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 8 alderman candidates ask for your vote

Austin King

It has been a tremendously rewarding and humbling experience to represent the campus area on the Madison Common Council these past two years. Together, we have pushed a pro-student, pro-worker and pro-tenant agenda for Madison, with an unprecedented level of success. I hope that when you look at my record of concrete victories and my goals for a second term that you choose to send me back to City Hall with your vote this Tuesday.

I am excited that the Council recently passed my proposal repealing the antiquated Cabaret License ordinance. This Prohibition-era law had effectively banned dancing in most of Madison’s bars, strangling the Madison music scene. Next, I will introduce an ordinance creating Performing Arts Venue licenses, which will allow liquor-license holders to open their doors to those under 21 when live entertainment or live music is offered. Having lived for three years in this city without being able to legally see my favorite bands, I’m sympathetic to the plight of those under 21, and I’m going to push hard to pass this proposal.


I am thankful to the hundreds of students who helped in campaigning for the Fair Wage Ordinance that I authored, which raised the minimum wage for the first time in seven years. Unfortunately, if it were up to either of my opponents, the minimum wage would still be $5.15 an hour. I am the only candidate that will fight to protect our progress from assaults by corporate lobbyists and legislative Republicans.

Another issue arena to which I’ve dedicated innumerable hours is protecting and expanding our tenants’ rights. As a member of the Housing Committee, I’ve successfully beaten back proposals from the landlord lobbyists to restrict our rights, and I’ve advanced many pro-tenant ordinances. Among our biggest legislative successes are external security locks now required on all multi-unit buildings and new non-discrimination protections for international students without Social Security numbers. In my next term, I’ll fight for security deposit reform so that there is due process for tenants and we don’t get ripped off by unscrupulous landlords.

Because the rents downtown are too high, affordable housing is another cause I have championed, both as a proponent of funding the Affordable Housing Trust Fund and as a co-sponsor and drafter of Inclusionary Zoning. This new zoning regulation requires every new development to contain units that are affordable to people making modest incomes.

Coming from the campus anti-sexual assault movement, improving public safety has been another focus of my service. Sensible drug and alcohol policy that focuses on harm reduction instead of punitive measures is my preferred approach. It is in this light that I resist calls to shut down Halloween, favoring instead continuing the diligent work that students and the city have done jointly to make the event safe and fun. Foremost among the tasks at hand are finding a creative way to stagger bar closings and hosting free entertainment away from State Street to reduce the bar-time critical mass of revelers.

I hope you’ll agree that I’ve lived up to the promise of my campaign’s slogan, “Active, Accessible Representation.” Two years ago, many wondered if there was any way a 21-year-old student could survive inside City Hall and accomplish anything. Thankfully, my service has quieted such skeptics. I believe that of the three candidates, I am the most progressive, the most experienced and the best fit for this district. For more information or to contact me, please visit my website at Thank you for your support and your vote in tomorrow’s primary.

Kami Eshraghi

When I moved to this neighborhood as an immigrant, I wasn’t sure I would stay past high school. Since then, I’ve been a University of Wisconsin student, lived as a tenant in campus-area housing and worked in the service sector and as a bartender in our downtown. Currently, I serve and employ UW students in my place of business on the Capital Square. Madison is my home but downtown is where my heart is. Because of my roots in this community, and my long-term commitment to it, I am running to represent this district on the Madison City Council.

This race is not about the old labels of left, right, liberal or progressive. It’s about treating the residents of this district, specifically students, as the adults they are. I want to empower people of all backgrounds who live here to make more of their own decisions regarding entertainment, lifestyle and housing options. It’s about demanding the city to stop treating students as second-class citizens. It is about being included in the community and, finally, the freedom to walk without fear at night.

For too long, the city has viewed the alder holding this seat as a temporary nuisance or as someone who will be long gone after the current term and, therefore, doesn’t need to be taken seriously. This is why whoever our current alder happens to be rarely, if ever, ends up on key committees like the Plan Commission or the Board of Estimates.

In addition to representing the interests of his or her particular district, any good alder also needs to work for the city of Madison as a whole. And the biggest challenge facing our city for the foreseeable future will be the budget.

As budget cuts continue to take their toll at all levels of government, communities like ours will increasingly come to rely on the private sector for job creation and generation of tax revenues. Whether we like it or not, our annual city budgets will only get tougher, not easier. Shared revenues from state government continue to decline, the city’s health insurance premiums are increasing sharply, and our city’s rapid growth is increasing the demand for service. If we are to maintain the quality of life we’ve come to expect in Madison, we must ensure these demands do not outpace our ability to meet them.

To do so, we must either absorb draconian cuts in our level of service, which I don’t believe any of us want, or ensure sufficient economic growth and tax revenues to allow us to keep pace with these challenges.

With a population as educated and a quality of life as high as Madison’s, this should not present an insurmountable problem. This is neither a “conservative” nor “progressive” issue. The need to fill bullet points on one’s résumé should not trump common sense. We need to make reasonable efforts to attract job-creating businesses and, at a minimum, not be consistently hostile to economic growth out of a desire to show off our progressive credentials. Otherwise, something will have to give, and the resulting cuts to core services and other priorities will make neither progressives nor conservatives very happy.

The next city council should spend its time creating more housing downtown, more jobs in the private sector and, finally, a better partnership with its police department. Local alders are not elected to make foreign policy and pursue divisive resolutions that bash Israel or our troops.

Instead, I want to ensure that students finally get the level of representation they deserve and that downtown Madison remains a vibrant and healthy community for the long term. I am optimistic that it will be, and I humbly ask for your vote this Tuesday.

Ray Corcoran

My platform is simple accessibility to everyone in the district, listening to all points of view and not just those from a narrow ideology or a political agenda. I will fight for smaller security deposits, work to grant all tenants the right to a separate lease, and to increase landlords’ and management companies’ fault for their neglect to rented property. As alder, I will work with state legislatures to extend bar time on Halloween and to make an exception for Madison to allow underage constituents into bars that have live entertainment. On Halloween, I want to bring national acts to State Street and bring in event-organizing professionals to better handle the event.

I also feel the need to address the climate of racial hatred in Madison. This is not solved by suppressing information about hate crimes that occur here. Work on national civil rights issues is not going to change this atmosphere of hate. The work that has been accomplished at the city level, increased wages or extension of tenants’ rights for instance, is tainted by this. The first step to solving this problem is to recognize that the problem exists and to not let hate crimes go unanswered by elected representatives.

This is why Austin King owes Kyle Aragon, Kyle Aragon’s family, the Pueblo people from New Mexico and the Native American community in Madison an apology. Austin owes this apology for allowing his political agenda to overshadow his duty as alderperson, which is to respond to the concerns of constituents first. Kyle Aragon was once Austin King’s constituent and a UW student. However, Kyle moved from campus, in fact he moved back to New Mexico because he was the victim of a racially motivated attack in front of Johnny O’s, which is in our district. If the agony of being attacked for his heritage in the neighborhood he lived in was not enough, a letter of concern sent to his Alder was never responded to.

A simple apology would be enough, but does Austin apologize or get the point. He claims he did not want to exploit the incident, which is dubious because there would have been no detriment to Kyle had awareness been increased on hate crimes, and the idea that Austin would not want to receive credit for doing the right thing is preposterous.

The point is Austin never responded to the writer of the letter.

If Austin would have simply apologized for not responding, this would not be an issue. However, when I brought this story to his attention at the last debate, he had the audacity to accuse me of calling him a racist when I never insinuated or claimed such a characterization — this is infuriating. A likely motive for Austin not responding was that he did not want to allow any pity to go to the pro-Dane casino side (Austin was No-Dane Casino) of the DeJope casino debate.

If I had come out against Indian Gaming, and the campus American Indian community wanted to talk to me about this hate crime, I still would have listened and responded to them about the hate crime.

Austin’s concentration on non-district issues instead of local problems is not helping ease the climate of racial hatred.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Badger Herald

Your donation will support the student journalists of University of Wisconsin-Madison. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Badger Herald

Comments (0)

All The Badger Herald Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *