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Former City of Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz

Former Mayor Dave Cieslewicz's Blog


A Test of Civic Capacity

October 6, 2010 2:57 PM

Cap Times Editor Paul Fanlund wrote an insightful blog in today's paper about Overture. You can read it here: http://host.madison.com/ct/news/local/madison_360/article_149a8f40-d002-11df-a68e-001cc4c002e0.html.

My commitment is to get a proposal on Overture's future before the Council in time for a vote yet this year. The proposal has to make Overture viable in the long-run and has to have a reasonable chance of being approved by both the Council and the group of donors and banks who have agreed to pay off Overture's debt without tapping taxpayers. This is proving to be a tall, but doable, order.

My goal is to avoid an ugly clash that would close the art center's doors. Instead, I want to create a viable new structure that puts Overture on sound footing while minimizing the cost to taxpayers. I'm willing to be reasonable on the details.

If the Council continues to ask tough questions while searching in good faith for a solution, and if the donors and banks understand that they'll need to compromise, then we'll come out of this ok in the end.

But we should understand that the implications of how we come out on this go beyond Overture itself. To some extent, this is a test of our civic capacity to solve complicated and difficult issues. Everyone has to show some flexibility and concern for the greater good. If we can solve this one it builds civic confidence to take on other tough problems. If we fail, it could be a black eye of national significance. I believe this community has the capacity to figure this out.



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