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Alder David Ahrens

Alder David Ahrens

Home Address:
4014 Major Ave.


Phone: 608-334-1156
district15@cityofmadison.com
Common Council Office:
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Room 417
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-4071
Fax: (608) 267-8669
WI Relay Service

24 Hours: A Day in the Life of an Alder

July 31, 2014 6:28 PM

All of the following events are real. But they didn't actually occur in one day. (Thank God.)

First call: 8:05 AM. Constituent complains about "coal dust" everywhere as a result of street-sealing throughout much of Lake Edge. I call the city engineer supervising the street-sealing project and ask if he has seen the street and noticed an unusual level of dust and loose coal slag. Have the residents' been asked to keep the windows closed for two days during the spraying and rolling? I visit the street the next day to see what it's like. I also get complaints about one crew that started work at 6 AM. (A violation of city ordinance) Another constituent told me her bike tires were pierced by sharp pieces of slag.

Second call: 9 AM. A constituent received a notice that the city intends to demolish their home and relocate them. However, they haven't received a notice of their relocation despite the fact the demolition will occur in about 30 days. The city housing staff assures me they are working on it. Good, but when will this family (with eight kids) have a place to live? A few days later I inquire again and the family will have two smaller adjacent apartments for a few months and then a larger apartment for everyone.

I answer e-mails for the next two hours on issues such as a child bullied at a MSCR camp, the need for an additional street light in a pretty rough area, criticism of the Mayor on his intention to welcome refugee children (I agree with the Mayor), speeding through a residential area, etc  and then return calls from yesterday.

First meeting: I attend a presentation by a developer on what homeless persons and homeless advocates want in a new development to be located at E. Washington and Rethke Ave (nr. Hwy 30).  In almost every category, the homeless and their advocates substantially differ on every major issue. For example security is, by far, the number one concern of the homeless but doesn't appear as an issue for their advocates.

Second meeting: I meet with a group who are concerned about the new billing method proposed by MG&E. The utility wants to sharply increase the fixed cost (the connection fee) and reduce the charge for electricity. This will reduce incentives to for energy efficiency (better windows, insulation, etc) and potentially end the solar industry. Later, I proposed that the city "Intervene" against the proposal before the Public Service Commission because it will harm the city as a major consumer of electric power but because it harms the citizens of Madison as well.  Later, the Council unanimously passed my resolution in support of city intervention and the group cleverly names itself  RePower Madison (RPM).

Third meeting: I meet with a reporter to discuss the news on city financing of a hotel (part of Judge Doyle Square). There is probably not one vote for it at the current price of $50 million for the hotel plus $27 million for all of the "extras." I don't think the city should pay a dollar for it. There are 3 hotels going up within a few blocks of Monona Terrace with more than 450 rooms. None have asked for assistance. This developer (who also wanted $16 million for the Edgewater) wants the city to pay about half of costs for this project.  If this were to be built with very low cost city financing it will likely result in devaluing, and perhaps bankrupting, other hotels.

Last meeting: I attend a neighborhood association meeting to discuss immediate concerns such as policing, street repair and post-storm clean-up. The main topic is the future of Cottage Grove Rd. It definitely has challenges with the closing of Sentry and the loss of the Re-Store and Pinney Library at the strip mall off Monona Dr. On the upside Royster Corners will begin construction in the fall. Also, Cottage Grove Rd will undergo major changes with additional trees, pedestrian median and burying the utility wires. The challenge is: how do we make this into a viable commercial district?

I go home and decide not to look at my e-mail until the morning.

David





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