There would be a permit process, including a petition "indicating approval from at least 60 percent residents, businesses and non-residential properties within a 200-foot radius of the proposed location" and "assurances for the city that hold the design's applicant responsible for maintenance of the painting and requires them to have insurance." (I'm quoting the Cap Times article, not the ordinance, so I don't know whom to blame for the irritating ambiguity.)
"You can't just say you want to come in and do this. It needs to be maintained over time. Paint fades. It needs to be repainted from time to time, just as we go and repaint traffic lines," said Arthur Ross, the city's pedestrian-bicycle coordinator.Which is why it's obviously a terrible idea.
"What it really is is a community building activity. It gets people out of their houses and working on something together," Ross said.And what about when it breaks them apart because it's ugly, it makes the neighborhood look trashy, and it's not properly maintained. I loathe these government dreams of bringing people together. Leave us alone! I know it's Madison, but people have their own private ways of getting together.
Here's Wisconsin State Journal columnist Chris Rickert mocking the proposal by stressing the provision that forbids "text, numerals, symbols, overt messages or any images designed to convey a message of any kind." Obviously, this provision is needed to avoid making street painting a public forum incurring First Amendment protection from viewpoint discrimination. Rickert jokes that in his neighborhood pretty much everyone hates Governor Scott Walker: "In my ’hood, liberal politics are a building block of community, a distaste for Walker one of the glues that hold residents together," so the things his neighbors would get enthused about painting on the street will be rejected. What if Madison risked permitting messages and accepted the legal proscription on viewpoint discrimination?
Residents could get their Wisconsin-shaped fists and [Obama] “Hope” images, for example, but would have to accept the risk — albeit a small one — of getting portraits of the governor and Ronald Reagan, too.Long-time Madison politico Stu Levitan — in a thread on the Isthmus forum titled "Why does Rickert even bother?" — acts like no one can tell what Rickert actually thinks and accuses Rickert of not even knowing what he thinks. Here's what I think: If you want to make fun of lefties and actually hurt their feelings, you have to use your sledgehammer!
No doubt the latter would play havoc with traffic in my neighborhood, where drivers would surely wonder just where they made a wrong turn and how they got so horribly lost.
Meade frequently comments over at the Isthmus, and I can't tell you how many times the cocooned lefties there simply cannot understand his gentle verbal comedy. For example, here's a blog post written by former Madison mayor Dave Cieslewicz, who's writing about bicycling without coming to a full stop at stop signs:
To be clear I wasn't promoting the flauting of the law. I was being honest about what most bikers do at a quiet intersection. Let those drivers who have never exceeded the speed limit cast the first stone.Meade comments:
I see Dave has now become Jesus on a Bicycle.Then, noticing the misuse of "flauting" for "flouting," adds:
Jesus on a Bicycle, tooting his legal flute. (Although he doesn't promote it.)Dave, instead of laughing, gripes:
See, now this is why I usually don't read the comments.This is the first time Dave responded to Meade in the comments. Indeed, just a few days ago, Dave was blogging about how he doesn't usually read comments on his blog (which he said was "not a blog") and how he has a special problem with Meade. (I blogged about that here, noting that Dave accused Meade of repeatedly calling him "a liberal idiot," which is not a fair description of Meade's comments.) Meade responds:
I'm trying to help you, Dave. With word usage, spelling, etc. (Do I need to use a sledgehammer? Compare flaut with flout.)Again, Dave responded:
But your sense of humor could also use some tweaking, Dave. Why the thin-skinned Mom, Laurence is being mean to me! My advice: roll with it! Ride right through those stop signs if need be. Laugh at yourself more. Who knows? - it might even help you get your old job back.
By the way, you still owe me a correction, Dave: I've never called you "liberal", "idiot", or even "liberal idiot". Check - as President Obama might say - the transcripts. Although I will admit - some of what you say on your blog is amply dumb.
Hey, thanks for the reply!
I don't want my old job back, Laurence. I'm happy misspelling stuff and using poor grammar as a non-blogger.And so it goes, in Madison, Wisconsin, where one can have a hell of a time looking for witty conversation. You may wonder why Meade puts his writing over there instead of hanging out in the comments here where people adore him. But that's Meade. You may similarly wonder why we live here in Madison, Wisconsin!
And as for the liberal idiot stuff, while you may never have used the exact words, that's the gist of much of it. I'm not offended. I've never denied that I'm either liberal or an idiot. I am who I am.
People have their own private ways of getting together.