Expanding Civic Capacity
December 16, 2010 3:37 PM
This morning's State Journal had well-deserved editorial praise for City Council President Mark Clear and the entire Council. You can read it here: http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/opinion/editorial/article_5a8ec4a4-0896-11e0-8156-001cc4c002e0.html.
On Tuesday night, the Council voted overwhelmingly for a resolution of the long-debated Overture issue. The plan the Council supported essentially means that taxpayers will pay no more for Overture than they would have for the old Civic Center, even though the building is much larger and better. And the building remains in private hands so that those who were concerned about city takeover of an arts facility during tough economic times don't have that worry anymore.
Aside from the fact that I think this plan can work, what's significant about it for the city is that it demonstrates our capacity as a community to work through a complicated and difficult problem and figure it out. We could not have reached this point without compromises all around. Those compromises came from alders of all political stripes, from the donor group and even from me. I continue to think that public ownership was a better option, but I became convinced that the private model advanced by Clear and others could also work. We couldn't have gotten this done if everyone just dug in and refused to budge.
This bodes well for the future of our city. If we can solve a problem this big and tough we should have the ability to take on other issues as they come. It builds confidence in our capability as a community to handle our own affairs. It expands civic capacity.