We appreciate very much the sentiment of your Wednesday editorial (“Failing Laundry 101″), which calls out some of our colleagues for pulling a cheap political stunt at the expense of students by asking that the Associated Students of Madison be sent the bill for policing the Mifflin Street block party this weekend. The letter, not shared with either of us prior to its issuance, says ASM became the “defacto organizer” of the block party by telling City Hall the truth every student already knew: the party is on April 30.
The letter claims that ASM is somehow therefore responsible for the policing costs for this unsponsored event because it dared to raise its voice on behalf of the student body. It was, as you accurately portrayed it, a specious argument and a farce devised to score easy political points at the expense of the good relationship between the city and students.
That being said, the act was political and so should be the response.
Alders are entitled to having a private life in addition to their public life and should be able to expect the line between those two not be crossed. By calling for a boycott of Ald. Brandon’s business, the editorial board crossed that line. If the objectionable actions were directly related to the business itself, a boycott might be entirely appropriate. As a response to its owner’s political stunt, however, it crosses too far into the personal arena.
Laundry 101 remains a good place for students to work, get a beer and do laundry, regardless of its owner’s poor political decisions. He was also once a student, and, in perhaps the greatest irony of all, the head of his student government in Ohio a decade ago. Today, he has a wonderful family and a good business, neither of which should enter the picture as a potential consequence to his political mistakes.
Again, we share your board’s anger with Alder Zach Brandon but we have no beef with business owner Zach Brandon. We know him to still be a good friend to our student constituents and to us. Have a beer at Laundry 101 and you’ll certainly agree.
And while we’re at it, here’s hoping for a safe, fun and pleasant party April 30. We’ll both be in attendance and we know we’ll have a great time. The worst thing that can happen to ruin the party for everyone is the violent or dangerous behavior of a few. We also know that we’ll have a quiet and productive study day on May 7 to live up to our end of the bargain by ensuring we only have one party this year and not two.
Austin King and Mike Verveer are alders for Madison’s 8th and 4th districts, respectively.