"Diversity" Takes an Odd Turn

Vietnam-born alder targets crime, gets blasted from the left.

By David Blaska

Madison’s infamous liberalism is so doctrinaire that the only member of a racial minority on the 20-member Madison Common Council can be accused of racism most foul.      Her accuser is former four-term alder Brenda Konkel, she of the blond hair and pink politics. Konkel told her 750 “friends” on Facebook that Ald. Thuy Pham-Remmele, a refugee from Vietnam, a retired educator, and the first Asian-American elected to the council, is “racist.”   Pham-Remmele’s sin? Speaking about the city’s growing crime and deteriorating quality-of-life issues frankly, without tap-dancing to the peculiar metronome of PC–speak.    

Ald. Thuy—as she is best known— “made reference to people being more worried about braiding their hair and doing their fingernails than taking care of their kids,” Konkel accused. “Then there was...her odd comments about the ‘dark side.’”   

Get it? The “dark side.” DNA-quality proof of racism!     

This is what Ald. Thuy (pronounced “Twee”) said when she introduced an ordinance to move the curfew up one hour from the current midnight on weekends and 11 p.m. on school nights: “I co-sponsored this ordinance...to keep youth from staying out late, especially on school nights, to protect vulnerable juveniles from the dark side as well as to curb negative activities that affect the quality of life in our neighborhoods.”

She acted after constituents complained about noise, foul language, fights, and vandalism from unsupervised youths running through backyards at all hours of the night in a neighborhood sometimes raked by gunfire. It matters not to the racial arsonists that Police Chief Noble Wray, himself African-American, supported Thuy’s curfew ordinance. The supreme irony is that the left’s ACLU mentality of stressing rights without responsibility isn’t helping anyone improve their lives.     

“It’s like Lord of the Flies out there,” said a young father testifying at a strategy session co-hosted by Ald. Thuy with landlords, police and neighbors of the troubled southwest Madison neighborhood. He was referring to the classic novel exploring how teenage boys without adults descend into savagery.     

That same evening, shortly after 10 p.m., a 17-year-old high school sophomore, who had already fathered a child, was shot dead on the street. Two 16-year-olds are charged with first-degree murder, and a third is being held on related charges.  The irony is that had the Common Council adopted Ald. Thuy’s curfew as originally proposed, the victim and his suspected killers would have been enjoined from roaming the streets.   

Crime is not a new concern. Barely into her first term in office, Ald. Thuy held a listening session in summer 2007 where 750 neighbors told Mayor Dave Cieslewicz to drop his plan for a citywide trolley system and concentrate on crime.     

Cieslewicz and his fellow liberal Democrat, Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, sensed that Thuy Pham-Remmele would be trouble right from the start. They urged her defeat in her first race in spring 2007. “They give lip service to ‘diversity’.... Had they been successful the Common Council would have been all white,” the alder noted.   After winning re-election unopposed this April, the mayor paid Thuy back by removing her from the influential Community Development Block Grant Commission. He appointed her, instead, to the committee that oversees street vendor carts.   

Get it? Thuy? Vietnamese? Food carts?    

A scoundrel would call that racist.

David Blaska, a former Dane County supervisor, blogs at TheDailyPage.com.