Gosh the County Can Be Rude!

Posted November 16th, 2012 @ 7:56 AM by

Is it just me? Or is this lack of responses kinda stunning. How do you resolve a conflict when one party is simply ignoring the other . . . Just so you know, we have reached out to the county, but the standard response is the sound of crickets. I know they think that I am the puppet master and the Occupiers are all my pawns and that they think that I am doing this for some political power grab or something – at least that is what everyone who has talked to these folks is telling me, but shouldn’t elected and top county officials at least reply to their email? Here’s a few examples.

10 days ago

from: Brenda Konkel brendakonkel@gmail.com
to: parisi@countyofdane.com
cc: BRUCE WALLBAUM, “Kostelic, Jeffrey”
date: Mon, Nov 5, 2012 at 4:20 PM
subject: An Occupy Dilemma
mailed-by: gmail.com

Hey Joe –

So, thank you for the support of the warming center this winter. Regardless of how it happens, it wouldn’t have happened without you, so thanks!

Of course, you know its a nightmare trying to site the temporary warming shelter. And, you know that it does nothing for people without a place to sleep at night. And, even tho the Mayor is saying that “city and county staff” (i.e. Porchligh?) are going to find everyone housing, the camp continues to grow, housing is near impossible to find (poor Sina from Porchlight) and its just going to get colder.

My understanding is that if the warming center goes into 827 E Washington, the police and city will make Occupy move. We have a long list of possibilities of where we could move to – they aren’t much of a secret any more and we are being steered by the city to our “next” location – but I’m certain several of the options will make you unhappy.

Wondering if we might get an opportunity to talk with you about our options – assuming you veto and the county board overrides that veto. I’d really like Bruce to attend with me and he’s going to be out of town until next week, so Thursday the 15th, or Friday the 16th work best for us. Any chance that would work?

No response.

5 days ago

from: Brenda Konkel brendakonkel@gmail.com
to: parisi@countyofdane.com,
“Green, Lynn” ,
Tim Saterfield ,
date: Sun, Nov 11, 2012 at 5:46 PM
subject: I think you are being lied to?!

I believe you all are being lied to – you have very bad information if you believe this to be true – facts are here. http://www.forwardlookout.com/2012/11/the-mayor-said-what/16520 (see the second part of the blog). No one is refusing services, at least one has been refused services, but I know of NO ONE refusing services – most are waiting to hear back or to hear about housing. Many are already on waiting lists.


On Sun, Nov 11, 2012 at 5:23 PM, Lorie Walker wrote:
Last night I spoke with a County staff person who called me on behalf of Joe Parisi. He did shared with me that the City and County have interviewed all the folks that were on E. Wash and have now moved to the hill and have offered them the services they need to get back on their feet and address the issues affecting their ability to get housing. The County staff person also told me that a local low-income housing agency has offered to provide housing too, but the “occupiers” turned it down. The County staff person said all they want is to camp in Madison and have a tent city here. So it seems that this is really is not a homeless issue, as options have been offered and rejected. Sadly, this is so unnecessary, people don’t need to be out in the rain, or freezing weather. to possibly become ill or die.
As to the issue of this being a result of the economy, again, my understanding is many of these folks had issues long before the economy dumped and this action is a way to get the City and County to allow them to have a tent city in Madison. I too am all for helping people get back on their feet and have worked with homelessness issues quite successfully in the past. I believe the City and County have acted in good faith to do find services and a solutions, but their efforts are being rejected and ridiculed by the “occupiers” and “advocates”. Now we must use more of our limited resources to deal with a problem that already has a solution.
I would suggest if you are interested in hearing about all the efforts to resolve this situation, contact Joe Parisi’s and Paul Soglin’s offices to hear what solutions they have offered before believing everything the “advocates” and the “occupiers” are telling you about it. There are hidden agendas here and we are the pawns.

No response.

4 days ago

from: Brenda Konkel brendakonkel@gmail.com
to: marsh ,
date: Mon, Nov 12, 2012 at 12:54 PM
subject: fire permit request

I can’t find any place on your website that tells me how to apply for a campfire permit, however, the lovely park ranger and the neighbors have both suggested we request one, so if there is another process for that please let me know. The neighborhood had one recently and suggested that I just need to send a letter.

So, we (Occupy Madison) would like to request a fire permit for Lake View Hill. (I’m still confused about how this is a park since it is owned by Human Services). We have a barrel/outdoor fireplace approved by the Madison Fire Department and they said we could use it in that location and that we do not need a permit from them. We know you are concerned about restrooms and we have been using PDQ which is open 24/7 and the Lakeview Church has agreed to let them use their restrooms as well M – F 8 – 2. Ideally we would like to have a porta-potty. We have someone willing to donate the cost of that, if we can get approval. Additionally we understand that there is to be no alcohol on the site.

Could you please advise about how to obtain such a permit from you, since it is terribly cold in the evenings? And if we could get the porta-potty that would be an extra bonus!

No response.

also this . . .

from: Brenda Konkel brendakonkel@gmail.com
to: parisi@countyofdane.com,
Jeff Kostelic ,
“Wescott, Joshua” ,
Casemy Slaughter Becker ,
“Green, Lynn” ,
“MacKenzie, Marcia” ,
Steven ,
Sina Davis
Stephanie Adams
Ric Schwichtenbe
Liz Falk
Mike Fleenor
date: Mon, Nov 12, 2012 at 5:25 AM
subject: Fwd: First 16 people who have housing?
mailed-by: gmail.com

Joe – I understand that someone from your staff is telling people that people are refusing services (see email below). I am quite distressed by that accusation. People are cooperating and seeking services, please. I only have a few updates on the email that I sent to the mayor on Thursday (first below) which I put in ALL CAPS for ease of reading.

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Brenda Konkel
Date: Thu, Nov 8, 2012 at 9:46 PM
Subject: First 16 people who have housing?
To: psoglin Cc: Steven Schooler, Sina Davis, Stephanie Adams, Ric Schwichtenberg, liz falk, Mike Fleenor

Mayor – here is the list of people at camp and their understanding of where they are at in terms of getting housing. I went to the site at 4:00 today and this is what they told me.

The first 7 people who stayed there the first couple nights.
1. Was told to talk to LIz, and if she didn’t contact this person by Monday, they should call her.
2. Porchlight refuses to work with
3. Can call on Tuesday to activate their application
4. No one has talked to.
5. Has Sina’s card and was supposed to talk to her, “but she never came back”
6. I ddin’t talk to.
7. Left camp, don’t know how to reach. – HASN’T BEEN CONTACTED

They next group of people joined in the first few week
8. Working with Mike – but says they don’t have what he wants or needs (I think there is a longer story here, he says he has a brain injury so its a little hard to tell)
9; I didn’t talk to.
10. Got a two-ride bus ticket, but otherwise has not been contacted
11. Got a two-ride bus ticket, but otherwise has not been contacted
12. Was told to call Sina tomorrow, and she will have news (this person has been number 1 on the Porchlight list for 4 months) – WAS VERY STRESSED OUT, TRYING TO CALL AND NOT GETTING ANSWERS

13. Has had no contact
14. Has had not contact
15. HAS HOUSING! Got into Safe Haven
16. I didn’t talk to.

The next group joined all at once
17. Applied with Porchlight 6 months ago – waiting. Can’t sleep in the shelters – lost job due to lack of sleep.
18. Sleeps at Salvation Army when can get in
19. Applied 6 months ago while in jail/prison – Talked to Sina but hasn’t heard from her since
20. Left camp, went to another city

Later arrivals
21. Joined late because a friend was letting them stay at their house – hasn’t been contacted by anyone
22. No contact with any outreach workers
23. Working with LIz, were told Tellurian would work for them
24. Working with Liz, were told Tellurian would work for them
25. I ddin’t talk to
26. Gave someone their info and hasn’t heard back.

I actually think there are some other folks at camp that I might not have on my list, but this is who is on the list and the order they came to camp.

So, if the first 16 people can be accommodated, they don’t know it. And who the first 16 are is a mystery to me given that people at the end of the list have gotten help and some in the beginning have not.

That’s what I know.

I’m real curious which of these need to be involuntarily committed. I’d nominate one person, but its an alcohol and medication abuse issue. Not aware of any others that are a danger to themselves or others. Curious what you are hearing about these folks.

Plus the previous email above was attached

No response.

3 days ago

from: Brenda Konkel brendakonkel@gmail.com
to: “Green, Lynn”
date: Tue, Nov 13, 2012 at 7:04 AM
subject: working on it

We decided last night to give people a piece of paper to sign with their names and contact info – sadly, I’m finding out that if they have contact info, I already have it – otherwise, they simply don’t have phones and email is unreliable as a means of communication – some only have facebook.

I will be meeting with them again at 8 am and will be gathering the info that I can get – I do have a list of names, but want their permission before giving it to you.

Additionally, no one is planning to move by noon – we just can’t get what you need and move people without more support from the community – most of whom are going to work today, unlike me. I have no idea what the parks department or Marcia plan to do, but its physically impossible with this little notice. It’s really stressing people out at camp and I’m afraid it will escalate some behaviors that we can avoid when people are more stable.

No response.

from: Brenda Konkel brendakonkel@gmail.com
to: “Green, Lynn”
date: Tue, Nov 13, 2012 at 10:48 AM
subject: here’s the first 8
There are about 20 people left to hunt down . . .
All signed that I talked to except 3, two took it with them to think about and the other I need to talk with privately.

xx and xx are out of days at the shelter, xx is about to run out of days. xx and xx have some severe trauma issues related to shelter – I can explain later or help them explain to whomever will be working with them.

xx and xx are banned from shelter.

I don’t know xx;s story.

I will see more people at camp today at noon and again at 5:00 and will continue to gather these sheets. I was hopint ot run into more people at Bubbles or Bethel this morning, but I didn’t. There are several guys named xx and xx and so I don’t have an exact number until I nail down everyone’s last names, but I think it is 30 max. However, there are many “Occupiers” who are still out on the streets – some did not choose to come to this new location. Others were asked not to join the group because of some behavior issues. I’m not sure solving the issues for this group will mean that another group will not spring up . . . sigh. No guarantees. (Believe me, some of us as as worn out by this issue as you, but people are still on the streets.)

What is going to happen at noon?

No response.

2 days ago

from: Brenda Konkel brendakonkel@gmail.com
to: “Green, Lynn”
cc: Andy Hedit ,
Heidi Wegleitner,
Melissa Sargent,
Sarah G,
Sina Davis
date: Wed, Nov 14, 2012 at 1:24 AM
subject: Talking past each other

Lynn –

Just wanted to say thanks for your efforts today. I’m really bummed that we can’t have a better facilitated discussion – clearly everyone getting upset and yelling at each other is getting us no where. I think we all need to take a step back, try to build some relationships and listen to each other. I know the people camping on the hill have an inherent mistrust for people providing services and they are cynical about anything having to do with Porchlight. I’ve been working with them to try to get them to trust that the day center will be different with different staff with different attitudes and I think I have been successful in that – and I’m trying to get them to trust Sina, but that takes time. I barely know Sina. A few visits isn’t going to be enough to have them agreeing to services that they are so cynical about. Especially after what happened this summer with Stephanie.

I didn’t mean to be unappreciative of your efforts today, I was just trying to work through how it would work. xx was brave enough to be the guinea pig and go to shelter tonight. She didn’t pack up her tent or belongings because she didn’t trust that it would work out. She called to say she got in, but only for a week. And I think she has legitimate concerns about having her stuff stored away on the Northside of town, where she has to find bus tickets to get to and then she would have to walk up that hill and I’m not sure if you noticed, she has problems with her knee and struggles to walk long distances. That doesn’t seem like a tenable situation for her.

People are understandably skeptical of agreeing to pack up their things and go to shelter if they can’t be guaranteed that in a week they won’t be back in the same situation. And you, understandably can’t guarantee anything. Plus, people feel really bad about being offered something that others don’t have access to. So, it seems we are kind of at an impasse and I’m wondering if there is anything we can do about that. I think that saying they are refusing services is quite unfair to them. I think that sitting down with people individually, without so many other people around might help. People might be more willing to share information and explain what their concerns are and perhaps we can address them one by one, let them be heard – instead of lighting a fire and tossing it into the mob. We’re not going to get anywhere in public meetings if we are trying to get individuals, with their own stories, into services. However, I do think that a public meeting where you answer general questions and let them know what to expect would be useful at some point. But you have to be willing to listen to the concerns of people and try to address those concerns.

I’m not sure if any of this helps, but I know the way we left things today isn’t good. I think people would be willing to set up appointments and talk with folks, but its going to be a process. Trust won’t be developed over night. And sadly, I think today set us back quite a bit.

No response.

from: Brenda Konkel brendakonkel@gmail.com
to: “Green, Lynn” ,
“Heinrich, Janel”
cc: psoglin ,
Melissa Sargent ,
Heidi Wegleitner
date: Wed, Nov 14, 2012 at 8:35 PM
subject: no medical help
Lynn –

Thanks for the offer of medical help. The person I referred (xx) was called today but the public health nurse couldn’t help. He’s been to the Hut who referred him to a doctor at the shelter but gave him the wrong night to show up. So he has not gotten assistance.

Additionally, XXX who is banned from Porchlight services and can’t get in out of the cold now has pneumonia. I got a friend to pay for a night in a hotel for him, but I don’t think that is going to work for long. He did go to the hospital last night and they sent him out of the hospital with a blood sugar of 400 (it was over 600 when he got there) and pneumonia. They gave him scripts, but he didn’t have the money to pay for the co-pay on them so he waited til today when I could drive him to Access and pay the co-pay to get the medicine. Fyi – Tellurian is sending him an application in the mail to fill out.

Not sure what I was supposed to expect in your offer of assistance from public health, but I thought I’d give you some feedback.

No response to this email, however, after the next email, Lynn did email me separately telling me that the medical issues would be addressed by Public Health, but they haven’t been to visit the camp.

from: Brenda Konkel brendakonkel@gmail.com
to: “Green, Lynn” ,
“Heinrich, Janel”
cc: psoglin ,
Heidi Wegleitner,
Melissa Sargent
date: Wed, Nov 14, 2012 at 8:36 PM
subject: bed bugs in the men’s shelter

I was talking to someone today and it dawned on me, did they check shelter 1, 2 and 3 for bed bugs, or just Grace? My understanding is that the bed bugs may be in shelter 2 (St. Johns).

Not sure if that helps, but it might be part of the miscommunication problem.

No direct response to this email.

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