Mayor Dyke’s special three-man panel investigating the Mifflin Street Block Party riots earlier this year issues its report, blaming both sides and pleasing neither. The “greatest factor in causing the confrontations and disorders,” it finds, was “the underlying antagonism which existed” between Mifflanders and the police. The fact that residents knew that police had allowed the “more conventionally dressed students of the Langdon-Gilman Street area” to have a block party just the week before “added to the prevalent belief of unfair discrimination.” Police chief Wilbur Emery testified his policy is to respond immediately with overwhelming force, even before it’s needed, as a deterrence. But that first Saturday in May, the report indicates, it might have been a provocation. While finding that police “did not resort to the use of tear gas until they had been pelted with missiles,” the commission still implicates police policy in the Mifflin riot: “The second additional precipitating factor was the bringing of police attired in riot gear into the Mifflin Street area before there had been any actual violence.” Once the violence began, the report states, “Training proved inadequate in the case of certain few officers, who during the disorders engaged in beatings, improper use of riot sticks and indiscriminate and improper use of tear gas. More and better training in this field is needed.” A citizens’ group issues its own report, warning that “Madison has cause for concern [over the] serious rift [that] exists” between youths and police. The mayor and city council take it all under advisement.
There’s a new ad hoc communications network police hope will increase public safety. It’s often the case that people who see something suspicious while they’re out of the house, or witness an accident, have no way of quickly letting police know. A new Community Radio Watch, CRW, seeks to solve that problem by using commercial trucks and autos with two-way radios so drivers can alert their dispatchers about situations they see or hear about, which the dispatchers then relay to police. The program, which has been successful for several years in San Francisco and Cincinnati, starts with a squadron of 270 trucks and autos from 25 private businesses and the UW, including 40 taxis each from Yellow and Badger Cab. Each vehicle will bear a red white and blue window decal identifying it as a CRW vehicle, letting the public know they can ask the driver to report a situation. CRW drivers who provide “extraordinary contribution to his fellow-man through his use of two-way mobile radios” will be honored with cash and plaques. The program is coordinated by Madison Police Lt. August Pieper and Kenneth C Ossmann, president of Yellow Cab.
Local draft boards are getting back at the antiwar protest movement and the university by cutting back on so-called ‘community needs’ deferments for UW teaching assistants, causing a drop in enrollment from 9023 last year to 8950 today – far short of the 10,000 that had been expected under projections from just two years ago. “The draft boards were very rough this summer,” says Dean of the Graduate School Robert Bock.
In the first test of Chancellor Edwin Young’s policy on allowing bullhorns and other sound devices for political rallies on the Library Mall, the Black Panthers “Free All Political Prisoners” Rally goes on for 400, fully amplified.
Two churches make political news.
As draft resister Ken Vogel enters his second week taking sanctuary at the First Congregational Church, church moderator William Bradford Smith resigns over what he says is immoral behavior by some of Vogel’s supporters, including boys and girls sleeping under the same blanket. A prominent Republican attorney, former west side alder and former congressional candidate, Smith seems to think couples were being intimate, but all have been fully clothed and behaving properly. Smith calls Vogel, who remains in the church chapel with about 50 supporters, “a criminal and a fugitive,” but says he respects his sincerity. Smith and his wife Betty, chair of the Governor’s commission on the status of women, have a son in Viet Nam.
As Father James Groppi’s welfare protest approaches, the parish council of Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, 2131 Rowley Ave., votes to welcome marchers to Madison by setting up 100 cots in its basement and school and providing an evening and morning meal. “It was the least we could do for the cause,” one parishioner says.
Bad projections make for bad news for Madison schools as the board of education learns that city treasurer walter hunter overestimated school revenue this year by $135,000, pushing next year’s tax increase for schools to 2.3 mills. The lack of funds also forces the board to keep vacant several important positions, including director of reading. The development also prompts renewed calls for the school board, still dependent on the city for budget information and authority, to become fully independent as a unified school district.
The Wisconsin Union Theater’s fall season opens with classical and contemporary music in a setting that’s neither as Sieji Ozawa and the NY Philharmonic bring a program of Mendelssohn, Bartok and Copeland to a sold-out Stock Pavilion. It’s Cow Barn culture at its finest.
And that’s this week’s Madison in the Sixties. For the award-winning WORT news team, I’m Stu Levitan.