Thanks to all of you who volunteered on campaigns, worked the polls, and got out there and voted. I know how hard it is to keep showing up and keep working. Your commitment to democracy is inspiring. In this update, I will cover new ways to get election data, final lake levels recommendations, an update on the zoo, and neighborhood news.
I realize these updates can get long so you can click on the links below to get to the specific item you are most interested in:
Diving into Elections Data
Like many of you, I used to frantically refresh the elections results to get the latest updates from the county clerk’s website. We now have a new way to programmatically get elections data using well-understood application programing interfaces (APIs) such as REST/JSON. In the past, external organizations such as newspapers and TV stations would use a technique called “screen scraping,” where they would go to the clerk’s web site and try to read the information programmatically off the clerk’s web page.
This is a laborious and tedious process which often leads to errors. In my campaign, I stressed that government should make their data available using these well-known APIs.
County IT documents the APIs here:
I will dive into this API in a future update, so those who are technically inclined will have a leg up on how you can use these services to develop your own applications.
Final Lake Levels Recommendations
The Lake Levels Task Force finished up our final recommendations in late March. As we can see from the already high lake levels and pervasive flooding in the midwest, this will be an issue we need to keep hyper-focused on. The final task force recommendations can be found here:
The high level categories that we addressed are public engagement, dredging, dam management, pumping, aquatic plant harvesting, lake levels, and stormwater/infiltration. I did a detailed Facebook Live that explains many of the recommendations, and it can be found here:
Each meeting of this task force was either video or audio-recorded. I did the audio-recordings myself and provided them to the county. For such a serious issue, it is essential that we have a detailed, open and documented process that we can refer to in the years to come. You can find all public comments, audio/video, and all task force members’ recommendations here:
I want to emphasize in this process that I fought hard to manage all of our lakes at their seasonal minimums. It was not an easy process to get support for this, but in the end I am glad we reached a consensus. This would not have been possible without the efforts of the well-organized, neighborhood-driven Isthmus Flood Prevention Coalition. It shows the real power we have when we work together for our shared objectives.
I am just as frustrated as many of you are on what has happened with the Zoo the last few weeks. For years the county and the Henry Vilas Zoological Society have had a relationship to fundraise for the zoo, and manage the zoo and the animals who live there. Negotiations between the society and the County broke down, and we were informed about the serious issues in a press release late on a Friday afternoon. Supervisor Buckingham gave a detailed synopsis on this process, and I encourage you all to read it (I agree with most of it):
This Thursday at the County Board, we will have two resolutions in front of us: Resolution 607 and Resolution 629. Resolution 607 will continue staffing for the zoo, and Resolution 629 will help continue concessions operations. I am inclined to support both of them. This Zoo situation is illustrative of larger issues where processes occur outside of public scrutiny, which ultimately leads to outcomes that the public lose faith in. I am always working for transparent government that works for the community and the people, and will continue to do so.
There was recently a fire at Stalzy’s Deli. We are thinking about neighbors who run Stalzy’s, and our family in particular is thinking about all our memories of Stalzy’s OktoberFest. We hope they recover quickly, and look forward to supporting them when they re-open.
Operation Fresh Start will have their grand opening this Thursday at 2670 Milwaukee Street. I co-sponsored a resolution to add an additional $124,000 for Operation Fresh Start to continue providing and supervising youth conservation crews to work on county land conservation projects in various county parks and county land. More info on the grand opening here:
The SASY annual meeting and party was a huge success. Congratulations to our newest board member Anjali Bhasin. I decided to not run for my seat again since it is unfair for me to hold two seats, and there is no better successor to represent the Yahara seat than Anjali, a longtime community activist. The neighborhood enthusiastically recommended her.
AtwoodFest is just around the corner on July 27th and July 28th. You can sign up to volunteer now: https://signup.com/go/Edmsjjx. If you volunteer at KidsFest, you’ll be sure to see our family there volunteering, or maybe even DJing.
Congrats to D6 neighbor Sabrina Madison on her recent feature in the Cap Times. Please check out the 4th Annual Black Women's Leadership Conference hosted by the The Progress Center for Black Women. More details are here: https://www.facebook.com/events/393722564729009/
We have two Easter egg hunts coming up soon! One at Hawthorne Park, and the other at Orton Park. Details here: https://www.facebook.com/events/642421986186964/ and https://www.facebook.com/events/329133844378860/