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Alder Scott J. Resnick

Alder Scott J. Resnick,
Council President Pro Tem

Home Address:
661 Mendota Ct # 1404
Madison , WI 53703

Phone: 608-807-7962
district8@cityofmadison.com
Common Council Office:
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Room 417
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-4071
Fax: (608) 267-8669
WI Relay Service

Mifflin 2012: What should the City of Madison do?

August 29, 2011 9:56 AM

Recently, Mayor Soglin and the Madison Police Department stated their desire to end the Mifflin Street Block Party. Both would like the City to end the party citing several statistics that indicated a rise in the number of dangerous incidents, increased violence to officers, and increased costs to the city. After investigating the police reports, I disagree with the Mayor and police department's response.

The rhetoric surrounding the event have painted UW-Madison students as out-of-control alcoholics, yet the numbers lead to a very different conclusion. Out of the 162 arrests in 2011, only 37 were affiliated with UW-Madison. UW institutions outside of Madison attributed to 34 arrests, whereas all other schools attributed to 27 arrests. Moreover, these arrest numbers were down from past years (200 arrests in 2010). Similar to Halloween on State Street, a majority of the arrests and violent incidences were not committed by UW-Madison students.

Rather than taking a hard line with residents of Mifflin Street, city stakeholders should look towards reasonable alternatives and provide consistency for the event.

First, allowing open alcoholic beverages in the streets encouraged an "anything goes" atmosphere. The City should not grant these permits in 2012.

Second, while I believe event sponsorship has worked in the past, marketing efforts should be limited only to Madisonians who will respect the neighborhood. The event should not be advertised as "drunken free-for-all" across the state, rather an entertaining end-of-year gathering.

Third, we need to establish consistency among our city policies, particularly for the residents of Mifflin Street. Fluctuating policies year after year cause confusion within the neighborhood, where no one knows who is responsible for what (ie. when tickets will be issued). The City needs to focus on a multi-year plan rather than inconsistent policies that no one can follow.

Fourth, students must be involved in the conversation. A majority of students were not part of the problem, but, regardless of the City's position, will need to be part of the solution.

Lastly in respect to the increasing costs of the event, we need to respect other events in Madison. Mifflin and Crazylegs were on the same day in 2011. Downtown officers were thinly staffed and the event required additional overtime. The City should be able to avoid these kinds of conflicts in the future.

In conclusion, I continue to support the Mifflin Street Block Party, although recognize that the City is in a difficult position. We must curb the violence incidences that happened on Mifflin Street. On the other hand, repressive alternatives could damage the relationship between the City and students, leading to far more dangerous situations. It is unacceptable for the City to end the block party without student input, but the event needs to have ownership from the residents of the neighborhood. Hopefully student leadership among Student Government, Greek Councils, and neighbors will work with the City to determine a viable plan for the Mifflin Street Block Party.
 



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