Derek Montgomery

The Madison City Council unanimously approved the use of outdoor lighting during Halloween, a voter outreach competition between city districts and suspended Jin’s Chicken and Fish license for four weeks with four months of additional conditions.

The Halloween lights, which will be provided by Musco Lighting, will be turned on to signal the “end time” of Halloween early Saturday and Sunday mornings. Halloween’s designated end is 3 a.m., 30 minutes after the extended bar time of 2:30.

Ron Shutuet, a Madison community member, asked the council to consider using three lights instead of two, but the proposal did not pass. Shutuet told the committee he was concerned the lights projected from Library Mall would not be powerful enough to protect the Overture Center area.

“Your brand new Overture Center will be [on the 200 block]. When you turn on these two lights, people will go up State Street and possibly rough up windows in the Overture Center,” Shutuet told the committee.

Ald. Mike Verveer, District 4, said the lights would illuminate the area from Library Mall up to the Overture Center. Verveer, who has been active in the Halloween planning, said Overture security will be tighter during Halloween weekend to protect the expensive glass window panes.

“The lights are amazingly powerful and Overture is planning on extra security measures with the building itself,” Verveer said. “Our plan is to utilize [these lights] for only [a] short period of time to signal to Halloween revelers that the party is over.”

The council also approved a resolution from community member Michael Forster-Rothland to encourage voter participation in the Nov. 2 elections.

The resolution is designed to commend the progress of the non-profit groups working to register voters in the upcoming election. It will also challenge the neighbor associations and residents to vote in November, Forster-Rothland said to the committee.

“This creates a friendly, informal competition,” Forster-Rothland said. “What I’d like the council to do is [work with neighborhood associations] to do anything they can to get their districts to vote.”

The county clerk is expecting a 75 percent voter turnout in Dane County, but, “there’s no reason why Madison can’t have highest voter turnout in the state,” Forster-Rothland said.

The council unanimously supported the resolution.

“To be quite honest, I’m very proud that I do have one of the highest voter turnouts in the city, and I expect it will be again this election,” Ald. Robbie Webber, District 5, said.

Webber’s comments garnered response from other alderpersons.

“I would like to accept that challenge,” Ald. Steve Holtzman, District 19, replied. “Let’s have a little bet riding on it.”

Ald. Austin King, District 8, said his district may prove to be a surprise this election because it is made primarily of college students.

“Traditionally, young people have not been turning out to vote, but I can see this turning around during this year’s elections,” King said. “And I’d like to take the opportunity to insult non-voters — you suck.”

The council also suspended Jeffrey Okafo’s vending license of Jin’s Chicken and Fish for four weeks. The suspension formally begins Oct. 27 with an additional four months of conditions when his license is reinstated.

The conditions include a four-month suspension of electronically amplified sounds and monitors as well as an inability to park his cart in front of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity house on Langdon Street. Okafo’s mother, Maxine Okafo, also owns a vending license and will be able to operate the cart during his suspension.

Craig Chester, president of TKE fraternity, spoke to the committee on the numerous complaints his house members have had with the vending cart.

“It’s hard to sum up years of frustration in a few minutes,” Chester said to the committee.

Okafo said the problems between the fraternities and his cart could have been handled better if members of the houses had notified him personally.