Mayor Soglin demands apology for legislator’s comment in disorderly conduct case
Post by Emily Mills on 9/13/2012 3:00pm
MADISON – Mayor Paul Soglin strongly criticized Wisconsin Rep. Brett Hulsey in a release late Wednesday and demanded an apology for the legislator’s comments during a disorderly conduct case in which Hulsey claimed political retaliation by city employees.
The allegations were made last week after Hulsey pled “no contest” to disorderly conduct charges stemming from a July 4 incident wherein a police report says that Hulsey flipped a young boy off his flotation device at Spring Harbor Beach, and that he upset the boy and his family by appearing to take pictures of the boy and other children.
Hulsey defended himself, saying that he only scared the boy in the water because he was trying to stop what appeared to him to be dangerous “horseplay,” and that he never tipped the boy off the flotation device. He also said he was only taking pictures of the sunset.
In his statement yesterday Soglin took direct aim at the last claim, saying, “It should be noted that when one views Lake Mendota from the site in question during the late afternoon or early evening, the sun is not over any portion of the lake but behind the viewer's left shoulder.”
On September 6 Hulsey made comments to the press indicating that he thought political retaliation might be part of the reason the charges were brought against him. An aide to Soglin was one of the adults who witnessed events on the beach in July and made statements to police at the time. The boy involved was her grandson. According to the Wisconsin State Journal:
Hulsey, who supported former Mayor Dave Cieslewicz in races against Soglin and noted Soglin has supported his opponent in a previous race for state Assembly, said he's concerned "the whole thing is politically motivated."
Soglin fired back, however:
“Brett Hulsey owes city employees, particularly the Madison Police Department, the City Attorney’s Office, and my office an apology for suggesting that anyone would compromise their professional standards or integrity in order to see him cited,” Soglin wrote. “Hulsey suggested that perhaps his support of my opponent in the last election was the motivator. Tens of thousands of Madisonians supported Dave Cieslewicz. There is nothing unusual about Mr. Hulsey – he neither merits nor deserves special attention.”
The mayor also went on to clarify news reports that there was a previous report of an incident at a beach involving Hulsey. That report was apparently only made verbally, by a lifeguard who said he was “uncomfortable with Hulsey’s presence at a city beach.”
Read the entire statement from Soglin here (pdf).
According to WisPolitics: “Parks Department spokeswoman Laura Whitmore today acknowledged the lifeguard raised concerns about Hulsey to a superior. She said the lifeguard didn't seek out the Parks Department official to raise the concerns. Rather, the official happened to be at the lifeguard's beach and the lifeguard asked if the official knew Hulsey because his behavior was odd. But no written complaint was taken and there was nothing the lifeguard said that warranted one, Whitmore said.”
Hulsey is currently running for re-election to the newly redistricted 78th District, against Green Party candidate Jonathan Dedering.
Emily Mills is Editor-At-Large for Dane101, as well as Editor of Our Lives Magazine. She is also a freelance writer, photographer, actor, and musician (drummer and singer in local band Little Red Wolf). Originally from several states up and down the Midwest Emily has called Madison home since 2000. Contact her at