Alder Grant Foster
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-4071
Fax: (608) 267-8669
WI Relay Service
Alder Foster’s Updates
Encampments, Body-worn Cameras, Coldspring Gates - D15 Update 7/13/21
I've received a few questions this past week about two issues that were on last week's common council agenda. I mentioned both of these issues in my previous post here.
Homeless encampments: As I shared in that previous post, I did not support the resolution introduced by Alder Halverson to move people out of the Reindahl encampment. While I do agree that this location should not become a permanent encampment location, I have been focused on working with city staff to create a suitable alternative in order to support a relocation in the future. Simply pushing people from the current location at Reindahl without a suitable alternative will only cause more home and trauma to those staying in the park and to our broader community.
Staff has been working on identifying an alternate site and I have been working with others to secure a non-profit service provider to manage a new location. There are also a number of ordinance changes that are required and drafts of those changes will be introduced soon at council. Once a suitable alternate location is identified, support services are arranged, and our ordinances are updated we can move forward with a relocation of those currently at Reindahl and at other encampments across the city.
Body-worn Cameras: I also hinted at some of my concerns with the report that recommended moving forward with a pilot of body-worn cameras for our police officers. While much of the discussion on the report has focused on how to interpret the available evidence of existing body-worn camera prorams, both sides seem to agree that there are very real negative impacts associated with how body-worn cameras have been deployed in communities across the country and the report recommends only moving forward with a pilot in Madison after a number of caveats and preconditions are met. The hope is that we could then implement a body-worn camera program in Madison that brings value without the negative impacts.
While I hold some doubts as to whether this is actually possible or not, I cannot imagine prioritizing such an investment when we are faced with so many pressing needs and a budget gap that continues to widen every year. Ultimately, I do not believe that investing in body-worn cameras in Madison will improve public safety, nor will it increase trust between the Madison Police Department and our community and it is not where we should be investing our money and attention.
Alder Currie from neighboring District 16 also shared her thoughts on both of these issues and her blog post is worth a read here.
Review of gate closure & E. Dean project update
I also received a number of questions and requests related to the gates on Coldspring and if they could be opened during the summer as Dean is reconstructed. I have passed this request on to staff and there may be an opportunity to open these for the rest of the summer if it is supported by the neighborhood. I've asked that this be discussed at the next Lake Edge Neighborhood Association meeting and that LENA provides its recommendation. This meeting will be held on the 19th at 6:30p and I'll share a reminder in next week's update. If you can't make the meeting you can send your comments to me by email before then. You can also follow along with updates on the E. Dean project here.
ECA monthly meeting
The Eastmorland Community Association will hold its monthly meeting on Tuesday at 7p via Zoom. A link to the agenda is here.
Dean House Back Porch Concert
Back Porch Concerts at the Dean House return this summer, Thursday evenings beginning at 7p - details here.
Bird & Nature Outing
Bird & Nature outings are on the schedule again, including one at Starkweather Creek this Saturday, July 17 at 10a. More info here.
In the news
- City Unveils Carts in Parks Vending Program - The City of Madison is excited to announce the launch of the Carts in Parks Vending Pilot Program this summer into fall!
- Mayor Rhodes-Conway and Metro Transit Release New Designs of State Street BRT Stations to Address Concerns - Today, Madison Mayor Rhodes-Conway and Metro Transit released new renderings of the two Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) stations planned for State Street.
- Madison Commons, Media Digest
Other city meetings
There are a number of city meetings not highlighted in this update. You can find a full schedule of city meetings here.
Save the date
- July 19 - LENA monthly meeting - 6:30 pm Lake Edge Park (weather permitting; Zoom if weather fails to permit). We will have a guest speaker from the Streets Division, Charles Romine, who will discuss the new "large item" trash collection as well as leaf & brush pick up (esp. on Dean). Also on the agenda are requests from neighbors to open the gates at Coldspring & Winnequah for the summer to offset the traffic blocked by construction on Dean.
- July 22 - Dean House Back Porch Concert - Thursdays at 7p - Details here
- July 25 - Historic Dean House Tour - 2:15 and 3:15 PM - Details here
- July 29 - ECA Picnic in the Park - 5pm
- July 29 - Dean House Back Porch Concert - Thursdays at 7p - Details here
- August 5 - Ice Cream Social 5:30-7:00 & Dean House Back Porch Concert at 7p - Details here
- August 8 - Lake Edge Neighborhood Picnic - we need volunteers to help set up, take down, grill food, pick up food, bring ice, solicit a few door prizes, etc., etc., etc. Please email us back if you can spare an hour or two to help out (thanks for considering!). ALSO: if you have a business that is willing to donate a gift or gift card as a door prize we will be ever so grateful.
- August 19 - Eastmorland Farmers/Makers Market (learn more and fill out a vendor interest form here) at Lansing Food Forest (time TBA)
- August 26 - ECA Picnic in the Park - 5pm
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