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Issues

East Washington “Capitol East District” corridor

In 2011, the city purchased the Don Miller parcels using land banking funds and issued a Request for Proposals. Only one proposal went forward and in 2012, the city sold the parcel on the 700 Block North site to Otto Gebhardt, who is constructing the Constellation, a market rate rental apartment tower with first floor commercial. Currently there is a second RFP process underway for the 800 block north side after negotiations between the city and Urban Land Interests failed to reach an agreement in September. A new RFP was issued in late December 2012 and the responses are due February 15, 2013.

The purchase of the Don Miller site using land-bank funds follows years of planning and discussion involving the adjacent neighborhoods, Capitol East and Greater Williamson area businesses, and other stakeholders on how to grow and green this historic commercial and industrial corridor. I have been involved in planning efforts since 2004 when I started attending the East Rail Corridor Plan Advisory committee, participated in the adoption of TID 36 in 2005, was a member of the Capitol Gateway BUILD Committee and the adopted design guidelines for the district with Urban Design District 8. I’ve been a strong supporter of the Madison Sustainability Commerce Center, an effort the city has undertaken to bring cutting edge green cluster business and start-ups to the area.

Union Corners

Gorman & Company was selected by the Union Corners Ad Hoc Selection Committee at their meeting November 1, 2012. Gorman’s proposal came with the commitment to build a UW Health clinic. The City bought the 11.4 acre Union Corners site for $3.57 million in December 2010 and issued a request for proposals in June 2012. Five developers responded to the City’s RFP, including a neighborhood group. Gorman and Livesey/Stone House emerged as the finalists. City Real Estate staff will negotiate a sales agreement with Gorman and if they come to terms including TIF, the Council will vote on whether to move forward in 2013.

I am proud to have participated and organized with neighbors to plan the future of Union Corners, part of a multi-year effort of the Schenk Atwood Starkweather Yahara neighborhood council, Worthington Park and Emerson East Neighborhood Associations, EINPC, Friends of Union Corners and other stakeholders. Our ongoing efforts to find temporary and transitional uses (BoomBox the Wasteland) for Union Corners and our intervention into the Congress for A New Urbanism conference held in Madison in June 2011 with a design charrette focused on Union Corners shaped the RFP and informed the Gorman proposal.

Madison Kipp Corporation

In the spring of 2011, residents became aware that MKC was installing sub-slab vapor mitigation systems in the three homes on Marquette St, after testing showed elevated levels of PCE vapors, a chlorinated solvent used by Kipp until 1989 were found on adjacent properties and in the homes of residents.

After this news broke, I took initiative to organize a series of community meetings so neighbors could learn what was going on. My efforts to increase transparency between the regulator and the regulated has resulted in more proactive measures on the part of DNR and State and local Public Health agencies to reach out to the community surrounding Kipp, not just the immediate neighbors. Over the last year, DNR and MKC have installed sub-slab vapor mitigation systems to most of the homes surrounding the factory. Kipp and the City have also installed groundwater testing wells to determine the extent of impact on our surface and deep aquifer water supply. The Water Utility is also monitoring Well 8 at the Olbrich sledding hill.

I have been requesting that DNR create a map of contamination of PCE, PCBs and PAHs in the soil, vapor and groundwater. SASYNA has formed a Kipp committee and has been organizing around the concerns of the community. Rep. Chris Taylor has been very active on this issue and we have been working together . Kipp faces a DNR/DOJ lawsuit and two class action suits filed by affected residents. More information can be found at http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/Brownfields/kipp.html

Economic Development

e need to work collaboratively with our private sector and public partners to focus on several clusters that could be strengthened by city support: healthcare, food, green technology, arts, web/IT, and tourism are ones that come to mind. For many years, I have been an advocate for the Capitol East District to become a green cluster and enhance the Williamson-Atwood corridor as an arts destination. We need to focus on the start-ups and pop-ups as well as anchor employers.

The city sponsored Cooperative Business Conference in June 2012 highlighted the importance of growing our cooperative base. The conference brought together a diverse array of businesses from health care providers, grocery stores, credit unions, taxicab companies, engineering firms and bookstores like my employer Rainbow Bookstore Cooperative. The cooperative ownership model provides not only the benefits of jobs, democratic management by members, but also the maintenance of assets and wealth within the community.

East Madison Shopping Center

Worthington Park and areas east of Milwaukee St from Fair Oaks and Hwy 30 are new to District 6. Neighbors who live around Hermina and Oak St have been concerned about the cut through traffic at the East Side Shopping Center for several years. The relocation of McDonald’s from Marquette St to the shopping center has added to their concerns because the restaurant will be open 24 hours/day. Following up where Alder Palm left off, after McDonald’s opens, a trial closing of the back way out of the shopping center will be tested. The shopping center property owner is supportive of this effort.

Traffic and Transportation planning

We need to make our neighborhood arterial streets safe for pedestrians, bicyclists, and motor vehicles. I will continue to advocate for community based participation in traffic and transportation planning. I am already working with interested neighbors, businesses and other stakeholders to start planning for Atwood and Winnebago reconstruction, currently planned for 2015.

Traffic and transportation should always be linked to discussions about potential land use. We need to create sufficient residential and employment densities throughout the city to allow multi-modal options such as bike paths, Metro and bus rapid transit and eventually commuter/passenger rail to become realistic and affordable alternatives to single occupancy trips.

We need to insure pedestrian safety and walkable neighborhoods served by neighborhood businesses with a variety of goods and services. We need to slow traffic in residential areas and acknowledge that we are the traffic we complain about. I will work with neighbors and Traffic Engineering to discuss traffic calming strategies.

I’ve tried to adopt a “Fix it First” approach to road repair and carefully scrutinize the social costs and environmental impacts of widening roads. I have consistently voted against the proposed expansion of Hwy M and Hwy S in all of its phases. It would be great to have more progressive alders on the council who will vote for policies that will build a city that encourages connectivity, appropriate density and mixed uses as opposed to more sprawling models of development at the edge of the city. We need more urban, less suburban places.

Judge Doyle Square Planning

The long awaited fix for the Williamson-Blair-John Nolen-E Wilson intersection will become closer to reality in 2013. The planning effort that began with Judge Doyle Square concept in 2011 to study Block 88 and 105 for a new parking ramp at Government East and the potential addition of a hotel on the Madison Municipal building block moves into Phase 2. Phase 2 will incorporate a 14 block planning area from Blair St to North Shore Dr. This effort, led by consultants Kimley Horn will also look at potential locations for an intercity bus terminal and make recommendations to address the intersection at Williamson and E Wilson.

Monitor the safety of our Drinking Water

Our water quality has been impacted by the east side’s industrial legacy. Well #3 was permanently abandoned in April 2008 because excessive amounts of carbon tetrachloride found in solvents and produced from industrial processes was found in the water. I have been focused on water quality ever since I was elected in 2007 and served on three Citizen Advisory Panels for Well 3, Well 8 and the East Side Water Supply CAP. The East Side Water Supply CAP took a larger look at water demand and water quality to insure the long-term supply of safe water to east side customers.

We live in a densely developed area and must make a conscious effort to recharge our aquifers through responsible conservation programs such as rain gardens, rain barrels, permeable paving options and LEED or equivalent standards for green building to manage water use and runoff. Insuring safe drinking water will require a commitment to investing in our infrastructure and I am committed to working with the Water Utility and residents to take care of this vital resource.

Community Security

A progressive public safety program is one that creates community security in an equitable and accountable fashion.

Community security starts with personal safety and the right to be safe in your home, on the street and at school and work.

The recent uptick in burglaries on the near east side in 2012 have increased concerns throughout the district. I have organized meetings with affected neighbors and the police to discuss best practices for taking care of ourselves and our neighbors.

Community security means we must pay attention to stressed neighborhoods and step up efforts to combat poverty. Community security means creating living wage jobs and focusing on job skils and mentoring our youth.

Community security means food security initiatives like urban agriculture, pantry gardens and donations for food banks, Madison Timebank.

Community security means we attend to the impacts of alcohol and drug addictions.

Community security means shelter and access to safe and affordable housing. We need to build more single room occupancy housing to get homeless individuals into housing. We also need to expand the shelter capacity for all but especially women and kids.

Community security means community policing which requires building face to face relationships in neighborhoods and our schools. We all need to be involved in community policing if it is to be accountable to our values.

Budget

The budget reflects our values about social and public services, how we want to build our city, and how much can we afford to maintain the services that make Madison a great place to live. I care about maintaining basic services like libraries, Metro, water quality, snow plowing/leaf/trash pickup, public safety, building inspection, parks, and social services. This fall I joined with a majority of other alders to propose an omnibus amendment package that restored funding to Overture and avoided a cash fare increase for Metro, offsetting cuts in the Mayor’s proposed Operating Budget. We added funds to contribute to the County’s purchase of a permanent homeless day shelter. The recession has affected the city by lowering the value of real estate and reducing revenues from property taxes. So far we have been able to avoid serious cuts to city staff and services but with the changes in State government, we will face many challenges. Historically Madison has been sheltered by a local economy because of public sector employment but now we are seeing unprecedented attacks on public workers. I will work to defend public jobs and stand in solidarity with the organizing that needs to take place for all workers, maintain quality services and use our resources to leverage sustainable economic development, jobs and social services for those in need.