Duane Steinhauer, 59, is one of three candidates looking to succeed retiring Ald. Isadore Knox, Jr. in representing Dist. 13 on the Madison Common Council. Living with his wife in their home adjacent to St. Mary's Hospital since 1974, Steinhauer has been a landlord in Madison for more than 20 years.
He has served on the board for the Broadway Neighborhood Center, represented the Greenbush neighborhood on the South Metropolitan Planning Council, and has worked as a poll worker for many years. Steinhauer is also the owner of the Madison Duplicate Bridge Club, and counts the card game and playing in bands among his hobbies.
A brief interview follows.
The Daily Page: What kind of development along Regent Street would you support, and what do you envision for the neighborhood a decade from now? What about Monroe Street?
Steinhauer:Monroe Street, Regent Street and Park Street are the main arteries into downtown Madison. Commuters use these important streets to get to work. Badger fans travel on them to sporting events. These streets are a vital area for commerce in Madison and need to remain eclectically vibrant.
As the city ages, these streets need to remain as an enticement into the downtown area; they need to mature. This maturity will be found in an increased density of people, if the city can find a way to allow it. Some cities have chosen not to expend city funds on areas similar to ours, instead choosing to rezone the area into a growth district and letting the private sector expand it. This concept has a couple of drawbacks: Madison then micromanages the development and this attitude in turn stifles creativity. Very rarely will a developer, who is spending his own money, enter in to an unprofitable venture in which he cannot make his own business decisions.
You say one of your priorities as an alder would be fiscal responsibility. What are some types of budget amendments that you would offer in order to lower city spending?
Somehow, we need to evaluate every program that we fund. From water to welfare, from trash to schools, we need to know that our tax dollars are being spent wisely. It needs to be addressed before the budget gets written, since putting the budget on paper seems to be like drawing a line in the sand and it's difficult to redefine spending after budget decisions are made.
What kind of transit must the city foster to assist commuters from and passing through Dist. 13?
Most of us use multiple means of transportation. I use a car; I also bike and walk the streets of our district, as do most of our neighbors. Many also use buses and taxis. For the people passing through, buses and cars are the most popular means of transit.
Unless we can provide an enticing alternative option, something that commuters like better or is more convenient, we cannot expect to change driving habits. In Europe, where there is large-scale mass transit, the percentage of riders continues to decline as people gain the ability to use cars. Human nature leads us to follow the easiest route and usually the fastest, and in reality, cars usually fit this solution. Should an expanded mass transit solution be embarked on, we need to be certain it stays 'cost-effective.'
What kind and how much planning should the city devote to developments along Park Street?
Let the public build what they need and want, with the option to grow on these corridors. The city should stay out of the way, with broad choices for building codes. The restrictions that are in place presuppose that we know what will be chosen and what we will need in the next 10, 20 or 50 years. How can we know? Let's focus on the choices we are making now and our current needs, not the ones we will make 50 years in the future.
You say that the onetime city loitering ordinance gave police a tool while patrolling, and that you worked to keep it on the books. What changes would you champion as alder to address crime in the city?
There has been hesitation by some of the police hierarchy in the past to finish the job when rooting crime out of our neighborhoods. The usual scenario goes something like this: get after the problem, full speed, get the crime 80% under control, then move on to another task. The job is never 100% completed. We need to actually see the neighborhood finished before we exit. Our officers on the streets work hard. Let's support the working police and empower them to remove crime from our neighborhoods completely.
Dist. 13 and the parks within it abut Lake Wingra, Monona Bay, and Lake Monona. How should the city approach keeping these and our other lakes clean and friendly for recreation and fishing?
There are already plans in place to improve Lake Wingra and Monona Bay. Monona Bay is being tackled by a University project and Friends of Wingra is working closely with Edgewood. Both projects have huge upsides and the chance for cleaner water is a positive. I would also like to look at restoring parts of each of these bodies to the 1850 condition to monitor the effect. This has been an effective tool in other areas.
Note: Duane Steinhauer is not currently operating a campaign Web site.