City of
Madison

District 15

Alder Grant Foster

Image of Alder Grant Foster

Alder Grant Foster

Contact Information

Home Address:

3930 Anchor Drive
Madison , WI 53714

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 Foster’s Updates

Speak up, Stand up - D15 Update 6/8/20

June 8, 2020 7:12 AM

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A big thanks to Allison Friedel Werner for organizing Eastmorland neighbors to get out and show solidarity in the neighborhood. There were neighbors out on Milwaukee, Walter, Atwood, and Dempsey speaking up. (Photo by Heather Daniels)

Last Week

I wanted to start this post by expressing my deep gratitude to everyone that has spoken up, stood up, marched, emailed, and in any other way put energy towards forcing us to deal with the systems of power that are rooted in white supremacy and that continue to have a devastating impact on all of our lives, but especially to those of us that are not seen as white.

The members of the Madison Common Council received thousands of emails in the last week demanding justice and demanding action. I've gone through all of those emails and have tried to respond to any of them that indicated they were from a District 15 resident. If you wrote an email recently and didn't get a response, please forward it on again with your address so I can find it and respond. It's a great practice to include your address any time you write in to elected officials. It helps paint a fuller picture of who is standing up and speaking out and has a bigger impact.

But as much as that outpouring of action has given me hope, I want you all to know how important it is for you and your neighbors to continue to participate and to not walk away and leave things up to 'community leaders' and elected officials to fix. Formal leaders and elected representatives have a tremendous responsibility, but without the broader public pushing, demanding, and holding us accountable, the systems of oppression will do what systems do: keep things the way they are. The only hope we have to fundamentally change these systems is through solidarity and a persistent commitment to stick with this hard and tedious work for the long haul. These systems have deep roots and cannot and will not be reformed overnight. Do not think that the action you've taken so far is enough and that those that you cast a ballot for can take it from here - you'll be disappointed and we'll be stuck with the same systems that continue to kill and oppress. Continue to write emails, start watching the public meetings where these issues are taken up, and tell your friends and families to do the same. I know it's tedious and it shouldn't be this hard, but our systems will not change without all of us continuing to keep the pressure on.

To give you a sense of just how long and slow this work is and how easily it can get derailed when people stop showing up, I'm sharing out a brief history of key events compiled by Amelia Royko Maurer that she shared with the Community Response Team this weekend (see below). Amelia has been one of several local activists that has been deeply committed to reforming policing in Madison since her friend and neighbor, Paul Heenan, was killed by MPD Officer Stephen Heimsness in 2012. Following her history, is an action alert that helps explain where things are at with proposed actions at the Madison Common Council. I'm a cosponsor of the 2nd alternate of Resolution #60764 and oppose the proposal by the mayor's office for the Independent Monitor that excludes a number of critical elements as recommended in the Ad Hoc Final Report. As urgent as this work is, it's even more important that this foundation be built correctly. It will be the base for oversight and community control moving forward and needs to be fully independent, overseen by our community, and empowered to do its job as intended. Details below the break.

This Week

  • Cottage Grove Road Development Meeting: I have also received a number of emails with questions and concerns about the proposed redevelopment project for Cottage Grove Road/Monona Drive. You can find initial details here along with a link to tonight's virtual public meeting. If you have an opinion or want to learn more to form an opinion, you should register and attend tonight's meeting.

  • Finance Committee: On Tuesday, the Finance Committee will meet and get an overview/preview of where things sit for our upcoming budget. This will be an impossibly challenging budget season and many tough choices will need to be made. Our city budget is our most important policy document and is our opportunity to put our money where our mouth is.

The proposals from the mayor's office for the Independent Monitor will also be taken up at this meeting (see details below in Amelia's action alert). You can find the agenda with details to register here.

  • Eastmorland Community Association: The ECA will hold its monthly meeting by Zoom. You can find the agenda and link here. If you're an Eastmorland resident and are looking for a way to do more community work locally, consider attending and making connections with others in the neighborhood. Organizing starts locally.

  • Public Safety Review Committee: The Public Safety Review Committee meets for the first time in several months. They will be discussing a lot of items related to the events of the last week. You can tune in and register to speak on any item on the agenda. Agenda is here

  • Other city meetings: Other public meetings this week that may be of interest to D15 residents include: Board of Parks Commissioners, Madison Arts Commission, and Equal Opportunities Commission. You can find a full list of city meetings with links to agendas here.


A History of Key Events Related to Madison Police Reform by Amelia Royko Maurer

March 9, 2015 - Tony Robinson is unarmed and murdered by MPD Officer Matt Kenny and the city erupts in protest in the face of yet another police-involved murder of an unarmed person as well as the age-old trend of law enforcement murdering Black and Brown people with government officials taking the smallest steps possible.

May 19, 2015: in the aftermath of the murder of Tony Robinson by MPD Officer Matt Kenny, the Madison Common Council adopted RES-15-00477, "Declaring the City of Madison's intention to review policies, procedures, culture and training of the Madison Police Department by hiring an expert(s) in community policing, law, problem oriented policing, racial disparities and implicit bias and the creation of an ad hoc committee"

November 18, 2015: the Madison Police Department Policy & Procedures Ad Hoc Committee (Ad Hoc Committee) held its first meeting

June 6, 2016: Madison Police Chief Mike Koval published a blog post lobbying against the additional expenditure of $350,000, referring to Madison residents advocating for police accountability as "the perpetually offended," and directly threatening Alders stating, "You are being watched. And be on notice: this is a pre-emptive first strike from me to you."

August 2, 2016: the Common Council Executive Committee created the 'Presidents Work Group on Police and Community Relations and demanded immediate changes to the Madison Police Department

March 14, 2017: Chief Koval is found guilty of misconduct but not disciplined by the PFC for harassing Tony Robinson's grandmother, Sharon Irwin. https://madison365.com/pfc-failed-sharon-irwin-city-madison/

Oct 18, 2019: after 4 years of research and community collaboration, the Ad Hoc Committee submitted a report of 177 recommended changes slated for the Madison Police Department and City of Madison to the Madison Common Council.

November 20, 2019: The Public Safety Review Committee (PSRC) (thanks Brenda Konkel) recommended adoption of the Madison Police Department Policy and Procedure Ad Hoc Committee's Final Report of 177 recommendations, with a further recommendation that a new, temporary committee be formed to oversee the implementation of the report's recommendations until the Civilian Oversight Board (Recommendation #1) is in place.

December 12, 2019: The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) (thanks Alder Rebecca Kemble) recommended adoption of the final report of the Ad Hoc Committee with a further recommendation that a new committee be formed to oversee the implementation of the report's recommendations (same as the PSRC did).

January 21, 2020: The Madison Common Council adopted the final report of the Ad Hoc Committee including the recommendation that a new committee be formed to oversee the implementation of the report's recommendations.

In yet another attempt to derail these recommendations, MPD complained and said they didn't want temporary oversight, especially if it included Ad Hoc members who are the only people guaranteed to not want to mess with the recommendations, they wrote them after all. Well, they complained to the right folks!

Council President Alder Shiva Bidar then flipped her position and she and Deputy Mayor Cam McLay fought MPD's fight for them and lobbied hard against temporary oversight. MPD wanted the Internal Monitor position gutted and that wouldn't happen with trusted temporary oversight.

Not only did Alder Bidar lobby against temporary oversight, she lobbied against all of us personally. These are the facts.

As a result of those actions, and the sheer ego and hubris of MPD Interim Chief Vic Wahl, Dept. Mayor Cam McLay (a former MPD Capt.) and Mayor Rhodes Conway, they felt emboldened to rewrite the fundamental criteria for one of the two most important recommendations: The Independent Monitor.

Look up Rec. #1 in the Ad Hoc report. This new version of the Independent Monitor which was brought to us by Mayor Rhodes-Conway and Council President Sheri Carter, has gutted all of the parts of this position that evidence and experience say would make it effective and bring it as close to community control of the police as any oversight mechanism that currently exists in this country (no joke).

  • They eliminated the power to conduct independent investigations.

  • They eliminated the responsibility of overseeing implementation of the recommendations of the MPD Policy & Procedure Ad Hoc Committee report (that was one of the core reasons OIR wanted an independent auditor set up).

  • They eliminated the power to subpoena witnesses.

  • They eliminated the power to direct MPD to conduct further investigation if they found MPD's investigation of a complaint to be insufficient.

  • They eliminated the power to independently appoint an outside investigator for complaints against the Chief or a high-ranking officer.

  • They eliminated the power to retain independent legal counsel.

  • They eliminated the requirement that the person hired for the Independent Auditor position not be a former member of MPD.

  • They eliminated the requirement that the person have background in civilian oversight of law enforcement.

  • They eliminated the recommendation that they should have sufficient background in civil rights and equity.

  • They eliminated the job responsibility of covering policy changes and recommendations in annual reports.

  • They eliminated the job responsibility of providing ongoing status reports.

  • They eliminated the power to appoint counsel to represent aggrieved individuals at the Police & Fire Commission. Etc. Etc.

But you wrote over 2000 letters demanding these recommendations be protected and implemented and that effort drove the unethical, backroom negotiations into the light.

And Alders Rebecca Kemble, Tag Evers, Grant Foster, Patrick W. Heck, Max Prestigiacomo, Marsha A. Rummel, Samba Baldeh, Syed Abbas and Michael Verveer fought for your demand.

Ad Hoc member Matthew Braunginn stepped up to bring alders in opposition to temporary oversight back to the table and now, Alder Kemble, Alder Bidar and Alder Moorland have agreed to take on that charge. BUT WE, THE PEOPLE, MUST OVERSEE THEM. WE WILL BELIEVE THEY MEAN WHAT THEY SAY WHEN THE JOB IS DONE.

Action Alert from the Community Response Team:

This coming Tuesday, June 9th, the City of Madison FINANCE COMMITTEE will vote on the 2nd alternate of Resolution #60764.  What is the 2nd alternate you ask?

City of Madison Alders Rebecca Kemble and Alder Shiva Bidar have come together to answer our demand for oversight of the two most important recommendations of the Madison Police Department Policy and Procedure Ad Hoc Committee Final Report.  They have written a 2nd alternate of Resolution #60764 for temporary oversight over the implementation of two of the most important recommendations. (Thank you Ad Hoc member, Matthew Braunginn, for contributing key ideas to move this effort forward.)  We need for this version to pass and NOT Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway's version that gutted the Independent Monitor. 

ACTION #1

WHEN: IMMEDIATELY ASAP

WHAT: Please send an email to all the alders, Mayor Rhodes Conway and the Finance Committee at:

allalders@cityofmadison.com

SRhodes-Conway@cityofmadison.com

financecommittee@cityofmadison.com

If you feel comfortable, include your home address.

Please make the following demands:

1 - Support #16 in the 6/5/2020 version of the agenda (add that date in case they change the agenda) which is the 2nd alternate of Resolution #60764 as written by Alder Rebecca Kemble and Alder Shiva Bidar which will: 

  • Implement the recommendations for the Independent Monitor and the Civilian Oversight Board exactly as written in the Madison Police Department Policy and Procedure Ad Hoc Committee Final Report dated Oct 18, 2019. This way we get most Community Control of the Police possible under current WI state law!

  • Keep the work group as listed in 2nd Alternate Resolution #60764 to Alder Rebecca Kemble, Alder Shiva Bidar and Alder Donna Moreland with a suspension of the rules so all community members can contribute freely without time limits with this work group during meetings.

2 - Object to items #17 AND #18 in the 6/5/2020 version of the agenda. Items #17 and #18 represent MPD and Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway's efforts to derail oversight and present the toothless non-independent monitor.

3 - Keep all future handling of anything involving the Madison Police Department Policy and Procedure Ad Hoc Committee Final Report open and transparent.  No more power grabs or shady backroom deals!!

ACTION #2

WHEN: TUESDAY JUNE 9th:

WHAT: At the online/zoom Finance Committee meeting, please specifically register in support of #16 and object to items #17 and #18 in the 6/5/2020 version of the agenda  (#17 and #18 represent the Mayor and MPD's efforts to derail the oversight and present the toothless non-independent monitor)

(Sorry it's complicated, but this is really important!)

Tuesday's Finance Committee Meeting Agenda

https://madison.legistar.com/View.ashx?M=A&ID=726496&GUID=7600C0AB-DA09-4AB0-9781-3938D463E351

REGISTER, BUT NOT TO SPEAK: You can register your support or opposition to an agenda item without speaking at www.cityofmadison.com/comment-finance-committee

REGISTER AND SPEAK: If you wish to speak at the virtual meeting on an agenda item, you MUST register. You can register at www.cityofmadison.com/comment-finance-committee When you register to speak, you will be sent an email with the information you will need to join the virtual meeting.

WATCH THE MEETING: You can call-in or watch the Common Council meeting in several ways:

• Livestream on the Madison City Channel website https://media.cityofmadison.com/mediasite/showcase

• Livestream on the City of Madison YouTube Channel https://www.youtube.com/user/CityofMadison


Subscribe to the District 15 blog via the sidebar above to receive email notification when new updates are published. If you have any questions or thoughts you can reach me at district15@cityofmadison.com.




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