aug 08, 2012 9:22 pm

peripat wrote:I appreciate Soglin's administrative skills and though I don't always agree with him in this case I think he is right. Have you never lived in a big city? Taxi stands are great. Your position seems to be 'heaven forbid people should actually know where they can find a taxi'. Limiting traffic on State St was intended to keep most vehicles off it and that included taxis. Cabs have flouted that rule for years, but, like smoking in bars, it is time for that to end.



Have you ever lived in a large city? Large cities don't require their cab fleets to sit in particular areas. Think of the images of cabs in NYC or Chicago. You might have a point but appealing to the practices of large cities doesn't help your cause.

As for cabs "flouting that rule for years," you obviously don;t know the history of the statutes or what's currently on the books. There is a section that was added in 1996 that Mayor Soglin signed, allowing cabs to have access to State Street by waiting in "loading zones" late at night. I forget the exact hours. That's still on the books. The loading zones have been removed when State Street was redesigned. But an early City Council, one with Soglin at its head, recognized that it's good for cabs to have access to State Street at least to some degree, late at night.

The other thing I love about these kinds of comments is how it reflects a complete ignorance of just how chaotic the cab industry can be on very busy weekend nights, especially during football season. There are people everywhere. Cabs are swooping in and grabbing people and going. Sometimes the streets are literally filled with customers. This happens a fair amount over the course of a calendar year. Now suddenly people come along without any knowledge about the cab industry and they say, as you've said, "Taxi stands are great." Yes, taxi stands serve a purpose, and their main purpose arises when it's slow! You know where the cabs are when it's slow, like in front of certain hotels or at certain corners.

But when it's busy, which is about 40% or more of the year in Madison, they don't work. And drunks waiting in line and fighting over cabs is a recipe for disaster.

Lastly, I just want to say I appreciate Soglin's concern for keeping State Street a quasi-pedestrian mall. That's fine during the day. But at night when there are tons of people out who just want to go from bar to bar to restaurant to music venue to bar to home, they aren't interested i appreciating the pedestrian mall of State Street.

Mayor Soglin trying to save his ego. I don't know why I ever voted for him.
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Re: It's 3 AM. Do you know where your mayor is?

Postby Henry Vilas » Fri Aug 10, 2012 10:51 am

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