I wasn't going to say anything but I can't help myself.
R&B sucks. Elver sucks. Warner ties up Police resources to nearly the breaking point city wide and Elver to the breaking point in the west district and strains the rest of the city. If we ever have "the big one" like a murder go down on one of these days, we would not be able to meet the needs of the incident and respond proportionately. We are already on emergency and priority calls only during these events. Fire/Rescue can barely get through the areas of these events and it takes them forever to do so.
I don't know what R&B brings into the city, other than Cletus the Slack Jawed Yokel from every trailer park within 100 miles with their coolers of food and beer they eat and drink in their cars while waiting for the sun to go down. I doubt they spend any real money in the city. The citizens of Madison don't spend any more money in town because of it. Traffic is screwed up and nobody's happy because they can't just zip on home.
I worked it for years, being ordered in 4 hours early, standing at intersections with little chance of using a bathroom after roasting on the asphalt for hours, having only what I brought with me to eat and drink if someone was able to get me relief to actually drink or eat, almost being hit by cars at least 2 or 3 times each event, being yelled and cursed at by people who can't get home fast enough for their tastes, and then having to go work the rest of the night in patrol, chasing after calls that have been holding, sometimes for hours, all over the rest of the City. And no, no one tells you about this when you get hired by the MPD, either. Your first year out, it's "surprise!". Finally I got smart and now I take my vacation over R&B, especially since I live on the north side. I can't get away from it by simply staying home. I try to leave town every year.
Elver is just a concentrated version that hits the west side. Shorter in duration and scope but still ties up resources for most of the day in the West district and leaves West, South, and Central units running all over the west side chasing calls until after 2:00AM after the party lets out. Not to mention the huge fights and gang activity that take place in Elver all day...because no one feels the need to report them to or in the media. We have deployed patrols in the park starting in the early afternoon, if memory serves, for an event that occurs several hours later. Why? Because the event is nothing more than a giant free-for-all. I worked in the West district for a few years, and while not as bad as R&B, Elver just about eliminates any police response within that district for at least a couple of hours. God help us if a major incident happens in the park like a shooting...and there are guns being illegally carried in Elver Park. The merry-go-round would break down.
I like fireworks. I like celebrating the 4th of July. I just don't like the combination of the two here. These events are too large for the City to adequately handle. We've been lucky over the years that nothing has really happened during these events. R&B has grown into a monster that no one has the guts to kill and Elver a show for people who wanted their own party that is now out of control.
I'd like to see both disappear. Maybe the City doesn't directly pay the lion's share of the cost of the events in money, but the whole City definitely pays.