Clean Shoreline Project, Zoning Updates, Floor Speech Video, Audio Recordings & Justice Recap

Photo Courtesy: John Reimer

Photo Courtesy: John Reimer

Summer is off to a bang with the recent heat wave. If you spent some time in Yahara Place Park, you might have noticed a large red floating sphere in the water by Yahara Place and Schurz Ave. This is part of the Clean Shoreline Pilot project. As we work to clean up our lakes, we need to take an all-of-the-above approach.  

This pilot project attempts to collect garbage and debris that accumulates with a floating boom. The detritus is then picked up by a barge and either taken to the landfill or sent to a sanitary sewer. 

The project is on track to be completed this summer. The boom will be monitored for collection as debris accumulates and you can always contact me with any issues or questions. There will also be signage posted with a number for neighbors to call if there are issues. Thanks to Land and Water Resources Department staff, particularly John Reimer, for their work on this project.

Zoning Updates

Our neighbors in the Town of Blooming Grove might be receiving notices of zoning changes. Dane County is in the process of updating its zoning ordinances. The new zoning ordinances will probably be implemented later this fall. Full details can be found here:

Updates are being made to accommodate "Transient and Tourist Lodging" (a Bed and Breakfast, for example) and "Incidental Room Rental" (AirBnB, for example) among other changes.

Property owners should not see increases in property taxes due to these changes as long as the property usage remains the same. Blooming Grove will likely adopt these zoning changes. Recall that due to a bill from Keith Ripp (R-Lodi) that was signed by Scott Walker, towns were allowed to opt out of Dane County zoning. Of 593 zoning petitions received in the last four years by Dane County, 13 were denied and six were specifically denied by the towns. (more info here:

For our neighbors in Blooming Grove, Dane County Zoning will likely be a moot point as the Town is likely to be annexed into Madison before these zoning changes take effect. There will be a community meeting on June 6th at 6:30 at the Blooming Grove Town Hall to discuss zoning changes.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me or Zoning staff. Big thanks to Brian Standing for all his help in understanding the zoning changes.

Floor Speech Video

Yogesh with dad, mom and daughter.

Yogesh with dad, mom and daughter.

I was fortunate enough to address my colleagues on the Dane County Board floor on May 17th. I wanted to talk about the contributions that immigrants and first-generation Americans make to our great country. 

The last few years in particular have been difficult on immigrants. We have heard hateful rhetoric and witnessed open demonstrations of hate groups that have been condoned by politicians at the highest levels in government. In the face of this negativity, I want to emphasize the good that my mom and dad brought to my life and the sacrifices they made for me and our country. Please take a look at the video here:

Audio Recordings & Justice Recap

I used my first paycheck from County Board to purchase a high quality digital audio recorder. I have started to record standing committee meetings that I sit on and meetings that I attend. I believe this is not only good for transparency and open government but it is also an opportunity to highlight the work being done by County Board.  It also illustrates the challenges we have as we tackle some of our most pressing issues.

At the PPJ meeting on May 22nd, Colleen Clark-Bernhardt presented a Criminal Justice Initiative overview. This presentation covered Community Restorative Courts, The Public Safety Assessment (PSA) tool, Data Driven Justice (DDJ), and Safety and Justice Matters grants from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. (Full disclosure: I have written open source software under these grants to do jail and data analytics work in other counties). The presentation can be found here:

The audio recording that accompanies the power point presentation is here:

I still have work to do to improve the audio quality and intend to use a low cut filter to cut out background hum and an auto gain feature to capture the volume better.

I think presentations like this are important to make available to the general public, subject matter experts and elected officials at all levels of government.

Neighborhood News and Events

  • This Friday June 1st is the SASY annual meeting. There will be a social hour with music by DJ Punabi 5.0, refreshments, and free on-site child care followed by presentations by guests Marcus Robbins of the East District Madison PD and SASY board members. There will also be an election of half of the SASY board. Stop by to have fun and meet your neighbors or run for a seat:

  • The Central Park Sessions kick off with The Pursuit of Happiness session on June 3rd. There will be two music stages and Comedy and Dance. The sessions line up is great this year and I am really looking forward to Justin Townes Earle a little later this year:

  • The Marquette Neighborhood Association (MNA) annual garage sale is June 2nd from 8:00 to 3:00. There are great deals to be had at sales all throughout the neighborhood:

  • Fruit Fest 2018 is on June 2nd at Plan B. This is the 9th annual LGBTQ+ block party and a fun way to celebrate with live music, food and art vendors, and drinks. This is an all ages and free event: