Even though he claims he doesn’t like his dog (an adorable sable Shetland Sheep Dog named Calvin) and the President of the United States has failed to be able to pronounce his name the three times he’s been in Madison, I think Dave Cieslewicz should be re-elected. I certainly don’t see eye-to-eye with him on a lot of things, but I think he’s doing a good job.
Mind you, I don’t even live in Madison, so technically I don’t have a horse in this race, but what Madison does affects the entire metro area. He’s come a long way from the “Progressive Dane” days (whatever happened to the PD’ers? We don’t hear much about them lately…) and has moved center-left, enough toward center for my tastes.
I don’t think much of his failed “mandatory inclusionary zoning” (affordable housing) ideas; I certainly disagree with his “new urbanism” approach to everything; he has these wacky ideas to make Madison a bicycle paradise (at the expense of the motor vehicle); I don’t like his ideas to “save” the Great People’s Palace of the Arts (the Overture Center); I’m not a fan at all of the choo-choos that he loves; but he keeps the city running and doesn’t tax its residents to death.
He’s a strong enough leader to admit his mistakes, like the one a year ago today when the streets turned into rutted ice tank-traps after the big snowstorm, because of decisions he made regarding when to plow and salt. It takes a big man to face the angry public after the mess and say “I made a mistake.” He could have thrown Streets Supt. Al Schumacher under the bus following that debacle, but he didn’t. He stood in front of the TV cameras and radio microphones and apologized. That takes some cojones.
We differ fundamentally on transit. When I see the westbound beltline still clogged up at 8:45 AM, like I did yesterday on the way to the health club, I think “we ought to add another lane to this thing.” Mayor Dave thinks “we’ve got to get more cars off this highway.”
But, with very rare exception, the streets get plowed and the trash gets picked up and the cops are professional and polite and the firefighers are top-notch and city hall doesn’t take bribes and magazines of all sorts still say Madison is a great place to live. And Dave Cieslewicz is one HELL of a good writer with a very well-developed sense of humor. He’s competent and he’s likable. Four more years? Hell yes.
And by the way, Mr. President, it’s pronounced “chess-LEV-itch.”