City of

District 6

Alder Brian Benford

Image of Alder Brian Benford

Alder Brian Benford

Contact Information

Home Address:

2273 E. Washington Ave #1
Madison , WI 53704

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 Benford’s Updates

D6 Items of Interest Week of September 28, 2020

September 27, 2020 11:04 PM

The City of Madison will be reducing the speed limit on portions of East Washington Avenue starting Monday, September 28. On this 3-mile stretch of roadway, 2 people have been killed and 41 people seriously injured in traffic crashes between 2014 and 2019. There has also been an increase in dangerous driving behaviors and speeding since early 2020. Data showed that speed limit changes to the following portions of East Washington Avenue would increase the safety of all roadway users. Pinckney Street to Baldwin Street from 35 mph to 25 mph and Baldwin Street to Marquette Street from 35 mph to 30 mph. More about Vision Zero street changes The traffic safety initiative with enforcement, sign boards, and lane narrowings on E Washington is continuing. The adjacent alders are interested in your observations about how it is working.


On the November ballot will be two referendum questions regarding the Madison Metropolitan School District operating and facilities budgets The school district will be hosting a series of Facebook Live sessions with MMSD Superintendent Dr. Carlton Jenkins.  If you want more information, please attend one of the following upcoming events:

October 1: West HS, 5:00-6:30pm

October 6: Spanish session, 6:30-8pm

October 7: Teletown hall meeting, 6-7pm


Democracy in the Park Continues Saturday October 3, 2020

Clean Streets Clean Lakes enforcement is back beginning October 5, 2020 Clean Streets/Clean Lakes prohibits parking for one side of a street for a four hour window of time. The parking restriction allows for street sweeping, snow plowing, and other maintenance work. This is a year-round restriction in most areas of Madison.

New Yard Waste Schedule begins October 11, 2020 

For the regular bicycle rider, finding dedicated biking lanes and city streets to ride in Madison is relatively easy. If you're seeking a little adventure for your ride, your search can be a bit difficult. Residents have been asking for natural surface bike facilities such as single track and pump tracks. To respond to this demand and plan the addition of such amenities, Madison Parks applied for and received a planning grant from the International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA), an organization that specializes in bike facility planning projects such as these. The first step is creating a master plan document envisioning trail network locations and project goals with input from the community. The City of Madison Parks Division is hosting three community engagement meetings.

Madison Biking Adventure Community Meetings Beginning October 13, 2020

Metro Public Hearing on Route Changes October 14, 2020 Metro Transit and the City of Madison Transportation Commission will hold a public hearing at 6 PM to review and discuss service updates put into place on August 23, 2020.

Halloween Tips from Public Health Wisconsin Dept. of Health Services advises If your neighborhood hosts trick-or-treating this year, do it more safely. Leave Halloween treats outside the door for a contact-free way of celebrating. More Halloween Advice from DHS


City Meetings This Week


Wednesday September 30, 2020


3:30p click on the agenda for info on how to access the Zoom meeting, send comments on agenda items to


2. 62363 Planning for Council Committee of the Whole meeting on October 8th

3. 61663 Discuss research on other cities' offices of resident engagement


Highlights from  The Final Report from TFOGS 11/20/19

"The Task Force recommends that the City transition to a full-time Council. The Task Force also recommends that the City transition to four-year aldermanic terms and that it pay Council members eighty percent (80%) of the Adjusted Median Income for Dane County for a single parent with two children (approximately $67,000.00 per year). The Task Force believes that a full-time Council would allow all residents to have full-time representation. In addition to recommending a full-time Council with four-year terms and increased pay, the Task Force also recommends that the size of the Council be reduced from twenty (20) to ten (10) members. Additionally, the Task Force believes that a full-time Council would be better equipped to implement other important recommendations contained in this report, including overhauling the City's Boards, Commissions, and Committees ("BCC") structure, providing ongoing oversight and accountability of the BCC system, and pursuing specific initiatives aimed at improving resident engagement, such as establishing an Office of Resident Engagement and Neighborhood Support to support BCCs, and implementing a robust technology plan.


The Task Force recognizes that the original intent of the current BCC [Boards, Commissions, and Committees] structure was to support a part-time Council, serve as a robust forum for public discussion, and maximize public participation. The Task Force also appreciates the dedication of the alders and residents who serve on the City's BCCs and the City staff that supports them. However, the Task Force believes that the current BCC structure has become one that lacks diversity, clarity of purpose, and accountability. The BCCs also tend to vary widely with regard to levels of authority and resources available to support BCC work. Further, the current BCC system has become so large and confusing that navigating it favors those with the time, resources, and knowledge to do so. Therefore, the Task Force believes that the BCC structure itself serves as another impediment to full resident participation and representation.


One characteristic the Task Force noted is the BCC [Boards, Commissions, and Committees] system's lack of diversity. As detailed in the BCC Subcommittee Report, 38% of BCC members (268/699) come from Aldermanic Districts 4, 6, 11, 13, and 19 while only 12.5% (88/699) of members come from Aldermanic Districts 1, 7, 8, 9, and 16. Also, the number of BCCs served by each alder tends to vary depending on the alder. Of the twenty (20) alders, six (6) alders serve on as many as 9 to 14 BCCs while five (5) alders serve on as few as 2 to 4 BCCs. In addition to a lack of geographic diversity, the BCCs also suffer from a lack of racial diversity, with only 21% of BCC members being people of color. Finally, while the Task Force did not have data related to the socioeconomic status of the BCC members, it suspects residents living with low income are also greatly underrepresented on the City's BCCs."


On Thursday October 8 at 7p, the Council will meet as a Committee of the Whole to discuss the TFOGS recommendations. This meeting is scheduled for three hours, please watch it live or replay it. Next to discussions about the budget (COVID impacts, discussions on police and public safety resource allocation), this is the most consequential discussion the Council will be having and the impacts will be significant. If the Council agrees with the TFOGS committee recommendation to reduce the size of the Council from 20 to 10 members and increase the length of the terms from 2 to 4 years, it must be done via a charter ordinance and a referendum must be approved by a majority of the electors voting to change the structure. If this proposal moves forward, the referendum would be held next Spring. 


I am very interested in your feedback on the TFOGS recommendations to transition to a full time Council of 10 members serving four year terms.


As the report states "The Council directed the TFOGS to examine these issues through a specific lens: whether the City's current government structure ensures that municipal decision-makers are representative of and accountable to all of the City's residents, not just to those who have the time, resources, and knowledge to actively participate in the City's current government structure. Of preeminent concern to the Council at the time it created the TFOGS was whether the City's current government structure adequately represents people of color and those living with lower incomes. ... Thus, in its current structure, the City's aldermanic districts have disparate levels of representation based, at least in part, on how much time their alder is able to devote to City work."


Having served under the current system for 7 terms, I have experienced the limitations and challenges of having a full time job while serving as a Common Council member. Because I work a 40 hour a week day job, I don't have time for daytime meetings with staff or constituents/stakeholders. I do spend between 20-30 hours a week serving as your alder, sometimes more. I currently serve on seven city committees. I acknowledge certain districts are overrepresented on city committees and the overall lack of racial diversity is real. (For the record: The Mayor's office recruits and vets appointments to city committees, the Council approves).  I am not convinced that creating a full time Council serving 4 year terms will end the impediments of "full participation and representation" for residents. I think the committee structure is large and unwieldy and should be reviewed, but historically it has been the place where local policy has been discussed by residents. Many committees could benefit from better support and training and aggressive recruitment to make sure the composition, expertise and people's lived experience is reflective of the city. I think through our ongoing equity practices, city staff and elected officials are learning how to do better at connecting with residents and creating meaningful ways to participate. There is definitely room for improvement.


Wednesday September 30


5p click on the agenda for info on how to access the Zoom meeting, send comments on agenda items to


1. 62319 PSRC to honor the PSRC Budget Subcommittee's Budget Report

MPD Budget Roadmap draft A helpful review for those who want more data.


Acting Chief Wahl indicates there would be a reduction of $4,209,219 if MPD reduces its operating budget per Mayor Satya's 5% budget cut request and indicates the following impacts would be a direct result of this proposed cut:

* Elimination of MPD's Community Outreach Section

* Elimination of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU)

* Elimination of the Crossing Guard Program

* Elimination of the Traffic Enforcement and Safety Team (TEST) >  In 2019, the TEST team accounted for over 31% of the total traffic citations issued by MPD

* Reduced Patrol Officers

* Reduction to Neighborhood Officer Program

* Reduction to Mounted Patrol Unit

* Eliminate Police Report Typist Positions > 6 fulltime civilian police report typists (PRTs) would be laid off

* Eliminate Property Clerk Position

* Employee wellness checks cut

* Eliminate Pro Training funding

*Adjustments to the annual over hire formula

Chief Wahl's Operating Budget Memo: Impact of Mayor's requested 5% cut 7/10/20


Wednesday September 30



5p click on the agenda for info on how to access the Zoom meeting, send comments on agenda items to

Joint Meeting of the Transportation Policy and Planning Board and Transportation Commission


2. 62325 Metro Transit Network Redesign Study Overview 45 mins

4. 62327 Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Challenges for the TC/TPPB 15 mins

5. 62328 Update on Proposed Amendments to MGO Sec. 33.56 - Transportation Commission 30 mins

6. 62329 Early Program Recommendations from the Traffic Calming Subcommittee 30 mins


Thursday October 1

Neighborhood Committee Meeting For Proposed Redevelopment on 400 Block E. Washington (D2)

6p to register for the neighborhood meeting, visit this website. Once registered, you will receive the Zoom link and call-in information.


Neighbors in First Settlement have received a postcard invitation to join me and District 2 Alder Patrick Heck at a virtual neighborhood meeting to discuss the new proposal LZ Ventures has submitted for the redevelopment of the 400 block of E. Washington Avenue in District 2. After the Oct. 1 meeting the James Madison Park District, part of Capitol Neighborhoods, Inc., will again be forming a steering committee to review the new proposal. Alder Heck will publish future meeting dates and other information in his regular updates.


By a one-vote margin at Plan Commission's July 13 meeting, LZ Ventures' initial proposal was not approved. Because commissioners placed the proposal on file "without prejudice", the developers are able to submit this new application. As before, this proposal includes demolition of the Klinke Cleaners building, two houses, an apartment building, and a single-story commercial building at 402-414 E Washington Ave, as well as three multi-flat houses at 9 N Hancock, 8 N Hancock, 8 N Franklin, and 12 N Franklin. The developer now proposes a 9-story (rather than 10-story) market rate 146-unit apartment building on E. Wash dropping to 6 stories in the rear along Hancock with 5 stories along Franklin. Several levels of parking would be underneath. One commercial space is planned at the corner of E. Washington and N. Franklin. Project plans and other materials can be found here.


It is likely that the proposal will be before the Urban Design Commission on Nov. 4 and Plan Commission on Nov. 9. They will be seeking one bonus floor along E. Washington (down from two) and, as before, various conditional use permits. Compliance with Urban Design District 4 guidelines will also be considered.


Thursday October 1


6:30p not yet posted, see the Clerk's weekly calendar for Meeting Schedules for virtual meeting details


The Common Council Executive Committee will consider the slate of proposed appointments to the Police Civilian Oversight Board and select two additional appointees at this meeting.


Last Friday, Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway, Council President Sheri Carter, and Council Vice President Syed Abbas collectively reviewed the nominations received from the nine designated community organizations and are pleased to recommend the following individuals for appointment to the Board:

Shadayra Kilfoy-Flores, nominated by the Community Response Team

Ananda Deacon, nominated by Freedom, Inc.

Joshua Hargrove, nominated by JustDane

Rachel Kincade, nominated by NAMI

Ankita Bharadwaj nominated by OutReach LGBTQ+ Community Center

Yesenia Villalpando-Torres, nominated by UNIDOS Against Domestic Violence

Maia Pearson, nominated by Urban Triage

Jacquelyn Hunt, nominated by YWCA

In addition to these nine seats, Mayor Rhodes-Conway announced the selection of her appointments to the Board: Keetra Burnette and Keith Findley. An additional individual nominated by the NAACP will be announced soon. All thirteen appointments will be submitted for confirmation at the October 6th Common Council meeting.

Thanks to all the individuals willing to step forward to take up this important work for our community.



Marsha Rummel

District 6 Alder

City of Madison


You can fill out the census from home. Everyone living in your household should be counted. Census data determines how more than $675 billion in federal funds are distributed to communities across the country for affordable housing, childcare, healthcare, education, transportation, and more.  That's over $2,000 per person for Madison and Dane County every year.  Please remind friends and family to be counted. By law your answers are confidential. Respond online at, by phone, or by mail--without having to meet a census taker.


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