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Commissions Shmassions

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Commissions Shmassions

Postby VickySelkowe » Mon Sep 17, 2007 3:05 pm

As a member of Madison's Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC), I'm more than a little disturbed to see that the chronic nuisance abatement ordinance is slated to be voted on by the Council tomorrow night before the EOC (lead commission referral on the ordinance) has a chance to analyze the ordinance & give recommendations back to the Council on it.

Here's a little chronology:

* 4/17/07: Council referred the ordinance to EOC, due back to Council on 6/5.
* 5/10/07: EOC discusses the ordinance. Enis Ragland from the Mayor's office and Chief Wray were present; Enis tells EOC not to take action yet as this was not the final version of the ordinance, there were numerous changes coming. EOC does not take action.
* 5/22/07: Alders have a discussion of the ordinance and raise numerous questions & suggest changes.
* 6/5/07: Council re-refers the ordinance to EOC.
* 6/12/07: 2nd Alder discussion of the ordinance, Still more questions/suggested changes.
* 6/14/07: Ordinance is on the EOC's agenda but discussion is not had because there is no new draft of the ordinance to discuss.
*7/12/07: EOC mtg, not on the agenda because there was no new draft.
* 8/9/07: EOC mtg, not on agenda because there was no new draft.
*9/13/07: EOC receives via email the new (final) version of the ordinance. Regularly scheduled 2nd Thursday of the month EOC mtg does not occur on 9/13 because - ahem, unlike some other City officials - the EOC does not meet on Rosh Hashanah.

So, seriously, why even bother referring ordinances to a commission if, in the end, the Mayor & Council will just vote on it anyway, before they even hear back from the commission? And lets be clear: this is not a situation where the commission did not do its analysis/report in a timely manner. The EOC did not even get the final version of this ordinance until last week.

This ordinance was referred (and re-referred) to EOC because there are potential implications/conflicts with Madison's equal opportunities ordinance. Do our elected officials now not care enough to wait even a few more weeks - EOC is ready & willing to vote on the ordinance at our October 11th meeting - to see what those conflicts & implications might be in their rush to declare that they've done something, anything!, to address crime in Madison?

- Vicky
Last edited by VickySelkowe on Mon Sep 17, 2007 3:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby nevermore » Mon Sep 17, 2007 3:12 pm

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Postby ShaneDog » Mon Sep 17, 2007 3:27 pm

So which one is the knee-jerk reaction? Voting before allowing the EOC to review or Vicky for suggesting that they are not going through the proper channels?
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Postby Brenda Konkel » Mon Sep 17, 2007 6:46 pm

At the last council meeting, we did it to two other committees.

The Zatch Act was changed substantially and not sent to the Madison Elections Advisory Committee. They asked for it and they were told it was impossible because it was something that needed to be rushed.

The other one was the Allied Drive issue, the CDBG Commission, the CDA and Housing Committees would have all been skipped if they hadn't scheduled emergency meetings. And, since the housing committee meeting was improperly noticed and we couldn't meet, but the council voted anyways.

Unfortunately, I think its a sign of the times, the City Committee process is pretty much defunct. Especially when you add the purging of people from city committees and the comments from the mayor's office where they are reminded that they "serve at the pleasure of the mayor".

I have a blog I wrote on this, but I never posted due to going to Austin TX for the Austin City Limits Music Festival. I may post it tomorrow morning.
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No-Win Situation?

Postby burstingsun » Mon Sep 17, 2007 7:55 pm

In one breath, we (speaking very generally) complain that it takes too long to get anything done in the city. In the next breath, we complain when things don't go through all the proper committees. Seems like a no-win situation.
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Postby doppel » Mon Sep 17, 2007 8:12 pm

Ms Vicky writes,

"Regularly scheduled 2nd Thursday of the month EOC mtg does not occur on 9/13 because - ahem, unlike some other City officials - the EOC does not meet on Rosh Hashanah."

Ahem, How about we keep church separate from the state, and not complain when we don't and wind up not getting our way.
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Re: No-Win Situation?

Postby Brenda Konkel » Mon Sep 17, 2007 9:11 pm

burstingsun wrote:In one breath, we (speaking very generally) complain that it takes too long to get anything done in the city. In the next breath, we complain when things don't go through all the proper committees. Seems like a no-win situation.


The issue is consistency and predictability. The rules only apply sometimes, and its very hard to tell when. Ok - not really, its just not done fairly. That's not a good way for government to operate, by favoritism.
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Postby Stu Levitan » Mon Sep 17, 2007 11:22 pm

doppel wrote: Ahem, How about we keep church separate from the state, and not complain when we don't and wind up not getting our way.


So you're suggesting that I should have to choose between honoring my faith and participating in my government? That's what you think the First Amendment means?
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Postby nevermore » Tue Sep 18, 2007 12:24 am

Stu Levitan wrote:
doppel wrote: Ahem, How about we keep church separate from the state, and not complain when we don't and wind up not getting our way.


So you're suggesting that I should have to choose between honoring my faith and participating in my government? That's what you think the First Amendment means?

Yeah, cuz I had to do that committee meeting on Good Friday. And that one time on Christmas Eve...

Oh wait, government was shut down then?...
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Postby nevermore » Tue Sep 18, 2007 12:28 am

ShaneDog wrote:So which one is the knee-jerk reaction? Voting before allowing the EOC to review or Vicky for suggesting that they are not going through the proper channels?

If you have to ask...

Without sounding too critical, somebody is reacting to the prevailing winds of opinion. Some might say the behavior is somewhat knee-jerky.

I'll be interested to see which alders, who had believed that the RTA proposal was "too soon" after nearly two decades of process, start screaming that we have to do the nuisance ordinance "right now!! NOW!!!". Just wonderin'...
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Postby Beer Moon » Tue Sep 18, 2007 1:05 pm

In the real business world, if some stakeholders needed to meet to discuss a topic before a deadline when a decision had to be made and the regularly scheduled meeting fell on a holiday, we would simply reschedule the meeting and get it done before the decision was made so we didn't miss the deadline.

Anybody who doesn't plan ahead and complains about it after the fact just sounds like a whiner.
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Postby Brenda Konkel » Tue Sep 18, 2007 1:19 pm

Beer Moon wrote:In the real business world, if some stakeholders needed to meet to discuss a topic before a deadline when a decision had to be made and the regularly scheduled meeting fell on a holiday, we would simply reschedule the meeting and get it done before the decision was made so we didn't miss the deadline.

Anybody who doesn't plan ahead and complains about it after the fact just sounds like a whiner.


You're missing a critical point. The information was given too late to do so. Due to open meetings laws, holidays when people weren't allowed to schedule committee meetings and a weekend, and a council meeting that was already scheduled, the committee would have needed to make quorum on one day. Probably ridiculous by anyone's standards. Especially when this is an "emergency" that was created and not real. The police say this will help with 10 cases per year. waiting a few weeks to make sure we get it right should be worth it.
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Postby burstingsun » Tue Sep 18, 2007 2:27 pm

Speaking of not taking committees seriously, I attended the Department of Civil Rights (agency for EOC and Affirmative Action) Town Hall meeting last night and was surprised not to see anyone from the Affirmative Action or Equal Opportunities Commissions there to listen. I understand some may have scheduling conflicts, but it seems that at least some members could have represented the committees and listened to what residents had to say. Maybe the committee members should take public input a bit more seriously?
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Postby Brenda Konkel » Tue Sep 18, 2007 2:46 pm

burstingsun wrote:Speaking of not taking committees seriously, I attended the Department of Civil Rights (agency for EOC and Affirmative Action) Town Hall meeting last night and was surprised not to see anyone from the Affirmative Action or Equal Opportunities Commissions there to listen. I understand some may have scheduling conflicts, but it seems that at least some members could have represented the committees and listened to what residents had to say. Maybe the committee members should take public input a bit more seriously?


I asked a similar question, because I was confused too, but I was told that this was a staff initiated activity, not the commissions.
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Postby burstingsun » Tue Sep 18, 2007 2:54 pm

Brenda Konkel wrote:
burstingsun wrote:Speaking of not taking committees seriously, I attended the Department of Civil Rights (agency for EOC and Affirmative Action) Town Hall meeting last night and was surprised not to see anyone from the Affirmative Action or Equal Opportunities Commissions there to listen. I understand some may have scheduling conflicts, but it seems that at least some members could have represented the committees and listened to what residents had to say. Maybe the committee members should take public input a bit more seriously?


I asked a similar question, because I was confused too, but I was told that this was a staff initiated activity, not the commissions.

That makes sense, but it would have been nice to see some commission members show an interest by showing up, nonetheless.
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