Tuesday, August 10, 2010

It's Human Nature

You can’t blame Mayor Dave Cieslewicz for trying to get rid of Thuy. She’s been as big a thorn in his side as Brenda Konkel was when she was an alder. The mayor’s solution for Konkel? Support her opponent in the election. That’s one of the reasons Bridget Maniaci defeated Konkel and got elected to the council.

Thuy, who pronounces her name “twee” for those of you not familiar, is Thuy Pham-Remmele, who represents the city’s 20th aldermanic district on the west side. Thuy is not exactly what you would describe as a shrinking violet. She weighs in, often at great length, on seemingly every issue that comes before the city council.

So this election, Mayor Dave has hitched Matt Phair’s wagon to his star and is pushing for Phair to run for election to replace Thuy. Who’s Matt Phair? He’s the husband of the mayor’s personal secretary.

Madison is a not a bit city, nor is it a small city. If you say “Madison” anywhere in the nation, people will assume you’re talking about Wisconsin. It has a Wisconsin identity just as strong as Milwaukee’s. It’s quite likely that outside the 20th aldermanic district, very few people know Matt Phair’s spouse is Mayor Dave’s personal secretary.

But in the 20th district, you can be sure that Thuy will make that fact abundantly clear to the voters.

When the weekly publication “Isthmus” asked Mayor Cieslewicz about whether Phair would simply be a rubber stamp for anything he wants, the mayor said “I don’t think he’d hesitate to disagree with me.”

Oh, really?

In a mythical future where Phair has unseated Thuy, if a Phair comes down on an issue on the same side as the mayor, accusations will be made (or, at least the people will think) that he’s simply doing his spousal duty to support his wife’s gainful employment. If he disagrees with the mayor on an issue, he’s going to be in trouble at home.

I don’t think there’s a married person reading this who would disagree.


  1. Here's another way of looking at it: The 20th has its challenges. Currently, its alder is essentially absent. She has almost no committee assignments and one of the worst attendance records on the Council. When she does show up, she brings meetings to a halt with her grandstanding and questions that suggest she hasn't done her homework or has learned very little in her time in office. Last week, she served softballs to her own husband on the council floor! Phair might end up being a rubber stamp, but he might also be able to effectively represent his district and bring needed attention to its unique concerns.

  2. Her attendance at committee meetings is about 30% - not good. This district needs someone who will actually represent them.