Ex-governor’s jibe may become Wis. capital’s motto
Jibe might become Wis. capital motto
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The mayor of Wisconsin’s capital city is proposing its first official motto: 77 square miles surrounded by reality.
The phrase is a take on former Republican Gov. Lee Sherman Dreyfus’ jibe in 1978 while running for governor that “Madison is 30 square miles surrounded by reality.” At the time, Madison’s Democratic Mayor Paul Soglin told a Dreyfus aide that the statement was wrong — not in sentiment, but because the city had grown to 65 square miles.
Soglin, who first became Madison’s mayor in the 1970s and reclaimed the office in 2011, now proposes turning the phrase into the city’s first official motto. Madison is known for its liberalism and quirkiness. For example, in 2009, the city adopted the plastic pink flamingo as its official bird.
Soglin says he finds the proposed motto self-deprecating and reflective of a vibrant citizenry engaged in civic, cultural and intellectual activities.
“I find that people have a sense of humor and appreciation for it,” he told the Wisconsin State Journal.
Other city leaders aren’t so sure.
“I have a sense of humor. I have my pink flamingo. But I don’t think it’s a good motto to have for the city,” Council President Chris Schmidt said. “We’re feeding a meme. This is more harmful than helpful to us.”
Local historian Stuart Levitan said he admires Soglin but believes a motto should be dignified and inspiring, not a joke.
Chamber of commerce and tourism bureau officials also expressed concern about being just a tad too flip. But they also had a sense of humor about it.
“Maybe we should figure out the square footage of the City Council chamber and use that,” joked Zach Brandon, chamber president and a former alderman.
Rules for posting comments
Comments posted below are from readers. In no way do they represent the view of Oahu Publishing Inc. or this newspaper. This is a public forum.
Comments may be monitored for inappropriate content but the newspaper is under no obligation to do so. Comment posters are solely responsible under the Communications Decency Act for comments posted on this Web site. Oahu Publishing Inc. is not liable for messages from third parties.
IP and email addresses of persons who post are not treated as confidential records and will be disclosed in response to valid legal process.
Do not post:
- Potentially libelous statements or damaging innuendo.
- Obscene, explicit, or racist language.
- Copyrighted materials of any sort without the express permission of the copyright holder.
- Personal attacks, insults or threats.
- The use of another person's real name to disguise your identity.
- Comments unrelated to the story.
If you believe that a commenter has not followed these guidelines, please click the FLAG icon below the comment.