Alder Grant Foster
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-4071
Fax: (608) 267-8669
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Alder Foster’s Updates
COVID Spike, BLM, Absentee Ballots - D15 Update 7/29/20
COVID Cases Spike: New COVID cases have been on a steep incline over the last 10 days in Dane County averaging over 100 new reported cases/day in the last 4 days. This is over 5 times the rate of new cases that was seen in late March when we were under the Safer at Home order. In response to this increase, Public Health Madison & Dane County has issued an amendment to the current Forward Dane Phase 2 order which limits private gatherings to a maximum of 10 people and requires customers at bars & restaurants to use seating at all times. You can read the updated order here.
In a blog post in late May, I shared my surprise at the speed and magnitude of the reopening plan and my concern that the abrupt reopening with insufficient testing and contact tracing capabilities would lead to a rapid increase in COVID infections. I joined other alders and county supervisors in an open letter to Director of Public Health, Janel Heinrich, raising these concerns. It is unfortunate but not unexpected that these concerns are now being realized.
Today, I again joined with other local electeds in reiterating our concern with the current public health response to the COVID pandemic in this letter, asking Director Heinrich to take action to protect our community. Specific requests include:
- Prioritize the rapid hiring of more contact tracers
- Finalize rebound metrics that are scientifically meaningful and quantifiable
- Revise Forward Dane reopening metrics linking them to rebound metrics
- Mandate the wearing of masks in public, with exceptions if needed
- Close bars and restaurants for in-person service
Black Lives Matter: Last week I shared news of an act of vandalism against several BLACK LIVES MATTER yard signs in the Eastmorland neighborhood. In that post, I challenged neighbors to consider our response to this harmful act within the framework of the demands of the movement that the yard signs represent and support. One of the primary demands of the movement is a call to Defund the Police.
In the 2020 City of Madison budget, 1 out of every 4 general fund dollars pays for policing - leaving just 3 out of 4 for everything else. While the level of policing that that funding affords may be associated with a feeling of safety by those living in our White communities, many members of our Black communities are not feeling that same sense of safety - 40% of adults and 64% of juveniles arrested by MPD in 2019 were Black (in spite of only making up 7% of the general population). The Movement for Black Lives does not accept these outcomes and demands that we shift our resources away from policing and towards investments that will address the conditions that lead to crime.
This November, the Madison Common Council will pass a 2021 city budget. Between now and then, I will continue to challenge us to rethink our expectations of policing. Shifting our community investment away from policing and towards repairing the damage of centuries of white supremacy is not magic. We will need to rethink our expectations of the police and will need to find alternative solutions to dealing with some of the issues that we have asked them to handle in the past.
Partisan Primary Absentee Ballots are in the Mail - The Clerk's office has sent out nearly 41,000 absentee ballots to Madison voters for the upcoming partisan primary election on August 11th. This is a particularly important primary election for D15 residents as the state assembly and senate seats have been vacated by the incumbents and have multiple challengers. Given the overwhelming majority of Democratic voters in our district, the winner of the Democratic primary election has historically won the fall election by an overwhelming margin.
Most D15 residents live in Assembly District 48 (Sargent) and Senate District 16 (Miller). The assembly seat has four candidates competing in the Democratic primary and the senate seat has two candidates. D15 residents in the Carpenter-Ridgeway neighborhood live in the 76th Assembly District (Taylor) and 26th Senate District (Risser), both of which have 7 Democratic candidates in the primary races. None of these seats have more than one Republican candidate for the primary election in August. You can find out which districts you live in here and find more details about the absentee ballots here.
Civilian Oversight Board & Independent Monitor: Implementation of the recommendation to create a Civilian Oversight Board & Independent Monitor is underway via the Alder Workgroup to Develop Logistics & Operational Details for MPD Independent Civilian Oversight. They are charged with drafting the ordinances that will create the board and office. Their second meeting is Monday at 5p. Details on how to watch the meeting and provide public comment can be found on the agenda here.
Brothers 3 Patio - The Alcohol License Review Committee approved a change to the Brothers 3 licensed premises to allow for outdoor seating. The Plan Commission will vote on approval at their meeting on Monday. I have not received any concerns from neighbors on this request and support the proposal. You can see more details here.
Municipal Golf Task Force - The task force continues its work to recommend possible changes to the Municipal Golf program. You can find links to participate on the agenda here.
Teacher Handbook & SROs - MMSD Board of Education will also meet on Monday and will be considering changes to the teacher handbook that are opposed by MTI as well as reconsideration of the School Resource Officer contract for next year. I am a cosponsor of a city resolution to terminate the SRO contract. You can find details for the meeting here.
July 4th Lake Edge Decor/ Artwalk - The Lake Edge Neighborhood Association is looking for neighbors to decorate their homes for an artwalk this Saturday. Find more details and sign up to get your home listed on the map here.
Sycamore Avenue Closure - Sycamore Avenue will be closed to traffic between Mendota Street and Walsh Road until Friday. Details here.
Other city meetings: There are a number of other city meetings of possible interest this week including: Landlord and Tenant Issues Committee, Board of Health, Madison Food Policy Council, Madison Public Library Board, Affirmative Action Commission, and more: https://www.cityofmadison.com/clerk/meeting-schedule
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