I have hesitated to write anything concerning the local Madison City Council races since the vast majority of my readers live outside of Madison. But there have been two local races that have caught my attention the past couple of months, and as such I have a few points to make. One might think I perhaps endorse anyone with the name Larry by the headline to this post. I use to work with a man who spelled his version ‘Lary’, but would now have difficulty endorsing him for election should he ever run again.
Larry Palm from Madison’s 15 District deserves reelection as he has voted the fiscal sensibilities of his constituents against the sometimes less fiscally responsible members of the city council. He has also been an advocate of social justice but understands his primary role as a city alderman is making sure the streets are plowed, the garbage picked up, and the taxes kept in check. He has passed the grade on all points, and therefore deserves the votes of his constituents in the April election.
In an “Isthmus” newspaper interview this campaign cycle Palm talked about his understanding that city budgets need to be in line with the citizen’s ability to pay the taxes.
“I’m worried about property taxes. Senior citizens and working families are being taxed on the one thing that has the most value — their home — but pay with something they don’t have — disposable income. At the same time I recognize the positive impact that City programs have on the lives of all residents. I believe that setting priorities is the key to striking the right balance between responsible spending and reasonable taxes.
When I talk to my neighbors and constituents, I ask them where the city should be directing energy and resources, and their answers help me to determine the right priorities. I keep these priorities in mind when the Council is considering the budget. During the budget debate, I worked with other alders to find solutions that maximize resources without boosting tax bills, such as using existing police vehicles instead of purchasing new ones when adding officers. “
His opponent, Vicky Selkowe, is running an aggressive and well-funded race. A voter from the 15th District penned the following about her campaign and sent it to me recently.
“Palm’s opponent is on track to raise $15,000. She’s quoted in the State Journal as saying she’s not paying attention to how much she’s spending. That exactly what the problem will be if she gets elected! When she came to the door in Dec. for nomination signatures, she said Larry is paying too much attention to spending, like questioning coffee urns for the senior center.
I said didn’t that one cost a couple thousand dollars? “um actually $2,500.”
The race in the 15th will go down to the wire, but Larry Palm will better serve his constituents.
Meanwhile in my backyard Larry Pasha is working to oust Paul Skidmore in the 9th District. Skidmore and I live a very short distance from each other (less than a block), so one might assume that I would be on his mailing list for council updates. One would think, but one would be wrong. He told me a couple years ago that he has a mailing list but it consists of mostly those who reside in his condo association. I asked to be added…….perhaps next month with the election of Larry Pasha a line of communication between the council and the voters can be established. This complaint is one that I have heard often in our walks around the area, as we converse with other voters.
Skidmore and I have many differences of opinion on various issues that face the city but the one that tops the list for me is Skidmore’s lack of a true dialogue with anyone outside his home community. If he were to actually listen to others in his neighboorhood he might find his ideas and votes are often wrong.
Larry Pasha will better represent the voters, as he understands the need for a dialogue with those who would pay his salary to be an alderperson.
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