As a 22-year resident of Madison, I just ask three things of my alderman: 1. Keeps my taxes low; 2. Listens to my concerns; and 3. Keeps my community safe. I’m running for office because my alder has failed me.
1. Keeps my taxes low: My alder’s poor budgeting priorities have contributed to years of property tax increases.
Emergency detentions -- This is a policy that forces our police to take people determined to be mentally unstable to the Winnebago Mental Health facility in Oshkosh, a two-hour drive away in the back of an uncomfortable police car. This policy costs Madison taxpayers $60,000-plus annually -- it forces hundreds of our police officers off our streets sometimes entire shifts, makes our streets less safe, and increases response times for emergencies for you and me.
Voted to spend $400,000 to search for signs of white privilege and implicit bias in the Madison Police Department -- money not budgeted, but ripped out of the city emergency fund. This is not only irresponsible in my view, but damaging to police morale, trust-building in our community, and wasteful to Madison taxpayers.
Under my alder Madison’s debt has ballooned to $44,300,000.
2. Listens to my concerns: When you write to your alder seeking help, you expect to be heard. When a pedestrian was hit by a car and killed crossing my street last year, I emailed my alder asking for help to make my street safer. After not receiving a response, I contacted the city engineering department directly. As a result, we’re making improvements without his help.
When my wife and I spoke out against the city spending $400,000 for a study of our police, my alder ignored our wishes and voted for the study anyway.
3. Keeps my community safe: Public safety is paramount to the success of a community. Every resident has the right to live life in the pursuit of happiness and free of fear. When residents and families don’t feel safe, they move away. I believe to be successful, a partnership of trust must be established between police, community and city leadership.
My alder recently voted against public safety by voting to allow panhandlers to continue harassing motorists on busy street medians.
My alder continuously shows distrust of our police. He voted to spend $400,000 to study an exemplary police department that exceeds policing standards and is seen by many as a role model. He undermined public trust in our police when he stated publicly how he couldn’t see past what seemed like excessive aggression when Genele Laird was arrested outside East Towne mall last year.
This alder has never, not once, attended a single neighborhood watch meeting held every month for over two years in my community. It’s hard to develop a trusting relationship among police, community and city leadership when alders show no interest in working with their community and police!
I believe alders should stand shoulder to shoulder in support of their police in good times and bad. Most of our police officers are outstanding human beings with families, who want to make a positive difference in Madison. I know this; I’ve seen this time and time again. Crimes are solved when the community works with and trusts their police. Alders should set positive examples, showing nothing less than total respect for their police force. For when alders fail here, they fail all of us.
The winning formula for any community to succeed includes trust in its police. We should be encouraged to work with them to keep our communities safe. I know this works from years of working with our police in my neighborhood. Building trust, and working together with the community, is the best way to keep our neighborhoods safe and our property values rising.
I will be the alder that does it right. Lower taxes, safer communities and listens to constituents!