It is interesting to me to learn from people across our Wausau community what is important to them. Currently from listening to citizens in District 9 the top three areas of compliant have been. 1. Concern over a road curve near Brockmeyer Park. Citizens would like to see something done. The most common suggestion was to straighten out the road curve. Others thought a board -walk to blend in with natural surroundings, a bridge or sidewalk could cure the safety concern for motorists, pedestrians and our dogs. 2. Citizens complained of current contract for garbage pick-up and recycling. With this particular complaint, I see supplemental job creation by utilizing existing community resources. Now remember, a job can be a task to meet a need, not necessarily monetary payment. 3. Affordable Housing with dignity.
When my friends visit from out of state, often they comment on how scenic and beautiful our community is. They are right. Unfortunately the mask is covering significant problems. We need to work on making the inside of our community as beautiful as our outside.
Every community has unfair comparisons. To simply laundry list the specific items does not address the complexity of the interconnectedness of the topics concerned. Soil quality, water quality, and air quality these are not issues of the past. These are continual citizen concerns, as they should be. People make up our communities. People need to be empowered to share each voice in community workings, discussion and decision.
Our community, city of Wausau has been identified as one with a deep drug and alcohol problem, human trafficking as in not just labor trafficking but sex trafficking along with children in crisis. Much dichotomy must be addressed.
Lingering over our twelve alder person districts here in the City of Wausau is an important transportation issue.
Citizens have expressed to me that they wonder if the lack of public transportation is a form of segregation and discrimination against those with low-income, disabilities and other challenges. I heard in a conversation; “What difference does transportation make if people do not have money to spend for shopping?” Another sound bite in the same conversation was, “People do not want to work.” Thankfully someone chimed in, “How can I get to work with no transportation?”
Reasons ranged from I cannot afford car insurance, to I cannot afford to buy a car. My parents did not let me get a drivers’ license because they could not afford to send me to that class. I do not know anyone who will let me practice with their car or to take the test. I do not meet criteria to be helped by a program to get a car. I need to get past my DUI fines to be able to start over. This reason, made a different kind of sense; “I am not going to bust my backside to remain poor as I am or worse so someone else can live better off of me.”
Many people shared horrific employment stories. Employers have shared terrible experiences about employees. Each, all, are being quiet otherwise and not telling who needs to know, out of fear of losing employment or losing business. We need to find solutions.
The local industry that I seem to hear the most complaints over is the Care Industry.
The Care industry is an underappreciated industry. However it has changed over the decades. Wages have stalled. The cost of use of the service continues to rise. The quality of care for our elderly population, and those who happen to have disabilities and additionally others who need care services regularly complain about the quality of service.
Many facilities are understaffed. People tell me they will not work at understaffed places due to personal conviction of justice in the workplace. It is possible that they are forgetting that the poor quality laborer actually showing up to work has job security and a measure of work forgiveness because they show up. If the trained, qualified people would show up and staffing was at expectation, the work would not be so hard. How do I know? Because I did that kind of work nearly 20 years while I raised my sons and put myself through college.
I read about the current trends of the Care Industry. The people who use the services or live in facilities, they continue to be charged the rates they are. These rates (follow the money) are billed private pay, to insurance or through some public funding if a public funding source is accepted. The money accepted is for substandard, understaffed care from underpaid individuals.
Did you know as a citizen you have the right to review State Surveys to assess for yourself quality of care? If you are a potential customer of a Care facility, private or public, you have the right to see, review, and ask questions about the survey. What do things mean and compare the findings. It makes me glad to walk into a place like Mount View to see that survey easily accessible. I do not even have to ask for it.
In evaluation, I have learned that expectations currently appear to use for lack of a better way to describe, The Danish System for judging. Expectations many remember in the past, is not the same. Not even similar. For example; the incidents of bed sores once upon a time at a place I worked was zero tolerance. Now I find that a certain amount is typical and acceptable.
As a local community, there must be something that can be done. Our loved ones are depending on us.
I’ve had this idea for a local TEAM. This acronym I have been using before Gary Bussi did on the TV show The Apprentice. Together Everybody Achieves More….I felt deflated. Can I still use this acronym for the idea? As I keep pitching the idea, maybe someone will contribute another name.
Each person I spoke to in positions of community leadership kept saying, “How are you going to make money off of this? How can I make money off of this? Where is the money going to come from?” YOU DON’T. That is the whole point. It is about asking people to join in on an operation voluntarily where they can leave it anytime they want. The operation or structure of you will, is to help people to be able to be in a position to take a low wage position because the access to resources will help them have more disposable income while they agree to save a specific amount of money based on a formula. Of course there ideally would be a trade off or exchange to be part of this helping system. That would be volunteering in the community a set number of hours per week or monthly.
How do I know it could and will work? I am living it myself. It may not be a way for everybody. But it could be helpful to some. The “ some” may be living under a bridge or stay at the Warming Center.
Do we need a city or county work tribunal? Could using the resource of The State of WI Workforce Development be used more? Where is that Community Time Bank? How can we help local resources help us?
I understand we can only do the best we can with what we know and have. Short cuts can short us. Each action moves us closer to better or closer to worse. Since the reports coming reflect poorly, we need to regroup as a community.
What if we supported and advocated for the change we say we want to see? Let’s look to existing resources in our community who have the potential to meet capacity to do its mission and goals. I believe looking within, instead of out maybe an essential key. We have our own experts here living among us. When our own experts say they need help, then let us look to consultants outside of our community. We live here and pay the bills.
Our basic needs of water, food shelter, a sense of belonging and air, it is hard to decide which should come first.
I read a local article stating fair market rent for our community is $740.00 a month. The following links give more information about housing.
I also think it is reasonable to develop something to address Housing hardship. I have in mind ideas for a Housing Hardship Provision. It is important to have housing with dignity. Again, the idea is to strengthen our community.
For example; I learned that an ordinance states that no more than three unrelated people can live in a dwelling on the City of Wausau. This ordinance does not take into account people who chose not to be married or combinations of children connected to relationships.
The ordinance does not allow for the support of sober housing, boarding houses, hospitality housing (tourism hostile) or a place to live after successful completion of transitional housing from the prison system, not to mention a typical High School “Senior Summer” opportunity.
In addition to senior summer, the option for group living for those who chose not to go on to college, people with grown children or life change, are also limited with housing. When someone goes through a divorce or relationship break up, more opportunities could deter domestic violence.
You know what I still don’t quite understand? How can the economic impact of one volunteer hour be $23.56 one year and $24.14 the next year according to the following sources;
Some criteria is already required for some programs. People who use SNAP formerly called Food Share, may have a work/activity requirement. If volunteering meets that requirement, consider it. I say that especially if volunteering contributes to balancing quality of life. Research tells us it is better for children on average to be with a parent. As I understand it, a parent with a child under age 2, is not required to work but meet a designated amount of hours of activity per month to be able to access SNAP.
Those who have children ages 3 to 5 have a work requirement or a discretionary work plan that can include, classes, training, education and other options. The guidelines actually are not all that new, it appears to be a matter of compliance between the caseworker or Consortiums team and person/family seeking SNAP as a resource. Some volunteer opportunities people can bring child(ren) along. A good example of a volunteer opportunity to bring the kids along to is a Community Garden. Give them a water sprayer and teach them to water the plants. Meet others with positive social interactions.
Again, how do I know that? I ask questions and try to pay attention. Also years ago I was involved in the Welfare reform. http://www.ethelforcongress.
Speaking for myself about volunteering, I often chose activities that my sons could help with. Age appropriate is important. Sometimes I over estimated or underestimated what they were capable of. I call that learning experiences.
Housing is a topic close to my heart. Housing code Title 16; Chapters 16.02 and 16.04 is planned to expire or renew 2020. In addition, a housing ordinance where apparently no more the three unrelated people can live in a dwelling, I believe needs to be reviewed. The reason I say this is, some ordinances may be inadvertently be a hurdle in our community.
I think it is reasonable to have twelve sober houses in Wausau. Twelve districts are in the city of Wausau having one house in each is reasonable. In order for a program such as an Oxford House or DarJune Recovery House for example to work, six to eight people live in a dwelling live together to support each other and give positive peer pressure to each other in a recovery process to support treatment.
No family is immune from our community issues. We can use existing resources by making them stronger to access the help needed. I also think it is reasonable to develop something to address Housing hardship. I have in mind ideas for a Housing Hardship Provision. It is important to have housing with dignity. Again, the idea is to strengthen our community. There are current ordinances that are very helpful. Some ordinances need adjustment and modification to address the times. Others need enforcement. There is nothing wrong with a bit of review of what we as a community can do to improve.
I also think some restructuring or modifications could be done to help businesses. For example, by helping people save money, more disposable income could be found for purchases or savings. The savings hopefully will go to larger purchases. (Save the money to purchase a house. Then collect property taxes from it to improve our local schools.) The ripple effect of help will grow our local economy. Sometimes I think these things just need to be said aloud. Seriously, some people do not know the same things other know.
Did I mention that this “opinion article” yes it is long. Keep reading. However, let me interject answering this question as to the fact that the Wausau Pilot and Review did specifically ask it. “Mrs. Quisler, Why are you campaigning for Alder Person of District 9 Wausau City Council?”
When I campaigned for Congress, WI 7th CD, I stated 3 reasons why people seek office. 1. To win. 2. To make a point 3. To make a difference
The story behind the realization that I agree with all three points is as follows;
My youngest struggled with learning in school. My oldest son graduated high school a Valedictorian. People are very unique individuals. One size does not fit all.
When I worked for a Lumber Company, 6:00 a.m. he never failed, this customer would make a purchase. He always had a smile on his face and a limerick passing his lips. He said it made his day to see me laugh. Then he’d say must grab breakfast and coffee for the missus.
This one particular day, my customer friend said, “Ethel, people are like water and electricity. They follow the path of least resistance.” That stuck with me. ”
(By the way I am still interested in that seat someday.)
My youngest has several friends in school like him who struggled.
(When you have the chance to get your high school diploma, just do it. I am the daughter of a man who received his high school diploma at age 81. It’s important.)
I often opened our house for the kids as a place to study, hang out or simply a place to be. My older son while attending UWMC agreed to tutor students.
One day in a fit of frustration, a student threw a math book up against the Living room wall. I heard several colorful adjectives, explicit profanity and I could see the pain, hurtful pain in this child’s eyes as I heard ” F’ it. I’m just going to flunk. I’m not going to graduate.”
Out of my mouth rushed these words; “You graduate high school and I will run for Congress.”
I then reminded everyone at the house, “We do not talk like that at this house.”
I went to this young man’s graduation along with the other young women and men who would come to the house. Only one of my sons went to East High School. I went to graduations, three years in a row for Wausau East and a year at Newman for a dear young woman.
After they graduated, they reminded me of what I said. I kept my word.
When I lived out of state, I recall a conversation where a woman made a comment, “It’s important to take care of your own house before you involve yourself with anything else.” I took it as a comment on my house keeping skills.
I decided to place my energies politically speaking, closer to home. It breaks my heart to see some of the very same young people who came by my house to study, now absorbed with alcohol, drug issues; meth is not funny people! And what the babies got through! We have many children in crisis. How can they grow up? It breaks my heart to see the very young people who studied at our house and nieces and nephews, friends, neighbors involved by such hardship. I feel policies have ground them down. We need to free community members from hardship not soley their fault.
Whatever impacts our community positive or negative hits the balance books. The intention of any action describes its value. The impact of that value creates debt or income.
We must maximize the use of our community resources. We also need to fund these resources. I believe funding is more than money.
As cheesy as this sounds, I love Wausau! I love our county seat. I think Alder Persons need to be visible in our local schools. We need to cheer on our youth so we have the young professionals our community needs to thrive in the future.
This is why I am campaigning for District 9 Alder Person for the City of Wausau.
Ethel C. Quisler MS
Candidate for Wausau City Council, Aldermanic District 9
Editor’s note: Wausau Pilot and Review gladly publishes letters from readers and from candidates for local offices. The views of our readers are independent of this newspaper and do not necessarily reflect the views of Wausau Pilot and Review. To submit a letter, email firstname.lastname@example.org or mail to P.O. Box 532, Wausau, Wis., 54402-0532.