snoqueen wrote: He's respecting the process while bringing in big projects like Doyle Square
It's a proposal first announced by Mayor Dave Cieslewicz back in 2010
That's no problem. Mayor Dave's attempt to do an end run around the process with regard to Edgewater -- he tried, with Bridget Maniaci's cooperation -- put so much puffery around the Edgewater plan from the moment he heard about it that it amounted to an effort to use the mayor's office to push the thing through instead of let it sink or swim on its own merits.
Soglin has not done this, so far, with Doyle Square. I hope he doesn't. The process on that one is competitive, not just a single proposal, but in neither case should a mayor try to push a plan through its designated stages of review. All that review serves to refine a project and make it better when it's built. These urban projects need to fit with their neighbors in a highly complex environment and if all those neighbors and relevant city departments are heard from before a plan is finalized, the fewer unforeseen surprises will crop up.
I think quite a few people believe Edgewater was what killed Mayor Cieslewicz's bid for re-election and I don't see Paul Soglin making the same mistakes with the Doyle Center, though it's in a very early stage.
snoqueen wrote: He understands the importance of staying ahead of change instead of just reacting to it.
What does this mean? Can you cite examples?
Again I'll ask, what luster did Madison lose under Mayor Dave that came back under Soglin. Soglin may be running his administration differently, but I don't see that affecting the "vibe" of Madison.
I think the TIF process has been improved, for one. We'll always have TIF just because other cities have it and we are in competition with them, but it shouldn't be merely a gimme program where developers name their number and the city reacts.
I believe city staff is getting greater respect during the present administration. We have great staff and if we don't make use of their expertise why are we paying them? They do very thorough reviews of the numbers a developer submits. They did the same reviews during Mayor Dave's administration and unfortunately got ignored on some biggies. We'll see who was right (or more right) over time.
The Cap Times article contains several examples of what I'm talking about with regard to Soglin's approach. Here's one:
http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/ ... 2c69c.html
Soglin said he prefers keeping the Municipal Building as city offices and putting as much parking underground as possible, but is awaiting further analysis and is ruling nothing out.
That's the way to do it: let things develop, let people make changes and have the discussion and work things through. Don't just decide way too early we've got to have this thing and spend the next six months putting out fires.
To be fair, Mayor Dave turned things down on the basis of TIF, but did so in such a confusing manner as to leave lots of resentment. At the moment, things seem less confusing.
This can all change in the blink of an eye, of course. And nobody's ever happy with TIF -- that's just the nature of the thing.
In my reply I am focusing on development because it's my area of focus. I can't reply with a comparison in other areas, like social services. Maybe someone else can.
I'm not saying Madison has its "old luster." That's silly. It's not 1983 any more, or 1973, or 1993. Everybody thinks the year they got to Madison was the golden year and it's been going downhill ever since. The job of city government is to deal with the present and plan for the future while respecting and protecting certain elements of the past, not go back to the past or stay in it.
Staying in the past is what happens to a city when its economic base falls apart. I'm concerned Milwaukee is going in that direction. In Madison we are fortunate enough to have a different set of problems.
One big one we've got right now is finding ways for newcomers who are poor and without resources to get settled and start living productive lives. If we do nothing we end up with crime, victimization, and a waste of human resources. At the same time city resources are limited and need to be used in a balanced manner, in partnership with private business and voluntary or charitable organizations. I'll be interested to see how our response to this one develops.
That's why I wish someone with knowledge of city (and county) human services would weigh in here.
There's a lot of glory in successful development, but perhaps a more meaningful measure of the success of the present Soglin administration will be how the city deals with its demographic changes.