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
Gun Violence, Criminal Justice Reform, Traffic Calming - D15 Update 8/17/20
- Gun violence continues; claims life of Anisa Scott - After I wrote about the high levels of gun violence in last week's post, our community experienced the worst possible result of that violence in the loss of Anisa Scott. Any loss of life due to gun violence is tragic, but it's even more so when that victim is a child. As if the heartbreak that we've all been feeling hasn't been enough, the WSJ published a story today showing a 7-year old Anisa praying to god to stop the gun violence and keep her safe.
On Saturday, there will be a Celebration of Life in memory of Anisa, including a unity march from the Capitol building to Breese Stevens Field, where Anisa's funeral will be held and livestreamed (details in the story linked above).
So where do we go from here? As I've said before, there are no easy or fast solutions and it will take a lot of work and commitment to move the bar. Reducing gun violence is not the job of our police department and doubling down on more policing will not solve the problem. The job of the police is to investigate crimes and to cite and arrest individuals that they suspect have broken our laws. They turn this information over to our district attorney, who decides what charges to file, and it's then up to judges and juries to decide the consequences. More or different policing and more incarceration is not the answer to preventing gun violence in our community.
Instead, we need to address gun violence as the public health crisis that it is. This means addressing the causes through preventative treatment. The MPD Policy & Procedure Review Ad Hoc Committee report speaks to using such a public health approach to reduce violent crime. Recommendation #40 states: "The Mayor and Common Council should further expand the use of a public health approach to curb violent crimes."
The strategies with the greatest evidence of success include programs that use street outreach workers and that provide positive development supports to high-risk persons. This includes programs like Madison's Focused Interruption Coalition and others like Advance Peace, Cure Violence, Urban Peace Institute, and the Becoming A Man program (Ad Hoc report recommendation #42). These are the kinds of interventions that other communities have found success with and it's where we need to be investing our energies and resources.
Several alders are working on organizing ourselves to dig into this topic and I expect to see proposals in the 2021 budget to prioritize such work. As this issue goes beyond city boundaries, Dane County will also need to take a leading role in these interventions as well.
- Spaanem/Turner Traffic Calming - At last week's Transportation Commission meeting, staff reviewed two options to reduce high-speed traffic on Spaanem Avenue. One involved installation of stop signs on Spaanem & Turner and the other considered speed humps. Speed humps were not originally considered because the streets lack curb and gutter, but Engineering staff believe there is a way to make speed humps work. I am working with city staff to organize a virtual neighborhood meeting for 9/17/20 to review options and get feedback from neighbors. Stay tuned for more details.
- Other City of Madison updates:
- Madison Public Library Eliminates Overdue Fines
- City of Madison Works to Stem Dangerous Driving on East Washington Avenue
- Metro Transit Service Increase on Sunday, August 23
- The survey for feedback on a proposed off-leash dog exercise area for O.B Sherry or Eastmorland Park can be found here. The survey will be open until September 26th.
- Abolitionist Restorative Justice Introduction - On Tuesday, the Timebank Transformative Action Network is presenting a three-hour workshop that meets people where they are on the journey of creating collaborative, sustainable change. Learn how to engage in liberated narratives. Learn how to identify and reject scripted complicity in white supremacist culture. Learn how to trust your heart and those of others in our ability to manifest justice on the spot. Build solidarity within and across communities of color. This intensive will challenge you, support your existing liberation practice and help you connect with other like-minded folks. Register here.
- Boneyard at ALRC - On Wednesday, the Alcohol License Review Committee will consider the application for a new dog-friendly bar in the Burke Heights neighborhood. An informational meeting was held on Monday, but many received notice late due to slowness with the post office. If you have comments about the proposal, you can register for the meeting by following this link. Based on the details of the proposal and the feedback received so far, I support the request for a new alcohol license.
- Pollutants in The Neighborhood - Join People's Green New Deal Madison on Thursday for a discussion of anti-racism and the environmental movement. Additional details can be found here.
- Criminal Justice Reform
- Monday - Police and Fire Commission - Work continues for the recruitment of a new chief.
- Tuesday - Common Council Executive Committee - Establishing procedures for the Madison Police Department to obtain property from the Defense Logistics Agency under the 1033 Program & Prohibiting the use of tear gas
- Wednesday - Public Safety Review Committee Budget Subcommittee
- Sunday - Eastmorland Antiracism Group - A group of people in the Eastmorland area has been meeting virtually on a weekly basis to explore ways to follow the calls of local and national organizers for Black lives within our smaller community. In recent weeks, this group has focused explicitly on the calls to divert funding from the legal system and is targeting advocacy at defunding the plans for a new Dane County jail (as is proposed in Resolution 145, which was introduced to the Dane County board and has been assigned to committees). Here is the letter the group collaboratively created and sent to Supervisor Kristen Audet. Supervisor Audet has also agreed to join the group for a conversation on legal system reform and the new jail during their regularly scheduled meeting on 8/23. If you are interested in connecting with this group please email email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Other city meetings: There are a number of other city meetings of possible interest this week: https://www.cityofmadison.com/clerk/meeting-schedule
Save the Date
- 8/25/20 - Swanton/Milo/Easley traffic calming meeting; more details to follow.
- 9/14/20 - Development proposal for Cottage Grove Road will be at Plan Commission; more details to follow.
- 9/17/20 - Spaanem/Turner traffic calming meeting; more details to follow.
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