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District 6

Alder Brian Benford

Image of Alder Brian Benford

Alder Brian Benford

Contact Information

Home Address:

2722 Center Ave

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

My Monday morning reflections!

August 16, 2021 9:38 AM

Hello Friends and Neighbors

I hope that you are all well and finding joy.  In addition to aldering and working for the UW-Madison Odyssey Project, I have spent the last couple of weeks of moving.  After ten years, I packed up my son, our puppy- Duke- and left our grandstand seats on the East Washington Avenue International Speedway.  The thundering noise, constant speeding and unsafe driving that has escalated over the years had literally made me sick.  Living on the Avenue, kept me in a constant state of anger, sleep deprivation and filled me with utter disdain for our ongoing car culture. 

I learned so much about myself over these last two weeks.  First, moving at 62 years old, left me lamenting that I don't have the back (and other body parts) that I once had.  If it wasn't for my wonderful children and friends, this note would have come from a hospital bed.  While moving, I kept reminding myself of my privilege in having a home, while countless neighbors face housing insecurity or houselessness.  Second, I came to the conclusion that I am addicted, or perhaps beholden to the internet.  After five days of unnecessary delays to install service, countless false promises, and dismal customer service by my service provider, I found myself trying to attend city meetings and work by sitting outside of closed businesses with free internet; all the while-carrying some pretty dark thoughts about transnational companies. 

I also learned that no matter how much I try, there are just "things" that are out of my hands.  Every day, I will get a constituent email that wants me to do something that is totally out of my scope as an alder for the City of Madison.  End Global Warming, make the speeders on East Washington Ave. stop, scare the US air force in discontinuing F-35's; mandate that trains don't use their horns; make Kipp Corporation clean-up all PCBs and toxins on their sites; convince neighbors to treat each other with love and respect;  and stop any new developments or changes in general.  While I can have my voice heard on the matters above (as we all can), despite listening and caring, I personally cannot honor everybody's requests on issues that are govern by the state, federal governments or the realities of life. 

I write this, because I love when you write to me at district6@cityofmadison.com, but please know that I too get frustrated- as I balance working two (yes two) full-time jobs and my family. So here's the deal-I am not complaining- I asked for this job.  In my service to District 6, I have the deepest concerns over gunshots and violence, East Washington Avenue, and the fact that by this winter, more people could be at peril to freeze to death in one of our parks.  As I try to balance these realities with new development proposals and negative interpersonal issues between neighbors, it appears that my years of experiences working on the frontlines with those that are most vulnerable, sometimes conflicts with serving a district that has so many folks with privilege. 

I know first- hand that most Dsixers (my nickname for you all) are educated and caring.  As your alder, I have to do a better job of heightening awareness about the plights of those most marginalized within our city.  That is why I have been working on a Truth and Reconciliation process for our city.  I firmly believe that before we can begin to address the dichotomies that has left Madison a 'tale of two cities," we need to acknowledge that since its incorporation in 1856, Madison has perpetuated racism and hardships for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and other people of color) people.  This is why we have some of the worse racial disparities (in so many facets of life) in the United States for BIPOC people. 

So in closing, please keep those emails coming, but please know that I might call on you in the near future to help our city to forge a new, safe, social just and equitable path forward.  I know that I can count on you Dsixers!  Sending you all my best wishes and love.

BB




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