Friday, March 18, 2011

One last questionaire, I hope.

This one is for the FitchburgConnect newsletter. It's always interesting to see what is published as opposed to what is sent. This is what I sent:

Name:  Dorothy Krause 
Age:  54 
Hometown:  Milwaukee, WI 
Current address:  2105 Apache Dr, Fitchburg, WI 
Occupation:  Community Activist 
Family demographics (Spouse/partner, children):  Empty nester, 3 grown children,  
Public office experience:  First time running for public office 
Community service/Volunteer experience: 
Treasurer, Dunn's Marsh Neighborhood Association; Owner, Madison Freecycle; Communication Chair, Prairie UU Society; Adobe Community Professional. Member/Participant: Allied Partners, Allied-Dunn's Marsh Neighborhood Association, Allied Area Task Force, Communities United, CACCommunityGardensDaneCountymebank  Ti , Madison Fruit and Nuts, Allied Wellness Coop,  
Best way to be contacted:  email to preferred 
What makes you the best candidate for alder/mayor? 
As a homeowner in the district for 8 years now, I have been dismayed by the apparent lack of attention given to this district by Fitchburg Alders. I've been working in the district already, and am eager to spread my wings to serve the greater Fitchburg community. Getting into politics during this period of time has become more akin to cliff diving then 'just' jumping in from the deep end, as it was when I initially made the decision to run. Consequently, I've learned a lot about what is going on in state government, and beyond, in a very short time. It's a spooky time, but also energizing. I am glad to be running, and see a greater need then ever to have at least some people in office that are at least as concerned about the good of the people as they are the bottom line.
What do you hope to accomplish during your term? 
I'll continue to pay close attention as construction begins on the Highway 151 / Verona Road construction begins; I'll work with residents in the western half of the district to help them feel a greater part of Fitchburg; I'll keep working in the Allied area and other 'troubled' parts of the city to create income earning opportunities in those areas to help them become productive parts of the city. I'll participate in planning new Fire Stations and support SmartCode developments. 
What is the biggest issue facing Fitchburg right now? What would be your first goal? How do you plan on accomplishing that goal?   
The changes being made in the Governor's office and beyond will impact everything about politics everywhere. I'm afraid the result of that will command a good majority of attention. My goal for the past number of years has been to help disadvantaged areas of the city become productive. That is going to get much harder, given state issues. We need to encourage area businesses to find ways to employ those populations and we need to create additional income earning opportunities within those areas. Lot of work and tough challenges ahead!
 What plans do you have to encourage economic development in Fitchburg?   
In short, we need to make money in Fitchburg, and we need to keep it here. We need to encourage businesses, large and small, to invest here, and we need them to employ a lot of local people at reasonable wages. We need to support our local businesses by purchasing their products or services.
The city recently passed a smart growth plan. How will this plan help or hinder development in the city? 
I spent time over the years following the SmartCode planning process, including spending most of the week observing at the charrette last year. For areas of the city that it is appropriate for, it will be wonderful. Developers will have the freedom to design parcels of land on a neighborhood scale, including the ability to mix and match various elements in the way that make the most sense rather then following an imposed land-use plan. Once people fully understand it, they will embrace SmartCode. 
 What is your fiscal policy? What is your view on taxes in the city? What sort of spending is appropriate for the city?   
I'm realistically too new to all of this to have developed a "fiscal policy" as such. I am in learning mode on a lot of issues, but especially the purely business side of things. I've spent a lot of time listening to people in the city who know the business side and I've come to respect their opinions. My personal view in general is to prioritize what you have-to-have from what you'd like-to-have from what you could-do-without. Once you know what is on which list, it becomes more apparent where the available money needs to go. How high you want to climb in the list helps determine how much income you're going to have to come up with to do it. How my family and small business view will scale to city government has yet to be seen, but I'm happy to be able to learn from those that deal with it all the time. (Nancy alert!) 
 How should regional transportation plans fit with the citys development plans? What, if any, mass transit plans should the city pursue? 
I was not happy to see the RTA fold. I was eager to support transit alternatives that enabled residents to move around the entire urban area relatively quickly, easily, and affordably. I encourage the use of public transit when appropriate, and wish it were a more reasonable option within Fitchburg. I would hope that reasonable transport options will become available, particularly along east-west corridors through the city. I will work for, and support, transit plans in Fitchburg.
What should be done with the McGaw Park shelter? 
Hard question. In the not too distant future a lot of park features throughout the city are going to start wearing out. I've been hearing the concerns within the city related to how to determine what parks will need what improvements at what point in time. Given that, if the McGaw shelter is used for relatively specific events, i.e.: ballgames, it might not be unreasonable to ask those participants to contribute to the cost of a shelter, whether by fundraising or user fees, especially if they have expectations beyond a very basic facility.
There was a lot of hubbub last year about whether sidewalks are needed in every neighborhood. What is your stance? 
Planning sidewalks in new neighborhoods is not a problem. In areas that were designed without them, however, a balance needs to be found between safety, cost, and property owners wishes. They are not necessarily appropriate everywhere. In places where property owners don't want them but safety becomes an overriding factor, reducing the financial cost for the owners would be a reasonable compromise.  
What role should the city take in public/private partnerships, such as the splash pads at McKee Park? 
I welcome groups taking a financial interest in city services beyond those that are essential. If people would like to have a splash pad, I'm happy to have them invest in it. But the city still needs to be the final decision makers. We have to take care to not allow money to equal power in such issues.  
What role do you think the new library should play in the city? What services should people expect from the library? Will it be worth the cost in taxes? 
The library is a fact. We're going to pay for it. And we get to decide how well it will serve us. We need to be aware what services it anticipates providing, what it is capable of providing, and how the people want to be able to use it. I want to see many events and meetings there, recorded to FACTv as appropriate, to be replayed over cable TV or accessed online.
Are the new fire stations a worthwhile investment? Why? 
From all the reading I've done, and the people I've visited with about the new stations, I have to agree that they are needed, particularly as it relates to expansion to the east side of the city. The buildings are worn out, it's raining (literally!) on both equipment and living quarters, wearing them out even quicker. The expense of patching them up is costly and short lived. This is the time that it is economically least expensive to bite the bullet and do it. I don't think we have anything to gain by waiting.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

So how's the corporate thing working for you?

In my last job, for a corporation that designed and built medical electronic equipment, people were put in the position of having to train the people that would take their job when the company shipped their jobs overseas. Then the people here were laid off.

That is the way corporations work. What is best for their bottom line is what they do, with very little regard for the aftermath they leave here.

That is NOT how I want my state or country to be run. But that's what I see happening in Wisconsin and other states.

We can not allow the type of heavy handed corporate influence to make decisions in our people's seats of power.

As I've listened and learned, I've become more and more distressed at what is happening in government.

I know it goes totally against the way it's usually done, but I have to take a stand that is meaningful. So my campaign literature has the following printed on it:

My thoughts on events in state government:

My position is clear; I support the people. Eventually this is going to have huge impact on people of all income ranges, not just the middle-class.

I have done a lot of research, watching Wisconsin Eye, at the Capitol, and reading from various sources. I am dismayed at the Republican’s lack of willingness to even consider other people’s point of view. What I’ve learned in the process:

It’s not about the current budget
It’s not about Republicans vs Democrats
It’s not about public vs private employees
It’s not about bargaining rights, really

So, what is it about?
  • It’s about a small number of big business people thinking the state, and ultimately, the country should be run like a business. (True, to a point!)
  • It’s about corporations wanting to manage state finances, assets, and natural resources, with little public input.
  • It’s about those same few people wanting to dictate the "rights" of the common people (i.e.: the vast majority of us)
  • It’s about eliminating the unions’ ability to finance democratic (small ‘d’) election campaigns in order to eliminate the competition for political office... so they ultimately get to "own" the country.
I’m not convinced at all that the state, or the country, should be run like a business.

Businesses are interested in the bottom line, and tend to discard non-profitable business activities. In this case, that also includes the poor, elderly, and disabled.

There are a lot of "customers" that are being cast aside in this legislation. That really scares me. If you are ‘working class’ (or have family/friends that are) and qualify for any of these, you will be impacted:
  • Earned Income Tax Credit
  • Homestead Tax Credit
  • Child Care Subsidies
  • Medicaid or BadgerCare
  • Transit programs
  • Education opportunities for low-wage workers

The middle class has been eroding for many years, due to corporate policies. Businesses need to stop practices like sending jobs overseas and concentrate on jobs here.

In addition, we must keep investing in our government so they can continue to fund services that are needed by our society.

The people need our state, and country, back.

I stand in opposition to the the corporate takeover of government and pledge to do all possible to minimize the impact to the city of Fitchburg.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Everybody wants to know what I think (100 word limit)

Awfully big topics to fit in so few words! These are my replies to one of the Fitchburg area pubs

Name, age, family, years a Fitchburg resident (25 words):

Dorothy Krause, 54, empty nester, 3 grown children, all unmarried until later this year, no grandchildren. Bought house in the Dunn’s Marsh area in 2002.

Education, relevant professional/political experience and skills (50 words)

Ongoing continuing education in Business, Computer, and Graphic Arts.

Treasurer, Dunn's Marsh Neighborhood Association; Owner, Madison Freecycle; Communication Chair, Prairie UU Society; Adobe Community Professional. Member/Participant: Allied Partners, Allied-Dunn's Marsh Neighborhood Association, Communities United, Madison Fruit and Nuts, CAC Community Gardens, Allied Wellness Coop, Allied Area Task Force, Dane County Timebank & others

Your views of the following issues:

The city’s budget and capital improvement plan, including plans for new fire stations and the addition to the Community Center. (100 words).

Reading documentation about the fire stations, talking with many people, including Fire Department personnel, I appreciate the need to reach every address quickly, as well as for improved training facilities. Adding community space on the west side would be welcome. I will support this in spite of having reservations about financing.

Given added community space in the library, I’d love the luxury of time to determine what additional space needs are required for the Community Center. I’m afraid that we’re going to end up spending too much money for too much space with not enough economic viability to support it.

City’s approach to growth and economic development, including its recent adoption of the SmartCode (100 words):

The economy needs to be about jobs at all economic levels for residents in Fitchburg. I’ll support businesses, both large and small, to further the economic interests of Fitchburg.

Having an interest in compact neighborhoods, where most of what you need is within walking distance of your home, and you know and interact with neighbors, SmartCode is appealing to me.

I attended most of the SmartCode meetings over time including the recent week-long Charrette and will encourage SmartCode where it is appropriate.

I will encourage infill development to serve residential neighborhoods by adding appropriate retail services to areas where needed.

Issues related to the “quality of life,” including crime, environmental quality, traffic congestion, parks and recreation, etc. (100 words)

I support the development of neighborhoods where people interact regularly. I’ve seen, when neighborhood associations get involved, people take ownership and issues get resolved through grassroots efforts.

I will work with neighborhood associations and residents to create the best neighborhoods possible, especially in ‘troubled’ areas. When people find their voice, they bring forward their thoughts on creating environments they enjoy.

I’d also encourage neighborhood associations to meet together to discuss issues that impact the greater Fitchburg area, to help city staff, developers, and elected officials make the most appropriate decisions for the city as they relate to the larger questions.

Issues of particular concern to residents of your district (100 words):

I’ve been following Beltline / Verona Road reconstruction issues for years (DOT knows me well). Everyone that uses the roadways will be impacted, though areas east of Verona Road will have the most limited access during construction.

In helping those ‘troubled’ areas, being Alder would help me work with property owners to help the residents make improvements.

The West Fire Station was already mentioned, and limited recreational opportunities are concerns. In talking with area residents, I’m learning what they would like, including where they want speeding controls. They often say they feel disconnected from Fitchburg. I’d like to change that. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

How about those unions? (quick thoughts)

I grew up in a union family (IBEW 494) and worked for a time in the Milwaukee Carpenter's union, had non-union jobs in unionized businesses, and have encountered many others over the years. I don't have problems with unions generally. But I do believe there should be changes.

The simplist way I say it is that I'd like to see all workers represented, not just the select few. There are plenty of businesses that take advantage of cheap labor. (and, please, note that there are many, many that don't!) The workers either don't have a voice in how they are treated, or don't realize that they can use their voice. I would like to see those workers represented so they get a fair shake from life. And there are union shops that end up paying employees a great deal... sometimes three to four times as much as non-unionized people doing comparable work. I'd like them less represented. There must be some way to achieve a reasonable balance.

I only have the vaguest notion of how to go about accomplishing such a thing, which would likely have to start on at least the state level, with a mandated program involving paychecks, probably along the lines of a withdrawals. In any case, it's a lot bigger thing to consider than I'm currently capable of, so, other then the basic thought that I'd support it if things started heading that-a-way, I'm not going to invest a lot of time in it.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

So where am I at on business?

We need business. We need business that provides jobs. Especially in the economic climate that is being created. We need jobs so that the people whom the taxpayers don't want to support can have jobs to earn a living. That component has largely been missing. Businesses need to be willing to make jobs so people can earn money if they don't want the government to do it. Fairly simple concept.

One of the reasons I'm running is because I've been fighting for income earning opportunities as part of the CDA development on Allied Drive. I've fought for zoning in the development that would permit small business opportunities within the neighborhood for residents so they can have a small neighborhood grocery, a barber shop, and things along those lines. All sized to serve the needs of the neighborhood. These folks don't need a lot of money, just enough. And enough for them is a lot less then average.

Immediately adjacent to the CDA development is four acres of fallow land looking for a purpose. On March 2nd, a number of people are going to Growing Power in Milwaukee ( to visit with Will Allen about the potential of an Urban Ag Center on that land to provide jobs for the neighborhood, fresh food for the community and area restaurants, education and community space, and volunteer opportunities so folks in the area can be productive, even if not paid.  

This links to a plan that Growing Power is considering for its 2.5 acres in Milwaukee. I'd love to be able to do something similar here...

Some of the people planning on meeting with Will include:

Natalie Erdman, Madison CDA Director
Brian Solomon, Madison Alder
Steve Arnold, Fitchburg Alder
Michael Johnson, CEO Boys and Girls Clubs of Dane County
Allied Area Task Force members
Allied and Dunn's Marsh Neighborhood Association(s) members
Allied Wellness Coop Members
and likely others

This is democracy?!?

I've been watching during the Wisconsin Assembly proceedings on SB11. Having sat in the gallery for a time last night, I have to say that I've paid a lot more attention than many of the members, since what I noted was that the room was less than half filled (as it appears to be today.) What you can see from the gallery is that when it comes time to vote, one person pops up and enters the votes for members not in attendance. That bothers me, but is not my main point at the moment.

What bothers me is seeing the Democrats stand up hour after hour talking about all the very valid reasons this is bad legislation... and are ignored by people who have apparently been instructed how to vote, without consideration. The speaker keeps saying "all members should vote as they wish" but the vote is consistently 58 to 38.

As bad as I feel for the vast majority of the population who are going to be negatively impacted by the fallout from this legislation, I feel worse for all the people who have been lied to about what this bill does, and who have supported it based on false information. When they wake up and see the light, it will be way too late.

Everything is now based on money, the humanity is gone. It doesn't matter whether people, from the children in school to the elderly in nursing care, and all of us in between, receive the most basic needs or not... if it costs money, it should not have to be provided. If we can't afford it ourselves, we should not receive it.

The only way we can afford it is to have a job that pays well enough, or, in the case of health care, has decent enough benefits to cover it.

The rich must get richer, so they are not inclined to take steps that allow the rest of us to have enough money to support ourselves, since that would take money from them. That includes creating jobs, far more likely there will be layoffs.

Various members on the Democratic side keep saying (shouting at times)... "Wake up!" hoping that people on the Republican side will recognize, or care about, what this bill is going to do to the vast majority.

Having listened and watched not only hour after hour of the Assembly proceedings, but having attended meetings of both the Madison and Fitchburg Common Councils (including behind the scenes discussions) to hear their concerns, spending time at the Capitol, paying attention to media from both sides, and following developments via various internet outlets, my head is going to explode anytime now.

But, it's more then a bit clear where this is headed... and it ain't good... unless, perhaps, you are one of the few "fortunate" rich people that will be walking on the backs of the rest of us to be able to live the good life.

Hopefully you few fortunate will be willing to toss us a few bones now and again. I know many that will... but the ones that matter the most don't have enough of a conscience to even be willing to listen. Watching the Assembly proceedings has made that crystal clear. Hopefully the bulk of the good Republicans will see through it as well and work within the new rules to act as humanly as the rules permit. The new rulers won't make it easy for you though.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

New button! (and Thank You! to folks)

First off, I need to thank Mary Mullen for agreeing to be my campaign Treasurer!

Now it's time to start asking "everyone I know" (as my mentors put it) to help pay to get the word out. Since I live so much of my life online, I added a donate button to both this blog and to make it easy for folks. You can donate either through a Paypal account or directly via a credit or debit card.

The vast majority of donations will go toward printing costs so I and volunteers can walk the district to knock on doors, visit with folks, and leave information for them. I'm told that every person needs to be contacted a minimum of 3 times and, hopefully, 5 times (with 2,850 registered voters in the district!) That is a lot of walking.

If we're not able to talk to people, such as those that live in apartment buildings with locked lobbies, we'll send them mail a couple times as well as likely making some phone calls... depending on how much volunteers can be available.

Which brings up the next question. I need people who like to walk and talk (and are willing to say nice things about me!) to help out. Even if you'd prefer to stay in your warm house, I'd still love to have some help, especially if you enjoy talking on the phone.

My next huge Thank You! goes to Jacque Pokorney for offering to be my Campaign Manager. She will be the main traffic cop so I can concentrate on visiting with voters. So if you volunteer for me, she'll help you get plugged into doing what you'd like to do. (And I'm guessing she's in charge of the victory party that you'll be invited to as well!)

Monday, January 17, 2011

The ongoing saga of volunteering to jump into the deep end...

Just a quick update

Sitting among people that have been in office, or considering running, or having worked on campaigns for years now, I declared myself a total political newbie at the Camp Wellstone Action training program this past weekend. I learned a whole lot and will be using much of it in my campaign (don't look for me on TV, ok?!?)

I will be making the rounds to continue to visit with folks in my district, as well as using volunteers to help distribute litature and speak on my behalf. So people can look for me out and about the area, or email me with invitations to talk in person.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

League of Women Voters Questionnaire

These are the replies I sent in response to the League of Women Voters questionnaire (responses limited to 100 words each):

1. What educational, professional, civic, and community experiences have you had that you believe qualify you for this elective office?

Since buying my house in 2002, I’ve been working toward making the Allied Drive area a safe and productive community. Because the area closely links Fitchburg and Madison, there is a lot of crossover between the two cities. I participate in most related meetings, in both cities, and have good working relationships on both sides. I’ve closely followed planning for the Beltline / Verona Road project over the years, plus have contributed to many land use and SmartCode Charrettes along with other Fitchburg events. People have encouraged me to run because I already do the work and am so involved!

2. What are the most important issues facing the community you seek to represent?

Improving the Allied area will continue to remain a focus, with a lot of exciting projects coming up, involving cooperative efforts between Fitchburg and Madison. The highway construction project will generate many conversations in my district, and cause significant disruption for everyone in the area. The economy is going to remain interesting for a number of years yet. Projects to watch for in the near future include a new fire station (and plans for the old), the new library, new businesses and expansions of existing businesses. I’m looking forward to learning more about parts of Fitchburg outside my corner of it!

3. What criteria will you use to balance economic growth, environmental concerns, and land use planning and regulation?

I am a strong advocate of sustainable planning and eagerly followed Fitchburg’s implementation of SmartCode zoning. I recognize the value of quality construction and aesthetics but keep a strong eye on costs. Through my involvement in community gardening, I’ve developed a strong interest in urban agriculture and hope to be able to help develop an urban ag center in Fitchburg. As the owner of the local group, I’ve been working toward reducing landfill waste by encouraging reuse of unneeded items. I choose to live modestly and tread fairly lightly in my use of natural resources.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Last of the grilling (which I did enjoy)

You learn a lot about youself when you have to do this!

  1. What is your philosophy regarding the city budget, taxes, spending, and services?
I have no set philosophy, other then a general sense that money needs to be spent carefully and with great consideration toward how much is enough. Many people have far more then enough, and many have far less. “Enough” is a pretty slippery term, I know, but it at least gives a sense of scale. I’d like to see people have enough work, enough food, enough housing, enough health care, enough free time and recreation, enough children, enough care and education for their children. I could probably go on, but won’t.

  1. In what ways are you currently active in your district and the community at large?
Hopefully the answer to that is fairly clearly indicated in my responses above. Organizations I’ve been working with in the area include Allied Area Task Force, CDA and Allied subcommittee, Dunn’s Marsh Neighborhood Association, Allied Dunn’s Marsh Neighborhood Association, Communities United, CAC Community Gardens, Madison Fruits and Nuts, Allied Partners, Prairie Unitarian Universalist Church, Allied Wellness Center, Growing Power (Milwaukee area), Center for Resilient Cities and the Badger School project, various permaculture interest groups, Fitchburg SmartCode zoning process, and others.

  1. Please tell us about your campaign team, fund-raising efforts, and your plan to win the election.
I have no campaign team, nor funding at this point. Traditionally this seat has been hard to fill, so I’m somewhat surprised that I have an opponent at all. I’ve been enjoying visiting with folks in the district and hope to do a lot more of that between here and there. I suppose I will soon determine a need for yard signs and some kind of mail campaign. My focus tho, even as I’ve visited with folks already, has been on learning more about the people and issues which will be important to know in order to represent them well.

  1. Please review the Progressive Dane Candidate/Elected Official Expectations.  After review, what will you do to help build Progressive Dane?

-          Working collaboratively with their constituents, other progressive elected officials, and Progressive Dane’s task forces and committees to implement progressive policy.
-          Publicly identifying as affiliated with Progressive Dane and attending Progressive Dane fundraising and outreach events.
-          Articulating progressive positions in the media and other forums.
-          Helping elect other candidates endorsed by Progressive Dane; remaining publicly neutral in races where they do not agree with the endorsement of the organization.
-          Presenting information at Progressive Dane’s General Membership Meetings and write articles for the Progressive Dane newsletter. Lend their name to fundraising and membership recruitment efforts.
-          Helping increase the Progressive Dane’s membership by hosting or being the featured guest at house parties, by personally recruiting new members and by working with Progressive Dane’s staff to encourage their supporters to become members.
-          Recruiting progressive candidates for elected office.

Since I already do so much in and for the area, which I will continue doing whether I’m elected or not, I’d hope to be excused from overly active participation. If it’s a condition of support, I’d probably have to opt out.

10.               What would you do if something like the follow situation arose: You are running for election/reelection in Dist X.  You have a good relationship with the incumbent in District Y whom you feel is a good representative for her district.  However, Progressive Dane has endorsed a different candidate in District Y.
I want to have a good working relationship with whoever is in a seat. If Progressive Dane endorses one candidate over another, I will assume they had good reason (and, in that scenario, it was probably hard to choose which to support!)

11.                PD elected officials try to meet with each other on a regular basis.  Currently the City Caucus meets on Sunday evening before each Council meeting.  These meetings are important for information-sharing and airing of different opinions.  Will you commit to attending on a regular basis? 
As long as the meetings prove to be of value to me, as a non-Madison official, I’d probably look forward to attending. I’m closely enough tied to Madison that I have to presume I’d participate.

More questions, and answers (and still not finished!)


  1. Frequently asked questions in the campaign are likely to be public safety, water, traffic, and city subsidies to private and public projects (Edgewater, Overture Center).  Please share your thoughts on these issues.
Not real certain how well the last part translates into Fitchburg specific questions but I’m certainly accustomed to at least the public safety question as it relates to the Allied area, and, I’d presume, in less intensive ways, to most of Fitchburg. We’ve found that communication is key. When the Police Department has a good relationship with the community, anyone that intends to do harm becomes much less comfortable about being in the area and it goes a long way toward solving itself.

There have been many questions about traffic considerations as part of the Highway 151 project, which has obviously been a primary focus for me. Answers to how storm water will be handled as part of the project is vital since it ultimately finds its way through the neighborhood and into Dunn’s Marsh. The Neighborhood Associations in the area have asked the DOT to give greater consideration to storm water management than is indicated in their Environmental Impact Statement to this point. (Concerns about sound and air pollution have also been expressed.)

I’ve paid close attention to meetings and discussions about Edgewater, as well as watched hours worth of meetings on the Overture Center. I just hope that Fitchburg won’t have issues as contentious as those to work through! Through bits of involvement in city meetings in Fitchburg, I have gained some sense of what is to come as it involves subsidized projects, though I have not been directly involved in any of them. I look forward to getting a better understanding of how those pieces of the puzzle all fit together in Fitchburg.

  1. Please review the enclosed PD City Platform and tell us:
a.      What are the top three PD issues that you want to work on as an elected official?
As part of the work I’ve been doing in the Allied area, I’ve already been actively working in the areas of affordable housing, public services, and sustainable economic development. It’s awful hard to pick just 3, even if I don’t look at the lists under the headers!
b.      Are there any PD positions that you disagree with?
I’m glad to see that there is a County Platform document on your website as well. I was concerned that Progressive Dane was really Progressive Madison! Truthfully, I’ve been dug in doing good stuff in my corner of Fitchburg/Madison and haven’t studied all the information available. In the quick overview, I’d have to say, good job trying to get it right for most of the people. The bulk of the folks you seem to be concerned with are those that are least likely to be otherwise represented.
c.       Are there PD positions that you need to know more about?
At this point, my head is busting with new information. I’ll learn more in time.
d.      Are there issues not included in the PD City Platform that you want to prioritize?
Same answer as c.

  1. Progressive Dane has worked on issues like living wages, paid sick leave, affordable housing and keeping bus fares down.  What would you suggest we do to help people struggling in our community?
What I’ve been doing in the Allied area is promoting ways that the community can become more productive among themselves, taking care of themselves and one another. I’d like to see efforts, from above and below, that encourages everyone to recognize the human potential in every one of us. I’d like to see Progressive Dane encouraging and supporting service providers, employers, city staff, and others in giving a hand up to those who need it. I’d like to see less hand-out’s, and more hand-up’s.  

Wow! Progressive Dane asks tough questions!

As closely aligned as I might be with Progressive Dane, I'm reluctant to be identified with any one group. I represent the interests of all the people, and don't like the idea of causing some to feel as though I'm not going to pay attention to their concerns by being in one camp or another.

That said though, I will answer the questions from Progressive Dane, for myself, if nothing else. I've only gotten through the first two. Here's the questions and how I'm responding:

  1. What, in your view, is the most serious issue facing Fitchburg, and what can the City Council do about it?
As is the case everywhere, the economy still presents significant challenges. Specific to Fitchburg, there is a balance that needs to be found to be able to prioritize what the city must do, can do, wants to do, and can do without. There are many and varied points of view that need to be considered. The City Council needs to continue to encourage conversations with all the involved parties, particularly area residents, to help find the correct balance.

  1. What do you think the top campaign issues are likely to be in your district, and how will you frame them?
In my district, one of the biggest issues over the next number of years will be the DOT’s Highway 151 interchange project, which will involve replacement of the Beltline bridges over Verona Road as well as significant restructuring of Verona Road between the Beltline and Hwy PD. The project will have significant impact for the district on both sides of Verona Road . I would hope that will be a significant part of the campaign discussion.

Secondly, the portions of the district surrounding Allied Drive will continue to be an issue. I’ve already been working to help the community, in both the Madison and Fitchburg portions, become a productive neighborhood and would be happy to speak on that in the campaign.

Third would be discussions that are already taking place about building a new fire station within the district, along with how to make the best continued use of the existing station. At this point, I still only have a rough idea of what has been being discussed, but am eager to learn more in time.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Off and running!

It's official, I have an opponent. So I get to go out and meet more of the folks in the district. I don't mind that at all, other than it means I won't be able to devote that time to attending other meetings and getting to know the people and the issues in parts of Fitchburg that I don't have an opportunity to reach very much.

In the meantime, I made up a quick website that mirrors this blog inside of it so I'll be able to add information in ways that I can't do with just the blog. Look for that at

One place I wanted to visit when I was talking to folks about running was the area nearish me, in the Dunn's Marsh neighborhood, adjacent to Tom Ellefson's property near the Boy's and Girl's Club. Folks in that area can watch for me probably this week yet. There are some pretty exciting plans afoot that I'm going to want their thoughts on.

After that, I want to talk with people that will be affected by the Verona Road / Beltline Construction project that live near the Seminole Highway & Sentinel Pass intersection. The construction project is going to create havoc getting out of the neighborhood onto Seminole.

I might need better winter walking shoes!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Rumor has it...

There may be someone else running. How fun ever! Not that I want extra time and expense, but I would look forward to a chance to not only find out from others in the district what is important to them, but also to further define what I would want to work toward in this district as well as throughout Fitchburg.

Obviously my focus over the years has been helping to shape the extended Allied community into a positive, productive area. I want to help build true neighborhoods, like those that existed when I was young, where people not only know their neighbors, but that they have means of gathering in casual ways, as neighborhoods, where they meet at neighborhood business, or block parties, parks, or even on one another's front porch.

But, I've also been paying close attention to some of the bigger issues. I've been particularly interested in the SmartCode zoning that was recently adopted. It follows fairly closely with my thinking about neighborhood planning. (In fact, the profile picture I use here and on Facebook was taken one of the days of the SmartCode Charrettes.) I've also been pretty intensively involved in the Verona Road / Beltline construction project, having attended almost all public meetings, and meeting privately (and productively) with people from the DOT and Strand Associates.

One of the big things I see coming up in the near future is a new fire station that will include training facilities. I think it will be very well placed and will be a great addition to the city. I would look forward to supporting that, as well as discussions about what to do with the current facility that it will be replacing.

The library is very exciting, and will be another great addition, and a wonderful gathering spot. There has been some talk about finding ways to increase the reach of the library into the more distant parts of Fitchburg. I will certainly take part in those discussions!

I'm liking seeing the growth of business as well, and the greener it gets the better I like it. I will have a hard time supporting things that will be ultimately detrimital to the environment, so I'm really, really glad that the people of Fitchburg want to be aware of the environment and sustainability issues.

Hope everyone has every thing they need in the new year!!