So many services, such poor results
The “unmet needs” panderers have their work cut out for them. Three case histories:
1) Ten years ago, Diane Gibson escaped Chicago’s mean streets with her two young grandsons for a better life in Madison. She called her brother in Madison. The city was a great place to raise kids, he told her. She and [grandson] Treveon could live with him until they got on her feet.
That is how the Isthmus weekly recounted their story ten years ago. Long story short, grandmother and young Treveon hit the Salvation Army family shelter on E. Washington Ave. A social worker from the Madison Metropolitan School District makes contact. Clothing and school supplies and support for Treveon’s “multiple behavioral disorders.” Not too much later, permanent housing. The Isthmus article concluded:
“He’s a different child,” Gibson says, citing big changes in Treveon’s behavior since [the school social worker] stepped in.
“I’m grateful to Madison,” she says. “We wouldn’t have this in Chicago.”
Well, not too much different. You may remember the grandson’s name. Treveon Thurman was the poster boy The Wisconsin State Journal’s eye-opening journalism, “Trouble down a one-way street.”
Now age 18, Thurman’s record of home invasions and 11 car thefts is impressive. We count 29 criminal charges listed on the State circuit court access site! All since last June! The only reason we know about them is because they’re now in adult court. Juvenile records are confidential, a big secret. Which is part of the problem.
Not a success story
2) Or take another case.
Minority kid from Allied Drive given every opportunity, a starring role on the high school football team. Vice president of the West high school Black Student Union. Beneficiary of a City of Madison-funded social outreach program called “The Brotherhood,” providing organized team sports AND social justice training. Internship at city hall. Picture with the mayor.
Upper middle class white couple provides keys to their car, the car he allegedly drove until — it is charged in criminal court —the point-blank execution-style murder of the doctor and her husband, clothed in their night clothes in the deep woods sometime the night of March 31.
Truly, it does not get much colder.
A $20.3 million nuisance
3) Finally, “a little more than a year after its opening, a Far East Side Madison low-income housing complex has been declared a chronic nuisance, and its owner could face fines and other charges if it doesn’t make changes to improve quality of life and public safety there.” (Reported here.)
That would be the 94-unit Harmony at Grandview Commons — “noise, disturbances and occasional violence almost since its opening in March 2019,” a 4-year-old shot in the foot, another kid shot in the leg.
Chicago’s Cabrini-Green? Hardly! Harmony at Grandview Commons, partially funded with state taxpayer money, boasts a community clubhouse with a library, computer lab and meeting space, fitness center, playground, picnic area with grill and private garages.
Residents have access to various services and programs such as health and nutrition classes, higher-education courses, financial training and after-school activities, among others.
Yet, still, it’s a nuisance. And we haven’t even mentioned more new construction: the $11.7 million wet drunk refuge at Tree Lane. (“Taxpayers are subsidizing Madison’s crime zones.”)
Blaska’s Bottom Line: No, we’re not giving up on anyone. No, we do not expect one hundred percent success. But wouldn’t local leaders like to know what is working and what isn’t? It is time for a performance audit. Who will call for one? City, county, school district?