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District 13

Alder Tag Evers

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Alder Tag Evers

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Home Address:

2329 Keyes Av

Council Office

Common Council Office:
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Room 417
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-4071
Fax: (608) 267-8669
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Alder Evers’ Blog

Zoning Ordinance Vote Delayed, Voting No on Evicting the Homeless

May 17, 2021 4:58 PM

Hi Everyone,

Zoning Ordinance Vote Delayed

The amendments to the zoning ordinance, Legistar #63902, will be referred to the June 1st meeting of the Common Council. In other words, no need to testify about this matter at tomorrow evening's meeting.

Encampments

Today, the City-County Homeless Issues Committee will receive a presentation from City staff regarding the status of TPEs and an update on the status of the men's shelter. They will also be discussing a resolution that would halt the eviction of persons from Reindahl Park until a suitable alternative site is available. I am a cosponsor of this resolution that updates the TPE (Temporary Permissible Encampments) criteria to better reflect the needs of these sites and that postpones the eviction of those currently located at Reindahl. The alternative site that was proposed by staff and the mayor's office (Starkweather) is inaccessible and not suitable to support those currently camping at Reindahl. You can find links to the agenda and to provide comment here.

We will be voting on this resolution at tomorrow's Common Council meeting. My reasons for supporting this resolution are similar to the reasons I supported the permanent men's shelter at Zeier Road. Just as the homeless service providers were unanimous in their recommendation that we approve the Zeier Rd site based on their ongoing commitment to help those on the margins, outreach workers in regular contact with those at the Reindahl Park encampment have called out in one voice demanding we halt the eviction.

I recently listened to a conversation on YouTube between the renowned Buddhist nun, Pema Chodron, and Father Greg Boyle, the founder of Homeboy Industries. Father Greg, quoting Pema, suggested that the measure of health in any community may well reside in our ability to stand in awe at what the poor have to carry rather than standing in judgment at how they carry it.

I stand with those who are standing at the margins, those who are wholehearted in their service to the poor and marginalized. There are no easy answers, but evicting the homeless without a better solution is not the way to go.

Years ago I wrote a series of poems called Indicator Species, which was a series of portraits of homeless individuals on State Street.  I thought then, and believe now, that how we treat the homeless is an indicator of our health as a community.  That's what Pema and Father Greg are getting at. It's about imagining a circle of compassion and seeing everyone is within that circle, that there is no us and them, it's just us.

Hope you are well, that you and your family members are getting vaccinated, and that we all rebound in a spirit of love and compassion and justice.

Take good care,

Tag

 

 




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