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.