City of
Madison

District 9

Alder Paul E. Skidmore

Alder Paul E. Skidmore

Alder Paul E. Skidmore

Contact Information

Home Address:

13 Red Maple Tr
Madison , WI 53717

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Council Office

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

Alder Skidmore’s District 9 Updates

Neighborhood Meeting: 2/7/19 - New Middleton-Cross Plains Elementary School

Representatives from Eppstein Uhen Architects and the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District will present updates on the site plan, preliminary floor plans, and exterior building-design concepts.

A question-and-answer segment will follow the presentation

Neighborhood Meeting: New Middleton-Cross Plains Elementary School
Thursday, February 7, 2019
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Middleton-Cross Plains District Services Center
7106 South Avenue, Middleton WI

If you have questions, please contact MCPASD Director of Communications Perry Hibner at 829-9014.

Statement: Tree Lane Family Apartments

Every member of our City deserves, and has a legal right to feel safe in their residences, places of employment, businesses, and all public buildings and spaces. The City of Madison has a legal responsibility to enforce the laws of the State of Wisconsin and the City of Madison, and to assist all constituents in maintaining a safe environment where all can thrive in their work or school or play. Also, all property owners have a legal responsibility to make sure that their homes, apartment, buildings, and businesses are safe and secure.

However, the reality is that our City as a whole is growing, and with that comes all of the telltale signs of major urban areas. In short, many of those who speak to me in my role as an alder have expressed fears and apprehensions about being less safe. Invariably the topic of the Tree Lane Apartments rises to a prominent point of concern.

There is a well-documented, and well-publicized pattern of criminal activity as well as quality of life violations (ordinances) in the Tree Lane area. Specifically, since the Tree Family Apartments opened in late July of this year, MPD has fielded more than 220 calls for service, which makes this building, parking lot, and grounds the source of the highest number of calls for calls for service in the entire West Police District.

Some of the chronicled problems on Tree Lane are due to residents, some are due to guests, some are due to unwanted and uninvited 'visitors', and some may be due to other factors altogether.

Unacceptable behavior places the residents, visitors, and staff of Tree Lane at risk, as well as impacting the  surrounding residents in this neighborhood. Furthermore, since Tree Lane opened, local businesses have experienced an unprecedented number of calls for service at their locations for incidents like retail theft, trespassing, loitering, and intimidation. This has created a pervasive feeling of fear and angst in the neighborhood that has led to calls for immediate action. At discussions at a high level, I have demanded more stringent security at Tree Lane, more accountability from Heartland Properties (owners and managers of Tree Lane Family Apartments), and removal (eviction) of the problematic tenants who do not adhere to the rules of conduct established in the leases.

Several residents of the surrounding neighborhood have told me that they are considering moving. Others have expressed concerns about diminishing property values. Almost all who have contacted me have commented that the neighborhood character and enjoyment has begun to deteriorate. Most
concerning is that some have informed me that they have armed themselves. Since these problems were initially identified, I have taken great pains to meet with the Mayor's office, City Housing staff, Heartland Housing, and MPD to try to correct the identifiable problems that are creating such a heightened level of
stress within our community. To date, though I have heard the correct rhetoric, I have been disappointed by the lack and urgency, resolve, and follow through; and specifically, I am underwhelmed by the lack of resources that Heartland Housing has allocated for remedying the situation.

I support the Housing First Program, and I agreed with the Mayor and City staff in locating the Tree Lane Family Apartments in this neighborhood. I think that Housing First is a noble program that can be an effective tool in helping to end homelessness. However, the devil is in the details, and it is obvious to me (and others) that there are serious problems with management, security and safety at this building, and in the neighborhood. I have heard loud and clear from my constituents: "Enough is enough. End the threat now." I believe that unless something is drastically and immediately altered to change the trajectory of the Tree Lane housing initiative, I will be forced to withdraw support of the Housing First Program. I would do so with great regret, but I believe that the direction of Housing First initiatives in the future hangs in the balance on what happens now at Tree Lane.

Paul Skidmore, 9th District Alderperson
City of Madison, Wisconsin
Email: district9@cityofmadison.com 

Monday, November 5 - Neighborhood Public Safety Meeting

Neighborhood Public Safety Meeting
6:00 p.m. - November 5, 2018
Blackhawk Church – 9620 Brader Way, Madison


Please join 9th district Alder Paul Skidmore, the Madison Police Department and fellow west side neighbors for a conversation about public and private safety in our neighborhoods and our City.

Concerns about auto thefts in general and thefts from autos and burglaries committed by groups of juveniles will be the key topics of discussion. We will also be discussing robberies, assaults, traffic violations, and other civil and criminal activities in our neighborhoods.

West Police District command staff will give an overview of crime trends in the city and the district. They will also discuss their successes as well as their frustrations and limitations to control criminal activity, and in particular the juvenile auto thefts that are committed by repeat offenders.

Also hear from MPD's Crime Prevention officer and detectives from the Burglary Crime Unit and Violent Crime Unit. They will present information on personal and home safety and offer strategies residents can use to help prevent property crimes.

There will be a question and answer period.

Special Guests include:

  • Madison Police Chief Mike Koval
  • Dane County Sherriff Dave Mahoney
  • Members of the MPD Command Staff

Invited special guests include:

  • Dane County District Attorney Ishmael Ozanne
  • Dane County District Court Judge Shelley Gaylord
  • Dane County District Court Judge Everett Mitchell

7933 Tree Lane - September 7, 2018 Update

On August 23, 2018 I facilitated a robust neighborhood meeting to discuss issues related the opening of the new affordable housing project at 7933 Tree Lane. Since gaining occupancy, and having families move in, there were a number of behavioral issues reported in the area that resulted in call and emails to me and City staff, and it generated a number of calls for service to the Police Department. I was joined by representatives from Heartland Housing, the building's owner and property manager; the YWCA, the agency responsible for providing support services to building residents; the Madison Police Department; and the City's Community Development Division.  The meeting provided an opportunity to identify issues that have arisen as well as plans to address them.  Approximately 175 neighbors, residents, other community members participated in the meeting. We had an open and candid discussion of issues, challenges, delays in construction that created problems at move-in time, and items that still have not been completed. In my opinion this was a meeting that identified not only the issue to be addressed, but it identified opportunities and a schedule to address the issues and problems. One important change has been the presence of professional security staff through the night and on weekends to monitor the property. Security guards are a recommended best practice for larger apartment buildings, and their presence should be a stabilizing force at this property and in the neighborhood. Since this meeting, and the presence of the security guards, calls for service to MPD have been dropping. Another important issue has been that the two play areas for the children living in the apartments had not been installed when the building opened, leaving play space on site for energetic, young children. The playground equipment was on back order, but has finally been shipped to the site. Once the playgrounds have been installed, the kids will have a new place to play.

There is much that still needs to be done to make this project successful.  At my request, Heartland, YWCA and City staff are working through the list of issues, questions and suggestions that were raised at our neighborhood meeting.  I will pass along their responses to you as soon as that is finalized.

I am excited about the progress at the new apartment building since our neighborhood meeting. I have been receiving many supportive emails and suggestions and offers of assistance (similar to the one below). I will continue to post updates to my website, and to Nextdoor on a regular basis. Thanks to everyone who has supported this new part of our neighborhood, and thanks for welcoming our new neighbors.

August 30, 2018 update from Kristen Dreifuerst on volunteering at 7933 Tree Lane:

This morning I spoke with Erin Farrar, the Development and Volunteer Coordinator at the YWCA, who will now be organizing all volunteer efforts at Tree Lane. Right now, the focus of the YWCA and case workers is to ensure that all new residents have their basic needs met (furniture, home goods, etc.). Once they've moved past immediate needs, the organization will welcome suggested volunteer programs such as cooking instruction, children's reading programs, etc.

In the immediate future, help is needed to assess family needs and coordinate donations and delivery. Myself and another Oakbridge resident, Tiffany Helgerson, have stepped up to help in that capacity but we welcome all extra hands that are willing. All volunteers that will work directly with Tree Lane residents will have to attend a short, one-time volunteer orientation hosted by the YWCA at Tree Lane.

I know our district has a wealth of skills, networks, resources, and huge hearts, and we can all work together to help Tree Lane residents succeed in their new homes. If you wish to get involved at some point, please navigate to this website and click the link to the Volunteer Interest Form to submit your information:

http://ywcamadison.org/landing-2/tree-lane-donation-drive/

Once 6-12 people have signed up, Erin will reach out to schedule an orientation.

You are welcome to contact Erin at any time with questions. (608) 257-1436, option 2 or EFarrar@ywcamadison.org

Agenda for 8/23/18 Neighborhood Meeting

Please find the agenda for Thursday, August 23 meeting regarding Tree Lane Apartments below. You can download a PDF copy here.

agenda

 

Neighborhood Meeting to Discuss Issues and Concerns Related to 7933 Tree Lane

Thursday, August 23, 2018
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
High Point Church - Mica Center (Room A/B)
7702 Old Sauk Road

Please join Ald. Paul Skidmore on Thursday, August 23, to discuss issues and concerns related to the recently opened apartment building at 7933 Tree Lane.  Ald. Skidmore will be joined by representatives from Heartland Housing, the building's owner and property manager; the YWCA, the agency responsible for providing support services to building residents; the Madison Police Department; and the City's Community Development Division.  The meeting will provide an opportunity to identify issues that have arisen as well as plans to address them.  All neighbors are welcome.

Police Week 2017

This is an article that was written by Dan Frei, the President of the Madison Professional Police Officers Association (MPPOA), in 2014. This article was originally published in a MPPOA blog, and it was also printed in the Wisconsin Professional Police Officers Association (WPPOA) journal as well. I think that this is a powerful summary of what it is like to be a police officer in Madison.

This article articulates why I have such a deep respect for all of our commissioned police officers, non-commissioned support staff, command staff, and Chief of Police. I support the Madison Police Department, and I plan to say thank you to as many of their officers and staff as I can during Police Week. I hope you will do so as well.

The hard thing

These days it wouldn't be hard to feel that we are under attack. Our wages and benefits have been attacked. We have experienced the demonization of public employees in general by those that have bought into the myth that our benefits have somehow been at the expense of private employees who experienced losses, ignoring facts such as when the private sector was doing great they willingly traded high wages for the lack of benefits while the public employee often did the opposite. 

Our reputations are being attacked. In the aftermath of an officer involved shooting in Ferguson Missouri, a day doesn't go by without a story in the media that seems to start with the premise that the police can't be trusted. There are thinly veiled accusations that we are out to violate people's rights, use unwarranted, excessive force, aren't representative of the communities we police, and are out to become an occupying military force using military weapons and tactics exclusively. We all know the many factors and examples nationally and especially locally, that are ignored and don't get mentioned in these stories. The hundreds and thousands of positive interactions we have, the times when a lower amount of force than would have been legally justified was used, etc. Although we know what is being left out of these discussions it is still very frustrating to have to read them and it's hard not feel on the defensive more and more. 

Finally we see almost daily reminders that we are quite literally being attacked. Attacks on police are on the rise nationally, deaths of officers by gunfire continue to rise, as do ambush style attacks on officers responding to calls, during meal breaks, and even at police stations. What we don't see is much attention outside of law enforcement circles being paid to this. We don't see people marching, politicians commenting, White House staff being sent to funerals, or much response from the public in general other than the occasional internet troll response of "that's what you get paid for."

So given all of the above, why do it? Why be a cop? As part of the union board I've spoken to quite a few incoming classes of recruits and have told them that if this is just a job for them they might want to re-think their choice. We tend to hire pretty highly qualified people and odds are that they can make the same or better money at some other job. Unlike some people and politicians, we know that our pay and benefits aren't so good that we couldn't make similar money in a different job. In those other jobs your odds of being spit on, shot at, standing in the rain or sweltering sun in clothes not specifically designed for those activities are not nearly as high.

The public will call the police when they are afraid, and we will speed to their location to help. When there is a person actively engaged in killing or trying to kill other people we will run past those fleeing, towards the danger. Knowing full well that active killers often have planned for a police response and have prepared for our response with IEDs or other ambush options. Some of the same public will criticize our response for not being fast enough, or for being too militarized. People will question why we need rifles and armored vehicles while at the same time criticize if police don't go in to stop the threat even if the suspects are better armed than the police. People will question what is wrong with an officer if they use deadly force because they feared for their or another's life. They will suggest that we are trained in self defense and have less than lethal weapons that should have been used or we should shoot someone in the leg or arm. These same people will criticize and view it as unnecessary force when we use those same techniques in other situations all the while forgetting things such as we are not the only people who receive training in various forms of self defense. In fact many people receive quite a bit more training than we do because they aren't also being trained to make split second decisions using the legal training we receive, they aren't being trained to render first aid, they aren't being trained in community relations, report writing, defensive driving, professional communications, etc. Few if any of the critics have training in any of the above areas much less all of them but that won't stop them. To be clear no one, especially me, is suggesting that the public shouldn't ask questions and find out what their police departments are doing. There is a difference, however, between asking questions and blindly placing people in a can't win situation. 

The public will call when they "are about to snap" but will have no tolerance if an officer is having a bad day. The police are humans first and foremost and you want them to be. Being human is the reason why they will take the extra moment with an elderly person suffering from dementia to check all their closets for the 4 men they are sure they saw come through their closed and locked window or change the sheets on the bed of that same person who thinks that someone might have poured water on them while they were sleeping. Being human is what allows police to use discretion and demonstrate compassion instead of just punishing everyone who might have violated a law or an ordinance. Being human also means we will make mistakes occasionally. We know it, we don't like it when it happens, and we try to learn from them and not repeat them. Oftentimes the tactics the public sees and might not understand have come about as a result of an officer losing their life. Future generations of police learned from that incident and modified how we approach that same or similar situations knowing what could happen. The public will often not know or care why we will approach a situation in a certain way. They will only rely on facts learned after the incident is resolved, ignoring the fact that officers had no way to know these facts as the incident was happening. We all entered this profession because we wanted to serve, we wanted to make a difference but there are other ways to do that that don't come with the danger, the physical discomfort, the sense of sometimes we can't win. 

So back to the question, why do it? For me the answer has always been because it IS uncomfortable at times, it IS dangerous, it's the hard thing. 

There is a certain sense of pride that we should all take in knowing we willingly do a job few are willing or able to do, and we do it very well. We took an oath to protect others, to risk not coming home to our families at the end of a shift. How many of those who are quick to criticize take such an oath or are willing to risk what we do? How many could do it even if they were willing? It takes a special person, who views this not as a job, but as a calling, to take and live up to that oath, to make the sacrifices we do and be prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice. I recently saw a video of a FDNY instructor who addressed a group of new recruits about to go for physical training. The message he had for them is very applicable for anyone who commits their life to something bigger than themselves and I will paraphrase it as it applies to us. He told them, "one day, you will be old, you will be frail, and you will be slow. Someone will ask you, what did you do in your day, what did you do in your prime, when you were young, and strong, and fast, and you will tell them you were a Madison Police officer.  And when the day is done and the page is turned that will be enough." I know, and so should you, that when my day is done and the page is turned, that my casket will be covered with an American flag because it was enough. I lived up to my oath, I earned it. So when you feel attacked remember a quote by Theodore Roosevelt "It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." There is no more worthy cause than the one we have pledged to undertake, and because you are in the arena the credit truly does belong to you, don't ever forget it. 

Housing Development Project Updates: January 13, 2017

PDF Version of Letter Available Here

 

January 2017 Housing Development

January Developement Dates pg 2