Turned Away at the Door at Public Safety Review Committee

Posted February 15th, 2017 @ 7:54 AM by

I know of at least 10 people who showed up to the Public Safety Review Committee to comment on the Mayor’s sit/lie ordinance to kick people off the top of State St. if they are sitting or lying on the sidewalks at Veteran’s Park. I stayed to find out what was up, here’s all I can tell you.

First of all, when I made the Facebook post and sent out emails about the ordinance yesterday, I was super annoyed that half the committee members don’t have emails to contact them. So when people ask what they can do to support if they can’t make the meeting, I honestly didn’t know what to tell them. They currently have one vacancy and then 6 “citizen member”s in addition to 3 alders. Only 2 of the “citizen member”s have emails listed on the website.

Second of all, I was confused about why the meeting was held at the library, so I asked one of the committee members earlier in the day. I was told it was because they wanted to have meetings out in the community and be more user friendly to the public. So, later that night when I remembered that conversation I had to laugh, MASSIVE FAIL!

Anyways, did you know the central library had a conference/community room on the first floor? I didn’t. So I found someone I knew and followed them to the meeting room. As we were walking towards the room, John Terry (candidate for the 8th district) was walking out and told us the meeting was cancelled. Hmmm . . .. That didn’t make sense to me since the committee was mostly all there and didn’t appear to be leaving. We were promptly greeted at the door and told that the ordinance would be referred and practically physically barred from getting a sheet to sign in to speak. I walked back out and then thought, screw this, I’m going to stay and see what they say. I walked back in the room and 4 of us stayed to hear what was going on, including John Terry who came back when he saw we all sat down.

Dan and Maria Milstad, landlords at the top of State St. were complaining were the only opponents to the ordinance who showed up and they were upset and complaining to Alder Paul Skidmore who headed them off. “What are we going to do, wait til spring or July 4th before we do anything”. Skidmore said it wasn’t his call.  They left.

They called the meeting to order, asked for public comment for items not on the agenda. There were no disclosures or recusals and they introduced the Assistant Chief of Operations for the Fire Department.

The chair (Deb Julian?) says “So, we have a little situation with the rest of the agenda”. She says that the mayor requested that they refer the ordinance to the next meeting, Gloria (Reyes, Deputy Mayor) was not able to attend, they are working on “different wording” and “more substantiation” . . .then she pauses and says that she should probably read exactly what Gloria said to her. She said she got an email at 2:00 today that said “I would like to refer the sidewalk ordinance to the next meeting, we are doing alot of work on activating that space, so they’d like more time to solidify their plan.” So that is the situation there.

Paul Skidmore moves to refer, someone seconds. The chair asks for discussion on referral (its not debatable under Robert’s Rules) Skidmore says he was made aware today that DMI is working on ??, they are having a meeting, I think this week, on activation of that space for use so that does corroborate what is going on in the mayors office.

The chair asks what “that space” refers to.

Skidmore says “ground zero”, 30 on the Square.

The chair says at the top of State St. She says 30 on the Square is where the Veteran’s Museum is at the top of State St. where there are two little “things”. So they are working on a plan to . . . well, as she says, “activate” that space.

Another committee member (Maragaret Anderson?)  asks what does “activate” mean?

Skidmore says “we’ll know when they tell us”.

The chair says “I guess we’ll find out next month”

There is no further discussion, they vote to refer to March.

I ran into library staff (the fabulous Rob Dz) who had directed other people back to the room who had left, ran into other people on the street who had attempted to go to the meeting and heard from others via email and facebook that others had tried to attend. At least 10 people I counted . . . probably more.

So, the members of the PSRC are:
Amanda Hall – district3@cityofmadison.com
Barbara Harrington-McKinnney – district1@cityofmadison.com
Debra Julian – dfjulian@aol.com
Ernest Horinek
Margaret Anderson
Mary Anglim
Paul Skidmore – district9@cityofmadison.com
Shonita Skinner
Syed (John) Mustajab Abbas – jsabbas12@gmail.com

The staff is Emily Hardiman (took me forever to find her name, but it is here) It was suggested that if we can’t email the group, we should just email her and she’d have to pass the emails along and add them in legistar perhaps? Her email is ehardiman@cityofmadison.com if you want to contact committee members.

The legistar file is kinda screwed up, so I had to confirm with the clerk, but they said

45546 was referred to:
PSRC (lead referral)
Downtown Coordinating Committee
City-County Homelessness Issued Committee

There is nothing in legistar about the other committee actions. I honestly forgot what the Homeless Issues Committee did when it was on their agenda, then I remembered they referred because the Mayor’s office didn’t show up (again).

Downtown Coordinating Committee meets this week, but it is not on their agenda. They do have emails. As does the Homeless Issues Committee Which has 3 vacancies . . .

So, stay tuned?

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