Racine Alderman District 3: Jarstad, Tate II

district 3
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Ricky Jarstad

Racine Alderman District 3

Street address 
2019 Washington Ave.

Length of time living in the community?
34 wonderful years

Occupation
Caregiver

What is your spouse’s name?
Single and Happy

Please name any civic groups you have been involved with.
Neighborhood Watch

What motivated you to run for office?
Lack of transparency, honesty, and accountability at Racine City Hall; bloated/unsustainable debt and senseless spending and waste; diminishing services to citizens; crime; a crumbling infrastructure; and a segment of the population who seem to be always left behind by a system that has continually failed them.

If you are an incumbent, what accomplishments are you most proud of?
Not applicable.

Name three challenges City of Racine residents are experiencing.
Tone deaf city leaders, cuts to essential services to residents, and a flawed system which is leaving too many of my friends, family, neighbors, brothers, and sisters behind and causing low morale among residents. Too many of my young neighbors and friends are now under the assumption that cannabis was legalized in November 2018 and are still being caught up in our unfair and lopsided justice system.

How would address those challenges? 
Give a voice to the voiceless and forgotten (actually listen to them and take positive action on their behalf), and restore essential public services back to residents. Replacing less than fifty streetlights of the original 1200 that were taken down is unacceptable to most residents that I have spoken with. The school-to-prison pipeline MUST also be dismantled and cannabis legalized already. It’s time for serious action and not just talking points for political gains. Enough is enough.

Name three challenges businesses are experiencing.
Speaking with business owners throughout the 3rd district and city, I heard quite a few of their concerns including personal property taxes that are ‘ridiculously high,’ poor communication between Racine City Hall and local businesses, and a lack of reliable, trained and/or trustworthy staff.

How would you address those challenges?
Taxes need to be lowered to more sustainable levels to allow Racine businesses to expand, remodel, and offer better pay and incentives to attract prospective employees. I will personally be a champion and a voice for all businesses in the city while simultaneously promoting sensible environmental protections.
Rest assured that I will not ignore the needs and concerns of businesses; I will promote growth and not stifle it.

Foxconn is slated to build a 22-million-square-foot manufacturing campus and a number of other residential and commercial projects have been proposed in Racine. How would you address Racine’s rising housing costs? 
For starters, the Redevelopment Authority needs to get out of the game of being property managers. The land they currently hold should be sold to residents for personal development and not be hoarded by our city government. I will be more welcoming to organizations, such as Habitat for Humanity, who help rehab and rebuild homes for residents. I will also personally introduce serious and meaningful tenant-landlord reforms to promote safe, clean and affordable housing for the neediest in our society. No one will be left behind.

A number of businesses are hiring, but Racine’s workforce is not prepared to meet that challenge. How would you help address the skills gap?
Job training programs, first and foremost. Residents should be offered genuine opportunities for the jobs of the 21st century in ever-expanding apprentice courses and through meaningful recruitment drives. I will also collaborate with technical colleges in the area to help boost training for in-demand jobs and positions. No one will be left behind.

Racine was named the third worst place for black people to live. How would you address racial disparity as it applies to access to health care, tackling crime, and poverty?
People I talked to understood that under the current leadership, things are only getting worse and not better. This is illustrated by the fact that between Nov. 2017 and mid/late 2018, Racine went from 4th worst city for African Americans to 3rd. This is totally unacceptable. More funding is needed to re-establish the dental clinic that used to exist on the north side and to expand health services to those who need it most, including me. Apprenticeships are needed for brighter futures, more youth events at community centers held, and Neighborhood Watch needs to be revamped to attract younger members.

Do you approve or disapprove of using tax incremental finance districts to attract new businesses? 
Not really. The TIDs in Racine are total money burners and are so unorganized that even the City of Racine is having trouble keeping track of them.


John Tate II

Racine Alderman District 3

John TateStreet address 
2044 Kinzie Ave

Length of time living in the community?
25 plus years

Occupation
Licensed Clinical Social Worker

What is your spouse’s name?
N/A

Please name any civic groups you have been involved with.
City Of Racine Common Council, NAACP Racine Branch, Racine Neighborhood Watch, African American Round Table of Leaders

What motivated you to run for office?
My initial motivation to seek public office came from my work with young men with intellectual disabilities and emotional disorders. Finding that their ability to access resources to thrive was heavily dependent on governmental budget priorities inspired me to seek higher education and understand the policy for the purpose of advocating for those who often are considered last. It’s with the perspective of a social worker that I challenge others to think beyond simple conclusions and dig deeper to the root of the problem, instead of short-term, band-aid solutions.

If you are an incumbent, what accomplishments are you most proud of?
It has been an honor and privilege to serve my community these last 2 years. I’m proud that many of the concerns that residents shared with me are areas that I have made progress in.

I’ve secured funding to begin restoring street lighting, repaving alleyways, replacing old park apparatuses, hiring more staff for code enforcement; and addressing blighted and vacant properties by improving the City’s relationship with the County. I am most proud of increasing the opportunity to participate in our democracy. Over 80% of the registered voters in the 3rd District voted in November 2018, due in part to expanded early voting hours and creating satellite voting locations.

Name three challenges City of Racine residents are experiencing.
Residents are most concerned with having safe and livable neighborhoods, reliable public services, and ensuring that neighbors can obtain family-sustaining employment.

How would address those challenges? 

We need to be encouraging and supporting homeownership because neighborhood investment is at the heart to neighborhood safety. There’s always more that can be done Public Works and Services. As Chairman, I’ve worked with city staff to seek ways to further transform our infrastructure to include more “green” solutions (permeable pavement, solar lighting), which over time can reduce cost, reduce environmental impact, and allow fees to be either reduced or invested into other services. I sponsored and passed the “Racine Works” ordinance which requires all major city-funded projects to include a city-resident work and recruit from the most economically distressed regions.

Further, expansion of mentoring programs, publicly accessible/affordable youth sports, including e-sports, and other youth-oriented activities are required to provide children and teens healthy outlets, rather than leaving them susceptible to negative influences.

Name three challenges businesses are experiencing.
Navigating the bureaucracy of City Hall. Access to skilled workers. Employee retention.

How would you address those challenges?
New small businesses too often experience difficulty attempting to navigate a cumbersome City Hall bureaucracy to start-up and then may experience setbacks due to multiple departments weighing in at different times. To address this, city staff are working on streamlining the process, creating a “one-stop-shop” checklist for small business start-ups and improving interdepartmental communications. In regards to employee challenges, the city has and needs to continue to commit funds to worker training programs and strengthen partnerships with the business sector, encouraging private entities to also invest in worker training.

Foxconn is slated to build a 22-million-square-foot manufacturing campus and a number of other residential and commercial projects have been proposed in Racine. How would you address Racine’s rising housing costs? 
We have to be intentional in future housing development. Gentrification is real and is already affecting long-time business owners and residents in the area. We need to ensure that new housing developments, especially those that benefit from some level of city funding whether through tax increment financing or city endorsed tax credits, reserve a percentage of units to be affordably priced for existing residents. Additionally, encouraging homeownership programs, loans, and grants, can help transition existing long-term renters into homeowners, protecting them from increasing rental rates.

A number of businesses are hiring, but Racine’s workforce is not prepared to meet that challenge. How would you help address the skills gap?
The city is currently investing in worker training programming through RCEDC. Alongside of that, we need to ensure that Racine-based training programs, such as First-Choice Apprenticeship and Racine Vocational Ministries, are maximized as they have been most consistently and effectively working with a growing and training our workforce. While not under the purview of the city, RUSD’s Academies also serve to prepare today’s students for tomorrow’s career and the city can be supportive in those efforts.

Racine was named the third worst place for black people to live. How would you address racial disparity as it applies to access to health care, tackling crime, and poverty?

Racial disparities in health care outcomes, crime, and poverty are all inextricably linked by the underlying systemic racism upon which some of our federal, state and local policies are established. Any real solution to one must include a solution to the other and must acknowledge the role that racial prejudice has played in creating the problem.

Three direct solutions are establishing Federally Qualified Health Clinic so individuals and families can receive the physical and mental health care they need without fear of bankruptcy or deepening poverty; re-establish the $1 home program from the mid-90’s, which allowed individuals and families to own property, repair the property with low-interest city loans, and build generational wealth and equity; and continue funding and recruiting for worker training programs and enforce compliance with the “Racine Works” ordinance.

Do you approve or disapprove of using tax incremental finance districts to attract new businesses?

In general, as RCE reported in 2017, TID financing actually works. However, diligence and expectations should be applied to the use of the financing tool, specifically ensuring that projects that benefit from TID financing comply with other expectations including Racine Works ordinances, and/or that end user employment have wage floors of a living wage.

About Denise Lockwood 878 Articles
Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for Patch.com, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.