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Former City of Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz

Former Mayor Dave Cieslewicz's Blog


Duel in Duluth

February 27, 2010 2:50 AM

I was in Duluth once. It was a really nice city. Kind of reminded me of San Francisco with all the hills and the views of water. But now there's trouble between that jewel of the north and our modest little town.

Mayor Don Ness is talking trash about us. See his comments in the Duluth News Tribune over the great Wilco debate http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/event/article/id/161407. The indy rock band appeared at the Overture Center last weekend and they mentioned between songs that they had just come from Duluth where Mayor Ness had made them an honorary Duluth band. They complained that they had played in Madison more times and still no official recognition from our city.

So, Ald. Satya Rhodes-Conway sensibly responded with the introduction of a resolution to make up for it by declaring each band member an honorary Madisonian.

Fair enough. But now Mayor Ness is talking north country trash with this comment: "It's cute that Madison has made the effort to keep up with us," Ness said. "I love Madison; it's a great city - they can feel free to steal my ideas any time and put them to good use."

I felt it was my duty to come to the defense of our city with my retort that: "When you're Duluth, you need something. And this is something. … I congratulate Duluth for being on top of this key city issue."

The Madison City Council is set to take up the honorary citizen issue at Tuesday night's meeting. My hope is that it will pass easily, though I'm concerned. I've heard that Stu Levitan now wants posthumous honorary citizenship for Jerry Garcia and that Fred Mohs wants the entire remaining members of the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra to get the honor. Council President Tim Bruer wants the recognition for Earth, Wind and Fire.

There are also questions being raised about where honorary citizens would be allowed to live. Some have suggested a referral to the Zoning Code Revision Advisory Committee to mull that one over, though the City Attorney has hinted darkly that he won't allow it. And some bloggers are steamed over the lack of process for the selection. They argue that Wilco just showed up and threw Duluth in our face. Should we reward that kind of behavior?

My position is that honorary citizenship should be open to any musician except John Mayer.

Have a nice weekend.




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