Like Trump, Paul Soglin should stay off Twitter.

Madison Mayor and candidate for Wisconsin Governor Paul Soglin, had as rough a showing this weekend as anyone with his political experience has probably had at a state party convention.

The embarrassment started with the straw poll of Democratic Gubernatorial candidates conducted by Soglin, the mayor of the second largest city in the state came in dead last, earning just a single vote in the straw poll of almost 800 Democratic delegates, alternates and guests.

In a strange reaction to the straw poll results Soglin re-tweeted Capital Times state politics reporter Jessie Opoien who wrote in part that Soglin “was on-site on Friday with his campaign manager, but wasn’t out courting voters on Saturday like other #WIGov candidates,” but noted everyone at the convention could vote in the straw poll.

What Soglin didn’t seem to understand that the implication of the post in it’s full context was that he got just a single vote when he should have been able to get at least two, his own and his campaign managers.

Soglin’s intent in re-tweeting Opoien might have been to suggest that he wasn’t out trying to court votes for the straw poll. That’s often the explanation of those who do poorly in straw polls, that they’ve put their efforts into other activities that rounding up votes in meaningless straw polls. It it true that straw polls conducted at political conventions are far from any sort of fair indicator of who’s leading or going to win an election or primary. But they do usually say a lot about organization and viability.

Soglin has talked before before about the different type of campaign he is running for governor.  He’s said that “I don’t impose myself on people. I don’t go around shaking hands,” but if you aren’t going to go around and court votes at your party’s state convention, a gathering of a thousand or more activists just two and a half months before the primary, then when is the time to ask people for their vote?

A candidate with the name recognition and longevity of Soglin should be able to get a decent showing in a straw poll among political activists just by being listed on ballot. In getting that single vote (Soglin’s, his manager’s, or a random delegate if neither of the other two happened to vote) he’s moved from the top tier position he once had to the bottom tier, just as former Rep. Kelda Roys was boosted clearly into the top tier by winning the poll and garnering twice the votes of any other candidate.  That doesn’t mean she’s winning right now, but shows that she’s very viable when a fifth of the party activists at the Democratic Convention cast their votes for her.

Soglin’s reaction to the straw poll wasn’t his only time on twitter this weekend.  Earlier on Saturday in true Donald Trump fashion he went after Milwaukee Journal Sentinel columnist Dan Bice charging he was “part of the Russian inspired effort to suppress the Soglin vote.”

Perhaps Bice was very successful and entirely responsible for keeping the Soglin supporters at the convention from casting votes in the straw poll.  I suspect though that despite Soglin’s protestations that Bice should check his grades of the speeches, the delegates and others in attendance also graded Soglin pretty low and didn’t produce even a few spontaneous voter for him.

Paul Soglin may want to be the Donald Trump candidate in terms of style in the Democratic Primary. His convention speech was variously described by reporters as “painting a grim picture of Wisconsin” and “paint[ing] a bleak picture of Wisconsin under Walker with contaminated water, deteriorating public schools, low wages and increasing geographic and racial disparities” and harkens back to many speeches of Donald Trump’s including his inaugural speech.

While it’s true Wisconsin Democrats are in full agreement with Soglin’s portrayal about how Walker has destroyed so much in their state, they are not ready to buy into a candidate who doesn’t present a positive vision as well and spends their time attacking reporters on Twitter rather than campaigning for actual votes.

Tonight when Soglin goes home he should put the phone and the Twitter feed down.

One comment

  1. John Jacobs says:

    Soglin’s staff in the Planning Division and his appointees on the Madison Plan Commission are trashing Madison’s 52 year old Capitol View Preservation ordinance.
    John Jacobs
    To:All Alders
    Cc:Natalie Erdman
    Jun 5 at 5:39 PM
    Dear alders,

    Early this this morning I learned another of yet another failure with Soglin/Beitler’s Judge Doyle Square. A very bad precedent has been set with regard to our Capitol View Preservation ordinance.

    As far as I know, until now, encroachments by new buildings into the space above the Capital View height limit were limited to things that almost had to be there – assuming you didn’t want to chop off an entire floor. Stairways to the roof top for firefighters, elevator over-runs, things like that. The size was also limited. Smaller being better.

    For Beitler however, city Planning staff recommended and the Plan Commission approved, three massive aluminum walled structures 15 – 16 feet high that each cover an area on Beitler rooftops that are as large as my entire lot on Kendall Avenue. I don’t think this is what was intended in the the Madison ordinance/zoning code.

    It’s also hard to believe that the state’s Capitol View Preservation statute was written to allow such huge, unnecessary blockage of the skyline. Unfortunately, the state statute allows the Madison Plan Commission to interpret and enforce the statute. In this case, Madison has demonstrated that it is not capable of following the plain language of its own zoning code nor the spirit of the state statute. The state statute needs to be changed.

    John Jacobs


    —– Forwarded Message —–
    From: John Jacobs
    CC: Plan Commission
    Sent: Tuesday, June 5, 2018
    Subject: Capitol View Preservation – Beitler’s Judge Doyle Square

    Dear Mr. Firchow,

    On May 2, 2017 the Common Council approved rezoning for Beitler’s redevelopment at 215 S. Pinckney to PD(GDP-SIP) on Block 105.

    I assume that Beitler’s plans for 210 S. Pinckney on Block 88 were also rezoned accordingly but it’s difficult to tell from Legistar. (Perhaps things were done in haste?)

    Your April 24, 2017 staff report to the Plan Commission recommended approval of a conditional use for the large mechanical areas on the roofs of all three buildings. These areas are above the Capitol View Preservation height limits set by Madison Zoning code and state statute.

    “Further, the Planning Division recommends that the Plan Commission find that the standards for demolition permits and conditional uses are met and approve the demolition of the Government East Parking Structure and the conditional use requests for elevator penthouse/mechanicals above the Capitol View Height limit for both 210 South Pinckney Street and 215 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.”

    Beitler’s plans for 210 S. Pinckney on Block 88 show a 4332 square feet area on the roof of the apartment building for mechanical equipment. This area of almost 0.1 acres – roughly the size of my whole property on Kendall Avenue – extends 15-16 feet above the Capitol View Preservation limit with an aluminum walled enclosure. Two more areas, each of similar size to 210 S. Pinckney’s are shown in the plans for 215 S. Pinckney on Block 105.

    I’m no attorney, but my reading of the Capitol View Preservation ordinance (far below) does not seem to allow conditional use exceptions for such huge areas on new construction. While screened air conditioning equipment on existing buildings may be granted conditional use, I’m trying to understand what led the Planning Division to recommend massive violations of the Capitol View Preservation limit for all the new buildings at Judge Doyle Square. Pressure from the mayor?

    Your report also indicated that similar encroachments have been approved.

    “Plans show that each tower includes an approximately 15-16 foot roof-top aluminum screen wall. Section drawings indicated the projected elevator overrun areas are well beneath the height of the proposed screen wall. Other roof-top mechanical areas are labeled, but are not detailed. The Planning Division notes that similar encroachments have been approved.” (emphasis added)

    – Could you please tell me what led the Planning Division to recommend that 0.3 acres of mechanical spaces above the Capitol View height limit, enclosed by a 15 foot high aluminum walls be granted conditional use?

    – Could also please inform me of similar encroachments that the Plan Commission has approved?

    Thank you.

    John Jacobs

    Inline image

    Inline image


    (3) Capitol View Preservation .
    No portion of any building or structure located within one (1) mile of the center of the State Capitol Building shall exceed the elevation of the base of the columns of said Capitol Building or one hundred eighty-seven and two-tenths (187.2) feet, City datum. Provided, however, this prohibition shall not apply to any church spires, flagpoles, communication towers, elevator penthouses, screened air conditioning equipment on existing buildings and chimneys exceeding such elevation, when approved as conditional uses. For the purpose of this subsection, City datum zero (0.00) feet shall be established as eight hundred forty-five and six-tenths (845.6) feet above sea level as established by the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey.

    16.842  State capitol view preservation.

    (1) Except as authorized under this section, no portion of any building or structure located within one mile of the center of the state capitol building may exceed the elevation of 1,032.8 feet above sea level as established by the U.S. coast and geodetic survey.

    (2) This section does not apply to any building or structure erected prior to April 28, 1990.

    (3) The city of Madison may grant exceptions to the application of sub. (1) for flagpoles, communications towers, church spires, elevator penthouses, screened air conditioning equipment or chimneys, subject to approval of any plan commission created under s. 62.23 (1).

    History: 1989 a. 222.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *