It was four years ago that I was running around the Isthmus in the cold collecting signatures to get on the mayoral ballot in 2011. I turned in the required signatures a day early before the deadline only to be informed by my treasurer that I was 8 signatures short of the required field which means they scratched about 25 signatures. I double checked and triple checked and was certain I had enough but if I was eight short, then I had to scramble. It was just eight signatures. No problem, right?
My campaign manager was on a bender in Chicago. I was on my own. I grabbed the paperwork and hit the neighborhood but it was 2 o'clock on a Tuesday and nobody was home. The guys that ran Mildred's on East Johnson were kind enough to sign and inform me that politicians are crooks. I agreed and told them I was a comedian and had a few new ideas. That's what I was wanting to do. To inject more ideas to the mayoral process instead of business as usual. Next, I hit the Bou where six lovely souls having a drink decided to throw down their signatures and help a nickhart out.
I hoofed it down to city hall to turn in the signatures. The following exchange took place with one of the clerks.
Clerk: "Can I help you?"
Me: "Yes, my name is Nick Hart, I turned in signatures to get on the ballot yesterday but was just informed that I was eight signatures short."
Clerk: "Oh, you're Nick Hart, the comedian?"
Me: "I'm a comedian, yes. Not too sure about THE comedian."
Clerk: "What district are you running for?"
Me: "Ummm, all of them I guess."
Clerk: "I'm sorry."
Me: "I'm running for mayor."
Clerk: "Oh, I'm sorry. We thought you were running for something else. That's our mistake. I'll double check these signatures but I'm pretty sure you're in the clear."
Everything checked out. I was on the ballot. I didn't even need those eight signatures.
People were asking why I was running for mayor. The main reason was that nobody cares about the mayoral race in Madison, which boasts as being a progressive town but in the 2007 election, only about 30,000 people voted out of 230,000 in the primary. That isn't even close to progressive. Hell, it's not even close to "The Majority". Upon seeing that and realizing if I just tapped a portion of the populace that normally doesn't vote i.e. the bar crowd, I could get in there and get noticed. I officially got 2% of the primary vote and unofficially got around 6% though I was only told that and it really doesn't matter anyway so I never confirmed.
One idea I had; and given the current environment with law enforcement, would probably be very popular today, was that we should have the police department operate like the fire department. They get stations throughout the city, they get a cook, places to relax and wait for a call. While they are not on a call they can hang out, laugh, and stay out of our business. There is no real reason to have police patrolling other than to "generate revenue" which is just them making you pay them so they can write your more tickets.
Money would be saved on fuel for the new fleet of vehicles that weren't really needed but the incumbent has his promises to answer to like any politician. But also the officers would be relaxed and calm. That's what I want out of my police officers as a citizen. I want them calm and in a good mood (and not racist.)
So here we are four years later. Who are the players this time? We got serial mayor Paul Soglin, former Dane County Supervisor Richard Brown, former alder Bridgett Maniaci, and Ald. Scott Resnick
The incumbent, Mayor Soglin, who word on the street loves to gamble. I dare not judge for I love to gamble too but is that what Madisonians want or need? Can we really gamble with the Isthmus?
Richard Brown may be a good choice but who wants to work with anyone from The County?
Bridgett Maniaci has been around but that's just the point, She's an insider and I don't think she has high enough a profile to get anyone out to vote for her.
Scott Resnick. Who? Exactly.
Then there is your old buddy Nick Hart. My name won't be on the ballot because I know there is a reason one only has the month of December to collect signatures. It's the holiday season, it's cold and most people couldn't care less in such a progressive town. But if you do decide to pay any attention to the mayoral election, listen to what the candidates have to say and if none of them strike your fancy, feel free to write my name in on the ballot. If you don't pay attention then you will get what you paid for and there will be no refunds.
Do realize this. None of these candidates truly care about you or the city. They have their agendas and their money making alliances. You can't believe anything a politician says. How do I know this? I know this because I care exponentially more about the city of Madison and it's citizens than any of the candidates and guess what, I don't give a shit about any of ya'll and that is honesty you will not get from anyone on this ballot. It is not a race, it's a circle jerk and Madison is in the middle of the circle.
-Cheers and happy holidays! NSH