Several landlords have invited the mayor to take up residence on our troubled streets so that he can experience firsthand what many of our neighbors must put up with in their daily lives. Some of them extended the invitation/challenge even before - hours before - the murder. [Let the Mayor come to Meadowood.]
In the meantime, Mayor Dave Cieslewicz has made good on his promise to convene a meeting to deal with the "Lord of the Flies" chaos in certain sections of southwest Madison.
The mayor's meeting will be held Wednesday morning - exactly one week after Madison woke up to the news that a 17-year-old boy had been shot to death at Leland and Balsam Roads the previous evening, June 9, on the troubled southwest side. Shortly afterward, three 16-year-olds boys were apprehended and charged in connection with his murder - two of them as adults for first degree intentional homicide.
Some of us, including Ald. Pham-Remmele, saw the trouble coming long agI blogged on May 20, quoting a neighbor, "Unless the police are able to get a handle on the roaming gangs, this summer is going to be bloody." [Going to be a long, hot summer]
The summit meeting will be held in the in the Police Chief's conference room downtown. To my inquiry of the mayor's office, yes, Ald. Thuy Pham-Remmele is invited. I provide a complete list of the invitees at the end of this blog.
What will they talk about? Here is what I hope they talk about. This is my list and my list only. I do not speak for anyone but myself. But this list was developed after extensive contact with my neighbors, elected officials, police and others - and 60 years of life experience. I do want your feedback.
I proceed from these precepts:
- No one is being helped by allowing the current situation to fester - not homeowners or renters, long-time residents or recent arrivals, rich or poor, black or white, young or old. "Mellowing out" is not going to cut it.
- The troubles in Meadowood and elsewhere are a continuum. This homicide did not occur in a vacuum. The filthy language, littering, vandalism, intimidation, drugs, gangs, killings are all part of the same continuous loop. The homicides are only the climax forest - the oaks that follow the aspens that follow the bushes that follow the tall grass.
- Human services and education are important but neither can work until respect, order, and discipline are established.
- Police are but one tool. Citizens must take the initiative to act within the law and common sense.
The action list:
- Appoint Thuy Pham-Remmele to the Public Safety Review Committee and the Community Block Development Grant board.
- Enact a stronger curfew ordinance, including 10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday for anyone under age 18. Currently, Madison's curfew is weaker than Chicago's.
- Send in the surge. Police foot patrols in Balsam/Russett, Park Ridge, and Hammersley/Bettys Lane areas.
- Renew and aggressively enforce the Chronic Nuisance ordinance.
- Train citizens on proper safety precautions and physical interventions. (More on that in an upcoming blog!)
- Promote positive values. Abandon the victimology message. Get the education and faith communities to pro-actively preach empowerment, self-respect, consideration of and responsibility to others - to balance off the over-emphasis on "rights."
- Purchase for the library and made as school-required reading the book, Come on People, on the Path from Victims to Victors, by Bill Cosby and Alvin F. Poussaint, M.D.
- Enact and enforce ordinances prohibiting display of underwear or other obscene gestures, profane language heard beyond three feet; enforce jaywalking, excessive noise and other ordinances.
- Create neighborhood clean-up work details for teens cited for these. Pay participants $3 a hour. Encourage voluntary enlistments.
- Repeal mandatory Section 8 housing.
- Require prospective tenants to show proof of citizenship.
- Require month-by-month leases for anyone on active parole or probation.
- Require Madison Public Schools to cooperate with police; station one officer in Toki Middle School (principal: Nicole Schaefer) and Orchard Ridge elementary (prinicipal: Barb Dorn).
- Come to Meadowood, Mayor Cieslewicz. Take up residence in the 'hood and vow not to leave until victory is achieved. I hear that at least four landlords have extended invitations for the mayor to take up residence here, rent-free.
Mayor Dave Cieslewicz Police Chief Noble Wray Fire Chief Debra Amesqua West District Police Captain Jay Lengfeld City Civil Rights Dept. head Lucia Nunez Alders Thuy Pham-Remmele, Jed Sanborn, Steve King Community Development director Bill Clingan City Grants Administrator Pam Rood Mayoral Neighborhood Liaison Joel Plant Mayoral Communications director Rachel Strauch-Nelson School District Supt. Daniel Nerad County Supervisors Matt Veldran, Melanie Hampton, Carousel Bayrd Meadowood Neighborhood Assn. president Lisa Veldran Orchard Ridge Neighborhood Assn. president Tom McKenna Dane County Human Services director Lynn Green Pastor David Smith Nikki Morris Nancy Priegel Mike Scott Joe Seifert Brian Kruser Dennis Lochner Florenzo Cribbs