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Saturday, August 2, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 59.0° F  Fair
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Chris Ogden vs. Brian Solomon for District 10
One of 14 seats contested in the spring 2007 elections for the Madison Common Council
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Out of every aldermanic district in the city, the tenth is perhaps the most like Madison in miniature. Running from the edge of Camp Randall on the UW campus down bustling Monroe Street and privileged Nakoma Road to the apartments clustered on Allied Drive past the Beltline, the district faces challenges routinely identified as the city's biggest: poverty and growth.

Two candidates -- Chris Ogden and Brian Solomon -- emerged from the primary in their bid to succeed eight-term alder and council dean Ken Golden.

Brian Solomon, 38, and has resided in the district for eight out of his 11 years in town. Holding a master's in public and energy policy from the UW-Madison, he works as the director of the Wisconsin Job Service and volunteers with various service and neighborhood groups.

Solomon is on the board of directors for the AIDS Network (and a co-founder of the Wisconsin AIDS Ride), a former president of the Dudgeon Monroe Neighborhood Association, and serves on the Madison Equal Opportunities Commission and the Verona Road/West Beltline committee. Golden has endorsed him.

Chris Ogden, 59, has lived and worked in the district for 30 years and is a lifelong resident of Madison except for four years in the Navy during the Vietnam War. He is the owner of Happy's Heating and Air Conditioning in the Dunn's Marsh neighborhood.

Ogden has been a member and business-sponsor of the Monroe-Dudgeon Neighborhood Association for more than three decades. He has also served as the Legion Commander for the Westside Memorial American Legion Post 151 since 2000.

The Daily Page conducted an email Q&A with each candidate.

Their responses follow.


Chris Ogden

The Daily Page: Please identify what you consider to be the most important issue in your district and what you are going to do about it.
One of the most important issues in my district is the Verona Road/West Beltline corridor project. I would attempt to change the city's mind about going forward with this. It would have a negative affect on the Allied Drive area, which already has numerous problems to address, air quality and Beltline traffic.


What's one thing the city can do to address criticisms of its business climate?
One thing the city can do to address criticisms of its business climate is to first worry about and look at the health and welfare of the businesses that are here before giving away the farm to new businesses trying to set up shop in Madison. Although the city should encourage establishment of new businesses in Madison, it should not be at the expense of existing businesses.


Two wheels, four wheels and rails. Where should the city go?
I see smaller, hybrid fuel buses on more routes at more opportune times to get the people who need rides to work. I see an interwoven rail system connecting surrounding small towns to Madison as a hub. Also worth consideration is instituting a rail system between Madison, Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul, as well as setting up the North Shore rail system again to get people up to the Fox River valley and beyond.


What one thing can the city do that it's not currently doing to increase the availability of affordable housing?
Something the City can do to increase the availability of affordable housing, which it's not currently doing, is to get out of the rental business and let the professionals in Madison do their job. In no other business is the city involved as it is in this situation. They should facilitate when private businesses want to build low income housing and also provide real market incentives like they did with the Gorman Company's project near Allied.


List three things you think the city should spend less money on, and three things on which it should spend more.
Three things the city should spend less money are:

  1. Traffic calming devices
  2. Social engineering projects
  3. TIF projects

Three things the city should spend more money on are:

  1. Water quality and well solutions
  2. Allied Drive crime issues and job programs
  3. Hybrid fuel city buses

Do you foresee a situation where you might vote contrary to the express wishes of your constituents?
I do not see a situation where I would vote contrary to the express wishes of my constituents.


Name the thing you like least about Madison
Dirty streets in the spring


Who is your favorite ex-mayor?
Paul Soglin (except after working on all of his campaigns he forgot to endorse me)


Do you think rates for parking tickets are too high or too low?
I believe the parking tickets rates are about right.


How often do you take Metro?
As frequently as possible


Wisconsin State Journal or The Capital Times?
The Wisconsin State Journal, although I do read The Capital Times when I'm at Parmans.


Madison Mallards or Mad Rollin' Dolls?
Both


Would you rather spend Halloween with the crowds or cops?
With the crowds, like the "old days"


Name the most botched public issue in town.
Interest in building Mayor Dave's trolleys



Brian Solomon

The Daily Page: Please identify what you consider to be the most important issue in your district and what you are going to do about it.
Allied Drive. I'd like to empower residents to participate in the advancement of their own community through better transportation, job training, literacy, employment, childcare, and affordable, quality housing. It is essential that we not just move the problem. Allied must be looked at holistically, with a recognition of the root causes of poverty, racism, and lack of equal opportunity. I would also like to explore possibilities for a community development corporation.


What's one thing the city can do to address criticisms of its business climate?
It is a shame that any initiative that is pro-worker is seen as anti-business. We must work together to improve our citizens' quality of life and continue our city's progressive tradition, while supporting our locally owned businesses and investing in jobs that offer benefits and pay family-supporting wages. Helping both sides work toward consensus, and a realization that advancements are mutually beneficial will be the best way to address criticisms the city is anti-business.


Two wheels, four wheels and rails. Where should the city go?
All of the above. A shift in the balance of power toward two wheels and rails would be nice. The geographic realities of the isthmus, the exorbitant public costs of a car-based society, and 100,000 more cars in the next 20 years demand that we be forward-thinking. A multi-modal transportation system that effectively integrates commuter rail, bus, biking, and possibly streetcars would encourage economic development and more efficiently move people.


What one thing can the city do that it's not currently doing to increase the availability of affordable housing?
Build more. The city has grown tremendously in the past two decades and yet we haven't directly built a unit of affordable housing in years. Given our growth and the absolute need for housing, it is time to look at having the CDA increase the stock of available, affordable, quality housing.


List three things you think the city should spend less money on, and three things on which it should spend more.
More: Public transit, affordable housing, and job training.

Less: Roads, parking, and energy/fuel costs for buildings, fleet, etc.


Do you foresee a situation where you might vote contrary to the express wishes of your constituents?
Yes. My goal would be to work with district residents to understand their issues and help them understand why the advantages of a particular action outweigh the disadvantages. If forced to make a choice, I will always choose what I think is right versus what I think is popular.


Name the thing you like least about Madison.
Traffic, poverty, elitists, and winter


Who is your favorite ex-mayor?
Paul Soglin, who I both like and admire


Do you think that rates for parking tickets are too high or too low?
Too low when the city needs revenue, too high when I get a ticket


How often do you take Metro?
Probably two to five times a month


Wisconsin State Journal or The Capital Times?
I subscribe to both!


Madison Mallards or Mad Rollin' Dolls?
The Mallards, because summer sounds really nice right now.


Would you rather spend Halloween with the crowds or cops?
In the crowd, dressed as a cop


Name the most botched public issue in town.
Living less than two miles from Well #10, I'd have to say the water issue.


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