Progressive Danes Gain Power 

Progressive Danes Gain Power 
Posted by CN Staff on January 27, 2003 at 23:24:58 PT
By Michelle Orris, City Editor
Source: Badger Herald 
The Progressive Dane party has become a visible force on the City Council, and council members remain divided by the power the party has gained over public policy. The PD has seven of its 500 members currently on the City Council. Some city alders do not think their proportion of alders is representative of the city of Madison as a whole.
"PD has a fairly small membership, and I sometimes wonder if they accurately represent all their constituents," Ald. Paul Van Rooy, District 18, said. "The party has some pretty strong views that are not necessarily representative of all of Madison." The PD platform includes issues such as affordable housing, a living minimum wage and mandatory Section 8 compliance, which would keep landlords from rejecting tenants based on their city-subsidized rent. PD co-chair Nick Berigan said a poll by Edgewood College revealed that 70 percent of Madison residents supported Section 8 compliance. "If 70 percent of Madison supports the Secion 8 ordinance, why was it not enacted?" Berigan said, questioning the representation by the other alders. "We think our position on issues agrees with a lot of people in the community, as seen by the poll," he said. Ald. Dorothy Borchardt, District 12, said the PD represents a very local minority of people and some of their ideas "scare the devil out of" her. "They want to control everything that is individually owned," Borchardt said, calling them a nearly socialist party. She mentioned a PD proposal to turn an abandoned building into a haven for the homeless and their advocacy of a smoking ban. "We have to draw the line somewhere. Someone always has to pay the bills, and there are better ways to do things," she said. Berigan said the PD party does not try to control everything on the City Council, but it does encourage its elected members to vote in sync with the party platform. "We have asked the folks we've helped elect to vote with the platform they've agreed upon," Berigan said, acknowledging that PD members do not always vote along party lines. Borchardt agreed that members of PD deviate from the party, but she said if a signature Progressive Dane issue was up for debate, party members would vote predictably. "No one strays from the platform, no one wants to alienate themselves. Otherwise, they would lose their endorsement," Borchardt said. "The smoking ban would happen tomorrow if they could get 11 seats." PD co-chair Stephanie Rearick said all of the mayoral candidates approached the Progressive Dane party requesting an interview for endorsement, although Soglin interviewed but did not seek endorsement. Mayoral candidate Bert Zipperer currently holds the PD endorsement, and mayoral candidate Dave Cieslewicz is also a PD member. A candidate with a PD endorsement earns the support of PD volunteers, who provide campaign work expertise and limited funding, Rearick said. She said the party appoints task forces to study issues and draft legislation to channel through elected party members. A task force is currently working on legislation to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes. The Progressive Dane party began in 1992, founded as an opposition party against corporate interests to bring power back to people of diverse races and incomes, Rearick said. She said the party has won more than 75 races through the City Council and school board since its beginning. Source: Badger Herald (WI)Author: Michelle Orris, City EditorPublished: January 28, 2003 Copyright: 2003 Badger HeraldContact: editor badgerherald.comWebsite: Articles & Web Sites:Progressive Dane Party My Medicine Legal YET Let Medical Users Grow Marijuana Marijuana User Decries Drug War
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help

Post Comment