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Dear Editor and Residents of Cottage Grove:
There are three spots available for Village of Cottage Grove Trustee in the upcoming April election. It is my pleasure to write this letter in strong support of David Peterson, Heidi Murphy, and Sarah Valencia. In their own ways, these candidates support continued business and residential growth, maintaining and creating outdoor spaces, and the exploration of a village library. Together, these candidates represent the best for our growing community.
David has first-hand experience in working with neighbors, parents, and the greater community. I know David personally and professionally. We have worked together on the elementary school’s PTO, the Monona Grove School District Communication and Community Engagement Committee, and, most recently, the Village’s Library Planning Committee. I know him to be a smart, reliable, and dedicated team member that fosters a collaborative environment. Specifically, David and I have spent the last year gathering information about interest in the building of a library in the village. We will now continue to work together over the coming months while we gather additional financial data to present back to the village board. What struck me most about working with David this year, is that he is a critical, independent thinker, and has strong data analysis skills. It is these qualities combined with his passion for outreach and that has, and will continue to, positively impact our community.
Both Heidi and Sarah are incumbents in the upcoming election. I have known Heidi personally for nearly 20 years and as her moto states she is “continually dedicated and always prepared”. As Chair of Parks and Recreation Committee, Heidi has helped make the newly constructed splash pad and shelter at Bakken Park a reality which has led to additional village park activities such as the Miracle League. Heidi uses her professional background of environment and geography in her service on the Ad Hoc Sustainability Committee and represents our village at the Capital Area Regional Planning Commission. Likewise, Sarah has been instrumental in the development of the village’s emergency management and response strategy; proving invaluable in current times. She also supported the resolution condemning racism and violence, and advocated for the creation of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. Sarah serves as chair for the Glacial Drumlin Bike Path Committee that has approved the design and upcoming construction of the addition to the Glacial Drumlin Bike Path. Over the past years, Heidi and Sarah have been advocates and worked diligently for the betterment of our community.
As a village trustee, I know these outstanding candidates will continue to support village initiatives that constituents find value in. I enthusiastically endorse these candidates and give them my strongest recommendation.
Please join me in voting on April 6, 2021.
Village of Cottage Grove
Friends and neighbors, I rise (metaphorically), in support of Chris Bondurant for Monona Grove School Board. We’ve known Chris for about 5 years. He is an outstanding man of character; has direct experience in vocational education; and has a good deal of Common Sense! My property taxes have increased by 45% since we retired in 2012. Property taxes are primarily a result of the school budget. The budget needs to be controlled. Plus, the schools need to be open. Our children have lost an entire year of social development.
Finally, Chris is not a member of the educational establishment. This cannot be said for many, if not all, of the school board members. We need balance and common sense, which Chris Bondurant will bring to the Board.
Ford “Randy” Munn
Mayor Mary listened to my questions and upon her own initiative took the time to execute a helpful response. When I called Mary and asked why more Lake Monona weed cutting was not being done in the Schluter and Stone Bridge area, she provided some answers. Beyond answers, she suggested that we both take a ride on a weed cutting machine. That turned out to be a great suggestion, paving the way for getting a first-hand view of various weed cutting issues with a chance to meet some of the people responsible for the task. Through Mary’s influence, we hitched a ride on a weed cutter. I learned first-hand about the size of the task, competing priorities and the advantages and limitations of the machines. Importantly, I was able to communicate my concerns and the concerns of my neighbors and Schluter and Stone Bridge Park users. I also gained an introduction to some of the people responsible for planning and completing the work. I was able to make our case. Through Mary’s reasonable leadership, our voices were heard, setting the stage to carry on an ongoing, reasonable dialog as needed. In addition, Mayor Mary worked with Dane County to arrange for bi-weekly lake weed pick-up from the Monona shoreline during the Summer.
I wish to share with all Monona residents my views on the importance of re-electing Kathy Thomas to the City Council. Monona is an idyllic community because of those who have served on the City Council and the MG School Board in previous years. Through the years, Monona has become even more community-focused, with services for all, from the youth to the elderly. I’ve lived in Monona for 60 years and I believe Kathy Thomas has played a huge role in making Monona the best city for every age group, while ensuring that Monona continues to thrive economically and socially,through smart growth with careful, thoughtful planning. She has great ideas and works through solutions to any problem because she listens to all sides of a situation and progresses from there,working together with both citizens and council members. I do not know another person who is so committed to community in every aspect and who persuades her friends and neighbors to serve as well-whether for the library, the Fire Department and EMS, our local parades, the parks, the schools, the community center, or any of the special community activities from Fall Festival and the Monona July 4th Festival to the Concerts in the Park. Kathy epitomizes inclusive community spirit. There have been many recent Facebook posts by those reared in Monona, expressing the thought that “I’m from Monona and happy I am.” I have not seen such posts from residents in other communities. Perhaps that’s because Monona is doing things right.Kathy’s years of service on the Council have provided her important history regarding what works and what doesn’t, as well as whom to contact to resolve a problem. At the same time, she is future-oriented and applies her creative thinking to changing times. I hope everyone will consider the value of having someone of this quality and knowledge to continue to serve and keep Monona on the positive course it has been on for many years now. Kathy Thomas deserves our continued support and vote on April 6!
As a Monona resident, current Alder on the Monona City Council, and co-chair both of the Sustainability Committee and the Parks and Recreation Board, I write to recommend both Nancy Moore and Doug Wood for reelection to the City Council on April 6.
Since joining the Council in 2017, Alder Moore has championed a number of meaningful resolutions and legislative initiatives in our community, including the city’s recent purchase of the San Damiano property and the master plan for its restoration and public recreational use; the city’s commitment to achieving 100% clean energy by 2050; and the approval and design of Grand Crossing Park. She helped initiate and remains at the forefront of the city’s efforts to communicate more frequently and transparently with its residents. Additionally, she has advocated for the reform and implementation of the Monona Police Department’s policies and conduct codes and has helped guide thoughtful conversation and engagement related to the amplification of cultural and economic diversity in Monona. One of my proudest moments on the Council was working with Alders Moore and Kuhr on a collaborative effort with the Dane County Board of Supervisors in 2019 to change the name of Lake Monona’s southern bay to “Wiicawak.”
Alder Wood is an experienced, objective leader who in his many years of service to Monona has spearheaded meaningful projects related to parks and facilities improvements, sustainability initiatives, and the promotion of increased attention to diversity, equity, and inclusion in city government and the community at large. He has prioritized pedestrian and cyclist safety, contributed to the acquisition and preservation of San Damiano – a “dream come true” – and worked dedicatedly to build the city’s “rainy day fund” and preserve its excellent AA+ bond rating. He strives to reinvest in the community and do the work necessary to make Monona a more accessible and welcoming place to live. Alder Wood’s progressive and environmentally conscious values are those which I share and strive to emulate as a fellow member of the Council.
I proudly support Alders Wood and Moore for reelection to the Council and encourage the community to join me in voting for them on April 6.
Monona city councilor
For those who may have missed it, the Monona Mayoral and City Council candidate forums took place virtually on the Monona Community Media YouTube channel on March 6 (the videos remain online for public viewing). These forums are intended to provide the community with a more intimate and comprehensive look at candidates running for local governmental office and highlight significant issues currently facing our city.
In both forums, the moderator – League of Women Voters’ Joy Cardin – explicitly instructed the candidates not to slander or make personal attacks on other participants. And in both forums, every candidate challenging the incumbents blatantly disregarded this rule and turned the forums into combative, confusing chaos. I was extremely disappointed in the tone and tenor of the forums’ dialogues, and their largely “axe-to-grind” political bent. On top of this, a significant amount of speculation and disinformation held court in conversations meant to focus on known, factual, and real aspects of the Monona city leadership’s current work.
Political campaigns at any level of government can be successful without being vindictive or spreading disinformation about the current leadership or city practices. I know, because I’ve successfully run two of them. Not once in my attempts to secure a seat on Monona City Council did I disparage my opponents or attempt to speak authoritatively on issues about which I had no knowledge beyond hearsay. I knew that when all was said and done, if I was re/elected, I’d need to work peaceably and collaboratively with others on the Council and city staff.
I am not a perfect politician, but I strive to be a compassionate and honest one. And I can say truthfully (given my 3+ years of Council and committee work) that ALL current members of the Council, in addition to the Mayor, are very sincerely taking on the challenging and introspective work required to navigate the uncomfortable conversations and actions surrounding anti-racism. They are scouring budgets and soliciting public input on every significant city project. They are working to communicate and disseminate information to the public more frequently and accessibly. And they are doing all of this while adhering to the prescribed process of committee discussion, approval, and recommendation.
I am grateful to everyone currently running for office, because it’s a hard and often thankless job. But for better or worse, we’re all in this together – and it’s time to start mending fences.
Monona city councilor
The city of Monona is landlocked with limited options for increasing our tax base and a high debt amount (80% of state law limit). A rare opportunity is to both reduce city debt and at the same time increase our tax base. Carefully zoning much of the vacant Novitiate property to multi family residential (either condo or multifamily) would provide an attractive addition.
Olbrich regional park is 1.4 miles from the novitiate property. It offers a full range of services from a beach, playing fields and boat launch to many acres of open land. Creating a “small” 11 acre park (a very short distance away) would probably not offer any different uses. Monona already offers a full range of similar park facilities (which have been extensively enhanced) with taxpayer financed debt.
We are in a pandemic with many residents financially hurting. The future is unknown. Tasteful development would benefit city financial position while exerting careful zoning of this lakefront treasure.
I am writing to support the candidacy of Mary O’Connor for Mayor of Monona, and Nancy Moore, Kathy Thomas and Doug Wood for Monona City Council. I served with Kathy and Doug on the City Council, and with Mary and Nancy on City Committees and various projects for the City of Monona. Their most important qualities are their experience, and the results they’ve achieved in bettering the City of Monona. Their combined experience in City government has been dedicated to the improvement of the City at the sacrifice of personal time with families and other activities. Their accomplishments over the years include a better library, a great pool, better roads, great public services, attractive parks with up-to-date play equipment and a strong police and fire department. Their well-planned redevelopment projects have increased the city’s tax base and expanded the business amenities available to residents. They address problems that face every community in a logical and comprehensive way. They are behind the scenes civil servants dedicated to doing their jobs. They are team players focused on what’s good for Monona.
What they’re not are self-promoters that try to focus attention on themselves. They do not try to go around good government process to do deals that are not jointly discussed with their fellow council members. They are not loose cannons that blindside City staff with ill-conceived plans. They do not try to make us afraid of crime in the City when in fact our crime rate is down. They do not scare us that our debt levels are too high with inaccurate information. And, they don’t use the tired phrase “our taxes are too high” when we all know we get what we pay for and if we start cutting corners, we’ll lose the quality City services, schools and the excellent values of our houses.
I value experience and wisdom. Join me in voting for Mary O’Connor for Mayor of Monona, and Nancy Moore, Kathy Thomas and Doug Wood for City Council on Tuesday, April 6th.
I am very pleased to endorse Doug Wood for re-election to the Monona City Council. He is very passionate, knowledgeable, and is very active in the Monona community. He will continue to serve the Monona community with his Monona experience and enthusiasm. Doug has taken up a leadership role in promoting greater diversity, equity, and inclusion in our City government and the community. He wants to seek better racial justice and equity after the national and local event of last June. He was on the committee to secure the Nehemiah Center for Urban Leadership to help the city seek racial justice and equity. Doug has experience as a public defender in the State and federal court. He has a law degree from UW-Madison that will assist Monona to improve diversity and racial equity. He supports more police training in implicit bias and de-escalation.
Doug has been a leader in building the city’s “rainy day” fund and the city’s excellent AA+ bond rating. I worked with Doug as a member of the Friends of the Monona Senior Center. He served on the finance committee with great knowledge of budgeting and also served on many other committees and events. He is a team player!
Doug has had extensive experiences and knowledge having served and or chaired many committees’ boards or commissions. These include Pedestrian and Bicycle Improvement Plans, Sustainability, Parks and Recreation, License Review, Senior Citizens, Public Works, Library, and Landmarks.
He has a clear understanding of the issues facing the city and does the necessary footwork to be sure he has all the facts. He does his homework. He has a co-operative and listening personality to ensure that the city continues to provide high-quality public services from public safety to parks to the library to public works and senior services. There has been a lot accomplished and there is more work to do. His core principle is reinvesting in our community to make Monona an even better place to live.
I heartily endorse Doug Wood to be re-elected to the Monona City Council. I hope you will consider voting for him as well.
I’ve known Mary O’Connor for a very long time. I’ve known her as a Neighbor, a fellow Mom, a Girl Scout Leader and an engaged Community Leader. I’ve seen her give her whole self as a Volunteer, whether building support for the MGHS Arts programs, leading the Library Board, building the Dream Park or filling sandbags when the lake level rises. In every project she undertakes, Mary shows careful, organized oversight and willing collaboration. As a leader, a community member, and as a friend, there are many things that hold true when it comes to Mary.
Mary O’Connor is real. She meets conflict head on, with an even sorting of the issues. Mary listens and responds with care, compassion and honesty.
Mary is fair. She sets aside her personal opinions to listen to all sides, and to find answers that serve the community.
Mary is collaborative. She works considerately with the people, committees and businesses of Monona.
Mary has vision. She loves Monona for what it is, for its history, and for what it can be.
I am proud of our city. I love our beautiful, well-tended parks; the opportunities for recreation offered to people of all ages; and Monona’s crafting as a magnet for young families. I am thrilled with the opportunity for Monona to purchase San Damiano, preserving this historic, cultural and beautiful space for public use, a venture in which Mary has played a crucial role. Mary’s open mind, collaborative spirit and expansive vision are a gift to our city as we move into the future here in our little “gem on the lake”.
I urge you to vote with me for Mary O’Connor as Mayor of Monona.
If only you could see the photographic proof of the dangerous visual obstruction that the Mayor and City Council of Monona – excluding Kristie Goforth – foisted on the good citizens of the 4300 block of Shore Acres Road in Monona with a 365 days-per-year alternative side parking ordinance. Unfortunately picture proof is not possible here. Were it possible, you would be able to get the perspective of obstruction that clearly shows that if the west side of the street is parked up to Cold Springs Avenue, the view of oncoming traffic would be completely obstructed because of the downward sloping and slightly curved alluvial plain and therefore creates an very unsafe situation. (The earth is not flat.) This would be harmful for all oncoming traffic from vehicles to joggers, dog walkers, baby strollers and the like. This was a ridiculously bad decision by Monona’s Mayor and City Council – with the shining exception of Kristie Goforth who was the only one to “get this right.” Also this road is very narrow to begin with. Then add ca. 2-3 feet out from the curb so people can exit their vehicles plus the width of the vehicle, the result is an even narrower street. This would mean the street maintenance trucks would likely be hampered to do their work as well as making accessibility difficult for say an emergency Fire Truck to get through. Some basic math would be able to prove this. This shows a dangerous Lack of Due Diligence on their part.
Because they (minus K. Goforth) refused to hear my reasons for stopping this, they went through with this. I had to write up a petition (We The People of the 4300 Block of Shore Acres Road…), go door to door in a global pandemic shutdown and get the necessary signatures for a majority on this block who wanted the historic parking norm of one-side parking restored, scheduling maintenance before and after HS hours, using temporary No Parking signs as necessary. I found out just how paralyzed people are in their homes during this pandemic and how eager they were to sign this petition. Life is definitely not normal. So why would the Mayor & City Council decide to bulldoze historic parking norms during these times when neighbor is not talking to neighbor? Pitching neighbor against neighbor is the worst kind of government. It is also draconian and punitive. The fracturing of democracy when people are at a disadvantage. Despicable. Democracy is fragile and we need to stand up for it.
I knew I needed an attorney to present this for me because I’m not a good public speaker (liable to tell them what I really think of them.) Kristie Goforth was able to steer me to a lawyer who agreed to present this petition for us right before Christmas. The next Public Works Commission meeting was scheduled for January 6th. Then they cancelled January’s meeting so it got put off until February when he was able to read it and was summarily dismissed by Jennifer Kuhr. He sent them the signed petition the next day. After a couple of weeks we got a response that she would be sharing this. That’s all. In the meantime, we’re just waiting and waiting and waiting. One more day closer to the Ides of March when MGHS starts again.
I encourage We the People of Monona to vote for Kristie Goforth for Mayor. She is a wonderfully capable and experienced public advocate and she is all about what people want and need, not about creating invasive and hazardous situations. Also we need new council people voted in and all who signed onto this fiasco of a parking ordinance voted OUT (O’Connor, Wood, Moore, Kuhr, Grupe.)
I am writing to urge Monona voters to support Kathy Thomas for the City Council. One thing I have always admired about Kathy is her creativity. She is one of those people who will come up with an idea or concern that nobody else around the table has thought of. She will also notice who is not at that table and who might need to have a voice. While we can count on her to lead us on big-picture issues such as the on-going redevelopment in our city, Kathy will be relentless in her advocacy to maintain and improve our basic city services, such as street maintenance, leaf/brush pickup, snow removal, and police & fire protection all the while with a keen eye for the considerable tax burden in our fair city. Kathy also has a proven track record of supporting the interests of all ages and types of households in in Monona. As an example, I first met Kathy when she was an integral part of the effort that culminated in the construction of the Dream Park. Most of us who gave significant time to that project had young or school-aged children. Our families would reap the benefits of that park, but Kathy was already an empty nester. Not only did she lead the challenging task of fund-raising, but she helped pave the way with some of her fellow elected leaders and peers who were unsure about the merits of the project in its early days. It does not matter who you are, Kathy will do her best to represent you. I urge Monona to re-elect Kathy to the City Council.
If outstanding leadership is what we want for Monona, please re-elect Nancy Moore for the Monona City Council.
As a city volunteer I have had the privilege of working with Nancy during her time as chair of the Park and Recreation Board, and currently as she serves as chair of the Sustainability Committee and as a leader of the San Damiano project. Nancy is an extraordinary leader. She listens to all, studies issues deeply, and reaches out to the broader community for input and resources. Nancy is organized, efficient, and tireless. Her leadership is shoulder-to-shoulder with all who are fortunate to work with her. She is quick to champion the work of others. Nancy is a true team player.
Nancy keeps her fingers on the pulse of Monona. Whether it is a community event, a need for volunteers, a chance to participate or lending a helping hand, you’ll find her there. Things like initiating Earth Day events, adopting a storm drain, fundraising for the library, developing a website to inform and update citizens of the San Damiano project are just part of her everyday practices. Not only is she active and present, she strives to engage others.
Nancy brings her professional experience and expertise to her work for Monona. She is manager of a successful land trust consulting business and is an international adventure travel leader. Her network is broad and deep. She is skilled at connecting people to others and needed resources. Her knowledge of budgets and the operations of local government is strong. Nancy’s national and global experiences are reflected in her innovation and commitment to sustainability and development of renewable energy particularly as Monona strives to achieve its 100% renewable energy resolution.
When Nancy made her home in Monona she did so because it offered the sense of community, values, green space and recreational opportunities she sought. Her love of Monona is the at the foundation of her work. She is committed to sustaining and enhancing our community and has the interests of all – our youth, our elders, our diversity – at heart.
Please join me in voting for Nancy Moore.
I’m writing in support of Doug Wood for re-election to the Monona City Council April 6.
Doug brings enormous passion and experience to the city council as its current President and has been a strong voice for fiscal responsibility while also making strides in improved city services and development. Doug’s accomplishments are many including playing a key part in the San Damiano acquisition saying he is “really excited about this dream come true”. He sees reinvesting in the community through development a core principle while being a champion for improving our rainy-day fund and maintaining the highest (AA+) bond rating possible. Contrary to misguided recent opinion, Monona is in a strong financial position due to the hard work of Mayor O’Connor and council president Wood as evidenced by the city’s strong financial rating balancing the city’s budget and development effectively.
In addition, Doug has been a leader in improving bike and pedestrian safety. Over the last 5 years or so tour park systems playground equipment has dramatically improved thanks in part to Doug’s leadership through the Parks and Rec board. He has been a strong advocate for our parks and children’s recreation going back more than decade when he led the development of the skateboard park.
Doug has also been a champion for assuring the city addresses climate change through the Sustainability Committee and improving diversity and equity within city government and the community including improving police training practices. Experience matters as important issues continue to challenge our community. We need steady leadership and the experience Doug brings to the important issues our city faces. Please join me in re-electing Doug Wood to City Council April 6th.
Former Monona alderman
As the president of the Friends of San Damiano, I want to address some misinformation I heard at the candidates’ forums for Monona’s mayor and council this past weekend about the San Damiano purchase.
It was insinuated that the city will spend more than $12M on the property. This $12M figure came from the feasibility study which examined the city’s ability to fundraise that amount – not what it would spend. The negotiated purchase price of the property is $8.6M, below the appraised value. The purchase was approved by the entire current city council, including Alders and current mayoral/council candidates Goforth, Moore, Thomas and Wood on September 8, 2020. Since then, $2M was secured from Dane County, bringing the price to $6.6M with ongoing efforts to garner additional support from public/private entities and individuals to reduce that number.
A “secret steering committee” was mentioned in both forums. The Friends of San Damiano is a very public non-profit partnering with the city to secure private support in order to reduce the tax burden on our residents and businesses. It is the city’s goal that this property be self-sustaining, so the Friends are working hard to fundraise for the purchase, master planning process, any improvements, and maintenance of the property.
One candidate expressed concern that people don’t know who is on the Friends board. A simple search for “San Damiano Monona” will return sandamianomonona.org which not only provides history of the property, but also a list of board members and community advisors – all Monona residents. This website was also shared widely by the city – website, social media, and WVMO. While on the site, I encourage you to donate to our efforts to protect and preserve the property.
Finally, a candidate stated “no one knows who’s involved in the purchase of it.” Simply, the city is purchasing the property and the mayor and city council this past September were the ones involved in making the decision.
I was disheartened to hear erroneous comments like these because ultimately the protection and preservation of the San Damiano property should be celebrated. We have one chance to preserve this property for future generations, and together we are making it happen. FOSD is working hard to help the city, and it’s with everyone’s thoughtful participation that we will be successful in raising money to bring the tax burden down, while realizing the property’s full beauty.
Monona resident & president of Friends of San Damiano
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