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Center Stage, with Milfred and Hands
19 minutes | 6 days ago
The sleepy spring election wakes up with a jolt
Milfred and Hands analyze the results of Tuesday's voting, which included a big upset on the Madison City Council, two incumbents defeated, and an emphatic rejection of a full-time council. Republican state Sen.-elect John Jagler got a scare, while Jill Underly had an easier time becoming state superintendent of schools, as expected. The candidate with the most money at the statewide level won, but that wasn't the case at the local level. Our political podcasters recap what happened and why, with a look to the future.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
26 minutes | 18 days ago
6 big moments from our State Journal endorsement meetings
Milfred and Hands play clips from the Wisconsin State Journal's recent endorsement meetings with 22 candidates in the April 6 election. This includes the two candidates for state superintendent of public instruction -- Deborah Kerr and Jill Underly -- responding to questions about Kerr's controversial tweet and who is better to improve learning for struggling students of color. Other big moments include Madison City Council candidates talking about white privilege, body cameras on police officers, turning State Street into a grand promenade, supporting denser housing developments and opposing a full-time City Council.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
43 minutes | a month ago
Madison's favorite alderman is thinking big about State Street
Madison merchants "overwhelmingly support the campaign to turn State Street into a promenade," according to the city's longest serving and most popular alderman. "There absolutely is widespread support." Ald. Mike Verveer, who has represented Downtown Madison on the City Council for 26 years, tells Milfred and Hands on this week's episode of "Center Stage" that his Downtown constituents are excited, too, about turning "the state's most famous and illustrious street" into a walking mall without buses, similar to the Pearl Street Mall in Boulder, Colorado. "Just as we closed State Street to all traffic on weekends last summer, I think we need to do the same this summer," Verveer tells our political podcaster. The city should "seriously consider" keeping all buses, cabs and emergency vehicles off the 400, 500 and 600 blocks of State Street on weekends this summer. General traffic has been forbidden from the street for decades. If removing the buses works well this summer and is supported by the public, the city could pursue federal money and potentially create a special tax district to draw revenue from new development on State Street to create a park on State Street with public art, cafes and greenery in the area that buses now dominate. “We have to be very creative and think outside the box and try to figure out ways to get to ‘yes’ and make this work,” Verveer says of offering more room for pedestrians on State Street on summer weekends this year. COVID-19 has made this the perfect time to create more public spaces outside, where the virus is less likely to spread. State Street also is hurting because of rioting last year. Milfred and Hands reject the suggestion by city transportation officials that turning State Street into a true pedestrian mall conflicts with bus rapid transit, the mayor's proposal for faster bus service. Buses could still stop at the cross streets of State Street to pick people up, and on the Capitol Square. Moreover, a trial of a pedestrian mall could occur at the bottom end of State Street this summer, where the fast buses aren't going to go anyway. Verveer credits the State Journal editorial board for exciting and encouraging the city to think big about State Street's future. Milfred discusses his conversation with the city fire marshal, who is open to the idea of creating a grand walkway along State Street that caters to people, rather than buses.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
19 minutes | 2 months ago
Madison's new police chief backs body cameras on officers
"I believe that progressive, 21st century police departments should have body-worn cameras," Chief Shon Barnes tells our podcasters just a few weeks into his new job as Madison's top cop. Madison is one of the few cities of its size without cameras on patrol officers and one of only a third of police agencies in Wisconsin that haven't embraced the technology. Uniform cameras provide transparency and accountability following controversial police encounters, which helps builds public trust. Yet Barnes stresses that whether to equip his officers with the devices is the community's decision, not his. "It's important to note that body-worn cameras have evolved tremendously from cameras that automatically turn on when your blue lights turn on, automatically turn on when your gun is unholstered, and there are cameras now that are attached to a fit bit," he says. "So you wear the fit bit so that the program knows what your resting and normal heart rate is, and if your heart rate is elevated, it turns your body-worn camera on." Milfred and Hands praise Barnes for his emphasis on technology, including better use of data. Barnes also talks about waiters and waitresses making good police recruits, and his desire to expand recruitment efforts into churches and other places to help diversify the force.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
26 minutes | 2 months ago
Still a Republican, Dale Schultz faults Act 10
On the 10th anniversary of former Gov. Scott Walker's strict limits on public sector unions in Wisconsin, Milfred and Hands talk about Act 10 with the one Republican senator who voted against it a decade ago. Dale Schultz, of Richland Center, once the GOP’s majority leader in the Senate, still faults his political party for the deep division it created across the state. "I feel sad about neighbor fighting neighbor -- the refusal to talk to people, sit in certain places in church, or at Rotary clubs or civic clubs because of where people were on that issue and how it divides us," Schultz says. He tells our political podcasters that savings were needed to fix a deep state budget deficit in 2011, and public employees had to contribute more for their benefits. But Walker was wrong to spring his dramatic changes on the public without giving any ground or trying to build broader support. "I think it hit so violently, so fast, that many, many people were just stunned," Schultz says. When protests erupted, "My colleagues were like deer in the headlights, wanting to go pray," the former senator says. "My own sense was God wasn't necessarily on our side."See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
30 minutes | 3 months ago
How to save Madison's struggling Downtown
Nearly half of State Street's 150 storefronts were boarded up in Downtown Madison last week. COVID-19 has ravaged the local economy and cost thousands of jobs, especially in the hospitality and retail industries. Looting and vandalism that followed local protests against police violence in Minneapolis, Kenosha and elsewhere caused further damage. What can the city do to bring back its signature shopping and entertainment corridor? Jason Ilstrup, president of Downtown Madison Inc., a business and booster organization, guest stars on this week's podcast, giving Milfred and Hands his prescription for future success. State Street musician Art Paul Schlosser makes a cameo appearance. Milfred and Hands tout this Sunday's Wisconsin State Journal editorial calling for State Street to become a pedestrian mall with more space outside for shops, cafes and public art. That will require moving buses off State Street. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
21 minutes | 3 months ago
Speaker Vos pretends he's the boss
Milfred and Hands break down last week's unusual State of the State speech. Because of COVID-19, Gov. Tony Evers delivered his annual address as a recorded video message, rather than in person. Yet Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and other Republican lawmakers showed up in the Assembly chambers at the state Capitol in Madison anyway. That's where Vos delivered the GOP rebuttal to Evers' speech from the stage -- as if he were the governor, drawing cheers from a friendly partisan crowd. Is Vos thinking of challenging Evers for governor next year, or just trying to show him up? Milfred and Hands analyze and play clips from this big night in state politics.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
23 minutes | 3 months ago
Why our schools should reopen
Milfred and Hands tout Dr. Anthony Fauci's support for bringing back students to school buildings sooner than later. The health of our children is at stake if they don't get back into classes with teachers and peers. Milfred and Hands talk about the strong reaction to the State Journal's recent editorial on the controversial topic. Unlike many districts across Wisconsin, schools in Madison haven't offered in-person classes for most students since March. Europe has shown in-person classes can be held safely, Fauci has stressed, because young people don't spread and contract COVID-19 nearly as much as adults, and kids are much less likely to get sick if infected. But some teachers unions, such as Madison's, are opposed. Others, such as the teachers union in New York City, have favored a gradual reopening, as have New York's mayor, governor and President-elect Joe Biden. Milfred and Hands cite Alice Cooper and their own experiences with children doing online school in Madison to bolster the case for returning kids to school buildings.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
31 minutes | 4 months ago
The mom pushing to legalize marijuana in Wisconsin is no pothead
This week's potcast goes up in smoke with Sen.-elect Melissa Agard, D-Madison, the unlikely face of efforts to legalize marijuana in Wisconsin. Agard is no pothead. She's the opposite of the "Cheech and Chong" stoner cliche. She's a single mom of four boys who tells Milfred and Hands she's never had the drug but is absolutely convinced that legalizing it will make Wisconsin safer. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
17 minutes | 5 months ago
Did Madison just cancel Thanksgiving?
Did Madison and Dane County just cancel Thanksgiving? Our political podcasters talk turkey about the latest COVID-19 restrictions locally and across Wisconsin. Milfred won't invite Hands to his house for a holiday dinner if Dane County Executive Joe Parisi is going to be outside with binoculars trying to bust them for a public health violation. Hands proposes moving Thanksgiving and Christmas to the spring, which would allow him to eat a drumstick while watching a baseball game. Though local liberals appear to be going overboard with restrictions to try to stop the virus, state Republicans are doing next to nothing to stem the coronavirus. The best news is that a vaccine appears close to putting this pandemic to rest.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
22 minutes | 5 months ago
Why Wisconsin flipped and won't change with a recount
Milfred and Hands recap the 2020 election, higher turnout, the eroding suburbs and Dane County surge. President Donald Trump isn't conceding to President-elect Joe Biden just yet and might not ever. But if history is a guide, the president's pledge to recount Wisconsin's votes won't change much. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
20 minutes | 5 months ago
Last licks on the 2020 election
Phil Hands threatens to switch his vote if the Democrats keep calling him at home. Scott Milfred wants the begging for campaign cash to finally end. He counts 15 requests for his money from myriad candidates over just 12 hours last week -- and he's never given a politician a dime. On this week’s political podcast, Milfred and Hands deliver their last licks on the 2020 election, with shots at Trump, paranoid Democrats, and a reminder that the spring election was safe -- so Tuesday's vote should be, too. Milfred and Hands also warn pollsters that they're in big trouble if they get the presidential election wrong again. Hands looks forward to drawing Biden in the future. Milfred warns that, even if Trump loses on Tuesday, he might run for president again in 2024.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
22 minutes | 6 months ago
Don't give the Madison City Council a five-fold pay raise to $67,950
Milfred and Hands harpoon the latest pitch for a full-time Madison City Council that would lead to entrenched politicians raising tens of thousands of dollars in campaign cash to try to keep their jobs. A better way to improve the council is to reduce the number of committees aldermen and alderwomen serve on while embracing technology to make their public service more efficient. Our political podcasters play and comment on audio clips from recent city meetings debating the merits of enshrining professional politicians at City Hall.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
30 minutes | 6 months ago
The backstory on our State Journal endorsements
Having interviewed dozens of candidates in recent weeks for the Wisconsin Legislature in the Nov. 3 election, Milfred and Hands unveil the State Journal editorial board's endorsements. They also explain the newspaper's recommendation of Joe Biden for president. Hands gives advice to politicians for how they can appear in his cartoons. Milfred touts the honesty of a lawmaker who reminded the editorial board that he had promised years ago he wouldn't run again.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
27 minutes | 7 months ago
Mark Pocan on being flamed, helping UW and finding GOP friends
Madison's congressman says he's progressive and pragmatic. That might sound contradictory to some. But in U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan's case, it actually rings true, given his efforts to befriend and work with colleagues he sharply disagrees with to get things done. The Democrat from rural Dane County tells Milfred and Hands about being flamed on Twitter -- from the left. He tells about his recent visit to his hometown of Kenosha, where the police shooting of Jacob Blake led to mass protests, senseless destruction and two subsequent deaths. Pocan wants to adopt national training standards for police, and he agrees with the State Journal editorial board's push for body cameras on officers. Pocan touts his efforts to support UW-Madison on the House Appropriations Committee. This includes securing money for ag research. A magician in his youth, he has forged an unlikely friendship with another politician who dabbled in magic -- a staunch conservative from Alabama who wants to help farmers, too.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
28 minutes | 8 months ago
Democrats play it safe at their virtual convention in Milwaukee
Milfred and Hands recap the Wisconsin moments and blooper at the Democratic National Convention. The four-day infomercial touting Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden was based in MIlwaukee. But most delegates and media stayed home because of the pandemic. Still, the event was largely successful for the Democrats, given that Biden performed well and all those digital connections came through. Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes couldn't get Biden's name quite right during his national moment in front of the cameras. Gov. Tony Evers was boring -- a trait that's more appreciated than ever given President Donald Trump's chaotic tenure. Gwen Moore had the best rhyme. Tammy Baldwin made the most of her prime-time address, though public television skipped it. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
27 minutes | 8 months ago
The race to replace Madison's forever state senator veers left
Milfred and Hands assess the long list of candidates for the Wisconsin Senate seat representing Madison. They reveal who the State Journal editorial board is endorsing in the race and why. The winner of the Aug. 11 Democratic primary will replace Sen. Fred Risser, who is retiring after more than a half century in office. (No Republicans are seeking the post.) The editorial board interviewed six of the hopefuls for the seat. Our opinionated podcasters play audio clips from those meetings, and talk about the strengths and weaknesses of each contender. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
23 minutes | 9 months ago
Trump vs. Biden ad war goes back to the future in Wisconsin
Milfred and Hands play and comment on the latest campaign messages from Donald Trump, Joe Biden and a host of special interest groups hoping to influence the Nov. 3 election. Trump's allies go back 30 years to find faults with Biden they hope will re-resonate now. Biden and Democrats are fixating on Trump's failings with the coronavirus pandemic. Curiously, the TV ads have been running in just about every Wisconsin media market except Madison. Trump is behind in the polls, but he was behind in 2016, too, when he squeaked out victory. Our editorial board members reference "Hamilton," Trump's exaggerated baseball career, and Biden's touchy-feely habit that the Democratic nominee oddly embraces in his ad about character. With only 118 days before the November election, the presidential campaign ads are just the beginning of an onslaught targeting the airwaves in our swingiest of swing states.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
32 minutes | 9 months ago
What white people don't get about the black experience in Madison
Milfred and Hands ask Sheri Carter, Madison's first black female City Council president, about race, police, protesters and what white people in the capital city don't understand about the African American experience here. "The civil rights movement never ended," she says, recalling growing up in Madison with what today would be described as helicopter parents on the South Side. Her parents came here in the 1950s from Louisiana, and her father called Madison "a breath of fresh air" in comparison. But Madison still has stark disparities that Carter wants to address. And in recent weeks, protests over the police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man in Minneapolis, have led large protests on State Street in Madison, late-night looting, the toppling of statues on the Capitol Square, and senseless violence. A strong leader during turbulent times, Carter has a knack for pulling people together. But she has no plans to run for mayor anytime soon (though she dodged a question about Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway.) See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
25 minutes | 10 months ago
The big surprise from #TapeGate isn't what you think
Milfred and Hands dissect the secret recording someone on Gov. Tony Evers' staff made of what was supposed to be a private phone call between the Democratic governor and top Republican lawmakers about the coronavirus crisis in Wisconsin. The big surprise, now that the call has become public under the state's open records law, wasn't Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald suggesting Evers is out of touch. Nor was it Assembly Speaker Robin Vos citing "immigrant culture" as a factor in the spread of COVID-19. #TapeGate illustrates a much blander yet important reality for state government. And Hands wonders if Roger Stone will get a new tattoo.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
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