Article as it appeared in the Fitchburg Star in November 2014.
Written and carried to doors during the Burke campaign, October 2014
Posted to my facebook page. Re: Ferguson, MIssouri
A friend asked on his page for thoughts on equal justice. I replied:
It is such a challenge to try to understand our incredibly complex society.
In a lot of ways, a smallish percent of the African American community have created a self-fulfilling prophecy of extreme wariness of anyone that looks like them. And in another is a police culture that maintains separation from those communities such that they don't get to know the people in order to break down the stereotypes.
People, including Madison's Police Chief, Mike Koval, that talk about community policing, in which officers are assigned neighborhoods rather than districts, have it right. Get to know the people. Find out that the vast majority are good people, and identify and deal with the bad. Help the good get comfortable interacting with police to recognize that the bad among them can be dealt with.
But, most of all, be willing to take a look at what our society has done to those communities economically. They have no money to save or invest. The "American Dream" comes to shareholders, not hard workers. We haven't given so many people (not just black) the opportunity to pay their most basic bills, nonetheless even consider saving anything. So who is to blame if some look to illegal sources of income to have their version of the dream?
And the economic reality is becoming worse as the well off want an ever increasing share of wealth. Business needs ever more profit to appease shareholders, so they cut product expenses and layoff or reduce benefits to non-management employees. And taxpayers elect people to government that are intent on reducing services and income opportunities to those same people.
Until the well-off wake up to the reality that the poor people live, things will fester until they explode. I'm hoping that they wise up first and install a steam valve in the system. A $10.10 minimum wage is a beginning for those that have a job, but that's only $21,000 gross income. I'm not sure that anyone would think that even that would be adequate. In any case, learning to share is the real answer to what ails our society. Sharing in the form of choosing people over profit in the creation of jobs, among other things, so that everyone that can has the opportunity to make at least $10.10 an hour.
Glad you asked? I'm glad to know that you'd welcome my answer.
Note posted to my facebook page, written for the Jamestown Neighborhood Association's newsletter, but I thought it was worth sharing with a wider audience.
The Dane County Board recently received the results of a space study for the Dane County Jail. Wanting first-hand knowledge of the conditions in the current jail that necessitated the study, Fitchburg Alder and County Board Supervisor Dorothy Krause took a personal two-hour tour with Chief Deputy Jeff Hook this month to add to a recent tour of the juvenile jail and an earlier tour of the Huber facility. She also attended a tour in January of the Scott County, Iowa jail with a number of other County Supervisors and Sheriff's staff.
A major track at the National Counties Association convention that Dorothy attended in July was focused on juvenile justice, which tied nicely with both the jail study and her concern about increasing problems with youth and young adults in our neighborhoods. While there is a recognition that potential problems within communities should be identified and dealt with long before children find themselves in the justice system, the reality is that some children will end up in the system. It is their experience there that determines how well their eventual return to our community will go.
And that brings us back to the jail study. The adult jail was built in the 50's, with an addition in the 80's, using a design that promotes a sense of isolation which reduces the potential for successful reentry into our society. Many inmates have few opportunities for contact with staff, and virtually no opportunity for exposure to the possibility of a better life. Even in group pods there is one big room with stacks of bunk beds at one end and cafeteria tables at the other. People live in close quarters 24/7, and Deputies are charged mostly with behavior management in extremely difficult environments.
During the tour, Dorothy experienced both the crowded conditions of some and the social isolation of others as well as the lack of facilities for education, recreation, or even medical care. She saw how much staff time is required to monitor inmates and she heard their concerns about the aging plant.
By contrast, Scott County designed their jail with an eye toward the day people would be released, and their focus is on preparing them for that day. Even though there are still many inmates in each unit, housing is separated into smaller clusters, with partitions between the cells and the day rooms, where a centrally located Deputy can see into each cell at all times,maximizing human contact while allowing them far more time to interact in positive ways with the population. There is also additional meeting space designed so people can spend time regularly in programming intended to encourage them to make choices that move them toward success within their community.
Even though the price will be high, no matter what options we look at, the value of working with people to encourage them toward good citizenship can not be understated. Whatever we decide, we need to be very intentional about designing a plant that will reduce the overall costs long term, especially to stop paying people that only watch cameras or peek into small windows of solitary cells every 15 minutes. Staff time should be spent interacting as much as is practically possible to provide positive models and help inmates become the best people they can be, regardless of their past or current circumstances. After all, they are literally a captive audience that came from our community and will be returning to us, generally within a year.
While they are in our jail, we should invest in helping to return productive people to us rather than simply locking them up to wait out their time, then releasing people we know will soon be back in the system.In the end, the cost of recidivism is far higher than the price of helping our residents. But first, we need a facility that will provide that capability.
golf course more important than children? <sigh>
My statement to the Fitchburg Common Council... who ultimately voted to keep the golf course
Since moving near the Allied community in 2002, and becoming active in volunteer work within that population of poverty, I’ve become interested in the dynamics of similar communities, to the point that it got me elected to both to my city council position,then to the county board, where I’ve become even more aware of the issues of poverty, including the racial disparities that we’ve been hearing so much about in the news lately. I’m also a named stakeholder for the Arbor Hills Leopold neighborhood plan, which includes the golf course property.
A lot of the disparity issues reach down into Fitchburg to a point where my county board seat, fully within Fitchburg, is one of two majority minority districts in the county.
We know, as a basic rule, that poverty follows minority populations, and although clearly,not all people of color are poor, there are easily enough poor whites to offset those numbers.
I’ve said over and over that I want to live in a society that I can be proud of, one that meets the needs of all its residents, including the poor and undocumented. I realize that I risk the ire of many voters by insisting that I represent the needs of all the residents, not only the ones that vote or are likely to vote for me. And I talk to all of residents, rich and poor, all cultures and races,and all political leanings, so I can learn the needs and desires of all the people to help me in making the best, most balanced decisions possible.
It’s not only a source of community pride to meet basic needs and create a more productive society, in the long run, it’s also less expensive.
Municipalities make decisions about jobs and housing, which are two of the biggest things we should be looking at in meeting the needs of our residents. If we can bring enough of the right jobs to Fitchburg so virtually all the residents that need a job will have one, and if we can find ways to provide housing that is affordable at the wages that those jobs will pay (too often under $10/hour)than a lot less of our tax money needs to be spent on giving them what they need.
But those are even bigger issues than the one we are looking at tonight. .Considering the whole big picture is outright depressing, almost incomprehensible, from my county board perspective.
What we are looking at tonight is simply what we should do, given a community of need, to help provide recreation that is appropriate to the need of the residents impacted. My estimates have apparently been low, I’d been talking about something over 2000 low income people in a very concentrated area, needing productive recreational opportunities, for children, teens and adults. The correct number is apparently over 4 thousand.
As the Health Impact Statement showed, the physical, mental, and social well-being of our population will be greatly enhanced by having quality affordable recreation available to them.
The balance is whether the golf course option will be effective enough at providing those needs. I truly wish the answer was yes. But, having talked at length to the residents of the surrounding community, it is very apparent that they are neither interested in learning to golf, nor can afford even the season permit to be able to golf, if they were interested.
They want,and need, somewhere for the children to run around and play, somewhere for families to picnic and spend time out of doors, somewhere for teens to gather in appropriate ways, and somewhere for adults, including teens, to play sports that are culturally relevant to them, particularly soccer. Disc golf has proven to be a “sport” that ends up appreciated across cultures, and would be welcomed by the community.
The Parks Department has gone to great lengths to determine activities that would be appropriate for the community and, for the most part, I support their decisions,knowing full well that the park map would change as a result of continuing discussions.
One of my biggest concerns in considering an arrangement of sharing the space with the community of non-golfers is that children do not appreciate the care that keeping the golf course in good shape requires. I fear that there would be continued frustration from both sides if children would be allowed on the course for things like movie nights or other suggested activities. That might well be the case even if the community were allowed access to golf more casually than occurs now.
As to the most recent survey, I made no effort to distribute it or encourage anyone to participate in it. I felt as though the way it was presented made it only about money, using inaccurate and misleading numbers. The fact is that Sam has been accepting a personal 25 thousand dollar ($25,000) annual loss, according to a recent statement he made at a committee meeting, and which Scott indicated was also reflected in Sam's financial statements.
It would be presumptuous,and incorrect, to extend that $20,000 figure out for the 20 years that the survey implied. I can’t imagine that anyone but Sam has the passion to continue to do all the work that he does without a decent wage for doing it.
In addition,the survey did not give information about the HIA process or speak of the surrounding community or other background information to enable residents to respond to the survey in an informed way.
And, as has been very apparent, survey results have been manipulated in unethical ways.
Therefore, I personally have discredited the survey and would encourage the rest of this body to do so as well.
4/10 Note posted to my facebook page
Perpetuated Poverty - Breaking the Cycle
The leaders of Fitchburg face an interesting conundrum in the next month. As an elected representative for most of the older urbanized portion of the city, I am all too familiar with the amount of poverty in Fitchburg, largely contained within concentrated pockets within my County Board district. The quandary for the people of the city, especially those involved in city and county government, is what can, or should, we do for people living in poverty in our community?
First, we need to realize that the vast majority of residents in poverty did not choose that lifestyle. They are generally good people stuck in a system beyond their ability to escape or change on their own. If we are willing to acknowledge the problems which perpetuate poverty, we can begin to address them.
One of the biggest problems created by poverty is idle youth. When children do not have appropriate activities, they create their own, often to the detriment of the community. This is a long perpetuated cycle that needs to end.
We need to help parents and youth by providing activities that they are eager to participate in, that are affordable and readily available to them, that our society will generally approve of, and that will distract them from ultimately becoming part of crime statistics in our society.
The biggest area of concentrated poverty is in the Nine Springs area near Leopold School. According to information from the Park's Department, 16.4% of the city’s population live in that area and the area is deficient by 22 acres of parkland.
The conundrum that we have is that there is city-owned green space available to them, but for the fact that it is currently run as a city-owned golf course, used by a comparatively small number of residents.
While I have no problem whatsoever with golfing or golfers, and it is nice that Fitchburg has a golf course, the need for appropriate activity space for area residents should be an overriding consideration in the decision of the best use of this land.
Since our comprehensive plan defines a large area of parkland at the southern edge of the urban service area, we should look at the long-term future of developing a golf course there, one that Fitchburg can be truly proud of promoting. I’ve suggested that thought to many people in the area and it’s been well received.
What is "Progressive" anyway?
Progressive is NOT left of left...
it's a moderate position that looks at the whole picture, and makes decisions based on what is best overall.
The result of the political climate in the county, filtering down to Fitchburg, has caused a massive financial squeeze to be put on Dane County and the municipalities in it. Money doesn't exist to do all that should be done, we have no choice but to pick and choose priorities. I base my decisions on the greatest good.
There is supposed to be a laser focus on jobs in Wisconsin. If we want to get people out of poverty, they have to have jobs that are available to them.
We need to eliminate the pendulums... from the stock market that our whole economy hangs on, all the way though the partisan politics in Fitchburg. Talk about a tall order!!
Door card that I'm carrying around as I make another visit to residents... my third in many/most cases.
As I've talked about my district, the land use map keeps coming up, with the very apparent areas of high density housing (brown areas marked HDR) on both the east and west ends.MDR is generally duplexes. Orange, pink and purple are business, industrial, commercials areas. Each outline is a single lot, including the big lots in the middle, which are all single family. Do not want their tax bill!!
Click the map for a full sized image
Come one, come all, to Dorothy's first ever fundraising event!
As much as she loves getting out to talk to people to hand them a personal invitation, this has been a really harsh winter for spending time in neighborhood's, so she hasn't gotten out nearly as much as she did in November.
Click on each page for a full size image
Moving right along. Below, and linked, is the newsletter that I carried around the district to over 2,500 homes beginning in October 2013. A lot of what is important to me is represented in it.
Click here for full-sized pdf file
And, um, yes, if anyone still wonders, I won my Alder seat once again.
Back to the Alder race. I participated in a candidate forum hosted by a neighborhood association that clearly supports my opponent. I kinda enjoy those sorts of things because they are such ripe opportunities to try to help people understand some of the dilemma's that people who are not as fortunate as themselves can face in life.
I ended up typing out my "thinking out loud" notes and putting them on my letterhead to make copies available for people to take home with them along with copies of a lot of the information that DOT has been making available related to the Verona Road project. Here are my notes:
Click here for full-sized pdf file
Ended up calling off the County Board campaign due to lack of an opponent. Asked my supporters to send their time, money, and energy to the recall campaigns instead. Have been spending most of this year learning Dane County after a year of learning Fitchburg. Lots of water over the dam, much of which can be read at my Facebook page.
Change is in the air... and not just the fall temperatures!
Fitchburg Common Council
District 1, Seat 1
Supports strong neighborhoods, sustainable communities, affordable housing, and more
- Promote old-fashioned walkable neighborhoods
- Demand sustainable practices in area development
- Protect parks and green spaces for future generations
- Encourage local production of fresh foods
- Empower neighborhood associations
- Encourage public participation in all city processes
- Ensure that the people’s voices are heard in city Hall
- Focus on creation of jobs for workers at all levels.
- Advocate for small, local businesses that serve the needs of area residents
- Promote a well-trained workforce that can afford to live and work in our community
- Stay involved in the Highway 151 / Verona Road reconstruction project
- Support expanded bus service, shared taxi system, bike alternatives, etc, in the region
- Encourage neighborhood police officer program
- Improve communications between residents and police, fire and 911 services
- Participate in plans for building new fire stations with expanded training facilities
- Assist in development of neighborhood centers
Working in the community,
for the community,
as a member of the community
Follow me on
Help me get the word out!
to my campaign
Quick links to:
Nice things people have
to say about me:
"Dorothy has been a pleasure to work with. She's actively involved in making the community a better place and brings a wealth of creative ideas to the table. I've thoroughly enjoyed working with her as a community activist, and will look forward to continuing to work closely with her as Fitchburg Alder."
Brian Solomon, Alder, Madison District 10
"I have worked with Dorothy Krause in my capacity as community parish nurse at the Allied Wellness Center for several years. I am continually amazed at how resourceful she is at getting information, and at how dedicated she has been in improving the Allied Dunn's Marsh neighborhood. She regularly attends the Allied Area Task Force meetings, community meals and other neighborhood events and meetings, bringing good ideas and input. Her commitment to the community gardens and all activities that impact a neighborhood, speaks clearly of the passion and integrity in which she would serve as alder. Because I work rather than live in her district I cannot vote for her, but she certainly has my vote of confidence."
"I've known Dorothy since she moved to the Dunn's Marsh neighborhood 8 years ago. Over this period of time she has become more and more deeply involved in community organizations both within the neighborhood and beyond. Because she has attended meetings of all sorts on a regular basis, she comes "service ready" and with a wide knowledge base to the Fitchburg City Council.
"From working on church committees and in the Marlborough Park Community Garden with her, I know that she is attentive to both details and larger issues, is able to express herself efficiently and effectively, and is acquainted with many individuals and organizations in the Fitchburg/Madison area. A good listener, she is also adept at talking to and working with other community leaders or government officials.
"Coming from a working class background, Dorothy isn't afraid of hard work, throws herself fully into projects she supports, and is completely dependable in the obligations she accepts. She has lots of energy and fresh ideas. I know she has a special place in her heart for creating community among people of diverse backgrounds and that she would like to see her district and Fitchburg grow in sustainability."
"Dorothy has demonstrated her singular focus on the good of our community
through her persistent activism in community organizations. It is only
natural that her next step be to take her vision and hard work to the next
level. Our streets, our parks, our neighborhood, and our community are better
places because of Dorothy Krause."
"In addition to leading one of the most successful local Freecycle
chapters on the planet, Dorothy has been a member of the Freecycle
global leadership team and helped get Freecycle.org established as a
international gifting concept as well as the largest recycling and reuse
community on the web. Kudos to her and congrats to Fitchburg for having such a committed local leader. If you figure out how to clone her, let
The Freecycle Network
"Dorothy has boundless energy and enthusiasm for seeking out opportunities to make her community better and the ability to energize others to get involved in serving their community. She is always looking for ways to create common sense solutions to community needs."
"I have known Dorothy for approximately two years, and have been impressed on her dedication to be helpful in very meaningful ways. Her active presence on many community organizations in the Allied area bespeaks well of a hard work ethic. She does not shrink from responsibility. I feel Dorothy genuinely desires to be helpful, and is very able to tackle the business and human issues of being an alder."
"Dorothy Krause's competence, positive work ethic and experience with neighborhood improvement projects makes her an ideal candidate for alderperson. She would bring a valuable combination of networking, problem solving and technical skills to that role".
"I have known Dorothy for many years. She is a very creative and
resourceful person who cares about her neighborhood and the people who live
there. She has many fascinating ideas about how to improve the situation in
the Allied Drive area, networking, creating jobs and food security in the
process. She knows and works with many key players in the neighborhood
(including the local residents)."
"Dorothy is a woman with a big heart, and has ideas and energy to
match her heart. She is a dedicated community activist, giving much
time to numerous causes that have improved the lives of those around
her. She is generous with both her time and her talents, and has good
common sense. She is knowledgeable about community needs and
concerns, and has proven herself to be a hard worker through
volunteer service. I am proud to support her for alderperson!"
Watch for additional content!