A meeting with the Bobs: Aldermen Bob Donovan and Bob Bauman get into shouting match over streetcar project
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The irrepressible Alderman Bob Donovan held a news conference earlier this week, and ended up embarrassing not one, but two city aldermen. Donovan’s conference was held for the purpose of—brace yourselves—calling on the public to call on Mayor Tom Barrett to call on the city’s aldermen to support a citywide referendum on the city’s semi-contentious streetcar project, which was voted on and approved by the Common Council 10 months ago.
During the press conference, Donovan claimed the streetcar was unpopular with his constituents and that the money would be better used for other purposes, prompting Aldermam Bob Bauman to interrupt and take to the podium. Bauman countered that the federal government distributed the money for the exclusive purpose of a streetcar system, and that stopping the project would result in the money being diverted to another city for its public transit. Bauman went on to note that it wasn’t in the mayor’s power to stop the project or call on the Council to vote on a referendum.
A 10-minute-long argument followed, involving fist banging, personal insults, and both aldermen saying, “Shame on you. Shame on you, Bob.” The tussle was interrupted several times by a mediator who told the aldermen in a rational, hushed tone, “We’re not getting anywhere,” before being ignored and turning to the cameras with an uncomfortable grimace on his face. “This is my press conference, and I’m not leaving,” Donovan said. “I’m not leaving,” said Bauman. “We can stand here all day.”
Unfortunately, the two Bobs did not remain standing at the podium until well after reporters had left and the building’s lights had been turned off—the buzz of the night traffic outside and the sound of each other’s breath the only things keeping them company. Instead, Donovan, running out of steam in his argument, left with a patented dismissing wave of his hand, telling Bauman, “Shame on you. Shame on you,” as he walked to the door and reporters looked down at their notepads and shoes. [FOX6]