She Fell In Love With The Drummer
The city of Duluth, Minn., made the band Wilco and its members honorary citizens. Not to be outdone, the city of Madison, Wis., my stamping ground of 6 years, has proposed to do the same thing. Last week, Alderwoman Satya Rhodes-Conway and 10 cosponsors filed a resolution in the Common Council in Madison. It goes like this:
WHEREAS, Wisconsinites generally have a love/hate relationship with all things from Illinois but the sold-out crowd at the Overture Center on February 20, 2010 had only love for this band from Chicago; […]
In an article in the Duluth News Tribune, Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz pokes fun at the situation. I realize that he’s joking, but there’s a sad element of truth in his statement.
“If it’s a typical resolution for the city of Madison, it will be referred to 20 different city committees, it’ll be amended and we’ll probably vote on it in August 2012,” the mayor said.
On the one hand, although the Common Council could spend its time more productively, at least it isn’t passing resolutions that limit personal liberties or promote fiscal irresponsibility.
However, as Sarah Brodsky has communicated on this blog, legislating state symbols encourages people to ask the government to affirm their preferences. I happen to enjoy listening to Wilco, but why should it matter to me that Ald. Rhodes-Conway and Mayor Dave do as well? In a recent blog post, Mayor Cieslewicz confesses that he doesn’t like John Mayer. Does this mean that I shouldn’t like him too? If John Mayer is barred from becoming an honorary citizen in Madison, does he face a barrier to performing concerts in Madison?
I hope that Mayor Cieslewicz is only joking about this, too:
There are also questions being raised about where honorary citizens would be allowed to live. Some have suggested a referral to the Zoning Code Revision Advisory Committee to mull that one over, though the City Attorney has hinted darkly that he won’t allow it.
I hope that these cities stop short of providing tax advantages to their honorary citizens. I wouldn’t be that surprised if they did, though; Midwestern states have already demonstrated a willingness to bend their tax codes in an effort to attract glitz and glamour.