Madison Commons Media Digest, June 30, 2019

Madison and Dane County

Madison may open more parks to dogs, Dean Mosiman; Madisonians weigh in, Olivia Herken, Wisconsin State Journal (WSJ), June 28; City asks public to weigh in, Lisa Speckhard Pasque, Capital Times (CT), June 27. Contract for police in schools heading to Madison City Council July 2; Dane County sees programming potential in housing youth with longer-term incarceration sentences, Abigail Becker, CT, June 24. Madison police use real-time drone technology to monitor this year's Shake the Lake, Adam Duxter, Channel3000, June 29. Community

Madison poised to fund community members to engage youths on Southwest Side, Dean Mosiman, WSJ, June 29. Latino community responds to Supreme Court census ruling, June 28; Census citizenship question could create fear for Madison immigrants, lead to undercount, Abigail Becker, CT, June 25.

The Rising Cost of Living in Dane County is a Key Factor Adding to Poverty in Dane County

The cost of living, childcare, healthcare, education and lack of access to social benefits are the main factors that limit the ability of Dane County residents to get ahead financially, according to people interviewed as part of the DreamUp Wisconsin initiative. The initiative, part of UW-Madison’s implementation of The Alliance for the American Dream, which is a community-university collaboration funded by Schmidt Futures, aims to promote shared prosperity and increase American competitiveness. For people living in poverty in Dane County, unaffordable housing, food, utilities, health insurance and taxes prevent individuals from overcoming financial troubles. It is also hard to find affordable childcare services that have flexible scheduling. Post-secondary education and training, often seen as solution to poverty, are too costly for many and remain out of reach.

Conservative Group Promotes Clean Energy Policy in Wisconsin

As the cost of renewables like wind and solar continues to decline dramatically—by 69% and 88% respectively over the last decade, according to recent analyses—the conversation around energy is changing in Wisconsin and across the country. 

While some groups, like RENEW Wisconsin, have been advocating for renewable energy in the state for decades, a new nonprofit, the Wisconsin Conservative Energy Forum, has also recently begun promoting clean energy policy in the state. The Wisconsin Conservative Energy Forum (WCEF) was founded in December 2017 with the goal of bringing conservatives to the table to discuss the benefits of clean energy for Wisconsin’s economy and actuating the transition through lobbying. The group is part of the Conservative Energy Network, which is also active in Minnesota, Michigan, and states around the country. WCEF’s platform might come as a surprise to some who see clean energy as tied to left-of-center policy proposals like the Green New Deal, but the forum’s director, Scott Coenen, sees a middle ground where the expansion of clean energy aligns with conservative values. Earlier this spring, Madison Commons sat down with Coenen to understand his organization’s perspective on the energy transition.

Madison Commons Media Digest, June 23, 2019

Top Story
Jane Belmore to return to Madison School District as interim superintendent, Logan Wroge, Wisconsin State Journal, June 21. Madison and Dane County
Three new Dane County Board Supervisors sworn into office, Abigail Becker, Capital Times, June 21. Madison seeking community partners to conduct 2020 Census outreach, Abigail Becker, CT, June 20. Madison to consider electric scooter bill implications, Abigail Becker, CT, June 20. Community
Freedom Inc. challenges liberal Madison with in-your-face approach to racial justice, Chris Rickert, WSJ, June 23.

Structural Factors and Stagnating Wages Stop People From Overcoming Poverty in Dane County

The causes of poverty in Dane County are widely debated, with no single consensus existing in scholarly circles to explain it. Individual factors, such as low education, lack of motivation or culture that supports economic instability, play a key role in getting people into poverty and keeping them there. But structural factors like the characteristics of the labor market and institutional discrimination are also central. Lawrence Berger, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor in the School of Social Work and Director of the Institute for Research on Poverty, suggests that in Dane County an amalgamation of both structural constraints and individual-level behaviors drive poverty. “I think we really do know that it is a combination between structural or contextual factors and individual factors, including, part of it is the luck of who you are born to.

Madison Commons Media Digest, June 16, 2019

Madison and Dane County

Dane County vows to move forward after GOP strips Alliant Energy Center improvements form state budget, Barry Adams, Wisconsin State Journal, June 15. Madison City Council adopts changes to neighborhood center funding, Abigail Becker, Capital Times, June 13. Community

A look at the new Eastside Pinney Library, Lisa Speckhard Pasque, CT, June 15. Fire departments from all over Wisconsin staff Madison stations during services for firefighter Todd Mahoney, Bill Novak, WSJ, June 15. Madison getting ready to celebrate 30th Annual Juneteenth, David Dahmer, Madison365, June 13.

People of Color and Single-Parent Households are Most Likely to be in Poverty in Dane County

Single-parent households and people of color are under the greatest risk of being in poverty in Dane County, according to the 2018 State of Working Wisconsin report by the Center on Wisconsin Strategy (COWS). COWS is a national think-and-do tank that promotes “high road” solutions to social problems based around University of Wisconsin-Madison. The report states that wages have been nearly stagnant over the last 40 years and income today is lower than it was in 2000. Poverty in Dane County doesn’t mean that people aren’t working. Unemployment is at 2 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Mifflandia Project Presents Development Proposal at Final Public Meeting

The City of Madison planning team charged with guiding the redevelopment of Madison’s Mifflin neighborhood showed off its final recommendations at the project’s last public meeting June 3 at the Madison Senior Center. The team’s recommendations covered a wide range of topics, from specific proposals regarding building height maps and land usage, to broader ideas about increasing diversity and inclusiveness in Madison’s downtown area. Based on feedback from residents since the project’s first meeting in October 2018, the Mifflandia team flipped the City’s 2012 Comprehensive Plan’s guidelines for residential and business land usage in the area. The new plan reserves Mifflin and Main Streets for residences and concentrates businesses along W. Washington Avenue. The group also proposed a “four-plus-two” height restriction — in which buildings’ street-side facades would be limited to four stories, followed by a “set-back” that would allow building up to six stories farther back from the street — for all buildings from W. Mifflin Street to W. Main Street.