Alder David Ahrens
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-4071
Fax: (608) 267-8669
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Alder Ahrens’ Updates
June District News
District News: June 2016
Pinney Lane Grand Opening Ceremony – The long-awaited opening of the first section of the Royster Corners, the Pinney Lane apartments, will be celebrated on Thursday, June 9 from 4 to 6:30 PM. You are invited to join Movin' Out, which developed the project, and your neighbors in celebrating the redevelopment of the former Royster Clark manufacturing site. You'll be able to see some of the apartments, meet new residents living at Pinney Lane and have dinner from food carts that have been asked to provide some interesting choices.
Lake Edge Park Re-opening: After a long winter of construction, the new and much improved Lake Edge Park shelter is finally completed. The Lake Edge Neighborhood Association and the Parks Dept. will co-sponsor the opening. This celebration is the following Thursday (of the Pinney Lane celebration) on June 16th at 6 PM. There will be a ribbon-cutting (of course), very limited speeches and once again food carts that will provide dinner and dessert. Hope you will be able to join us.
The Crime Surge and Police Staffing: The shootings over the past month that left three young men dead and others wounded shocked and dispirited many of us. An analysis of gun-related crime in Madison by the Council staff indicated that with a few exceptions (armed robbery and murder) all categories of gun-related crime has sharply increased ini the past 18 years. This includes assault with a gun, stolen firearms, possession of a weapon by a felon, etc. (Access the full report at: http://www.cityofmadison.com/sites/default/files/news/attachments/may16youthgunviolence.pdf
Many sectors in the city responded with fairly detailed agendas addressing some of the immediate issues but mostly very long-term systemic changes. However, none of the responses included adding additional police officers.
It is generally agreed that much of the increase in the most recent violence are related to the increased membership in well-organized gangs. In addition to the inter-gang violence, the gangs engage in a variety of other criminal activities- most notably drug traffic.
I think in response to the notable silence by other commentators on the question of police staffing, Police Chief Koval pointedly announced that he will seek 10 additional police officers over the next four years. He reminded the community that when one of these shootings occurs, virtually the entire force on patrol at that time responds except for emergencies.
There has been no response to the Chief's statement from my fellow Council members as well as the Mayor.
This request comes at a time when the Police Department has come under increased scrutiny as a result of the Hennan and Robinson police shootings. A Task Force has been established to review police trainings and policies related to use of force. Last week, the Board of Estimates approved $400,000 to hire a consultant to assist the committee.
The fundamental question(s) that will be asked as we debate the request is, "Does having more police make the city safer?" If the answer is "no", we have wasted an awful lot of money in the city and society as a whole. Can we seriously consider a society without a system of enforcing our laws?
The specific question is more difficult to answer: "Will more police be an effective response to the increase in serious crimes related to the expansion of organized gangs?" While I doubt that more police can meaningfully reduce the level of inter-gang violence, they have proven to be effective in reducing some of the other criminal activity of those gangs. This would make the gangs less attractive to new members. Secondly, dealing with this relatively small number of individuals (Koval estimates 200 actual members) is a very labor intensive activity which necessarily reduces responses to other police duties.
Keep in mind, as I will, that an increase in police staff will have to come at the cost of other city services and programs. While they may not be as important as public safety, they are considered to be essential or they would not be funded. Taxpayers also want the street repaired, the grass mowed and our trash picked up. However, in addition to these services, I note that I have never been to a community meeting when someone did not request more police services to monitor speeders, respond to requests about suspicious persons or to report crimes committed.
What do you think? Ten additional officers would probably cost about $1.2 million to put into the field. Is this something that should be pursued even at the cost of reducing another service that you value?
Allis Carnival: The annual end-of-the school- year Allis School Carnival will be held this Saturday, June 4 from 11AM to 3PM.
Chip-Seal Season: If you live on Major or Drexel Ave. you received a letter from the city today notifying you that these streets will be "chip-sealed" starting sometime in the week of June 16th. I won't go through all of the points raised in the letter but the warning/advice to keep your windows closed during the two weeks in which the street is being sealed. This is a dirty and dusty process and even with these precautions it is likely that you will see black dust in your home from the "chips" and tar seal residue. Also, I have received complaints in the past from bikers who have had their tires punctured by the sharp chips. As such it is best to use other transportation until the final sweeping.
Keep in touch. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 334 1156.
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