Progressive Dane County Platform


Revised and Approved by the Progressive Dane Membership, December 16, 2015.

For a downloadable PDF version of this document, click here.

Preamble to the 2015 Dane County Platform of Progressive Dane

Progressive Dane commits itself to working for the initiatives, democratically suggested and agreed to by its members that are included in this platform. In particular, we support and advocate for measures best designed to achieve:

  • Housing for All;
  • Equal and Just Communities;
  • An End to Corporate Welfare; and
  • Family Supporting Jobs for Dane County.

Progressive Dane believes that Dane County Government should do the following:

Living Wages and Economic Development

Open and Democratic Government

Public Safety and Protection

Land Use, Transportation, and Environmental Protection

  • Land Use and Parks
  • Water
  • Transportation
  • Sustainability

Affordable Housing and Homelessness

Quality Human Services

Efficient, Effective Government


Living Wages and Economic Development

  1. Ensure that all economic development decision are made through an equity lens;
  2. Provide health insurance and a living wage adjusted for the higher cost of living in Dane County (at least 129% of the federal poverty level for a family of four) for all county-funded jobs;
  3. Target economic development subsidies to projects and small, locally-owned and start-up businesses/worker owned cooperatives that offer family-supporting jobs, affordable health care, respect for workers' rights, equal opportunity and environmental soundness;
    1. Require county funded economic development to connect low-income residents to skill-training, educational opportunities, workforce supports, and family-supporting jobs;
    2. Develop and coordinate programs for entrepreneurial training, micro lending, business incubators, business-owned storefronts, assistance with business plans and identifying available office and/or manufacturing locations, and other resources;
  4. Promote and support buy local policies and initiatives;
  5. Urge the state legislature to permit counties to enact countywide paid sick leave and vacation requirements and if successful, enact a countywide paid sick days and vacation requirement;
  6. Prioritize building capacity in low-income neighborhoods;
  7. Ensure a living wage for inmate workers;
  8. Support economic development that grows and supports the local food economy, including Madison Public Market.

Open and Democratic Government

  1. Ensure that an equity lens tools is adopted and used in all county decisions;
  2. Urge the state legislature to:
    1. permit counties to implement their own campaign finance reforms including limits on contributions and significant public funding of all elections;
    2. create state enabling legislation to allow local governments to use alternative electoral processes for local offices;
    3. create state enabling legislation to allow local governments to enact local public electoral financing;
  3. Strictly enforce laws governing full and timely disclosure of all sources of funds for County electoral races; require candidates to file their campaign finances reports electronically; require the County Clerk to post this information immediately on the county web site;
  4. Make readily accessible information about the wages and other compensation paid to county funded employees, including managers and executives;
  5. Pursue ways to make all aspects of county government responsive and accessible to the public; and require any governing bodies with authority from the county to assure that public input is encouraged in a timely and equitable basis in all public proceedings; including improved timely posting of detailed agendas of all meetings and all related materials in Legistar at least 24 hours in advance of public meeting, including all county related meetings in weekly electronic meeting schedules, and limit meetings held during daytime hours, allow testimony at all meetings on the budget regardless of if they have already spoken on the issue;
  6. Support the adoption of an inclusive, transparent participatory budgeting process whereby the residents of Dane County directly determine a portion of the County's annual budgets;
  7. Support a proactive effort to ensure that all eligible voters are registered and made aware of voting requirements and procedures, which shall include policies to remove language barriers to registration and voting;
  8. Support verification of electronically tabulated ballots before certification of election results;
  9. Revise the presentation of the county budget to make the information more transparent and accessible, include all information on-line;
  10. Change all county board rules by majority vote before the first meeting in April;
  11. Consider paying double per diems and provide childcare for committee members at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level to increase low-income community member participation in county government decisions;
  12. Support inclusive and transparent redistricting process including independent review by non-partisan parties.

Public Safety and Protection

  1. Ensure that an equity lens is used in all decisions regarding public safety and the criminal justice system;
  2. Provide adequate funding for Dane County Appointed Counsel and develop partnerships with the local bar association, so that those who are not eligible for public defender services continue to have access to affordable legal services;
  3. Ensure that all individuals in the court system have ready access to legal advice in languages they understand, and information regarding consequences of a criminal conviction;
  4. Prioritize necessary funding for and support Jail Workgroup recommendations including: support prompt repair of safety hazards in the jail; reducing the number of beds in the Dane County jail; returning non-violent defendants to the community pending trial and expanding mental health, housing, employment, and similar services for those individuals as well as for individuals in jail and released from jail; creating a robust program of treatment and diversion as alternative to incarceration. Meet data requests drafted by the Jail Task Force Work Groups;
  5. As the primary approach to dealing with nonviolent crime, adequately fund and provide diversion (First Offender's Program, DART, TAP, and Dane County Drug Court) and preventative programs that address the root causes of crime and juvenile delinquency, while respecting civil rights and individual liberties;
  6. Support a Restorative Justice Project in Dane County to reduce jail costs, facilitate needed closure for those impacted by criminal activity as well as demonstrative rehabilitative functioning for those accused;
  7. Expand supportive services and early intervention for children exposed to abuse and neglect;
  8. Oppose trying juveniles in adult courts;
  9. Oppose all policies that criminalize poverty and homelessness;
  10. Oppose punitive ordinances that have the potential to target low income and minority populations in the county;
  11. Treat alcohol and drug addiction as a health issue, not a criminal issue;
  12. Support victim impact panels as a mandatory part of all OWI sentences;
  13. Provide a secure treatment facility for alcohol and other drug abusers as the primary tool used to prevent repeat offenses and reduce jail crowding;
  14. Eliminate Dane County’s participation in the failed war on drugs;
  15. Support full legalization of marijuana. County resources should not be used for marijuana-related arrest, prosecution or incarceration;
  16. Oppose the Dane County Sheriff's department inquiries about immigration status and providing the names of individuals booked into Dane County jail to the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency except as required by federal law;
  17. Ensure use of force policies have meaningful citizen review;
  18. End solitary confinement.

Land Use, Transportation and Environmental Protection

  1. Ensure that all land use, transportation and environmental decisions are viewed through an equity lens and do an equity analysis prior to making recommendations and decisions;
  2. Support climate change planning;

LAND USE AND PARKS

  1. Support farmland preservation, family farming, sustainable agricultural practices and livable communities;
  2. Oppose State efforts to removing zoning rules from local control;
  3. Encourage rural preservation by using Transfer of Development Rights programs in new development areas; Oppose major new transmission line construction, and support state legislation enabling county government oversight of power line placement in utility corridors such as existing or abandoned railroad right of way;
  4. Support Dane County exercising its regulatory options under the Livestock Facilities Siting law;
  5. Continue funding for the Conservation Fund to purchase additional parks and open space;
  6. Encourage higher-density residential development in existing urban locations in concurrence with countywide comprehensive (smart growth) planning;
  7. Use all appropriate regulatory powers to stop urban sprawl development on farmlands, other open spaces, and in environmentally sensitive areas;
  8. Support state legislation that requires endorsement by County Boards of Supervisors for city or village annexation of towns' lands for purposes of applying for urban service area expansions;
  9. Support state legislation to require the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to require additional approval criteria for urban service area expansions, including expansion impacts on arterial highway commuter traffic loads, existing local residential housing or building sites, destruction of farmlands and other open spaces;

WATER

  1. Promote clean water and reduce flooding by prioritizing county stormwater enforcement and enhancing county wetland protection efforts through additional land acquisition and tighter zoning enforcement;
  2. Support lakes and watershed restrictions on the use of toxins and pesticides, and limitation on mercury runoff from coal plants;
  3. Promote progressive revenue sources such as a lakefront property transfer fee to expand water quality initiatives;

TRANSPORTATION

  1. Support regional transit authority that provides affordable, available and accessible multimodal public transit with subsidies for elderly, disabled, and low income residents;
  2. Expand pedestrian and bicycle routes;
  3. Avoid major new highway construction, including construction of a North Beltline;
  4. Provide incentives for all county employees to use public transportation, carpool, bike or walk;
  5. Enact a Vehicle Registration Fee to create a local transportation fund, including going to referendum is necessary;
  6. Support fare-free transportation choices;

SUSTAINABILITY

  1. Support county purchasing policies that favor recycled, recyclable, locally produced, environmentally friendly, sweatfree and energy efficient goods; support purchasing significant amounts of and increasing proportions of clean energy;
  2. Operate all county-owned or occupied buildings in a way that reduces energy use; audit all such buildings to determine ways to save energy and increase energy efficiency;
  3. Any vehicle owned or leased by the county should be as fuel efficient and nonpolluting as practicable;
  4. Promote and support green and sustainable initiatives and practices by business and government both in current activities and in new projects and developments;
  5. Encourage local farmers to grow food for direct human consumption and for local marketing to promote countywide economic sustainability;
  6. Support a publicly-owned regional energy utilities;
  7. Implement the Pollinator Task Force recommendations.

Affordable Housing and Homelessness

  1. Ensure that all housing and homelessness decisions are made through an equity lens;
  2. Implement Housing as a Human Right initiatives to realize that right for all Dane county residents;
  3. Ensure that development of affordable housing includes training and job employment for low-income residents;
  4. Support community land trust programs, an affordable housing trust fund, single room occupancy housing, transitional housing services, the Affordable Housing Development Fund and cooperative housing to further enhance housing options throughout Dane County;
  5. Support community-based programs that educate renters about their legal rights and assist them in defending those rights;
  6. Support county laws and policies that prohibit housing discrimination;
  7. Discourage economic segregation as well as work to affirmatively further fair housing and hold municipalities accountable to meet these goals;
  8. Prioritize vacant public property for housing the homeless;
  9. Urge the state legislature to repeal laws limiting local governments' ability to expand housing opportunity and tenant protection;
  10. Prioritize and support Housing First initiatives that utilize harm reduction and trauma informed care;
  11. Support efforts of the Zero 2016 campaign to eliminate veteran homelessness by the end of 2015, chronic homelessness (as defined by HUD) by the end of 2016 and family homelessness by the end of 2017;
  12. While working on transitioning to Housing First, ensure sufficient shelter space and a comprehensive day center are available to all who need those resources;
  13. Support efforts to increase housing vouchers and creatively implement strategies to increase vouchers in our community;
  14. Develop a housing plan to address the housing gap identified in the Dane County Housing Needs Assessment;
  15. Require Section 8 waiting lists to remain open.

Quality Human Services

  1. Ensure that all decisions are made through an equity lens;
  2. Adequately fund human service agencies, including annual cost of living increases;
  3. Ensure that human services address issues such as poverty, discrimination, domestic violence, community safety, public health, skills training, educational opportunities, and workforce support;
  4. Ensure basic safety net services to those who are ineligible for federal Supplemental Security Income and food stamp benefits and Wisconsin's welfare (W-2) program;
  5. Support due process provisions in state and county social services programs for those who are wrongfully denied those services;
  6. Prioritize services that use harm reduction and trauma-informed care;
  7. Fund legal assistance for evictions;
  8. Stop the practice of using surplus carryovers from the Human Services Budget to fund the Sheriff department; use surplus funds to adequately fund human services gaps;
  9. Create a transparently and clear Request for Proposals process for funding Human Services that includes community input;
  10. Invest in capacity building for low-income neighborhoods;
  11. Expand access to treatment for opiate addictions, including methadone, in the community, residential treatment facilities, and the Dane County jail and expand access to overdose reversal drugs like carcan/naloxone.

Efficient, Effective Government

  1. Ensure that all decisions are made through an equity lens;
  2. Require the Register of Deeds to automatically remove racist covenants in property titles and home ownership documents upon any transfer of property;
  3. Support the rights of county employees to join unions, exercise broad collective bargaining rights, and enjoy protection from discrimination as defined by law;
  4. Oppose privatization of services currently provided by County employees;
  5. Take measures necessary to ensure that county employees' workplaces are free of discrimination and harassment;
  6. Expand access to transition care coverage for transgendered persons;
  7. Require that proposals to consolidate government services contain evidence that they will result in improved delivery of services and that cost savings will not be derived solely from reduced staffing;
  8. Give preference in county contracts to worker owned cooperatives, firms paying prevailing wages or employing a unionized workforce, provide training to low-income residents, and have a good environmental, safety, labor and civil rights law history;
  9. Give preference in county contracts to firms with proven affirmative action records, and to those owned by those members of our community who have been under-represented due to income status, disability, gender/gender identity, sexual orientation, or racial and ethnic background;
  10. Urge the state legislature to permit local jurisdictions to employ progressive sources of revenue and to eliminate spending caps on raising revenue;
  11. Explore alternative revenue sources to fund essential county services;
  12. Support referendum to exceed state levy cap limits to adequately fund needed services.