Yeah, still no legal place to go. Marsha Rummel was the only one who spoke up at the council meeting on Tuesday, not ONE county board supervisor spoke up last night after our testimony. (But Heidi Wegleitner wasn’t there – she was in Texas doing a presentation about housing issues in Madison to the American Bar Association. And David Wiganowsky introduced his resolution allowing and extension earlier in the evening.)
LEASING LAND TO FARMERS FOR PLANTS OK, BUT NOT FOR PEOPLE
This was an item where we spoke about the impending February 17th deadline for people to move from Token Creek Campground. The issues was renting 69 acres of land for 3 years for $10,360 and another piece of land of 9 acres for 3 years for $1,350 – so why not find some land to rent to Occupy? Especially at those prices! Remember, the county spent over $11,000 to remove people from Lake View Hill and dump them at Token Creek – plus another $5,000 on transportation – they could have been making that much money from us instead. And, at the moment, it looks like they will have to spend that amount again to remove people from where they dumped them . . . the question is, where will they dump people and their belongings this time?
Brenda Konkel – (awkward) – Good evening, I am here because i noticed that you are leasing 69 acres of land for $10,360 for a 3 year period of time as well as a 9 acre piece of land for $1,350 dollars for a 3 year period of time. And That intrigued me because of the issue that Supervisor Wiganowski was talking about earlier which is we have 10 days before the campground permit out at Token Creek expires and we have no place to go. I apologize for hijacking the meeting and using this opportunity to do this, but it is the only way to get in front of this body because this issue has not been taken up by the body. And I am here to tell you that we are literally out of options, we have no legal place to go, at all. I am going to court tomorrow for my ticket from Lake View Hill. Two of us still have tickets, the rest of them were all dismissed. But two of us are the lucky ones that will be made an example of. We have no legal place to go. We were extremely hopeful about getting a building, people are probably wondering what happened with that because it did make the news, and I think because it made the news, basically someone else has an accepted offer to purchase on that building. So that option is not going to be available to us. We have looked at other options and other buildings but nothing will happen before February 17th in any reasonable type of timeline. As a result, we are also losing out opportunity for a loan that we could have potentially had to purchase a building. So, we tried really hard, that is what I am here to tell you. But we just ran out of options, we ran out of time and for people who are camping out there there stuff is all now frozen to the ground because of the thawing and the freezing- I don’t know that they could physically move on February 17th even if they tried – simply because of the freezing. So, I don’t know, I would actually ask that we get the opportunity to go back and help clean up after it thaws a little bit, if at all possible because we don’t intend to leave the campground a disaster but if forced to leave on the 17th it is going to look like . . . a disaster, because there simply won’t be a way for us to clean up without the snow melting first. I guess what I am here to ask about is – got any land you can rent us? We have $11,000, is there some sort of creative solution that we could come up with? Could you lease us something? What we are looking for, basically, is allow us to get a fire permit, that was part of the problem at Lake View Hill, we were not allowed to get a fire permit. Help us or allow us to install electricity and water and help us apply for a campground permit. We can take care of the rest of the expenses if that is what it comes down to, but between February 17th and April 16th when the campground open we have no options and we’re desperate at this point, I don’t know what folks are going to do, its still pretty cold out, not everyone can get into the shelters, some can, but not all of them can get in to the shelters. So, I guess we are just asking for your help – any ideas you come up with we’re out of answers, there is no legal place to go, all it will do is result in tickets, so, short of camping in your lobby, we don’t really know what to do. We don’t really want to do that, I don’t think. But, our options are gone. I”m just here to beg you for some sort of a solution.
Allen Barkoff and he is speaking tangentially to item I4. This item is leasing cropland for $10,000 dollars a year (wrong), this is almost as much as it cost the county in a couple of hours to move people from the Northport site where people were staying out to Token Creek, that was an incredible waste of money, the county could be wasting as much money again and he will speak to that in a moment. The county has really been acting like a Clint Eastwood movie, there has been good things coming from the county in terms of the homeless, there have been bad things, and then there have been some very ugly things. First the good, the warming shelter that Dane County is funding is turning out to be really good, it is certainly a vast improvement over the Don Miller site last winter, the day center that is being proposed to open next November is something we are really looking forward to, to improve conditions for the homeless, and the next good thing is, I guess, sort of good, the van that is transporting people from Token Creek, to and from the city. And what I read recently is the plan to use $250,000 to create a homeless cooperative for people and this is the sort of thing Occupy Madison has been working on, as Brenda Konkel alluded to. Next I want to talk about the bad. Not funding the van for weekend has really placed a hardship on the people at Token Creek and not providing transportation for holiday, this leaves people stranded out there with nothing but the scenery, and they can’t get to town unless someone is willing to drive out several miles to take them back and forth. Some of the people need to take them to medical appointments and this presents a real hardship, not only a hardship, but a real danger to people’s lives. The county is demanding that people at Token Creek leave by February 17th and they really have no legal place to go within the city or the county, the only option is really to leave the city and the county and find someplace else, which is what some officials, I suppose, would like to see. The city is refusing to help them, they can solve the problem, and its not that difficult but they are refusing to do so, so we are asking the county at this point to step up and help the people out. Some of the people out at Token Creek are banned from the shelter for life, some of the others are banned for various periods of time for various infractions, many of which are really due to no fault of their own. Also the people at Token Creek don’t want to use up their 60 days at the shelter because that is all they are allotted for the entire year. And some don’t feel safe there, they feel safer out at the campgrounds as inconvenient as it is. The folks out at Token Creek just need two months at an acceptable location, as difficult as it has been at Token Creek this winter, the folks would rather stay there. I have had regular contact with them, since they have been out there. I am not aware of any problems that they have caused for the surrounding community. The only problems have been due to the weather. Now for the ugly part, and I will go real fast, because I know you don’t want to hear ugly. What the county did in spending $11,000 in a couple hours to move people from Northport to Token Creek was equivalent to a drug raid on dangerous criminals. This was not only shameful, but it was cruel. Location deprived them of much community support and left them at physical risk.
Time is up, he asks for 15 seconds, they allow it.
Barkoff says, “Allow them a decent place to live.”
Russel Albers – He is from Token Creek, he stays out there, I know we have a deadline for the 17th, and just like from NOrthport, it cost $12,000 to move us, knowing we could ask for an extension, so between the extension and what you people think, save the money and give them an extension and we can get more things done. People are going to the warming center, they are getting jobs, they are getting section 8 and section 9, their social security income, their applications going, there is a computer lab and a lot of things are working out for everyone but it is just not enough because there are so many people there that need more help and its not fair when people can only stay in shelter 30 days of the year and then come back the next year and file and application and for the men that is 30 days out of the year, if seeking work can stay another 60 days so that is three months of the year that you can stay at a shelter and then what do you do for nine more months out of the year if you are trying to work and save money but can’t get a place. There really is no other business out there, there is the Hospitality House over by Brooks St. but that is on an application waiting list, helping us out by giving us an extension would help us out a lot because it would give us more time to get a job, section 8 or 9, social security income, waiting for applications to be filed, sometimes it takes up to a year to get accepted but knowing you are qualified it is not fair to the people who are waiting. Between churches and businesses there are a lot of donations coming in, between the warming center and community center and there is a lot of support here and they are helping us out, but there is not enough because there are just too many people, there needs to be more places for people to go, to get jobs, to seek applications for places, people need more help to get things done. A lot of people can’t move or get to place and its just not fair to a lot of people because they look at it as I am on Section 8 or 9 or social security income but I still can’t get anywhere but I have income but I want low income housing but I am waiting on an application to get approved. And there is just a back log, a lot of applications from a lot of people and its really not fair to everyone knowing that they are qualified but knowing that they have to wait and I guess the real issue is people need more time, I am on the board for Madison Occupy and we are doing fundraising and our goal is for June to have a building and that didn’t work out somehow and we are trying to do monthly fundraising and we want to keep going to get a building and we want to start allowing people to save up to 6 months or a year and then get their own place from work or section 8 or 9 or social security income and there are not a lot of places out there that are working together or trying to help each other out. Look at it as if the city could help us out, by donating money or land to a nonprofit or business to help the situation out more – it would help everyone, we would be solving a problem that – no one is sleeping where they want to any more.
Bruce Wallbaum – I have a little more to add, Brenda sort of pointed out where we are at, we looked at almost every option, we have done land searaches, public land searches, private land searches, public building searches, warehouse searches, other searches, lease searches, we were close, but it failed. Also, thanks Lynn, meeting on Monday, hopefully constructive solution will come out of that. Wanted to point out that we talked about creatively finding a piece of land, maybe that the county owns. I you look at what progressive cities, and I kinda hope we are still a progressive city and county, in places like Eugene, Seattle, Portland, they are all building villages that are not – they are better than tent cities but not permanent hosuing. He has family out in Oregon and he wants to go look at Dignity and Opportunity village. Occupy Eugene and Occupy Madison followed almost the exact same path. He has talked to people there that came to town when they were on E WAshington. The paths started out the same, it was a big protest, the focus narrowed and it ended up being a struggle and ally with the homeless. And then Occupy Eugene turned it in to – we went after housing, but we also had this in the back of our mind, to look at a village that hs nice and clean and beautiful and has a garden. He encourages to type in Opportunity Eugene and take a look at what they are doing out there. Lastly, he wants to thank, the idea of cooperative housing is something we were trying to do and maybe with the county involved we can make it happen. A lot of the solutions don’t come down to a money issue. We are not asking for money, it comes down to creative lifting of barriers by the county. We are not asking to write us a grant or give us money, there is a group of at least 40 or 50 people who would jump into action if we could revmove barriers – we could make something happen that are pretty neat and creative.
Ronnie Barbett – He just came from a meeting of the CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) committee across the street where he is really happy that they approved the resolution for $10K more to Salvation Army for families, women with kids because they are having a problem putting people out on cold nights. They are overflowing and and people are sleeping in the hallways and this money will help people with the voucher thing – they can stay in a hotel when it is cold. there are very few spots for women to go to. He wants to speak in general, since he came to this city he has seen all kinds of people homeless, he was at United Way at the Homeless Service sconsortium the other day, that meeting is where all the homeless organizations are working together. They netorwk and they say what is going on, even if there is nothing going on they actually report nothing is going on. They are dealing with homeless issues and hoping that is what you guys are doing. Basically, they showed a documentary about MRFY (Make Room for Youth), so there are homeless tean-agers out there too, run-aways from our homes, they show statistics on the teenage problem. The homesless stay in parks, under bridges, inside the shelter and Salvation Army, and it seems like you are doing everything according to a season, Feb 17th is deadline for Occupy Madison, only 20 – 25 people, and they will end up around the square, State St., Memorial Union, around the capital, people will be out on the streets like before, you have heard me say it before – all the camping gear will be sitting around, cops will hate them again, the money spent on that is something to think about when the daytime warming center closes its doors until the permanent one comes, that is 7 months until that opens, so guess where they are going to be, back around the square, State St, panhandling, in the way of the students, tourists, you heard the story before, you know what is going on, there is about 50 people sleeping on the square at night,so we are going back to doing that because the day center is shutting down, but you have the option of the beautiful plan the homeless issues committee is working on for the permanent day resource center, you can have 365 day 24 hour permanent shelter, during the night they could sleep downstairs, during the day they could have the day center upstairs where they could get jobs, housing and a permanent solution – I’m just talking here because there are 150 back out on the streets in March going into April, and its not just, it will be nice spring weather and you will have all these people back out in your neighborhoods, you need to look at the funding, so it stretches out a little more, there are all kinds of homeless out there.
Carousel Bayrd is chairing the meeting, she tells Ronnie he has 1 minute.
Ronnie says he won’t need that, he just needs you people to realize there are all kinds of homeless out there and when they run out of funding or run out of options, then at the last minute, just like the cooling center, you spent all kinds of money on Monona
terrace, they spent 11K to pack but everyone’s gear and take it out to token creek, 11K, so at the last minute you find money youare arresting people, you are giving them tickets for uninration in public and giving tickets for trespassing and peole are sleeping in front of the doors and they don’t have no money to pay, you are making it harder for the homeless, you are punishing the homeelss, you are not looking out for them good enough, you are doing a really good job, but you need to do more
Ed Kuharski starts out by acknowledging Ronnie Barbett – earlier you had a resolution to spend $1000 to increase security at Rainbow, he is doing that daily, Roonie is the door person and a main peace keeper, a volunteer, he lives near hear, illegally, he has a dwelling improvised but it was taken in the last cold snap. Someone complained, they broke their promise, not to take his stuff, now it is in the landfill, now we have to resupply him with stuff. All the public expenditures are to make it worse, all of our lives worse. He was thrilled about coop housing initiative, he wants to talk about implementing things, this measure he is speaking to says other than recreations opportunities are supported by our parks department does, he asks them to rethink the mission of the parks department. It’s ok to include essntial living or camping or a village like in Portland, Seattle, Eugene, these are scucessful models, they are self-help models, they are restorative models, they are a safe zone where people are not kicked down by rules and policies and actions that we have in our communities that have that effect, like what happened to Ronnie last week. Why was his stuff not guarded, its because he was in a church set up by Dorothy Krause that helped provide 5 consecuritve nights in emergency housing, we as citizen are trying to step up and fill the gaps in the official public supported and funded nonprofits – as a partial solutions to our problems. We ask that at least you don’t undermine our efforts, the stuff that Ronnie now has is supplied by volunteers, if we did not have to replace his stuff we could give it to someone else needing it, so we need fiscal responsibility . . . lets not have needless waste and fill the landfill with usable products. I know it is partly city, partly county, it is partly just our culture. We have an incomplete part of the civil rights movement we are seeing here, there is great parallel here about how it was to be black and then to be a public official speaking up for blacks in Selma in 52, that is what i am seeing play out here, it is not safe for some elected officials to stand for homeless because they will be exited from their support groups, we saw that happen in the south and people had the courage to stand up and it can happen here, I think it is happening here, we see the forces of society that are all off protecting their interests. We tried to site this facility on Fordem Ave, near a great concentration of wealth in our community and that great concentration of wealth found a way to take that opportunity away from us. They took it away from all of us, we need changes to rules. He would like to see an open housing ordinance that addresses homelessness and the ability to site homeless facility or transitional housing facilities. He already talked to the city council about that. We were one of the first in the nation to have an open housing ordinance, Marshall Erdman, his former boss, helped Carson ??? get the rights to live in Crestwood instead of where curbs and gutters didn’t exist because you should have a choice and we got that in Madison in 62 and we are not done. He would like to see city and county implement it, you passed the Housing is a Human Rights resolution, he wants them to put teeth in it. Talk to the parks department about broadening the mission, we are not in good times now, it is the obligation to take care of all of us.
Bayrd asks if anyone has questions of the speakers.
crickets . . ..
Bayrd says the motion is adoption – EANR and Peronnel and Finance recommend adoption.
Bayrd calls for discussion.
crickets . . .
eanr and p and f
Bayrd calls for the vote, it passes unanimously on a voice vote.
And they move on . . .
crickets . . . we have a bunch of crickets on the county board! I propose we call them “Cricket” instead of “County Board Supervisor” from now on. i.e. “Cricket McDonell” (just picking on him cuz he’s no longer a supervisor, but instead the clerk.)
WIGANOWSKI’S INTRODUCTION OF RESOLUTION TO EXTEND TIME AT TOKEN CREEK
This item was circulated for people to co-sponsor and will come back to the board . . . at some point after February 17th. It’s too late, and its only advisory to the Parks Department and Commission.
He is introducing a resolution tonight involving the Token Creek Park and the campers, or the encampment, its been called many things out there. The county moved them out there, I say county because we as a whole physically dumped them out there without letting the officials know, there has been probelms out there, they have had problems out there and they have created problems out there. It’s somewhat of a mess, but right now there is no plan in place and Dane County always tries to plan ahead, the are required to be out of there by the 17th of February which I don’t see happening unless the county loads them up and dumps them somewhere else again. So I am afraid it is just going to cause another problem in another area that we are shifting, I am introducing a resolution and obviously it is probably not going to get through committees before we can do something but with the hopes that the parks department will look at it, and hopefully we can come to some conclusion about where these people can go before we create another problem in another area. The sheriff’s department has been out there many times, most of the constituents in the Town of Burke have accepted that they are there, but there is a lot of work to be done and unless we have a place to put them we are just going to ship another problem to another location like we did when we moved them from Lakeview Hill to out there. So this resolution is asking them to sign on, to give them a little longer until we have something in place and hopefully the parks department will recognize that and extend the time until we can get a plan in place.
Well, ok then. Our biggest ally . . .
There is a meeting with the county set up for Monday . . . which will be 6 days before we would have to move. No one is hopeful anything will come out of that given our past experiences, but this is the first time they have agreed to sit down and meet with us face to face. To discuss and have a dialog. So, that is some progress, but is it too little, too late.
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