If you send an email and no one responds for 12 days and you have asked specific questions that need to be answered because the event happens in 18 days and may involve arrests, seizure of property and who knows what else, what do you do? WWBD? Something considered “annoying” and “counterproductive”, I’m sure.
On Feburary 15th Bruce Wallbaum sent an email in reply to the county regarding “offer” of the extension of the camping permit at Token Creek – originally the people were supposed to leave Token Creek on February 17th, but they extended it to March 17th with conditions. Now March 17th is just 18 days away and they haven’t answered our questions or concerns – as per usual. The county just refuses to communicate.
Here’s the relevant pieces from the email that was sent.
First, we ask that you provide trucks to return belongings to the City of Madison. As you know, there were 4 trucks and a trailer used to forcibly move people to Token Creek and we do not have the resources to provide this kind of transportation back to the City of Madison.
Second, we ask that you take weather into consideration and if there is extreme weather on and/or just prior to the move date that you provide us a bit of latitude.
Third, we ask that if things are still frozen or muddy or otherwise difficult to clean at camp, that we be allowed to return to clean up additional items that may not be able to be removed. We would like to leave the camp in good condition.
First, it is our understanding that on or before March 10, up to 157 additional men will be unsheltered and on the streets due to their having stayed their maximum allotted days (60, generally) in a Porchlight shelter. These additional people will be vulnerable and we have grave concerns about what will quite possibly happen in the weeks between our permit expiration date, March 17, and when the campgrounds open (April 16).
Second, an additional concern is that Occupy Madison has had over 100 people camp with them since leaving 800 E. Washington Ave in May of 2012. This group does not feel it is empowered to make any promises on behalf of others who may be seeking a camping permit at Token Creek next winter. Hopefully, none of the current people at Token Creek will need to stay there next year, but others may, and it is unfair to commit, in their absence and on their behalf that they cannot ask for a permit next winter.
So, what does Brenda do? The website says:
You may contact the members listed below by attending a Park Commission meeting, emailing all commission members, or, in the case of County Board Supervisors, sending them email from their county web pages.
I know sending emais doesn’t work, so I get in my car, drive out in the snow to the Parks Commission meeting – where they, as predicted, refused to put the Wiganowsky resolution on the agenda. And I speak during public comment.
PARKS COMMISSION MEETING
They introduce themselves and the following parks commissioners are there: Bill Lumney (chair), Dave Ripp, Tom Thoresen, Christine Haag, Kyle Richmond, Mary Schlaefer, Daniel Wisniewski
The Parks Chair says “It’s good to see you, I’m glad you came by.”
Again, awkward, blogging myself but I say:
I am here because I am working with a group of people who are staying at Token Creek. And as you know, there was an offer to extend the camping permit until March 17th and we replied that we have no place to go, so we will stay there until March 17th, however, when we did reply, we asked a few things and we haven’t heard a reply back yet. The first thing we are wondering about is that it took 5 trucks and a trailer and $11,000 to move us out there and clearly we don’t have the resources to move everyone back. And we wonder if there will be an resources available to help move us back. (At this point one of the parks commissioners is rolling her eyes and audibly sighing out loud – Mary Schlafer) The second thing we are wondering about . . . I pause to respond to the visible concerns . . . and the concern is that there is more stuff out there than when we started and I don’t drive a truck, I drive a Ford Focus, so I don’t know what to do at this point. The second thing is what if the weather is like this, who do we talk to, would there be an extension until the weather isn’t snowing and slippery, the van didn’t even come out there this morning because it wasn’t plowed. What do we do in that circumstance? The third thing is that we would like to help clean up, we know that when the snow melts it is going to look like a disaster out there. So we are wondering what the process is for us to go out there and help clean up at some point, I’m sure the staff would like to oversee that, or whatever, but we don’t want to leave it a complete disaster, but some of the tents are literally frozen into the ground right now because when the snow melts out there it frozen things right into the ground and we can’t remove them at this point. Plus we have had large loads of wood dropped off out there and I am sure that it will need raking and other things, but we don’t want to make it worse by raking and creating mud and ripping the grass out. We want to do it appropriately but we probably need some guidance out there.
Bill Lunny, the chair of the commission asks how the folks survive out there, his wife and him were wondering because last night was just brutal out there he thought, at least where we were, was the horrendous there?
Konkel says that most of the people there have figured out how to stake down their tents very well, they have tarps over them and then they have electricity, so they have tiny heaters in each of their tents. It’s not great (he says I”m sure it is not) but even in the coldest of weather many of them stay there because someone has to stay there to protect things that are out there, there is not always transportation and there are other issues as well. So, we still have not gotten a response, and that is extremely frustrating to us.
Lunny says that we can, first of call I would ask Darren if he has any response and then if not we will ask him to forward that as soon as possible.
Darren Marsh, Parks Director, says he doesn’t have anything to respond to that this point.
Lunny asks if he can answer some of these concerns at this point as best you can, a lot of this is between the county exec and Darren and not us.
Konkel says, I know, its not your fault, but we’re stuck.
Marsh says we’ll work on trying to answer your questions and we will try to get something to you in a reasonable amount of time.
Lunny says that it is nice for the offer to clean up and that has been one of the issues that are overriding the commissions concern over time. It seems to me it would be reasonable if there are some weather issues that you know, you can’t execute those kind of things and probably the biggest questions are the trucks and the trailers. And I don’t know how that’s . . .
Marsh says he can’t respond to that.
Konkel says its really awkward because there is no place to go, so where are they going to drop stuff off. in front of the City-County Building? I don’t know. I mean, its kind of a ridiculous situation.
Lunny asks if we are working with the County Exec’s office?
Konkel says they don’t return any emails or phone calls or requests to communicate.
Long pause . . . .
Marsh says we will work on your questions.
Konkel thanks him for trying for us.
Lunny says hopefully there will be some long term solutions and we know you are working on it, I really commend you and the people working on it, for your work on the long term solutions, we know this is inadequate at best and we understand that it is not easy to come up with those long term solutions but I’m just speaking for myself now, others can speak for themselves. From the beginning he has thought that what you all have done, has not be necessarily to deal with short term solutions but work to get to the long term solutions which is what I think is really not an easy process as we know. Does anyone want to ask some questions, I’ve sort of been dominating this, anyone have any comments about that?
Long pause . . .
Lunny says thank you and keep up the good work.
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