Madison Mayoral Matchup

With the Madison Mayor election less than two weeks away and an in-depth coverage of the two candidates in the Journal, it’s time for some electorate min-maxing.

Cieslewicz (Chez-Lev-Itch) is pre-sold if you like the current state of affairs in Madison, and he’s got a lot of nifty initiatives to his name, like building of a wi-fi network in town and looking for an improved city transit system.  However, his administration is plagued by a number of problems:  the Madison public water is considered undrinkable my many (but not me),  and there is urban blight on the south side.

Allen’s public ad campaign thus far has been unimpressive.  This might be because I don’t watch TV, but all I knew was that he’s black and anti-trolley.  That does not build a campaign.

On the issues, Allen seems to have better priorities:  improving water quality, attracting businesses, improving opportunities for low-income housing, and improving police quality.  Cieslewicz agrees all of these are priorities, but seems to lack a coherent plan for dealing with any of them.  On these issues, Allen out performs Cislewicz on every one.

But- what of benefits for workers and health initiatives, like Madison’s recent smoking ban?

Allen is also silent on what programs would be cut or taxes would be raised.  This is a hard question for Allen.  I have no qualms about higher taxes, but if budget cuts are on the table, he needs to start picking programs.

And is Allen too conservative for Madison?  He’s donated to the Republican party recently, but seems on the left of the right, supporting domestic-partner benefits (he’s silent on gay marriage, as far as I can tell), and poverty.  He’s on the record as pro-choice, which I applaud, and which he’s taking fire for from other conservatives.

Verdict:   Both men have good aims, and this seems what politics should be about- looking for the best candidate, not the lesser of two evils. 

Allen seems to be the early favorite in my book, and a clear plan for budget cuts and reform should clinch things.  Cieslewicz favors many beneficial ‘green’ initiatives, but his aims seem to be gentrifying downtown Madison, not improving life for everyone.  If Cieslewicz can’t prove he’s a populist, I’m voting Republican in this one.

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