Getting effective treatment to patients is our main challenge

Opioids, part two By Vanessa della Bitta — Treatment is expensive, as Skye Tikkanen pointed out last month in Part One of PD’s discussion of the opioid crisis. Tikkanen is a seasoned substance use and mental health therapist at Connections Counseling in Madison, as well as an active treatment advocate. She is also in long-term recovery, and she is far from alone in the tireless grind of trying to make recovery available to anyone who wants it. Continue reading

Opioids: progress, but still lots of work to do

[ P A R T  O N E ] By Vanessa della Bitta — Short of living isolated and unplugged for the last few years, feigning ignorance about our nation’s opioid epidemic would be difficult. The evidence is everywhere—broadcast by major and local news sources and hiding in plain sight. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), opioids were involved in 61 percent of drug overdose deaths nationally in 2014. The same year, drug overdose deaths outnumbered those from motor vehicle crashes by a factor of 1.5. Continue reading

Progressive Dane calls for 1 year contract for Police in the Schools

Progressive Dane has issued a letter to the Madison School Board and the City of Madison Board of Estimates regarding their vote on the contract for police in the schools later this afternoon.   We are urging them to have a 1 year contract to allow for the police study to be completed and to allow for more public input.  Additionally we are calling for a limit to the actions police can take in the schools, more frequent public reporting and a student complaint process. Continue reading

Last Wednesday at the GMM: Education!

Last Wednesday for our GMM we tried something a little different and a had a much more successful turnout!  We had an informal discussion, beer and snacks with Madison School Board member TJ Mertz and talked about many issues coming up for the Madison Schools.  Here's a little taste of what we heard!  Heads up:  What are you doing on Monday?!  Going to one of the important BOE meetings?  (City Board of Estimates or Board of Education)  Both are discussing a three year contract that puts police in the schools!  Most people we talk to want a 1 year contract until the police study is done.  Referendum and AFSCME handbook also being discussed at the School Board on Monday 8/29. Also watch for changes in our GMM meetings with more of a focus on issues every other month and less on the business end of things! Continue reading

Can the Madison Common Council hold a police chief accountable?

By Greg Gelembiuk, Amelia Royko-Maurer and Nathan Royko-Maurer — Let's say we live in Madison, Wisconsin, where the chief of police has violated his own departmental rules and, in the spirit of law enforcement, we feel it is our duty to hold him accountable at a local level. How should we do this? Continue reading

Will the seventh site be lucky for a homeless day resource center?

By Dane County Supervisor Heidi Wegleitner — When and where will a day center for homeless people ever open? Over the last three and a half years, the County has pursued many different sites, some better than others, but ultimately resulting in continued delays, frustrated plans, wasted time and resources, and discouraged advocates. The center was planned for Wright Street, then 827 E. Washington Ave., Lien Road, Martin Street, Bellini’s, 1326 E. Washington (Messner’s), and now 615 E. Washington Ave., at the former Chamber of Commerce building.Is this latest building finally the development site that will make this long-awaited, much-needed project a reality? Continue reading

City Council: File Complaint Against Chief Koval

When is comes to policing issues, the Madison community has been through a significant amount of divisiveness and turmoil again this month.  It  started with the threatening and inflammatory blog by our Chief of Police, Mike Koval.  This was quickly followed by his contentious and disrespectful antics at the council meeting of June 7th.  And when things started to cool down politically, the community was rocked by the shocking video of Madison police officers beating, kicking and tasing a young black woman, Genele Laird.   “Some responses to this inexcusably brutal arrest suggest that the chief has been successful in creating a false dichotomy between concern for police as human beings and necessary criticism of wrongful police behavior,” said Sue Pastor, Progressive Dane Co-Chair. Continue reading

Madison Public Market: Re-visioning our twenty-first century Food Economy

By Meghan Blake-Horst —A dream of an inclusive and equitable Madison is in the forefront of many Madisonians’ minds. We have seen the studies and see these disparities in our food pantries, our schools, on the streets, in our jails and in the job market. We are in a crisis, and it is imperative that we work collaboratively and think of innovate ways to retool our community for the real needs of our 21st century workforce needs. Continue reading

A Different Look at Participatory Budgeting: Realistic Possibilities for Neighborhood Engagement and Equity

By Sue Pastor — Under the umbrella of “Greater Madison Engaged,” a number of groups brought area residents and public officials together in May for a day of conversation about civic engagement. Awareness seems to be increasing that our “technologies” for participation, such as the classic three-minute comment at public meetings, do not produce a swarm of residents eager to contribute—and have not produced a landscape of equal opportunity in our community. A variation on participatory budgeting may be a way to address the intersection of public participation and equity, with a goal of equitable participation toward more equitable outcomes. Continue reading

UW Alumni Urge UW Foundation to Divest from Fossil Fuels

A group of UW–Madison alumni will honor Earth Day by presenting to the UW Foundation an Open Letter, urging divestment from fossil fuels and reinvestment in renewable energy. The Open Letter, signed by more than 250 alumni and friends, will be presented to the Foundation on Friday, April 29, at 12:30pm, following a march from Union South on the UW–Madison campus. UW alumni also will present a simulated check representing $7,000 in donations diverted from the Foundation and invested instead in fossil-free funds through the Multi-School Divestment Fund. Continue reading