I generally like to use this space to gently chide Mayor Dave Cieslewicz for items that appear on his weekly schedule. But last Monday, I got a little serious and accurately predicted that the week would feature a lot of talk about increasing crime in southwest Madison.
Since last Wednesday night's listening session at St. Maria Goretti, which drew an over-capacity crowd of 600 - 700 residents, several local reporters have amplified a shot taken at the mayor by a resident who said public safety, not trolleys, should be his priority. The Wisconsin State Journal's Susan Lampert Smith picked up the jab in her column Sunday, writing that many people think their city government is preoccupied by transportation issues while "ignoring" crime.
But crime in Madison's Meadowood neighborhood didn't sprout overnight while transit issues distracted us. It's taken at least a decade for drug dealers and other bad actors to find their way to apartment buildings on Hammersley, Balsam and Russett and residents have been worried about it for years. The associated root problems are too complex to be addressed in a simplistic "cops not trolleys" blast, a fact obvious to those in the community who are working on initiatives directed at helping the area's children.
With escalating violent crime in a part of town known for being leafy, quiet and safe, Cieslewicz, who was referred to as "Mr. Teflon" in Isthmus last December, is facing perhaps his greatest challenge in four-plus years on the job. All other controversies he's dealt with -- affordable housing, the minimum wage, streetcars, even the smoking ordinance -- have been of his own choosing. How he chooses to handle this one will likely influence many future weekly schedules. I'll still point out oddities, such as Mayor Dave's meeting with culinary tour guides Karl Gutknecht and Jerry Minnich on Thursday. But as a resident of Meadwoood and a victim of crime there, I'll also be paying attention to the mayor's work on the issue of crime on the southwest side.
MAYOR CIESLEWICZ WEEKLY SCHEDULE
Monday, August 13, 2007
8:30 a.m. Breakfast with Ald. Jed Sanborn 10:00 a.m. Policy staff meeting 12:00 noon Drive for Hope golf tournament to benefit lung cancer research (Maple Bluff Country Club)
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
10:00 a.m. Overview of operating budget requests meeting (Mayor's Conf. Room)
12:00 noon Lunch with Bill Johnston
2:00 p.m. Pam Williamson and mayoral assistants regarding appointments to City boards, committees and commissions (Mayor's Conf. Room)
4:00 p.m. Chuck Kamp, Roger Allen, Roger Goodwin, Mike Deiters, and Joel Plant
6:30 p.m. Welcome at City committee training session (CCB 201)
Wednesday, August 15 2007
8:30 a.m. Breakfast with Ald. Lauren Cnare 10:00 a.m. Staff meeting 1:30 p.m. Capital Improvement Review Committee (CIRC) meeting (Mayor's Conf. Room) 6:00 p.m. Public hearing on 2008 budget (Alicia Ashman Library)
Thursday, August 16, 2007
8:30 a.m. Breakfast with Noel Radomski 10:00 a.m. Karl Gutknecht and Jerry Minnich 10:30 a.m. Public Works Improvements (PWI) meeting (Mayor's Conf. Room) 12:00 noon Lunch with Arlene Silviera 1:30 p.m. Capital Improvement Review Committee (CIRC) meeting (Mayor's Conf. Room) 4:00 p.m. Beth and Tom Brooks 4:30 p.m. Common Council leadership meeting
Friday, August 17, 2007
9:00 a.m. Staff retreat