Well, duh! Who did you think I'd endorse? You know, I think I've done a good job of keeping my political activities out of my blog, but I feel that now is the time to step forward and tell you guys why I feel I am the better candidate.
Let me preface that with a few brief thoughts. Although people are not always happy with how their government performs regardless of which level of government, overwhelmingly I hear praise about Glendale. And I share in that praise. Our fellow residents love the city and the 4th District, and our schools. Glendale shares a strong communal identity unparalleled in other North Shore areas. However, many residents see the need for improvement in some areas, and feel that they are either dissuaded from being able to fully express their concerns or their concerns are overlooked and the status quo is maintained. The common threat is that people want to see a bit more common sense in their leadership. They want the community to be brought together, not torn apart. And they want to feel they are being heard.
From the beginning, I have said that I don't want to change what gets done in Glendale, I just want to change how things get done. But changing the process of deliberation is only part of my plan. The other part is taking action on the issues that matter most to you. And I have listened to you. Since I first sought to be your alderman and started meeting with you many months ago, you have told me a number of concerns you'd like to see addressed. Here they are.
•North Shore Fire Department. It is important that in the future we stay members of the North Shore Fire Department. In the next few years, the common council will have to address various proposals regarding funding upon the expiration of the current 5 year freeze. Glendale deserves someone in office committed to the issue.
•City Services. It's a tight budget time, but we shouldn't be charging people user fees for every duty the City provides. Most recently, the City approved (unanimously) the imposition of a $100 fee for families challenging property tax assessments. Was it necessary?
•Green Space. Sure, we have two wonderful county parks in our area, but that shouldn't mean we should develop every parcel left in the City without regard for the environment. People in my district are also concerned about a portion of the City's master plan (that might not implemented) that would cut a road through our subdivision north of Good Hope Road, increase traffic, decrease safety, and develop a stretch of space east of Range Line Road. Future development should be sensible, and the City should get developers to work for the City, not the other way around.
•Recycling. Compact fluorescent lightbulbs are an important energy-saving device that we should be encouraging people to use. However, recycling these bulbs is a difficult problem. They contain mercury, and only a few locations in the Milwaukee area are capable of recycling them. I propose the creation of lightbulb drop-off points throughout the city where old bulbs can be disposed of without fear that the mercury enters our water supply.
•Non Profit "User Fees". Several months ago, the brilliant idea of charging churches, synagogues, and parsonages a "city user fee" for the value of services that the city provides to these places bubbled up from the Perpetual Springs of Bad Government Ideas. City user fees can be charged under state law, and are not considered taxes if such fees are based on a non-profit's actual use of city services. I think it should be pointed out that many non profit and religious entities already voluntarily contribute such fees. Nothing has come of this proposal so far, and I'd like to think the Council sees this as a universally bad idea. Nevertheless I want to go on record as being opposed to mandatory taxation of our religious and nonprofit institutions.
•Farmers' Market. What better way to instill a sense of community in Glendale and encourage responsible and healthy farming and eating than to have a farmer's market in Glendale? When Glendale's Vision 2021 was formulated, the community expressed interest in a farmer's market. Locally there are few options for fresh produce, open music, and the like. Let's get together and make it happen!
and last, but not least...
•Property Taxes. People feel that Glendale is not the property tax haven it once was, and some residents feel that homeowners are subsidizing businesses. I don't have all the answers, but I have a law degree, some basic tax and accounting knowledge, and a UWM School of Business Certificate in State and Local Taxation. I'll make sure the right questions get asked and that we get the answers we need.
Hope to see you at the polls on April 1st, and if you have any questions, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.