WORT-FM Ali Muldrow and Satya Rhodes-Conway 9 September 2020
Good afternoon, Madison, you are listening to w O R T 89.9. FM Madison. I'm your host Ali Muldrow and this is a public affair. We are on the air with our mayor, uh, Satya, Satya. How are you doing today? I'm doing all right, Ellie. How are you doing? You know, it has been an interesting week, right? Cause it's the beginning of school for me.
My, my kids are now, uh, far better at coordinating zoom than I have gotten over the course of the last few months. Um, so it's, you know, it's a humbling experience to have a 10 year old and a six year old, just really out computer you on a daily basis. Um, and also. Uh, pretty, pretty enchanting and it's in its own, right?
Uh, this is a big conversation. If you want to join this conversation, we want to hear from you. We are talking to your mayor, Madison, uh, Saudia Rhodes Conway took office in April of 2019, uh, was elected, um, in a very, very competitive mayoral race. And her leadership has. And shaping our community ever since.
So if you want to talk to her, you want to ask her questions you want to get in on this conversation, give us a call at six zero eight two five six, 2001, press nine to patch through. And you, uh, we'll, we'll be able to, to join and add to this dialogue. Uh, Satya, I want to dive right in. Um, we have, you know, had a really tumultuous.
Spring and summer here in Madison, um, folks have have said this current time period, the moment we are presently in the shaped by two pandemics, uh, the global pandemic that is COVID-19 and the pandemic that is racial injustice in America, specifically impacting the black community and resulting in an uprising that has.
Touched the entire globe, uh, your response to, to George Floyd and to the police has been deeply criticized by all sides. Uh, how would you represent where you stand? How did you respond to, uh, the, the George Floyd murder and the video of him, uh, dying for eight minutes and 46 seconds. It has been a really, really intense year early.
I think that, that you're right. I don't, I mean, I don't know what we all did to get this kind of 2020, um, but it has been, it's been really intense. Um, and so, you know, specifically around the pandemic of racism, um, I guess, you know, the first thing is that none of this is new. Right like it, and it continues to just be so deeply painful and frustrating that, um, it takes people dying for us to, um, to understand the changes, um, that need to happen in our society.
And, um, so, you know, in some ways I feel like we're, we're living in a time that, um, Is, you know, that that is really ripe for change and that we may be able to, to actually use the energy, um, to leverage some real change, um, and to make an impact on them systemic and institutional racism. Um, but on the other hand, I mean, I just have a lot of sort of really deep grief and disappointment that, um, You know that so many people have had to die to bring us to this point, um, including, including George Floyd.
Um, and it's, it just feels like, what is it, you know, I don't know. I guess you could get philosophical and talk about the, the death throes of, um, you know, white supremacy and, and, you know, the backlash of capitalism and. Uh, you know, go there, but, um, I try and keep it a little more practical at the local level and just really try and focus on what we can do here in Madison, um, to push back against institutionalized racism.
And, um, so I'm happy to talk more about that and, and the way that the city is going, but I just personally for me, um, I just find it endlessly disappointing and frustrating and, and really, really sad. Um, that this is where our community is. This is where our nation is. As the mayor, as the leader in Madison, what are the decisions you feel like you need to be making in order to, to shift, you know, our community, we live in a, in a community that is considered one of the worst places in America.
One of the worst places for African American people to live. With some of the most disproportionate incarceration rates of African American, uh, people, including African American children, right? Like looking at the w who we arrest you juvenile age, um, what are, what are the decisions you're making to alter those outcomes to make our community, uh, an anti-racist community and a community that, uh, Allows for all people to be successful.
But I think a couple of things that I think about there and, and so one is just how important it is for us at the city to continue to be, um, really vocal in our commitment to racial justice, um, to racial equity, um, and to, um, To show that leadership in the community because, and the reason that I lead with that is because this isn't something that the city government can do alone.
Right? We need anybody in our community and all institutions in our community, um, to be, uh, working towards racial equity and social justice. And, um, in part, because you know, there's so many different institutions that have jurisdiction over parts of the problem, right? Um, you know, we have the County, we have, um, the, or it's we have the school district, we have, you know, large employers, we have the state, we have the university, we have you, we sort of go on down the list.
Right. Um, and so, so part of it is I think the importance of. Of showing leadership and, um, and making it clear that this is, is, and needs to get and, you know, to be a priority for our whole community within the city, the things that we can directly impact, um, you know, this, the city has actually been doing racial equity work for years.
Um, the majority of that work has been internal, um, and focused on our own staff and, um, Creating a more equitable environment within city employment and starting to use a racial equity analysis on city decisions. And that that work has really advanced and we're now using an equitable hiring tool for the majority of our hires.
And we continue to. You know, to analyze our job descriptions and our hiring decisions and through a racial equity lens. Um, we also, um, have incorporated, um, that racial equity lens into the patent in both of my, um, budget processes. Um, and that does shift, um, you know, how we spend money. Um, we're working on equitable contracting another.
Way to shift how we spend money at the city level, um, and in, in taking into account racial equity and how we, um, spend our money in terms of community services, um, and trying to direct more funds to black led organizations and organizations led by people of color. Um, so there's, that's a pretty high level answer to your question really, but, um, you know, there's, there's a lot, um, That we need to do just as an institution, um, with both how we work, um, who we hire, how we spend our money, um, that needs to be aligned towards equity.
Um, then, you know, there's the, the larger sort of policy questions. Um, you know, I came in focused on a set of priorities, uh, which we remain focused on, um, which included housing. Um, rapid transit climate change and racial equity. Now with 19 has been added on top of that. Um, you know, got to gotta pay attention to that pandemic too.
Um, and the, the component, um, I would say of a racial equity that is focused on policing and on public safety has obviously come to the fore. Um, and is taking up a lot more of our time rightfully than these days. Um, so, but I, but I think all of those priorities are really, um, have to be taken through the lens of racial equity and social justice.
Right. Um, and that we need to be working on all of those things and that if we are successful in creating more affordable housing, That is going to help, right. That helps on racial equity. Right? If we're able to focus our transit system in a way that supports communities of color, that, you know, that supports wealth generation and access to employment, um, you know, and now we have this conversation, which I really welcome about how do we reimagine what public safety is.
Um, in the city of Madison and that's it, I think that's a really, um, exciting conversation. Again, it's really tragic how we get to that conversation, but the fact that we are having it, I think is really, really positive. Thank you so much for speaking to that. If you are just joining us, just jumping into your car, just sitting down to lunch and you are listening to w O R T 89.9 FM.
I'm your host Ali Muldrow. This is a public affair and we are on the air with our mayor, mayor Satya road, Conway talking about all things, Madison, uh, You know, it's, it's hard not to, you know, just kind of have this. It's be the entirety of the conversation because we are talking about some really complex issues.
I think it's hard to have a conversation about where you stand in terms of racial equity and racial justice and what it means for you to represent the best interests of your entire constituency included. Your black constituency. Um, and, and also talk about, and not talk about whether or not that pits you against the police.
Um, and, and you were recently given a vote of no confidence, uh, from, from the police. And I have to ask as a part of the conversation we were just having, um, you know, do you think that that. Striving for equity, striving to redistribute resources. Re-examining, uh, who we are as a community. And, and prioritizing equity puts you at odds with certain institutions, uh, within your role.
Uh, well, I mean, inevitably yes, right. Institutions, um, are resistant to change and, um, and. So anytime you're trying to, to, to push change, um, or envision something new that's difficult. Um, and so inevitably I think that there's resistance and there's opposition. Um, but I, I guess to sort of get more to the heart of your question.
Yeah. Yeah. I don't think that it is inevitable that calling for racial equity and social justice should put one at odds with. The police. Um, I think in, you know, historically and in many places that has been true. And, um, I think we're certainly seeing some of that dynamic play out here. Um, but yeah, I think if you sort of stepped back from, from the sort of politically charged nature of it, um, one of the things that I've always believed, um, since, you know, since I was on the city council here, Um, and you know, talking to, to folks, um, in the, or police district about the dynamics that I was seeing play out in the community is that we, as a society have asked police depart to take on all sorts of things that they are not particularly well suited to do.
And I think that, you know, If they're being honest, that many folks in the police department will agree. Right. Right. So we ask them to be, um, to, to solve mental health problems, um, you know, to solve behavioral health problems, to, um, handle traffic, to handle the violence. I mean, there's this whole list of things, right.
And that doesn't serve our communities. Well, Right. It just doesn't. And so let's for a moment and think about the different ways police have been utilized throughout history, and we have. Interesting question from a caller that's asking, you know, uh, I'd like to hear your evaluation and how you think the police handled the black lives matter protest in Madison.
What are they doing well and what haven't they handled? Well, it's a great question. Um, so I just, I just want to finish the thought though, that, that, um, part of this question around reimagining public safety is to reimagine. What pieces of public safety we asked the police to take on. And I don't think that there's a lot of disagreement around that when you get right down to it.
Um, but specifically with respect to how, um, MPD has had handled protest in Madison, I would say, and bear with me here for the vast majority of the time. I think they've done a really good job. Um, they, Madison has a long history of protests, obviously, and the police department here has developed, uh, an approach.
Um, that's very respectful of, um, the first amendment rights of folks, um, in our community. And, um, I think with a few very notable exceptions, you know, we've seen that go pretty well. Um, I also think that they learned. And these protests are obviously very different because they're in part directed at the police.
Um, and so I think they've learned over the course of the month now. Mmm Hmm. Now how that is a different dynamic and how they need to adjust. Um, obviously, um, there's some pretty notable exceptions where I think we all were. Um, I don't know what you want, where gene is, but horrified to see conflicts between protesters and beliefs to see, um, chemicals deployed, um, you know, to see folks and to see, uh, officers in riot gear, um, you know, to have the national guard here in Madison, that was a very, very difficult situation for everybody.
Um, And I, and also a very complex situation, um, and not easy to navigate, uh, I think for anybody. Um, but aside, I mean, I've, I think in general, we've done a really good job at accommodating protest and letting folks voice be heard. Um, I shouldn't have, I mean, we could get deep into this if you want to Alee and I'll let you take it where you want, but, um, You know, there's a lot of questions about what are, where are the roots of the violence who's causing violence, who was breaking windows, who was looting and what response there ought to be to that there's a really broad variety of opinions on it from folks telling us that we should have no response, um, to folks telling us that they can't believe that we let any of that happen and why isn't everybody in jail.
Um, and so start circle back to something that you said a little earlier. It is my job to try and represent everybody in the community. And that's been really difficult, um, in this time, because there's such a broad diversity of opinions, um, about how to handle some of the things that have happened in Madison.
Thank you so much for speaking to that and to really, you know, Giving a broad answer to very complex questions. If you are just joining this conversation, you are in for a treat. We have our mayor on Samira, Satya ruins. Conway is on the air with us. Um, and you are listening to w O R T 89.9 AF um, Madison, I think, you know, I want to, to.
Spend time talking about both, both pandemics. And you alluded to this and speaking to your priorities as mayor. Um, w I, I, we were on the campaign trail at the same time. I swear there were, there were moments where I felt like I saw you doing okay every door, um, Madison, but. You know, no one ever asked either of us how we would handle a global pandemic that did not come up.
You know, you are vetted and vetted and interviewed and interviewed. And to say we were not prepared at the local level because it is honestly a kind of beyond the scope of local local government to a great degree, um, is, is an understatement. This is not, you know, this is not the way you imagined the role we're looking at.
The, the situation we're in as a nation and the situation we're in as a community. Do you still feel like you're the right person for the job? Why do you think it's important that you are mayor during the COVID-19 bound? Dammit. Well, so yes, it, nobody, nobody warned me that I was signing up for a pandemic.
What is up with that? Uh, but you know, you, you take the job as it is and, and. Um, you know, that's part of, um, you know, being a leader, it's part of being an elected office is that you don't get to choose what challenges come at you. And, um, so, so yeah, so I think I am the right person for the job. And, um, and I think in part, because.
Um, you know, we, we see very, very different responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. If you look across the country, across the world, and certainly here, um, in the U S at different levels of government, um, cities have really been on the frontline of this response, um, which isn't how it should be, but it's, it has been true.
Um, and it's, um, you know, I think that it's important that. As we go through months and months of this pandemic, that, um, that we are continuing to center equity, racial equity, social justice. Um, in how we think about our response. Right. And so I'll just give you one example. I mean, there's so many things, but there's one example is, you know, the, the decision to go to, um, a mandatory masking party, uh, in India in County.
And this is something that, you know, other places had done before we did. Um, and we were very deliberate about the process of deciding to do it. And I give a lot of credit to public health here because they were very aware of the racial equity implications of a masking policy. And so they. Making sure that we were in dialogue with the black community, making sure that we were prepared to provide masks to people who needed them, making sure that we had understood, um, the concerns around, um, people, uh, individuals policing each other on masking and the, the potential, um, racial undertones of that, that was very important to us.
And I don't. I think that those conversations happened in every city around the country. And so, yeah, I think it's important that, um, you know, having leadership that understands, um, racial equity and social justice and, and is prepared to take that into account in the decisions that we're making, that's really important for our community.
How has COVID-19 shifted your priorities and shifted your perspective as a leader? How have you evolved in this role? Um, when, when the requirement has been that you be agile and that you, that you change. Yeah. That's a great question, Ellie. I mean, there's, there's a couple of things I would say. And so one is just that, um, that health.
Um, you know, just jumps to the top of the list, right? Like that all of a sudden, the top priority and everything that the city was focused on was about keeping people healthy. Um, and, and that has a lot of implications, you know, to just to be in that public health lens. And that way of thinking, um, goes beyond our response to Kobe, right.
It just starts to permeate everything we're thinking about. And the other thing I'll say is that, um, You know, needing to be agile, um, needing to be innovative, needing to, um, to be able to, to shift risk sources, to shift attention, um, has been, uh, you know, that's a real lesson. For me. Um, and I think for everybody in, in city government, um, and I think that, um, we are learning things now that will stand us in really good stead for years in terms of how we work across silos, um, and how we come up with new and innovative ideas and embrace them, um, instead of letting the bureaucracy kill them.
Hmm. That is, uh, An answer. I truly appreciate it. And it is really helpful. The thing like, Oh, well, the longterm impact is that our leaders, our local government is thinking about public health and safety, as you know, the first priority of every decision we're making. And that is a new way of thinking a new way of, of.
Being people and caring about one another. Um, we have a caller who is interested in asking you a question. So welcome to the show. Thank you for joining us on w or T 89.9. FM Madison, Julie, how are you doing today? Good. How are you? I'm doing really well. Thank you. Thank you for calling in. What's your question for their mayor.
My question for the mayor and I have to backtrack for a minute. Here is when the mayor is describing police duties, I'm listening and I'm thinking, it sounds a lot like the description of the duties of teachers on a day to day basis here in Madison. And if we have to put our tax dollars somewhere, can we choose education over the police apartment?
Wow. You're talking to the right people here, choosing education over incarceration. This is a, I mean, this is a great conversation for you and I to have Satya. And to be fair, I don't know if we could do the listeners justice because you and I have had this conversation for, you know, we've had some long lunches.
No. Uh, I think it is, it's such an important thing to prioritize, but again, and it gets into that broader scope of government. Right? You get into the County when you're talking about incarceration and what we're spending on it from, from your perspective as the mayor, how are we, how are we, how are we investing in education and not incarceration?
How are we working together to do that? Yeah. So thank you for calling in and asking us because it is a super important question and it's a structurally really complicated one. Um, because, um, it's not as simple as the city moving money from anything, frankly, including the police department and putting it into schools because the city doesn't control the schools.
Um, so. And this is more of a community wide question, I think about, um, where we want our funding to go. Um, but I, but just a couple of things that we are doing. So between the school district and the city, we did jointly agree to end the, um, school resource officer contract. And I won't even get into Lee. I don't know what the district is choosing to do with those funds instead.
Um, but I'm sure you're going to do something brilliant with them. Um, yeah. You know, and, and just really elevate that question of what again, what does safety mean in a school context and what do you need to invest in there? Um, uh, so I think that's a step forward for us. Um, I think that, yeah, w you know, traditionally what the, um, what the city has invested in an around education is more in supporting kids in their out of school time.
And, um, providing, um, kind of support for programming, for community centers, for neighborhood centers, um, that, um, create environments for our kids to learn and be safe and be fed and be supported when they're not at school. Um, and so that's something that we have a strong commitment to. And in fact, um, I don't want to blow our embargo, but half an hour, you're going to see an announcement from the city on that.
Um, and, uh, you know, we're continuing to try and invest. Um, we just announced recently, um, additional investment in childcare for elementary school aged kids, um, which is just so important in this time of virtual learning. Um, so we've been trying to, to muster, um, you know, wherever we can, um, to build partnerships and, um, support with, with what funding we do have, um, kids in, I guess, out of school time, isn't even really a thing right now.
Right. But, um, in the, in the virtual out of school time, um, and to make sure that that families have the supports that they need and, and that's really important. Um, and something that I think we need to continue to, to really keep our eyes on. Yeah, we have a, another question. So Rochelle has a question from Evan.
Hi there. Yeah. We had a listener named Evan, Collin, and this is his question and comment. Um, he's concerned that poor people can no longer. Or to live on the isthmus and that the city is kind of undergoing an Epic fication of just gentrification and, um, kind of higher income residents. So he's wondering there, what are you doing to maintain the diversity in Madison?
Especially on the South side, when low income tenants it's can no longer afford to live here. That's a great question. And, and, you know, frankly, that gets back to why I ran for office because I was seeing these trends in the housing market and, um, and the need to really think creatively, um, and move assertively to combat yeah.
Um, displacement in Madison. And so, um, there's a few things that I would just highlight. Um, one just citywide. Um, we have, I just announced my executive capital budget for 2020 have dramatically increased our funding for affordable housing and also for land banking. At which will allow us to acquire key sites and help, um, prevent displacement, um, through that.
Um, another thing that we're investing in, um, both of the capital and operating budgets is in, um, efforts to, to build wealth in communities and with families. Um, and so some of that through home ownership, um, and some of that's for new employment, um, but back to housing, um, We are really focused on, particularly in the park street corridor, making sure that we prevent displacement.
And, um, I'm interested in there's. This is not something the city can do on our own. Um, but I'm very interested in the creation of, um, Land trusts to support both affordable, um, residential and affordable commercial. We can keep some of the longterm small businesses that have been on the South side, um, and make sure that they don't get displaced also, um, through development.
And we're, we're really looking at how the city can be a strategic player, um, in terms of development, um, both ourselves through land banking, but then also through our, um, land use approval process. And so playing condition recently had a, uh, good conversation. And I think those were more on the soon from us about how we can use our zoning.
Um, code our land use approval process to support the creation of more affordable housing, um, and to do so in a way, um, that that doesn't lead to displacement, which is a really, obviously a huge concern.
thank you so much for joining us 89.9 Madison. And if you are interested in calling in and asking the mayor a question, we have a little bit less than half of our show left. The number is six eight two five six and press nine to patch through the show and we will. You know, let you add to the style and we would love to hear from you.
Uh, you know, it's interesting to the big about the phases that are controversial and you are the leader in Madison, um, feel very, uh, large scale and global and neck and, uh, you know, and others feel, feel really close to home. There's been a fair amount of controversy around you in a relationship, right? To the public market.
Do you want to speak to your decisions around the political market and why, uh, you know, why you've made the decisions you've made in terms of that project? Sure. It is funny that this is such a lightning rod for folks. Um, uh, I mean, let me start by saying I love public markets, right? And I, it would be great for Madison to have a public market and, and I hope that we do.
Um, and, uh, so, so I'm hopeful that the Pope market foundation can, um, can pull it off. Um, but. And, and I should say the city is, I mean, you know, we've been heavily involved in the process of, you know, it's, it's our land, it's our building. Um, you know, our staff has put a lot of time into the plans for renovation.
Um, there's still $7 million in my capital budget, um, from TIF funding to support the capital side of the market. But. Um, I, you know, COVID changes everything and inevitably I think it has to, to, you know, the market is going to have to deal with that. Um, and the, the, the bottom line for me is that, um, I don't think the city can provide an operating subsidy to a public market.
Um, I think if it can, can survive and succeed on its own, I will be. Very happy. Um, but I don't think that we can, um, in a environment where we're potentially laying people off where we're cutting important programs where we're reducing service levels, I just don't think it's responsible to sign the city up to, um, you know, to, to fund the operating yeah.
Budget of a public market. And so that's, that's really where I'm at. Yeah. On that. And again, I'm sorry. I'm hopeful that they're going to be successful. And, but, um, you know, but the city is gonna have to really limit our purchase, our bridge participation to the capital side of things.
Yeah, I think, you know, I think one of the reasons is that it's, it's such a lightning rod issue and I did smile when I asked people what to talk to you about. And people were like racial justice. I was like, okay. Yeah, sure. Totally. But. I realized I was like, you know, that you look back to it, the great depression, how people have managed to resolve something like apartheid, how people find inspiration and find a willingness.
We're together. You do look to the smaller kind of symbolic projects that allow for us to do things we haven't done before, you know? Um, and so people feel like we we've invest in our infrastructure, um, things aren't going well. What are the things you've wanted? Madison Madisonian people that are looking to you for leadership.
You want them to feel hopeful about. What do you want them to see on the horizon? That's a great question. Um, you know, it has been such an incredibly hard time for everybody in our community, um, you know, between COVID and racial injustice and the economy. And, um, I, I do think we all need a little hope and, and I find hope all over the place, honestly.
Um, I just feel like Madison. Um, is filled with people who care about our city and about our community. And we might not all express it in the same way, but, um, I just try and really appreciate how much people are committed to this, this place, um, to this community. Um, and in terms of to making us better.
Um, I do think that, yeah, you know, there are projects to get excited about. You know, I get excited about our GreenPower program, which is, um, training folks to install solar panels. Um, they are, you know, working to install solar panels on city buildings, all across the city and, and it's. This is an apprenticeship program for women and people of color who then get hired into our public works department.
They want. And so, you know, that kind of green jobs program is exciting to me. I'm supporting. Um, local small businesses, um, it to be successful through the pandemic, um, and to get creative about how they connect with their customer base, that, you know, that's exciting that the work that we've done on street hurries, um, is exciting to me and hopeful the work that we've done to turn back some of our streets to pedestrians and bicyclists, um, is exciting to me.
And, you know, these are all things that I think. Can survive, right? Can it will last and improve and go beyond the pandemic? Um, you know, the, the way that folks have gotten creative about, um, getting masks to each other and checking in with each other, or, um, uh, in terms of COVID of the ways that folks have gotten creative about making sure that everybody has access to food.
Yeah, when they need it. I mean, I just feel like our community is so resourceful and innovative, um, that it brings me a lot of hope to see, uh, you know, all of these flowers that bloom all across our community and people caring for each other.
I think when you put it that way, it's hard not to see the kind of everyday greatness of our community. But I also think that people want to look to you and say beyond the moments of struggle, what are the things that you're going to be calling successes years from now? Yeah. I mean, when I look forward it, you know, I, I think that, um, you know, I come back to the, the reason that I ran, right.
I, Madison needs to be a place. Um, where everyone can thrive and, um, and that, yeah, to me, it starts with housing. Um, you know, it, it starts with being able to access good employment. Um, it starts with rooting out institutional racism, um, and not to get too metaphysical on you, but we got to have a planet to live on.
So we can't forget about at dealing with issues of climate change. And, um, and so I, you know, I am hopeful. I think that, that we are making a difference in housing and, and I'm hopeful that we can make an even bigger difference. And that, that will be part of. And what people look back at my administration and say, yeah, we really, we really changed something in the housing market.
I'm hopeful that, that, um, we will, and we're certainly on track to, um, create a bus rapid transit system in Madison that helps, um, reimagine our transit system and allow many more people, much more rapid access to employment and school. And, you know, wherever it is that they need to go. Um, and I'm hopeful that it will, we've already started on making, I think really lasting change in, um, thinking about, um, uh, public safety and, um, and how we relate as a community, the police department, as you know, we just created the office of the independent monitor and a civilian oversight board.
And I, so I would be remiss if I didn't plug, um, the, the applications. Um, for the civilian oversight board positions are open until the 16th. Um, and folks can hop on the city council website, um, to get more information about that. And so I just put that little plug in there. Of course, we're always looking for folks to appoint to boards and commissions in the city.
And so if folks are interested, if they can contact my office or there's a, um, there's an application again on the city website. Thank you so much for sticking to that. We have a caller. So, Ron, thank you for joining us on w R T 89.9, FM Madison. This is a public affair and I'm your host, Sally and Mildura.
How are you doing today? Fair. Thanks. COVID and quote, make racist murderers. Great again and close quote, have overshadowed perennial problems. The worsening climate change made the deluge that hit August, 2018, even worse. The extreme downpour was mostly West of our city limits, but within days, It raised the levels in Mendota, uh, Manona will be, and on Johnson street, much higher than the legal limits with politicians have set over the years.
We must get the federal politicians to adequately fund public law, four 66, the small watershed projects, so that the Hora and sugar rivers, black earth, six mile Starkweather creeks can have necessary. Flood detention areas and infiltration areas. We also must lower the Lake levels by at least 18 inches.
You bringing it up you're right. These, these problems don't end just because, uh, uh, pandemics are going on. Um, and the city are particularly a storm water. Utility has stayed really focused. Um, we're doing a series of watershed studies right now. That will guide infrastructure investments for years to come, but not just infrastructure investments.
They will also guide green infrastructure and make sure that we are looking both at, um, public and private properties. Um, To see how we can better retain an infiltrate rain, where it falls rather than having it just run out into our lakes. Um, I also think we do need to look at at Lake levels, right. And making sure that we're, um, you know, keeping an eye on that, uh, and keeping them, you know, lower and with them then, um, a safe range, but, but really longterm, I think that this is a question about.
Um, how we manage rain, where it falls, um, instead of trying to send it off that into our lakes. And that's something that the city actually did update our stormwater ordinance pretty dramatically. Um, and that will help make sure that future development, um, is holding more of the rain that it receives onsite, um, rather than running it off into the rest of the community.
And that's right. Actually, we haven't talked a lot about that because of , but, um, it's, uh, it's something that I'm pretty excited about and I think staff that are really, really good job on, and that's going to have a really positive impact on our community in the future. I really appreciate that you would run.
We're able to have that incredibly nerdy moment together. And WRG, um, that was a lot of information and, and stuff that I had not quite thought about. So, Ron, thank you for bringing that to the show. Um, we have another caller who would like to join us. So bill, how are you doing today? And what is your question for the mayor?
Well, I'm fine. The question was just to hear the two of you talk about. To a whole issue surrounding that two statues that came down and whether they're going back up and the possibility of taking down the Lincoln Memorial at the university. Just waiting now to think about that. Thank you. Thanks, Beth. I, I greatly appreciate the question there.
Satya what do you think about the removal of the statues? Um, you know, so first of all, just underlying want to make sure that people understand there's a jurisdictional issue here. Um, both of the statutes that came down are on state property. Um, so the city doesn't have any jurisdiction and obviously the Lincoln statute is also on state property, UWA property.
Mmm. I T w with these particular statues. Um, and let me say, this is not my stance on all statues everywhere, but, um, with these particular statues, I honestly don't understand, um, why they were targets. Um, I, I think that, um, you know, it's important for us to interrogate history. It's important for us to, um, you know, having a nuanced understanding of.
Um, that what you read in history books, isn't the be all and end all. I mean, I'm a kid who, who grew up reading Howard's ends of people's history of the United States. Um, and, um, would think that, I think that automating required reading, honestly. Um, but Hey Ellie, can you do something about that in our schools?
You know, I think there's a lot, there's a lot we can learn from these moments, right? I mean, I think the dialogue, right? I think when people, things should be put into context and we can't just blindly celebrate heroes of the past. Um, we need to interrogate and understand, um, you know, what the nuances, but I think that we moving, you know, removing a statue of Lincoln doesn't.
Provoke dialogue, right? It doesn't for both understanding it, doesn't provoke people, um, learning, uh, about nuance history. Um, and so I would advocate for more education for more context. Mmm Hmm. And frankly, I would advocate for more statues. Um, you know, I think there's a movement to, to get a statue of Vel Phillips at the Capitol, which is, uh, I'm a hundred percent on that that should happen.
Um, and you know, and I'm interested in, you know, who else should we be celebrating in our community through art? Um, let's have that conversation cause that I think will be really interesting. So. I would love to see a statue of Milton and pike and Milton and pike park. And I would love to see it be something that is interactive that kids are supposed to climb on.
That's supposed to be touched. Um, you know, and I think that people, you know, people. What, what you see, I think is not that people are targeting statutes or targeting windows. I think you see people who have reached the limit, um, the, the limit of their rationale, because it is irrational to put your knee on somebody's neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds, you know?
And I think if the damage you do in this life is that you break a window or, you know, knocked down a statue. I can't, I can't be mad at you. For that, you know, the, the kinds of issues that I deal with within education, um, there are some things that'll really break your heart and, and a statue. Isn't one of those things.
It's not for me at this point in my life. And I appreciate the opportunity to discuss this. I have to ask you, uh, mayor Satya roads Conway, uh, because you worked very closely with our city council. What has it been like for you to work with them over, over the course of the last, you know, a little over a year as you have been mayor, um, you were a member of our city council.
What does it look like to, to be on the outside, looking in. And, and how do you feel about your, your colleagues on the council? Um, that's a complicated question with a complicated answer. Um, I, I am struck by how incredibly different it is being on the council versus being in the executive. I'm office and I don't even, I'm not even sure I can articulate all of the ways that it's different, but I, it is, it is way more different than I expected.
Um, uh, I also so think that it's been a really, really difficult time for, um, for all of us to be elected officials and to be in leadership positions. Um, and I, um, the lessons that I hope that I learned, um, through code that is, um, That it's really easy for communication to break down in crisis. Um, and that it's really important to, to keep that, um, built up, um, and to keep channels open.
And I think that that's, you know, if I, if I got to do over there, that's one thing that I would try and do better with the council is to just be making sure that we were communicating much better through the, the initial crisis of COBIT. Um, Because it's, it's easy to forget that, um, folks, you don't have access to all the information, um, all of the time, like you do in the mayor's office.
Um, but I think that, you know, the council has done some really good work this term. Um, and, um, and at the same time, I think they, they have struggled a lot. There's a lot of internal disagreement, um, and yeah know, that's difficult, um, to watch, but I'm hopeful that. And through the budget process, you know, we can all focus on, um, and what our priorities are and, um, you know, creating a budget that helps Madison to recover from those COVID and, um, invest in, in racial equity and social justice, um, and the things that our community needs going forward.
And, um, so I, I remain hopeful. Um, I, you know, have some good relationships and conversations with, with elders and. Um, and look forward to continuing to work with them. Satya, we have just a few moments left, a few minutes left and I have to ask, what do you love about being the mayor of Madison? What does it mean to you to be our mayor?
I mean, the thing. That is most important is the ability to make people's lives better. Um, and that's been really difficult this year. Um, it's been very hard to do that, um, but I try and stay focused on, um, you know, just doing the next good thing, um, on, um, doing the best. I asked that I can, that my staff can in any given situation.
And again, You know, there's very few things that are good about living. You're a pandemic, but, uh, but one is that it really focuses you on what's important. Um, and you know, really trying to stay focused on the health and safety of everybody in Madison. Um, you know, that keeps me going, um, and. You know, the opportunity to, to make a positive difference in that is, is an honor, frankly, it's, it's, um, a really amazing experience.
Are there things you've learned and plan to do differently? Moving forward? Oh, yeah. All sorts. I mean, we, we don't have any, they go through the list, but yes. Um, yes, I feel like every day I'm learning something and, um, and trying really hard to hang on to those lessons, um, and to make sure that we don't lose them, um, as we move into the next challenge or whatever it is, um, really want to make sure that we hang on to some of the innovation, some of the ways of working together.
Um, you know, some of the ways of communicating that we've come up with them in this year. They're Satya roads Conway. I cannot thank you enough. Joining us on H w O R T 89.9. FM Madison. I'm your host Ali mojo. Today is Wednesday, September 9th. We were very fortunate to get to talk with our mayor. It was a gorgeous conversation.
Thank you all for listening. Thank you for calling and asking questions and Satya again, thank you so much for joining us. Thank you Elisa. Real pleasure. We could easily talk for another hour. I think so. Yes, we got to have you back. Thank you. Thank you.
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