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District 15

Alder Grant Foster

Image of Alder Grant Foster

Alder Grant Foster

Contact Information

Home Address:

3930 Anchor Dr

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

Atwood/Olbrich Path, Ace Returning to CGR, Body-Worn Cameras - D15 Update 3/20/22

March 20, 2022 11:16 AM

Ace location
New Ace Hardware store coming to Lakeside Shopping Center on Cottage Grove Road - Help Wanted signs in the windows at 211 Cottage Grove Road confirm that a new Ace Hardware branch will be moving back into the Lakeside Shopping Center where a previous branch was located until 2018. The new Ace branch will join Diane's Draperies, Nerdhaven Arcade, Shaggy Dogs Pet Grooming, and Doll Eyes Lashes. There is one vacant commercial space remaining in the shopping center.

Personal Payoffs vs. Community Needs 

Last week I received an email from D15 constituent, Bob, in reference to a letter to the editor he had read in the Wisconsin State Journal. Bob wrote:

"I read Dave's letter to the editor in Sunday's paper. I have thought Dave to be a man of integrity who is not afraid of taking stands against Madison's too often elitist positions. So, I ask you: did Dave distort or misstate any content in his letter? If not, I have just lost a whole lot of respect for you[...] If, indeed your priorities tend to favor personal payoffs as opposed to community genuine needs though outside your district, you will lose my vote and likely many others who feel community priorities trump personal benefits. Thanks for listening I look forward to a response from you. Bob"

The letter to the editor penned by former D15 alder, David Ahrens, upset others as well, including myself. Ahrens ends his letter stating "Voters are willing to see their tax dollars spent on important services, not on politicians talking about social justice but actually grabbing city funds for themselves." He names Alder Keith Furman and myself in the opening of the letter as those politicians 'grabbing city funds' for ourselves.

Unfortunately, being on the receiving end of personal, misleading, and inaccurate accusations is a pretty regular part of being an alder in Madison. It's pretty common to come across uninformed or deliberately misleading statements and comments on social media and some have gone as far as to rent billboards to spread misinformation and influence elections. It's honestly one of the worst parts of being a Madison alder and can be a real distraction from the important work that is demanded by the job. This sort of rhetoric will undoubtedly by ramping up over the next year ahead of the 2021 alder and mayoral election.

For those interested in understanding my position on the library vote, you can see what I wrote in my previous blog post here. What I said then stands: "As much as I support prioritizing our library services within our overall city budget, I cannot in good conscience vote to continue moving ahead with a project that will worsen our already very challenging budget situation with no plan for where the corresponding cuts will come from. We need to identify where this money will come from before spending more money on planning or beginning construction."

I think a strong case has been made for the benefits of opening a new library branch to serve our Northeast neighborhoods, but I can't in good conscience vote to approve continuing down a path that places an impossible burden on a future Common Council and the city as a whole. Before proceeding with this project, we need a concrete proposal of how our whole library system services will be impacted by the proposed Imagination Center along with any other existing city service cuts that will be required. That should happen as part of budget deliberations and I cannot in good conscience kick that can down the road for someone else to deal with.

For those interested in my position on the question of alder pay you can see a previous blog post from 2021 here. In that post I speak pretty clearly to why I believe the role of alder needs a significant investment of time and why I believe that that investment should be compensated at a living wage. While the Task Force for Government Structure spoke at length about why they expected a change to 'full-time' alders could have a positive impact on equitable access and representation, that has not been a focus of my comments on the topic.

Regarding the potential to 'grab city funds' for myself, Mr. Ahrens almost certainly understands that no member of the Madison Common Council can vote to increase their own pay. Any changes to pay adopted by the Common Council can only take effect in future terms. While it is possible that someone could vote for an alder pay increase in one term and receive the benefits of that increase in a subsequent term if reelected, it has no place in my thinking on the question and distracts from a critically important policy question that needs to be addressed for the health and future of our city.

Discussion of State Street Campus Garage Mixed-Use Project 

There is an anticipated closed session at Monday's Finance Committee meeting to discuss the proposals for a redevelopment of the Lake Street parking ramp. You can see the staff report here

LENA Meeting

Join the Lake Edge Neighborhood Association for their meeting on Monday. You can find more details here

Atwood Avenue/Olbrich Path Reconstruction Public Input Meetings

A virtual public meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, March 22 at 6pm. In preparation for the meeting the City is looking for input on the potential path alignments through Olbrich Park. More information on registering to attend the meeting, the survey and alignment options is available on the Atwood Ave Project Page.

The alternatives will also be discussed the following evening at the Transportation Commission here and at the Board of Park Commissioners for a final recommendation on 4/13. Thanks to all who have filled out the survey and please consider taking it if you haven't already.

Worthington, Powers, Thurber PIM

There will be a public information meeting on Thursday regarding a planned sewer replacement project. More info on the project can be found here

Body-Worn Camera

The Police Civilian Oversight Board will review the Body-Worn Camera Feasibility Review Committee Final Report Policy Recommendations at their meeting on Thursday. The report recommends considering a body-worn camera pilot in Madison under certain preconditions. The Police Civilian Oversight Board and Independent Monitor are implicated in several of those preconditions and in the model policy. You can find the report and model policy here and a link to the meeting details here. The council is expected to vote in April on a resolution authorizing MPD to begin a pilot and I will share more thoughts ahead of that vote.

In the News

District 15 Public Works Projects

(You can find a list of all engineering projects in District 15 here.)

District 15 Development Projects (dates are tentative and subject to change)

  • Zion Church Redevelopment Proposal (2165 Linden Avenue)

  • 3900 Monona Drive

Save the Date


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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