Category Archives: Rotary Club of Madison Guest Speaker

The Housing Mixtape: Madison, WI       

November 17, 2021 Rotary Guest Speaker

–submitted by Ellsworth Brown

Justice Castaneda a man on a mission, delivered a distillation of his academic work with the passion and intensity of a community advocate.  He cares deeply about Madison, a city in which he was raised and moved many times before concluding his teenage years.  Castaneda knows intimately the challenges that caused and perpetuate the strictures of redlining, covenants and zoning.  He concluded his presentation with a summary that gives this complex subject a frame:

  • Contemporary housing patterns are limited by historical and contemporary land use policies and practices that contribute significantly to housing volatility, absence of strong community ties, and family cohesiveness.
  • Volatility in housing tenure—sometimes 50% turnover a year—is an undercurrent in pathological associations with concentrated poverty.  For example, affordability of land available for development in Madison is limited to former redline sections that are depressed and underserved, formerly redline sections of the city.  Purchase of this lower-priced land for economic development often removes the availability of affordable housing.
  • Impediments in access to democratic processes and institutions are detrimental to collective efficacy.
  • The structure of local governments, their deliberate pace extending through two or three administrations, limits the use of long-term mitigation strategies.

Castaneda added that the absence in Madison of viable, efficient transportation routes between neighborhoods, services and sources of employment in historically redlined, covenant restricted areas continues to contribute to ongoing volatility of housing.

UW Support of Military Connected Students                                            

–submitted by Bill Haight

Rotary Guest Speakers on November 10, 2021

Joe Rasmussen, Director of University Veteran Services and UW student Brooke Villella addressed the club on the status of veteran students. 

Since the average veteran is 6 years older than the typical student, they are often left  out of the mainstream of campus life. The Veteran Services Office is  moving from a role of being simply a facilitator of benefits, to one of reaching out to make Veterans more inclusive.  Veterans are now a part of the University’s “Identity and Inclusion” initiative, which includes other minority populations. This puts the Veteran Services Office in a more visible position than in recent years. However Veterans have yet to be assigned a dedicated meeting place on campus, a goal the Rotary Veterans Fellowship is helping them attain. 

This link takes you to information about veteran benefits available on campus: www.Veterans.wisc.edu. This link takes you to a research study on veterans in higher education: VETWAYS – The Veteran Education to Workforce Affinity and Success Study (wceruw.org)

If you missed our meeting last week, you can view it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AT_cxASJ29M&t=1s

New Police Chief Brings His Goals for a Better Community to Madison

  

Why would Madison’s new Chief of Police of four months, Shon Barnes, spend most of his allotted speaking time presenting his journey from child to Chief?

   By doing so, Barnes not only shared his vision for our Madison force, but also how this vision became to be.

   Barnes wanted to serve in order to help others.  This he learned from his father, an automobile mechanic who developed a successful small business without advertising but on trust:  repair costs without overpricing, transparency of diagnosis, dependable delivery, and word of mouth.

   His college history major and four years teaching it gave him a long-view perspective, backward and forward.  He’s still learning about the legacy and power of history.  In fact . . .

   One of his most significant life events was a personal journey to Selma, Alabama with two officer friends.  They came to Selma, read archival materials, crossed the infamous Edmund Pettus Bridge of Bloody Sunday of March 7, 1965 history, and then walked 54 miles to Montgomery.

   During his walk, he learned that people want to be seen and to participate; they want to be heard; they were accountable for the welfare of the three walkers; and the world is not as divided as it is often portrayed to be.

   Barnes translated his life’s experiences into practice:  trust, active listening, transparency, accountability, the use of technology to increase efficiency, avoidance of over-policing, and—as he learned as a Rotarian— “being nice for no reason”.

   Barnes’ goal?  Madison’s police force will be the national model for exceptional policing.  

Our thanks to Police Chief Barnes for his presentation this week and to Ellsworth Brown for preparing this review article.  If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch the video here: https://youtu.be/9FrhUD8GDOo.

Rural Broadband: The Economics and Relationships Needed for “The Fix”

  

Brittany Beyer, Chair of the Governor’s Task Force on Broad Band, presented The Economics and Relationships Needed for “The Fix”.

Today’s mashup of acronyms, mastered by Beyer to her credit, demonstrates widespread and as-yet relatively uncoordinated efforts to advance universal broad band access, but a growing awareness of their importance.

Embedded are fundamental elements of equity, diversity and inclusion, the divide between sparsely settled rural and densely settled urban environments, outdated mapping of coverage and profit disparities attendant to the commerce of coverage, and the profound need for universal collaboration and coordination.

Beyer framed the fundamentals as access, affordability, and adoption.

Access is best and almost universal in urban areas, but the rules of measurement—mapping population together with broad band coverage—tilts systemic access heavily to cost-efficient urban areas while omitting high-cost, less efficient access to rural areas.

The resulting dilemma is captured in the subject of affordability, which requires a collaborative and systemic mix of commercial, government, philanthropic, and personal funding that is moving slowly toward the need to address the growing acknowledgment that, like electricity and rural mail delivery, broad band access has become a universal necessity and equalizer.

Adoption, the third leg of the stool, highlights the need to educate and aid those yet unfamiliar with the technology and capability that can be available to them.

There are test models and examples of successful local or at best regional well-led initiatives that work—in Reedsburg, WI and surrounding towns, for example; in Iowa County, a leader in a systemic mapping of service needs and population density; and in Brown County, where a model expansion is underway.

Today’s program was but a piece of the story.  Two complementary Rotary programs will present other facets of the quest for a systemic approach to universal high speed broad band service, one in July and one in August.    

   Our thanks to Brittany Beyer for her presentation this week and to Ellsworth Brown for preparing this review article.  If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch it here:  https://youtu.be/HiLfVKXGTLA.

TREK Thrives Even Under Adverse Conditions

Steve Malchow, Trek Bicycle’s Vice President of Operations, Engineering and Sourcing, had to move fast in the last three years to avoid hitting—or being hit—by three “black swans”:  Tariffs on Trek’s principal supplier of bicycles, from China; the pandemic, which shut down production facilities; and the combination of these two factors to create a third swan, the exploding demand for bicycles.

Trek is a billion dollar a year company with 4,000 employees, business in over 100 countries; race teams; comprehensive analysis of market share; and nimble, aggressive adjustment to the retail side of the business. 

Trek is also an enlightened company headquartered in Waterloo, Wisconsin, that is committed to healthy lifestyles for customers and employees.  Facing rising health insurance costs, it built its own clinic in 2014 and has not raised insurance costs since and serving 4,000 visits last year.  Trek’s chef serves its Waterloo employees healthy three meals a day.

600,000 bikes per year manufactured in China had to be relocated to non-tariff sources, including parts (about 300 in each bike), manufacturing supply chains, and delivery.  Trek used to back order 73,000 bikes, now 3.9 million as new orders jumped from 1.5 million to 3.8 million per year.  Even the ship that blocked the Suez Canal still contains a large order of undelivered bicycles.

And yet Trek thrives, aggressive on the elements of manufacturing and delivery, moving plants out of China to a total of 7 different countries world-wide including Taiwan and Cambodia, and expanding their BCycle city program to dozens of American cities.

Trek is also a leader in its largest market, E-bikes, a fleet of which are being tested in Madison now, even as the universal shortage of digital chips presents the latest delay.

Steve considers Trek successful and lucky under the circumstances.  Most of us would say “not lucky, just really good”.

Our thanks to Steve Malchow for his presentation this week and to Ellsworth Brown for preparing this review article.  If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch it here:  https://youtu.be/PNS0-1ZSRjM.

Addressing Response to Sexual Assault on UW-Madison Campus

Curran Sattler Walsh June 2 2021 Rachel Sattler, Kim Curran, and Kate Walsh comprised a panel supplying a fast-moving presentation about the largely unaddressed scope of problems and possible solutions to sexual assault of UW-Madison women. Statistics are startling:  26% of UW-Madison undergraduate women have experienced unwanted contact, 20% have been assaulted, and 6.8% have suffered violent attacks.  The use of alcohol by men and women plays a large role in these abuses. The consequences are several and can have life-long symptoms:  rape victims often experience PTSD, depression, and substance abuse disorders. School dropouts occur. The panel agreed that responses to sexual assault are unsatisfactory because a highly functioning, systemic, coordinated, multi-agency source of physical and medical, psychological, and legal services does not exist. This problem is magnified by most victims’ lack of knowledge about these services, their sources and their unknown and disparate locations, the absence of transportation, and the lack of an advocate who could knit all of these together, provide a single point for reporting, and accompany a victim to the services. One result of the absence of coordinated services is that only 2% of the victims report an assault to the University, and very few are reported to police. The panel is deeply involved in ways to address the shortcomings described above.  A U.S. Department of Justice grant has been awarded to hire a campus advocate who can begin to connect services, provide continuous and establish an example that can encourage the hiring of more advocates. A multi-agency virtual portal is also being developed for reporting and coordination of services, to help with the connection not only between agencies but also among survivors. At the close of the presentation, President Jorge asked what we as Rotarians can do to help.  The answer:  contact foundations you know for financial support of advocates or mental health programs or make personal contributions to these initiatives. Our thanks to Kim Curran, Rachel Sattler and Kate Walsh for their presentation this week and to Ellsworth Brown for preparing this review article. If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch it here: https://youtu.be/Fe53FRvN7R0.