For the last two years I’ve had the pleasure of being the alder for the 8th District, which encompasses most of the UW campus and undergraduate student housing. Many of my constituents are voting for the first time and I’ve had the opportunity to be their first interaction with local government.

Building a safer campus is my highest priority for students. During my first term as alder we experienced a shooting on University Avenue. A few weeks later, a prominent member of the UW football team was attacked. These incidents created national news stories and reflect poorly on our community. In response, I supported an additional $50,000 for the Downtown Safety Initiative and focus greater emphasis on our neighborhood resource teams. These financial resources were used to place additional officers in the downtown during peak hours but also focused on the socio-economic issues impacting our community.

Our campus faces new challenges with heroin traffic, gang activity, and pockets of serious poverty. As a result, we are seeing more muggings and violent crimes on State Street, and increased burglaries in the Spring Street neighborhood. Short term, the Madison Police Department must maintain a high profile past bar time to ensure students return home safely, and we must continue lighting our neighborhoods. Long term, we must develop solutions to curb poverty, create more opportunities for youth, focus on substance abuse and gang activities, and establish long-term partnerships with community groups that also focus on building a safer downtown.

Safety also extends to housing protections. As a former UW-Madison student, I have seen landlords take advantage of first-time renters. The leasing cycle for a majority of residents in District 8 starts with misleading advertisements as early as October. Students are often unaware of their rights as tenants or proper recourse when their rights have been violated. I have been instrumental in passing a new lock ordinance to protect residents from break-ins and highlight housing laws to student renters.

Students also demand a modern City Hall that reflects the advancement of the Web. I spearheaded and passed the nation’s second open data ordinance. Through open data, any information that city employees collect is made available to the public. This promotes transparency and efficiency while providing new opportunities to our programming creative class. Furthermore, over the next two years I want to focus on expanding our city’s infrastructure and work with private partners to expand Internet access into all households and make sure every child has access to a computer.

Leadership requires active participation, thoughtfulness and respect. Every colleague of the current council, representing a range of viewpoints from moderate to liberal Democrat and Progressive Dane, has endorsed my campaign for re-election. This is due my commitment to Madison. It has been an honor to serve my district and the undergraduates of my alma mater. I will continue moving Madison forward.

The online article can be read here: http://host.madison.com/scott-resnick-city-council-candidate-for-district/article_ad45b613-fcba-5fcb-a257-8b07899d1c5d.html

 

One of my proudest achievements as District 8 alder has been my focus on campus pedestrian lighting. Over the past two years I approved over 65 new lights across campus, and over the next two years I plan to introduce additional lighting on Brooks Street, Charter Street, State Street on Library Mall, and the remainder of Spring Street. Here, I hope to cover my track record on campus lighting, and history of efforts on campus.

Ten years ago, lighting was not a high priority for campus alders. The State-Langdon and Spring Street neighborhoods were relatively dark with the exception of overhead street lamps. In mid 2000′s, campus Alder Mike Verveer began a campaign to light the 4th District. Since then, Verveer has continued the aforementioned pursuit of better on campus lighting, with great results.

In 2007, newly elected 8th District Alder Eli Judge started the same campaign.  He championed the Downtown Residential Lighting Initiative that provided matching funds for new private lighting. Following his term, District 8 Alder Bryon Eagon added upgraded pedestrian lighting with new reconstruction projects. Funding for these projects was often controversial, as property owners were assessed for the additional costs for the lighting.

Once taking office in 2011, I expanded on Alder Eagon’s lighting philosophy. While his improvements were limited strictly to Langdon Street, I used Alder Verveer’s arguments to spread pedestrian scale lighting throughout campus neighborhoods.

The first of these projects occurred on Mendota Court and Lake Street. Crimes were relatively high in the area, and MPD would often have to park a squad car at the end of the street to provide adequate protection from drug and criminal activity. Additional density added to the block coupled with new pedestrian lighting has helped turn the block into a success story. Furthermore, I was able to work with three property owners and the UW to raise enough money to underground the overhead wiring for both blocks, improving the atheistic look of the neighborhood.

My second major project involved North Frances Street. The block was facing issues with heroin trafficking,  evidenced by used needles littering the lakeshore. In this instance, we added pedestrian lighting and rebuilt the path towards the Lake. Working with staff, this space can now be used for positive activity and permits easier access for law enforcement to patrol.

The most widespread lighting project during my term covered Spring Street and Orchard Street. On these four blocks I added 28 pedestrian lights. City staff was opposed to the additional lighting and claimed that property owners would be outraged over the additional assessment caused by the lighting – $196,000 to be paid over the next 15 years. However, at the public hearing not a single person spoke out against the project, and as one landlord told me afterward, “I could not find a reason to oppose strong public infrastructure.”

During the next few weeks, I’ll be battling with City staff again. This time it will be over lighting on Brooks Street. Again, I will be arguing that new density combined with profit margins for student dwellings justify the additional lighting. Public hearings will be posted, and I’ll again encourage students to speak out on the issue.

In the years prior to my term, campus would see one or two blocks lit with each alder. However, in almost two years I have illuminated a mile of campus. This was no easy feat, and required hundreds of hours of negotiations with city staff and landlords.

Also, the “illuminated mile” doesn’t count lighting plans I’ve also requested with new building projects. New lighting has been added to the pedestrian path connecting Mendota and Langdon, and along the bike path next to the Charter Street Heating Plant. No project has been approved without specific discussions on lighting, environmental safety concerns, and security.

Now, pedestrian lighting is not a definite solution to campus safety. Crime occurs under lights, and we still need police officers to protect students. However, it does create a sense of security that encourages pedestrian movement, and I do believe in campus is safer if more students are moving about on foot.

I am proud of my record regarding campus lighting. In two years, I’ve added almost half a million dollars in new infrastructure and illuminated a mile of campus. In future posts, I’ll discuss the role the City Council plays in UW lighting policy and lighting along the Lakeshore nature conservatory.

 

Development is a regular topic for the City Council. A big construction project may require 10 hours per week in neighborhood meetings, conversations with staff, and various City meeting over the course of a month. Controversial projects like the Edgewater may have hundreds of meetings over the course of years. However, a majority of projects require a few neighborhood conversations and two City meetings – and project is approved.

It is my belief that an alder is a moderator in the development process. We are bound by zoning laws, and it is our job to interpret the development process for my constituents. It is my job to make the neighbors aware of the potential redevelopment, lead neighborhood meetings, and advocate behalf of my district to developer and various regulatory bodies.

I believe that the development process should be inclusionary, where all parties, neighbors, and developers (and in the case of the downtown, the UW), can freely speak about projects early and often. The best projects often include conversations were the developer approaches the community prior to the design process, and request feedback from neighbors. Often these projects are passed without any controversy.

However, most the projects that students read about in the papers are the ones where the developer and the neighborhood cannot agree. Sometimes that is due to the developer being uncompromising on their project (and often this leads to a rejection at Plan Commission). Other times it’s a neighbor not respecting the established zoning or willing to accept a change within the community.

In these cases, I approach the development with a balanced approach. For example, if the landlord has run their previous building into the ground and failed upkeep, I am more stringent.  I look for positive amenities for students such as bike parking, green roofs, security, balconies, community space, and large windows. I review the public safety record of the properties, sustainability, density, and massing, and come to a conclusion.

One of the best examples of my approach was for 640 N Henry. To summarize, the neighbors from the co-ops and fraternities spoke out against the original proposal submitted for that address (the designs looked like a cheap aluminum box on top of a three story building). The project was rejected in committee. After working with the developer and neighborhood leaders for nearly six months the project was resubmitted with a new design that received practically unanimous support.

I cannot speak for the entire downtown, but I am proud of my track record in the district, and hope to continue inclusionary develop strategies once reelected.

The boathouse attached to 640 N Henry Street

 

Unprecedented majority representing all political wings of the Council endorse Resnick, citing his experience and accomplishments for students and residents of downtown Madison

MADISON, Wis. — District 8 Alder Scott Resnick has been endorsed for the 2013 spring election by a vast majority of the Madison City Council, including council leadership and his fellow campus alders.

City Council President Shiva Bidar-Sielaff and Pro-Temp Chris Schmidt have endorsed Resnick, as well as four former council presidents: Alds. Lauren Cnare, Mark Clear, Mike Verveer and Tim Bruer.

“Resnick goes above and beyond the call of duty to represent his constituents. His knowledge of council issues is unparalleled, and his ability to reach out to students is unmatched,” Bidar-Sielaff said. “There is no one better to serve the students of District 8 and downtown, and I am pleased to join many of my colleagues in endorsing him today.”

Fellow campus Alds. Bridget Maniaci, Verveer, Bidar-Sielaff and Sue Ellingson have also endorsed Resnick.

The endorsement of Resnick by 18 of his fellow alders shows that he has reached across the aisle and worked with others to benefit his constituents and the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus.

“I am extremely proud to have earned the endorsement of my fellow council members. I have enjoyed working with them to craft legislation that benefits students and Madisonians,” Resnick said. “I look forward to working with many of them in the future.”

Resnick’s major accomplishments in 2012 included adding new pedestrian lights throughout campus, fighting for tenant rights, increasing the number of new building inspectors, fighting to keep bus fare rates affordable, empowering more students to serve on city committees, promoting alcohol amnesty awareness for victims of sexual assault, and working with ASM (Associated Students of Madison) to modernize elements of the SAFE program. In June 2012, Resnick introduced the nation’s second open data policy to increase government transparency and further economic development.

In 2013, Resnick will continue to focus on campus safety by adding pedestrian lights to Charter and Randall Streets, ensuring new developments are both safe and sustainable, defending tenants against building code violations and security deposit fraud, studying the impact of high-density housing on campus, refocusing alcohol policy to address safety concerns rather than prohibit drinking and modernizing city hall with mobile apps.

The total list of endorsers includes Alds. Bidar-Sielaff, Bruer, Clear, Cnare, Ellingson, Maniaci, Schmidt, Verveer, Joseph Clausius, Jill Johnson, Steve King, Larry Palm, Matthew Phair, Satya Rhodes-Conway, Paul Skidmore, Brian Solomon, Lisa Subeck and Anita Weier.

 

It’s official: I am running for reelection! I absolutely loved serving my district on the Common Council and I’d be honored to continue for another two years!

For the kickoff I’ve created, “What has Resnick Done?” This website lists a number of my accomplishments while on Council, and is a new way to promote issues that my colleagues and I have addressed in past twenty months. Between now and April 2nd my campaign team will be launching several new tools to assist voters at the polls, reach out to students using social media, and run an analytically race normally not found at the local level. This should fun!

I’d encourage you all to check out and re-share the following link: www.whathasresnickdone.com. This will be first step in an eventual reelection!

Thank you all for supporting me over the last two years, and I hope to continue to represent each of you on the Madison City Council come April!

 

Want to join former Alder Eli Judge on election day? I am looking for your help! Send your contact information to Maggie at maggie@resnickfordistrict8.com. If you need some convincing, listen to Alder Judge himself:

 

Last night a special meeting was held among members of the City Council to discuss structural and redistricting changes that apply for the next 10 years. In the coming weeks, city council representatives will decide the new ward boundaries and determine the level of representation students and young professionals will receive.

Students on campus should realize that our district is rare; very few universities have a campus voice on city council. This is because cities of comparable size have less council members. For example, St. Paul, Minnesota (pop 287,151) has seven members on their City Council. In Durham, North Carolina (pop 223,284) there are six members. Most cities of our size average six to eight members. Madison has twenty, five more than any other city on the list. No city with a population between 200,000 and 350,000 has as many city council members as Madison, Wisconsin.

For student representation, this has both positive and negative consequences. First, there are more voices on Madison city council. On the positive side, there are essentially five campus area representatives. This provides students many channels for their voice and opinions to be heard. Unfortunately, this voice is often decentralized. Although students and young professionals represent nearly 25% of the population, we often only hold one (or more recently two) of the twenty voting seats.

This committee will have a huge impact on students – but will it be positive or negative? Reducing or changing the ward boundaries could infringe upon the student voice. Redistricting could also concentrate student votes, effectively decreasing the number of campus area city council representatives.

These decisions will be made when the 2011-2012 council is in its infancy. There will be at least six new alders on the council and as many as thirteen. With so much on the line, it is important to have a district 8 representative that is aware of the potential dangers to the seat.

As a member of the Campus Joint-Southeast Area Committee, I am knowledgeable of the city process. Moreover, as a former representative for the National League of Cities, the organization providing most the resources to the City Council on the topic on the topic, I am familiar with the sources used to education the council.

These decisions will impact campus for the next 10 years, and I will not let the student voice be silenced.

The last few days have been a whirlwind of political activism and democracy. First, I want to thank everyone who voted on Tuesday. Spring primary elections can be uneventful; however I was proud to receive a majority of the votes casted last week. Second, I want to thank my campaign staff, the College Democrats, and Young Progressives. Without your help, none of this would be possible.

However, the events that followed my election primary victory are the real story of the week. After our short celebration, most my staff and friends headed directly to the Capitol to testify in front of the Joint Finance Committee. We arrived at the Capitol at 11 pm and did not leave until 6:30 am. We literally saw the sun rise as we were leaving the rotunda. At some point around 4 am I fell asleep on the Capitol floor.

Since then, hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites have protested Scott Walker’s Budget Repair Bill. Union workers, teachers, firefighters, and police officers have stood together in solidarity. Moreover, liberal groups across campus have led efforts to coordinated efforts inside the Capitol and provide assistance to the protesters whenever possible. Among the many groups present, SLAC, TAA, College Democrats, and Young Progressive members have spent countless hours in the Capitol, rallying students on campus, and maintaining order after hours. It was a spectacular sight.

So, what can the city council do to protect union rights? On Thursday, I stood in front of city hall with 18 city council representatives and marched with of hundreds of firefighters on our way to an emergency council meeting. Here, the council voted unanimously to sign or extend 10 separate union contracts for city employees. These contracts protect current pension plans, secure health benefits, and include modest 2%-3% raises for the next two years. The council also rescinded co-pays for non-represented city employees. Overall, these benefits protect 3,530 unionized and 424 non-unionized employees.

The take-away point is that the contracts were unanimously extended. While very few city council representatives campaigned on a “pro-union” platform, every council member one unanimously voted in solidarity – both the liberals and conservatives. The City of Madison spoke with one voice, and that was to support unions.

Another take-away point is how to be respectful during political discourse. All week arrests have been low, and sometimes non-existent. Honestly, there are more arrests at a Badger football game than have occurred at the Capitol. Everyone involved should be proud that Democrats, Republicans, Socialists, Tea Party members, and non-political observers could have been able to peacefully protest. I hope this becomes a model for future debates.

In closing, local elections and non-violent protests are exactly what Democracy looks like. I’d encourage everyone to be back in front of the Capitol on Monday.

(Note: If you would like to see personal testimony from the Assembly Hearing on Thursday at 12:15 am, you should be able to find it at wiseye.org)

 

Scott: Hi, name is Scott Resnick and I’m running for city council. I’m going around the district trying…
Brooks Street resident: I remember you. We talked about changing locks. Nice headline in the Badger Herald.
Scott: Awesome, thanks. Are you going to vote on Tuesday?
Brooks Street resident: Porchlight. Copy of my lease. I’ll be there.

Over the past few weeks I have knocked on hundreds of doors, and spoken to students about how we can make our campus safer, hold landlords accountable, and make our nightlife better. I had conversations with the Young Progressives about how we can improve our environment. I responded to questionnaires for the League of Women Voters, was interviewed by Laptop City Hall, and wrote a column for the Cap Times. I spoke to the Daily Cardinal about how we can improve our well-water and proposed new ideas to reverse the UW-brain drain to the Badger Herald. With any luck, all that work will pay off on Tuesday when residents will decide who they would like to see on the April ballot.

On this journey, I have received several spectacular endorsements from my colleagues in the district – and none of greater importance than current Alder Bryon Eagon. As the President of the State-Langdon Neighborhood Association, I have spent countless hours working with Alder Eagon on issues like Concrete Park and new economic development. Those who have spent any amount of time in common council chambers recognize his stellar reputation among alders. He has done an excellent job securing new lights in the Langdon community and promoting a pro-student/pro-safety agenda on ALRC. I was humbled to discover Alder Eagon endorsed me.

Today, Todd Stevens of the Daily Cardinal reiterated Alder Eagon’s endorsement:

“[Scott] is on the ball. Having already worked extensively with neighborhood policy, Resnick is a city policy wonk in the best sense of the term. His knowledge alone is enough to demand attention from the powers that be, and he backs it up with a substantive campaign.”

Todd—thanks for having confidence in me.

During this election, the College Democrats and Young Progressives interviewed all three candidates, and I am honored to have received both endorsements.

But tomorrow is not about endorsements; it’s about votes.

So tomorrow, Tuesday 15, I encourage you to talk about the election. Talk to your friends. Talk to your neighbors, your dormmates, your old roommates. Let them know a few things about me, Scott Resnick: for the last two years I have been the State-Langdon Neighborhood President and have experience with local issues. I have great ideas for campus safety, such as strengthening our lock ordinance and holding landlords accountable through building inspections. Perhaps most importantly, I love Madison. Tomorrow, bring your friends to the polls and vote Scott Resnick for City Council.

Vote on February 15th

Tagged with:
 

Almost every senior in the district has at least one story regarding a deteriorating property on campus. Sometimes it’s a complaint about a broken window that’s never fixed; other times it’s an overflowing toilet that the landlord never completely addresses. One or two students have even complained of varmints living in their basement. The stories are endless.

Many students are first-time renters and often unaware of their rights or the proper recourse when their rights have been violated. Every fall organizations such as ASM and the Tenant Resource Center attempt to inform students of their rights as tenants in Madison. These services are critical for increasing awareness and promoting free housing counseling services for tenants. I support these services, and will work with these groups to better hold landlords accountable for their properties.

However, the City of Madison can go further to protect students. Chapter 27 of Madison’s Code of Ordinances explicitly outlines minimum housing and property maintenance codes. While these are quality codes (such as the extermination of any pests, heating requirements, and the use of smoke detectors), often they are only enforced when a complaint has been filed or the property is being sold. Therefore, I would reintroduce random inspections of campus area properties once every seven years.

Essentially, this proposal addresses the bottom quadrant of student housing and address many of the fore mentioned problems. Campus area landlords should not be allowed to let properties deteriorate. Random inspections “keep landlords on their toes” while protecting students and other residents of the downtown area.

This proposal is not without some drawbacks. First, there is a direct cost to tax payers. Additional fines levied will cover some of the costs of this program but additional funding will need to be located in the city budget. Second, building inspectors will need to enter student apartments. Now, inspectors would still enter apartments only with notification and once every seven years. Based on probability, some students would never be present for an inspection. Lastly, some of our cheapest properties may increase in rent to address problems. However, this should be viewed as a necessity to ensure the safety and well-being of residents.

Overall, this proposal will increase the quality of student housing and hold landlords accountable for their properties.