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Giffey, David / The people's stories of South Madison
Volume 1 (2001)

Mathew Sloan,   pp. 38-39 PDF (1.2 MB)

Page 39

Greenbush, and the Vilas neighborhood are all about 80 to 90 percent white.
Down in the Broadway-Simpson neighborhood where the city has put $14 million
into Monona Shores
essentially to move people out to put up nice condos, apartments. That was
rape economic renewal for the
people who live there. I would really like to see economic development which
invests in place as well as
Genesis Development Corporation is a good example of marrying places and
people. They want a busi-
ness incubator on the south side. Take over private property, improve it,
bring in local folks who want to be
entrepreneurs. Teach them what it means to build and run a business.
People are complaining about drug trade occurring in the open, or speeding,
or people littering. And they
always follow that comment with, if this were happening in University Heights
the city would come in and
do something about it. And it's true. The Vilas neighborhood is well organized.
I can tell you, get a pothole,
get a branch down, a liquor license application, I get calls. Those people
are organized and they will not tol-
erate certain things. I don't get that so much from here. I think in some
sense that folks here have been let
down because they have called and nothing has happened. I really see as one
of my jobs to convince them
that they don't have to tolerate it. They were talking about not wanting
to let their kids go out and play in
their front yard because of what's happening on the streets, and I said we
really need to call the cops when-
ever that happens. We really need to call the cops. And they said, they just
don't come.
In the last race, I raised $6,000. My opponent raised I think $9,000. We
were by no means the top either.
There was a lot of money spent. That creates another problem for democracy.
There are probably 6,000 people in my district of voting age. Of that, probably
4,000 are registered, and
of those about 1,800 to 2,000 vote. And it's a district that has one of the
highest turnouts in the city.
I'm very interested in seeing businesses that serve neighborhoods. The city
is actually very fortunate in
the amount of economic development tools it has, but it takes a rocket scientist
sometimes to access them,
and then to find people who want to start businesses and hook them up with
this money.
They are taking East Washington Avenue, which is in essence Park Street,
it's the same highway, but
they've got a plan because East Washington is "a gateway to the city."
I don't know about anyone else, but
when I drove to Madison I drove down Park Street. I think the key is the
squeaky wheel, to make sure the
city knows that Park Street deserves the same sort of planning expertise
that other streets get.
The key really has to be that we don't want to raze things and put up strip
malls. That's the complete
anathema to what I think we want in this city, or this neighborhood. Every
eight or nine years the city says
let's do another plan for South Madison. The last one was a vision of strip
malls. And it's just horrific.
Fortunately, like all plans before it, it just got put on the shelf and no
one did anything with it.
Following the census in 2000 we'll redistrict again in 2003. I'm very concerned
with the way the districts
are growing. The downtown districts are going to start looking very strange,
pushing out. I would like to see
this district include more of South Madison.
When you drive between the Beltline and West Washington, you're in Alderman
Bruer's district until you
get to Buick, and then you're in the Town of Madison until you get to Wingra
Creek and then you're in my
district. So I can't work too much on South Park below Wingra Creek despite
the fact that I've got all these
people here who are a lot more interested in the Villager Mall than they
are in the Jiffy Lube.
There's a lot of passion out there, and I think there's a lot of vision.
But the key point is getting people to
invest in that vision and see it as possible. D
39                                  People's Stories
People's Stories

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