Let the market guide housing
Do we need to triple our poverty level in Waunakee?
We have only 5% as opposed to 17% in surrounding communities. This is seen as a problem by some. Lack of low-cost housing is seen as a cause. They feel we have too many single family homes compared to surrounding towns, we need to increase the number of multifamily units, rentals and apartments. This is the way for us to have equity with surrounding towns and villages.
It is pointed out that people who work in Waunakee cannot live here. School teachers and employees of the Waunakee school district would have a hard time buying a house here. There is a push to force developers to mix low cost housing in with each new development.
They also say that we are too white, too racist. Does real estate recognize race? No, it understands market forces. The foremost of which is demand. Waunakee has great schools, great parks and is rated as one of the best places to live in the United States. Because of this homes in Waunakee and building sites are in great demand. This is good news for current home owners and people who desire to have their property developed (usually farmers).
Developers can make money and give great amenities in Waunakee because of that demand. We have twice the acreage of parks as is required by law. This is only possible because of the developers ability to make a profit. The tax base of homes and businesses supports our great schools.
Some say we should provide affordable housing to enable others to more easily come and live in the community. I and many others moved to Waunakee without great assets. The normal progression of rental of a duplex, the purchase of an older home and becoming the second owner of a nicer home has been followed by many. This is a normal progression for a young family. It allows the family to move into the community and be upwardly mobile through saving and sweat equity. It allows the community to keep all of our properties in demand and allows older homes to be maintained.
This is how you get a home in this village. You work for it. When did pursuing the American dream become a bad thing? Waunakee is exceptional. Do not let social engineers destroy what makes it that way.
Change needed to the election process
I was a first time voter in 1992. The major issues of that presidential election were unemployment, healthcare access, racial tensions and disruptions caused by technological change and globalization. The entrance of Ross Perot into the election forced the issue of the growing deficit onto the national stage. By 2000, immigration, education and climate change also became top tier political issues.
My daughter just voted in her first presidential election. Looking back on these past decades, it is clear how little has been accomplished since to address any of these issues. Many of the problems have been worsened by negligence and poor decision making. The saddest part of America’s failing to rationally address many problems we face is that these costs are not being borne evenly. The costs hurt the most vulnerable and will be passed down to my daughter’s generation. The pandemic has pushed inequality into undeniably critical territory. That is unfair and unacceptable.
I have voted in almost every election, sometimes crossing party lines on the same ballot. I’ve tried to support politicians willing to make hard and fair decisions, or at least discuss them. Voting is important, but it is not enough. To truly better the election process, we need to lift up grassroots movements proposing policies for pragmatic reform to our legislature here in Wisconsin.
Katherine Gehl and Michael Porter explain how we got here in The Politics Industry. They argue that our political system often rewards politicians that don’t solve problems. We do elect many well-intentioned people, but no single elected person can easily overcome these barriers to good governance. Too many elections are decided at the primary stage when too few Americans vote.
Gehl and Porter conclude that we need to change our election process to have better results. Their proposal is both “powerful and achievable”: an open primary with the top five candidates progressing to a general election using ranked choice voting. Their goal is to open our election process to more candidates, increase competition, and elect candidates with widespread support. This does not mean that our two-party system will go away. It means that both parties will be challenged to do better.
Katherine Gehl is a Wisconsinite who has started Democracy Found to make this a reality. Please visit democracyfound.org for more information, share with friends and family, and help get the word out to make a difference in America’s future.
Wisconsin has been one of the hardest hit states in the pandemic. Why? Because the president stated early in the pandemic that states were responsible for dealing with it. This led to states competing with each other for PPE and other resources instead of having a unified response. Governor Evers and the Department of Health Services did take steps to protect the public, mandating masks, and setting limits on bar/restaurant capacity.
But the Tavern League and Republicans then appealed those emergency rules, contending the governor doesn’t have the authority to make the rules. They contend that role belongs to the legislature. Yet since Evers first declared a public health emergency due to COVID-19, a quorum of lawmakers has met on the floor just once in each chamber of the GOP-run Wisconsin Legislature.
The same thing is happening at the national level. The $1200 stimulus check was months ago, yet Republican senators still can’t agree to any kind of further relief. The Democratic controlled House of Representatives has advanced legislation to the US Senate, only to have no action taken. Covid-19 is a public health and economic emergency and we need leadership to keep the public safe. I voted for Biden and Democrats down the ballot. I encourage you to do the same.