Madison, the end of August 1969
The Police and Fire Commission ignores the city’s promise it wouldn’t punish firefighters after their three-day strike in late March and suspends Fire Capt and union president Ed Durkin for six months for leading the illegal action. The Commission, led by former Republican party leader Stuart Becker, says it doesn’t have to honor the amnesty agreement because it’s an independent body created by state statute, and wasn’t involved in the negotiations that settled the strike. The Commission decides it’s so independent it doesn’t even let city attorney Edwin conrad speak at public meeting to defend the amnesty agreed to by the council and former Mayor Otto Festge. “You are an interloper here,” atty Becker tells him. “You are entitled to be quiet.” The suspension, the longest the commission has ever imposed, will cost Durkin $6,500, which the union quickly moves to make up. Durkin begins his suspension as his attorneys plan the appeal.
In other news from the protective services, Police Chief Wilbur Emery names five new policemen to the force. All are military veterans, with three recently finishing Army tours in Vietnam. The force remains all white, but the PFC reports that it has received two applications from African-americans; police union president detective roth Watson has written equal opportunities commission chair rev james c wright to encourage more blacks to apply, and pledging “sincere welcome and assistance” to black applicants.
Former Secretary of State Dean Rusk does not get a sincere welcome and assistance as the Young Socialist Alliance and other radicals deliver on their vow of a raucous reaction when the former diplomat comes to the Union theater to address the summer session of the graduate school of banking. As about 200 demonstrators shriek invective, and pound on the theater doors, Rusk twice has to stop his survey of American involvement around the world. It’s worse afterwards. Spotted leaving through a rear service entrance, Rusk’s car is pelted with a half dozen stones and a large stick. Then protesters swarm up Park Street to University Avenue, partially blocking traffic in front of Chadbourne hall for about half an hour, pounding hoods and cursing men trying to drive through as “fascist bloodsuckers.” Radicals scatter on the arrival of Madison police, who make no arrests.
Madison’s mass transit is in a mess as the imbroglio over the bus system careens to a chaotic conclusion. A majority of the common council, and almost every witness at a two-night public hearing televised live on WHA-TV, want the city to buy the Madison Bus Company and provide transit service directly – just as a successful referendum directed in 1968. But Mayor Bill Dyke wants to continue the long-standing city subsidy for at least three more years, guaranteeing the company $1,040 in revenue for every $1,000 of expenses, with the city also getting a seat on the company’s board of directors. Dyke also wants to create a Transportation Commission to coordinate city policy, and a Madison Area Metropolitan Transit Authority to coordinate Madison, Middleton and other transit services. Dyke says he’s looking out for “Our poor taxpayers – a bewildered and silent majority who are confused about this issue.” Although Dyke says he opposes the change to public ownership for fiscal reasons, there’s terrible financial news about the status quo – thanks to higher than projected subsidies required for June and July, funds that should have lasted until November 10 run out before the end of August. The council passes an emergency appropriation, and schedules a special meeting for early September to decide between private enterprise and public ownership.
The world’s oldest Jewish service organization is protesting the recent action by the UW regents to cut out-of-state enrollment almost in half. The Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith writes Regents president Dr. James T Nellen that the new policy, which it notes will drastically reduce the number of Jews and blacks on campus, is unfit for a university with a national reputation and national responsibilities. “Such a university can no longer operate in isolation,” the Bnai Brith regional director writes, but must care about “the impact of its policies on the principles of human rights and equal opportunity.”
Eugene Parks is back on the city council after a unanimous council vote reinstating him as alderman from the Fifth Ward. Parks automatically lost his seat in July when he inadvertently moved across the street from his district. Although elected for a 2-year term in April, Parks will have to run in April 1970, since he is now serving by appointment.
Madison’s newest mayor wants to preserve our oldest buildings. Mayor Dyke confirms he’s been consulting with the Taychopera Foundation, and will soon introduce several ordinances for historic preservation. City Attorney Conrad recently issued an opinion, which Dyke requested, confirming the city has the necessary legal authority. The Plan Department is publishing a walking tour booklet for Mansion Hill, entitled “Sandstone and Buffalo Robes,” prepared at Dyke’s direction.
Thousands pack downtown sidewalks for the annual parade of the Midwest Shrine Association. There are camels, convertibles and cyclists galore, calliopes and marching bands and so many clowns it takes three hours for the parade to proceed from Capitol Square to the Milwaukee Road depot on West Washington Avenue.
And a Madison hero falls to a senseless death. Marine Corporal Charles Lay Boskay, recipient of two Purple Hearts, is killed by friendly fire in Quang Nam province, three months before turning 22. A platoon radio man who had been in country since February, Lay Boskay was a member of First Baptist Church and a 1965 graduate of West High School. He attended the university of wisconsin before joining the Marines in 1968. He is survived by his parents, who live at 2555 University Avenue, and his wife, the former Diane Thorstad, 4409 Cherokee Drive.