Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Mayor Sue Bauman

Each week, The Badger Herald editorial board will sit down with an individual who impacts the lives of students. This week, the editorial board spoke with Madison Mayor Sue Bauman. Bauman was elected mayor in 1997 and is a graduate of UW-Madison. Here are excerpts from that discussion.

The Badger Herald: What do you think about the decision of City Council to not solicit proposals for the State Street Design Project?

Mayor Sue Bauman: Ultimately, it makes no difference. Anytime the city puts out a request for a proposal, there is always a clause included that reserves our right to not hire anyone, so putting this out would not have cost anybody. The vote slows it down some, but we can still be on close to the same schedule.

The thing that would slow down any process with the new design for State Street is if the Council did not adopt the State Street Design Plan in March or April. That is the key element.

BH: How are the state budget cuts going to affect Madison?

SB: Let me start by saying that the proposal by the governor is irrational and inappropriate. The state of Wisconsin has for about 10 years now been adopting budgets that were structurally unsound. They have over the years increased funding and used — they might be Enron, I’m not sure — all kinds of budgeting tricks to put themselves in a position where they now have a $1.1 billion hole. Meanwhile, the amount of money that is provided to municipalities in payments in shared revenue payments has not grown in probably 15 years.

Thus it’s a charming irony that the governor managed to blame municipalities for the state’s problems when they haven’t given us any more than they have for the last 10 years. We didn’t cause the problem that we’re being blamed for causing.


BH: How are you going to compensate for the budget cuts?

SB: The state will not allow us to levy additional money, I have asked all the city agencies to look at their budgets and basically give me a list of all the possible areas that can be cut.

Still, you can’t cut $8 billion out and have it not be visible in services that are provided to people. Basically, we are left to provide services with less money, which means you’ve got to cut services.

BH: What effect will the budget cuts have on the State Street Design Project?

SB: We don’t know yet. The capital budget is somewhat different because we borrow, which doesn’t have to be repaid this year. Obviously we’re going to have to look at all the capital projects this year to determine if they are projects that should go forward.

One thing that I have determined is that I do not want, even in the face of this $8 million cut, to cut anything that will jeopardize the future of the city and its infrastructure issues.

BH: How serious of a problem is drinking?

SB: If I talk to my police officers, it’s extremely problematic. It’s extremely dangerous for those who are over-indulging and wreaking havoc on themselves and on others.

BH: What are the solutions?

SB: Responsible drinking, at any age, works. I think we have this ridiculous idea that when you turn 21 you are suddenly capable of handling alcohol, which is absurd. If we would realize the issue from a societal basis, if people learned early on about being responsible, we’d all be better off.

I don’t want me or the city to be Big Brother and tell people they can or can’t drink there or anywhere. I’m a big one on talking and education and the need to look at alternative venues and alternative things that can be done.

BH: Do you support Ald. Tim Bruer’s proposal to make a downtown entertainment district, and, in effect, ban drink specials?

SB: I support the banning of drink specials. When someone puts 2 drinks in front of you, that’s just an invitation to drink faster.

I would like the bars to be spread out more. You have Luther’s Blues at one end of campus sort of by itself, but if that whole area of University Avenue (as it was when I was an undergrad), was an activity center, so you didn’t have that concentration on State Street and 2 blocks of University Ave, that would be far better. One of the problems I hear from the police is the number of people pouring out in the same area at bar time.

BH: Did you think “Operation Sting” was effective in policing house parties?

SB: I refused to renew Operation Sting because I didn’t think it was valuable to use police officers on overtime looking for trouble. If an officer sees a bunch of people in a party and clearly people drinking and they go knock on the door, then that’s a whole other ball game.

The other part of it is, while the underage drinkers who are at the party certainly are at fault and are in violation of the law, the thought is to try to get at the people who are letting that happen and setting up situations were people can do this

BH: Do you think you can get to them with keg registration?

SB: I think to some extent. We are trying to send the message of have a good time, but don’t invite the whole world know who’s coming; be responsible.

BH: Are you planning to run for reelection?

SB: Yes.

BH: Do you expect a strong challenge?

SB: I think the recent budget problems may keep some people from running.

BH: What role do students play in the community?

SB: I was pleased that drinking wasn’t your first question. There are a lot of things that students can add to the community of Madison outside of drinking, like serving on city committees, volunteering within the community, it can range all over the place.

You are citizens of the city. As we’re looking at rules and regulations, it’s not just about tenant issues and alcohol issues that affect you. What’s happening here does define what this city is going to be, and students have an important role.

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