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Alder Lauren Cnare

Alder Lauren Cnare

Home Address:
5218 Kevins Way
Madison , WI 53714

Phone: 608-235-9179
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

Speak up! Especially at Urban Design Meeting Wednesday.

February 13, 2012 11:47 AM

Dear Residents
Per the review schedule for Grandview Commons Town Center, the proposal is on for Urban Design Commission review this Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012. The meeting begins at 4:30 in Room 260 of the Madison Municipal Building, 215 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. Because of the difficulty of accurately predicting when each item will be taken up, the agenda no longer contains an estimated time. I did call the staff member in charge of the meeting and we agreed that if you were there by 5:30 pm, you would have ample time. It also means you may have a little extra time, but it's fine to bring a book or knitting or work. Seats can be tough to get in this room, and they are bit uncomfortable.

Go to this link to review the agenda:
And scroll to Item 5 to see all the accompanying material the Commissioners review for this decision.

This is a meeting you should come to if you care about this proposal.

Your appearance is one way to communicate your thoughts about a proposal, and there are several others that have varying degrees of effectiveness and convenience. Appearing and speaking is by far the most effective, but most inconvenient for residents.

E-mails and letters are also effective, especially if you take the time to use your own words to share your thoughts. Petitions are another effective means. Please voice your thoughts in any way that works for you and your work, family or personal life. Each alder and each commissioner in the decision-making process will have a unique thought about the value of each piece of communication. They all work; they all work in concert.

Whether you are part of a citizen group or not, please don't be afraid or creeped out when people accuse you of having impure motives, want to know your address, or claim your communication is not useful. Continue to speak up and out!

Any respectful and sensitive elected representative understands that people communicate in different ways and each one is legitimate. Elected officials, especially when in a tough decision, sometimes find it useful to know if someone is his or her constituent. It's good for you to know who your elected representative is, and you should share that with anyone who wants to know. Most likely, you live in District 3, with me as your alder; or District 16 with Ms. Johnson as your alder. Common protocol for alders is to listen, have a short conversation and refer constituents to their own alder. But sometimes constituents don't want to talk with "their own" alder and want to talk with another alder. That's okay – the greater concern is giving voice and being heard.

But let's not be parochial here. Alders can both represent constituents and the city by not dismissing any citizens' comments. As an alder, while I give constituents an extra point, I am mindful of the best interests of the city at large, too. Ultimately, we are responsible for the welfare and success of the whole city, in addition to the districts we represent. It's a little foolish to discount the thoughts of anyone who lives in Madison when deciding how to vote. Whether I agree or not, the citizen deserves to be heard.

Sometimes, we get comments or advice from people outside the city – for example, I have a letter from a man who lives in McFarland whose mother lives in the Oak Park development. He supports the grocery store for her sake. In this case, it seems like a reasonable reason for him to comment; it's also okay for others to advocate on behalf of Madison residents.

Sometimes, there is expertise from people who do not live in Madison and it's valuable to hear it make a good decision. I think Madisonians are among the smartest people in the world, but there are a few good ideas elsewhere, too!

So keep talking, keep writing, keep signing. Your voice is important and I am listening.

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