A Tosa resident since 1991, Christine walks the dog, cooks but avoids housework, writes and reads, and enjoys the company of friends and strangers. Her job takes her around the state, learning about people's health. A Quaker (no, they don't wear blue hats or sell oatmeal or motor oil), she has been known to stand on both sides of the political and philosophic fence at the same time, which is very uncomfortable when you think about it. She writes about pretty much whatever stops in to visit her busy mind at the moment. One reader described her as "incredibly opinionated but not judgmental." That sounds like a good thing to strive for!
It's a little slower moving than the kind of action theater we've grown use to, but community government meetings are the best act in town for the patient.
Okay. It's a lot slower. But it's good stuff.
On tonight's Committee on Community Development meeting agenda, starting at 8:00 in Committee Rm. #1, are two important issues.
Item #4 on the agenda was just added yesterday or the day before, with little fanfare or public notice:
Request by Mayor for Common Council endorsement of the butterfly habitat restoration plan in association with the UW-M Innovation Park proposal.
For all who are interested in the development of the County Grounds, that's a key issue.
I'm not going to jump on the bandwagon of assuming Mayor Didier has some scheme in mind. My guess is that she wants to make sure the Monarch Trail, a very special piece of butterfly habitat, gets preserved.
However, the public, the committee, and the council need time to see the plans in the context of the entire project, ask questions, and investigate any problems. It would seem a little abrupt to endorse a plan at this point. Unfortunately, in government, efficiency can be the enemy of openness and sufficient caution.
I've mentioned the Kubala-Washatko plan for this land approved by the Wauwatosa Common Council in 2005 or 2006 before. Everyone talks about it, but I've been unable to find it online. The library has a copy. It's important to compare the new plans with the approved plan to make sure that the spirit of the plan is respected.
You can read a little more discussion here, but I encourage you to come to the meeting tonight.
The fifth item, discussed in a previous blog by Alder McBride, is an informational presentation about senior apartments at 1215 N. 62nd Street. We should care about this because our money is involved through Tax Increment Financing (TIF). We hold bonds on the buildings. The bonds are paid off over many years with money that would ordinarily go toward taxes. That's money that doesn't go toward public safety, streets and sewers, schools, and other services. And development always increases the cost of services.
I think we should care about this as well because we all have an interest in seeing development done well. We should invest in financing senior apartments only when we are reasonably certain that they will be economically viable for the developers and owners -- and they will serve the people who live there in the best way. Senior housing is more than just apartments marketed to seniors.
So be a citizen, not just a consumer. Attend. Listen. Ask. It's cheap entertainment. And I'm always so impressed by the quality of citizen input at these meetings. Makes you feel good about your neighbors.