Controversy & Collegiality
October 9, 2009 12:12 PM
Dean Mosiman is a good reporter. The veteran Wisconsin State Journal city beat reporter is fair, accurate and as knowledgeable as anybody about local government.
So I'm scratching my head about his lead in this morning's story about the Central Library and the Edgewater. Mosiman referred to amendments to my capital budget that would eliminate tax incremental funding support for the Edgewater and call for a referendum on the library as a "slap" to me and a challenge to my "political clout."
I don't see it that way and, as far as I know, none of the alders who offered the amendments are looking at it that way either. Both Alders Satya Rhodes-Conway, who offered the Edgewater amendment, and Michael Schumacher, who authored the library amendment, had the good graces to call me beforehand to offer their explanations about why they were doing it. We had good and friendly conversations and, knowing both these alders pretty well, I know that it's not personal. They're doing it because they just disagree with me on the issue. No "slap" is intended, and none is taken.
Nobody in their right mind would have thought that the two most controversial issues in my budget would go unchallenged. We'll have a good, vigorous debate about them as the public has a right to expect that we should. But in this college town we should be collegial about our politics. No matter how these votes turn out I expect that Rhodes-Conway, Schumacher and I may find ourselves sharing a beverage (possibly fermented) after the meeting.