On the agenda for the Madison Common Council tomorrow evening, squeezed between regulations for juvenile curfews and a resolution to authorize water utility general managers to hire a consultant to prepare wellhead protection plans, one finds this unlikely piece of business:
Authorizing the Mayor to enter into an agreement with the City of Rafah in the Gaza Strip to establish a sister city relationship with the City of Madison.
Sponsor: MACCUBBIN, KONKEL, SLOAN, KING, BENFORD, WEBBER, OLSON
Recommended Action: ADOPT
LittleGreenFootballs.com posted the resolution when it came out in May 2004 (it includes this choice phrase: "the mission statement of the municipal government in Rafah reflects a democratic vision that corresponds to the values of Madison's political leadership") and also establishes that the "democratic vision" in Rafah is provided by Hamas, a bona fide terrorist group.
This mischievous plan inspires further pairings: Cambridge, Mass. and Fallujah? Ann Arbor and Jenin? Berkeley and Qandahar? (July 19, 2004)
July 22, 2004 update: There must be some long faces in Rafah, as the Madison Common Council turned down the sister-city proposal. Actually, a majority of 9-to-8 voted in favor of the proposal but 11 votes were needed, so it went down to defeat. This despite an eloquent appeal from University of Wisconsin sociology professor Joe Elder, who argued that the sister-city relationship would have enabled Madison "to learn at the grass-roots level and contribute at the grass-roots level."