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WWPC August 2006 Newsletter

Make our democracy work!

Democracy means “the rule of the people.” and yet, all over America, people’s desires for farmland and open space preservation are being frustrated, as subdivisions spring up in rings around cities.

Why is this? It’s because money talks and many citizens don’t bother to. When a developer has paid millions of dollars for a piece of land, city council members feel very uncomfortable voting to stop him from doing what he wants. They may feel, “He’s a nice guy, and I should be nice to him.”

In the back of their minds, they may know that the proposed development will harm wetlands or hurt food security or condemn city dwellers to a huge concrete jungle with no accessible nature, but those concerns seem far off, while the personal effects of offending a powerful and friendly guy will be felt immediately!

How can we counter that? By making a powerful and friendly force as well, a force that communicates often and in great numbers with the alders and the mayor.

In order to apply some pressure for preserving the land, the WWPC has set a goal of getting 30 letters from Fitchburg residents to each council member and the mayor. We will also need large numbers of Fitchburg residents to attend various council meetings. To make this ambitious goal, your participation is needed, whether or not you live in Fitchburg.

Which of these activities can you do?

  • 1) If you live in Fitchburg, write letters to your 2 alders and the mayor, asking them to vote no on the question of including the Northeast Neighborhood in the Urban Services Area.
  • 2) Make calls to our supporters in Fitchburg, to ask if they would send letters to their alders and the mayor, and come to council meetings.
  • 3) Hold a neighborhood tea (in Fitchburg or for Fitchburg friends), where neighbors can get to know each other, talk about what they want their city to be, learn about our proposal, and write letters.
  • 4) Join us at public events with flyers and clipboards, (and a display board if it’s possible to have a table) and ask people to write letters on the spot.
  • 5) Help us pay for big ads in the Willy St. Coop newsletter to reach its many Fitchburg members who care about organics and locally grown food.
  • Work Meeting for all Volunteers!

    On Wed., Aug. 23, we’ll meet at the Fitchburg Community Center, 5520 Lacy Rd. in the Greenfields Room, to organize volunteer participation in all of the activities listed above, plus other areas like data inputting, research, fundraising, etc.

    The last half hour will be brainstorming for the projects that will become possible if we succeed in defeating inclusion in the Urban Services Area in October: the farm school, wetland restoration, community gardens and farmers market. We need to start researching and spreading the word on those projects, while keeping our main focus on influencing the alders and the mayor.

    Please RSVP if you plan to come (phyllis@terracom.net or 223-9571), but last minute attendance is also welcome! Also call if you cannot come but want to volunteer.

    Yard Signs Coming Soon!

    The expected arrival date for yard signs is Aug. 30. They say “No Urban Service Area in Northeast Fitchburg!” on one side, and “Keep Northeast Fitchburg Rural: Save the Wetlands!” on the other, and our website, www.westwaubesa.org. The cost is $5. You can send your payment in now, or pay when you get yours, but please reserve one now, as we only ordered 100 at this time.

    Matching grant makes new levels of organizing possible –
    if you donate now!

    A matching grant from an anonymous donor has made it possible for the WWPC to receive up to $6,000! This would make it possible to pay for consulting services from an experienced organizer, from now through October at at least half time. (see job announcement.)

    The generous donations that we received in June made it possible to create the vision Power Point and to have such a large meeting on June 27. That successful meeting convinced our donor that their money would be well spent supporting our project, provided that the people of the area cared enough to give generously as well!

    Many of you gave very generously at the June 27 event: our collection came to $840! It’s being spent on yard signs, printing, postage, and ads.

    If you have not yet donated, or are able to donate again, this is the time to do it! You will not have another chance to save this land. Just imagine yourself looking at 1000 homes in the NE Neighborhood and thinking, “I wish I had given the WWPC that $xxxx that I spent on xxxx.”

    Don’t let that happen! Instead, fill out the form and donate as generously as you can. We’ve had donations from $5 to $1000, and now $3000! Pick your level and send it in today. You’ll feel great when you see all the organizing we’ll do with it.

    Write your letters today!

    You can handwrite or type your letters, and send them by U.S. Mail or email. If you live in Fitchburg, send one to each of your 2 alders, and one to the mayor. (see enclosed aldermanic district map for your alders’ names and addresses.) If you don’t live in Fitchburg, just write the mayor. The most important sentence in your letter is “please vote against inclusion of the Northeast Neighborhood in the Urban Services Area.” Then you can give any reasons why you want to stop this development.

    Please call or email us to say that you have sent the letter. We will keep track with a numbered list of letter writers on our (soon to be created) website. If you don’t want you name listed there, please tell us so.

    Organizing Consultant Sought

    (please post widely)

    Offer: The West Waubesa Preservation Coalition is seeking an organizing consultant to work 20 hours per week for 10 weeks, until the end of October 2006, with the possibility of long-term employment (depending on grants).

    Necessary skills: computer literacy, excellent people skills (a friendly, outgoing manner, good listening skills, ability to talk to strangers persuasively), public speaking. You must be able to focus, ask for help, solve problems yourself if necessary, and work well with others. You must also be able to take direction and constructive criticism well.

    Necessary knowledge: land use issues, New Urbanism, farmland preservation, organic agriculture, community gardening. Wetland restoration a plus.

    Necessary experience: at least 2 years experience working with a grassroots advocacy group, as staff or a volunteer.

    Duties: canvassing, flyering, recruiting and training volunteers, phone calling, asking for money, explaining our cause to individuals, groups, decision makers and the media. Persuasive writing skills a plus.

    Background: We are seeking to stop a sprawl development and promote a visionary alternative that includes an organic agriculture school on a working farm. The Fitchburg Common Council votes on this in Oct., and we need your help now to organize support for our position in Fitchburg.

    Pay: $15 to $20 per hour, depending on experience and skills. No benefits, this is a short-term consulting job. But there is a possibility of a long-term job with benefits if grants come through.

    Contact: Phyllis Hasbrouck, phyllis@terracom.net. Include your resume with email and a phone number. If we are interested, we will contact you and ask for 2 references from past work with a grassroots advocacy group.

    ATC: Are we out of the woods yet?

    No, we are not. The WWPC has joined Citizens for Responsible Energy (CRE), the coalition of groups challenging the need for 345 kilovolt transmission lines. At a recent meeting, Nino Amato reminded us that the ATC has announced that they will need to build another transmission line every few years in Dane County. So if your corridor wasn’t picked this year, it may be in a few years.

    CRE is filing as an intervener with the Public Service Commission (PSC) in the case of the Waunakee line, and the WWPC will also. What this means is that we will be notified of all developments in the case, and allowed to testify at hearings. Any of you can file as an intervener as well. (If you want to do so, contact Robin Stearns of CRE at Robin.Stearns@charter.net and she’ll send you the model letter that you can amend and send to the PSC. The deadline is Aug. 27.)

    Why are we intervening in Waunakee? Because the “needs study” that the ATC paid for (called the “Energy Initiative”) needs to be challenged now, in the first Dane County case that appears before the PSC, and that just happens to be in Waunakee. If the PSC accepts the “Energy Initiative” as an accurate and complete study of the energy needs of Dane County, then that will stand for our lines in southern Dane County as well.

    We believe that the “Energy Initiative” cannot be trusted. The ATC used grossly inflated growth projections (which have already been proven false), and the actual shortfall that they predict in 2012 (a total of 29 hours per year) can be mitigated with conservation programs that are already in place.

    Coming Soon…a new WWPC Website!

    We have a new webmaster who will help us make a great website at www.westwaubesa.org. We’ll be keeping track of the # of letters that each Fitchburg alder has received, and have lots of info on both of our causes. If you have a suggestion, please contact us at phyllis@terracom.net or 223-9571

    Dane County Board Hearing Draws Hundreds

    In an amazing show of unity, the Dane County Board of Supervisors voted 38 to 1 in June to call for a new and independent study to consider Dane County’s energy needs, and to become interveners in the case. On Wed., Aug. 15, they held a public hearing on energy needs, and around 200 people attended, including WWPC members.

    The message was clear from almost every person who spoke (except for the employees of ATC and MG&E): we need to do everything possible in the way of energy conservation and renewable energy before building more transmission lines.

    NO Line: Stop ATC
    Lawn Signs Now Available

    Please contact John Barnes at stoptheline@tds.net or 845.6026 if you would like to buy an attractive lawn sign for $5. They say “No Line: Stop ATC” with a tower graphic on one side, and “No Dirty Power/StopATC.com/Clean Energy Now!” on the other side.

    West Waubesa Preservation Coalition
    P.O. Box 234
    Oregon, WI 53575

    Please Open Immediately for info on how you can save the Northeast Neighborhood!

    Don’t let this scene on Lacy Rd. be repeated in the Northeast Neighborhood!