Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


District 5 candidates vie for seat

Residents of the city’s fifth aldermanic district will vote in the City Council primary today to nominate two candidates to face-off in an election that carries added significance in light of recent district boundary changes.

Interim Ald. Tom Powell, District 5, faces challengers Ron Rosner and Wintford Thornton.

University Heights, Eagle Heights, a portion of the Lakeshore university housing and some of the Regent Street neighborhood are now included in District 5, the result of a westward shift of district boundaries to accommodate population increases in Madison.

Powell lists housing issues and tenant rights as his main concerns. He said violations of tenant rights are not a top concern among police, pointing to only one prosecution of a violation in 2001, despite thousands of student renters in Madison. He proposes creating a permanent position with the police department for the specific prosecution of tenant rights violations.

Powell’s other projects include implementing a “Right to Know” ordinance, which would eliminate a landlord’s ability to reject prospective renters without providing a valid reason. The ordinance would require reasons for rejection to be put in writing, ultimately protecting students from unlawful discrimination and other illegal practices.

Powell said his experience and past accomplishments speak for themselves.

“I have been one of the most active participants in local politics,” he said. “I’ve written and presented more pieces of legislation than just about any other member, and I plan to continue. I aim to both vote for and propose the right legislation.”

He says transportation and women’s issues are other priorities he has contributed to in the past, including securing bike lanes on reconstructed roadways and the construction of a commuter railway in Madison.

Powell cites budget cuts and helping protect the Campus Rape Crisis Center from a $25,000 funding cut as his top concerns for District 5.

“We need to be more vigilant in areas looking at serious budget cuts and reductions,” Powell says. “It’s important to prioritize, because there’s so little in the budget that really helps students. The temptation is to take first from them because they’re seen as temporary residents, but I don’t agree with that at all. We need to protect the money that does go to students.”

Rosner has lived in Madison for 30 years and serves as the president of his neighborhood association. His past experience includes working for the construction of the student overpass over University Avenue while a student at UW, which he calls his first political experience, and serving as an instructor for UW’s Institute of Environmental Studies.

Since retiring last year, Rosner said he has remained active by doing work for organizations including the Sierra Club.

Rosner said he plans to work for student interests by focusing on their place in the broader scope of the neighborhood.

“It’s important to be sensitive to the constituents that may view things differently and not to divide [community members],” Rosner said. “We have more common interests than differences, such as the renovation and expansion of Camp Randall.”

Like Powell, Rosner lists housing issues as a top concern.

“I’m sensitive to the fact that students deserve more for the money they’re paying,” Rosner said. “I will argue for improved living conditions.”

Rosner is also concerned with binge drinking, an issue he said he would like to work toward alleviating with UW Chancellor John Wiley. Rosner said creative solutions are key and he hopes to establish effective alternatives such as the “all-ages night” concept offered at Luther’s Blues.

Rosner said he is aware of the inherent challenges posed by District 5 and said he is capable of representing both the student and homeowner constituencies. Neighborhood coalitions are necessary for success, he said, as well as establishing contact with student organizations and creating forums for discussion.

Thornton said he wants to increase job-training programs with local unions and businesses, create equality in the criminal justice system, increase funding for youth community centers to decrease teen pregnancy, juvenile delinquency and alcohol and drug abuse, and take action to reduce violence against women.

He said he would act on student issues like revamping the SHIP Insurance Plan with dental coverage, lower co-pays and higher prescription benefit, creating a tuition freeze by academic class in college, promoting greater recruitment and retention of minorities, increasing financial aid with increased tuition and creating on-line student evaluations of faculty.

Though primary elections for the Dane County Board also take place today, no student-majority district has a primary race. Many students who go to vote will find only Madison School Board candidates on the ballot. To find a district’s polling location, visit

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