Madison: Mayor Dave Cieslewicz does not want another Halloween celebration on State Street to end with bonfires and pepper spray.
A special task force has been working on a plan for 2005 since last year. "We're very close. We'll be able to finalize it by next week," says Cieslewicz.
One key element of that plan was to have the State Street bars close 90 minutes early on Saturday night. It's daylight savings anyway, so the bars wouldn't lose any time, they'd just give up the extra time. Cieslewicz made the request with the UW Chancellor, the Police Chief and a student leader. "I thought the four of us made a very reasonable proposal to the bars to close when they moved their clocks back."
Patty Telvick runs the Buckeye Inn and is on the Board of Directors for the Dane County Tavern League. "When we're asked to lose more money the obvious answer would be no. Our reaction across the board is a defensive one."
She says bar owners are still reeling from the minimum wage increase and the smoking ban. She calls the relationship between the mayor and the Tavern League adversarial, "It is a bit hostile, I must agree with that."
The Mayor says the smoking ban and Halloween are unrelated. "It's unfortunate that the Tavern League has decided to wrap all those up together. This is focused on Halloween."
The Mayor says he's still hoping for cooperation, otherwise he could always use his emergency powers to shot down all of State Street for Halloween. "If we have events again this year, incidents again this year, then we're looking at eventually invoking those emergency powers and possibly shutting down the whole event. If the Tavern League would like to keep this event going then they need to be part of the solution."
"He does have that ability. I don't think it's a great way to deal with things," says Telvick.
The Mayor says shutting down State Street is still a last resort, but if things go poorly on Friday night–the first night of the weekend event he'll consider that option for Saturday night.