Current EpisodePlanning, Community, and Economic Development
Episode first aired 11/8/2015 8:00 AM
Host Stu Levitan talks to Director of Planning, Community, and Economic Development Natalie Erdman.
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Host Stuart Levitan
Stu is also host/producer of Books and Beats on 92.1 FM, The Mic and serves on the Madison Community Development Authority and the Landmarks Commission. Since 1987, he has also spread labor peace and imposed industrial justice as a mediator/arbitrator for the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission. Stu also gives frequent slide-show presentations based on his acclaimed Madison: The Illustrated Sesquicentennial History, Vol. 1 (UW Press, 2006).
From 1982-1987, Stu represented a downtown district on the County Board of Supervisors, and wrote the countywide Fair Housing Ordinance, created the Sensitive Crimes Commission, revised the Affirmative Action ordinance, and established a newspaper recycling program.
Since 1989, Stu has served continuously as a member and chair of, consecutively, the Zoning Board of Appeals, the Plan Commission and the CDA. He has also served on the Civic Center Commission, State Street Mall Committee, and the board of the Madison Development Corporation, among other positions.
Stu started his Madison career in 1975 as the Washington Correspondent for the Capital Times. He spent the summer of '77 here as a staff writer under the Newspaper Guild contract, and had just gone back to Washington when the Guild and four other unions went on strike on October 1, 1977. Stu immediately quit the Cap Times and joined the fledgling Madison Press Connection, moving here permanently in February 1979. Known as "Dr. Scoop," Stu closed his daily journalism career with an exclusive -- and unauthorized -- interview with Karl Armstrong inside Waupon Prison, published on the front page of the last Press Connection in January, 1980. Stu then published his own newsletter, Scoopsheet, for about two years.
It was about that time that Stu began his civic career, becoming president of the Bassett Neighborhood Association. The highlight of his five years in that post â€“ getting CDBG funds for improvements to the new WORT building and the ramp and weatherization of the Mifflin Street Coop. Professionally, Stu worked as a special investigator and analyst for the legislature's Joint Committee for the Review of Administrative Rules, and punched that essential Madison ticket of driving taxi, on the weekend graveyard shift with Union Cab Co-op.
Stu comes by his penchant for politics and the press naturally. His father David worked for the United Nations at its founding, wrote speeches for NY Gov. Herman Lehman, served on the Nassau County (NY) Board of Social Services and Zoning Board of Appeals, and was a consultant and host of one of the first televised public affairs shows, "On Trial," on ABC-TV. His mother, the late poet/playwright Judith Morley, was active in Democratic Party politics and had her own shows on Voice of America and NBC radio.
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