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In City Hall

Mayor Tom Barrett has directed the Election Commission to create an electronic reporting tool online for city officials and candidates who file campaign finance reports. Online access to campaign finance reports would give constituents an easy way to access records from home. “It is critical that our city government become more transparent in order to restore the public trust and allow residents to believe in their elected officials once again,” said Barrett in a press release. 3rd District Ald. Mike D’Amato is sponsoring the file in the Common Council, which could be approved as early as July 7. Unfortunately, the online system will be voluntary, since no state law stipulates that such reporting be required. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6th District Ald. Mike McGee has been ruffling feathers at City Hall. From offering repeated amendments to direct CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) funds from the police department to nonprofits that serve young people, to introducing a controversial ordinance to legalize cruising on Capitol Drive between 5th and Humboldt, McGee has been busy advocating for the city’s youth. About the proposed cruising ordinance, which received front-page play in the Journal Sentinel after it had already been taken off the agenda, McGee said, “that was done to make a point. I am looking for an outlet for youth this summer. If we don’t put something through, there could be six more weeks of kids losing their lives.” The ordinance, originally scheduled to be heard Thursday, June 24, was quickly quashed when Ald. D’Amato and others asked the Public Safety committee to hold the ordinance until neighborhood hearings could be scheduled to address concerns. McGee hopes that a youth task force will be formed soon. “Something needs to be done,” he insisted. “There’s only one teen club in the city. We need to have young people at the front of our agenda.” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . In other Council happenings, the Park East Development plan was passed without the long-debated Community Benefits Agreement attached. Championed by Ald. D’Amato, the measure lost 9-6. It would have required developers in the Park East area who received city subsidies of more than $500,000 to meet certain hiring and wage requirements. Ald. McGee was among those voting against it. He said his concerns were that it was “not legally enforceable” and didn’t guarantee jobs for inner-city and minority residents. He noted that he’d like to see a similar ordinance that covers the entire city, makes better provisions for minority residents, and advocates a living wage. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Landlords Beware: A new city ordinance not only makes it illegal for four unrelated people to live together in one living space, but enables the city to fine landlords up to $1,500 for offering a lease to more than three people. The city attorney compared the ordinance to laws dealing with prostitution where an arrest can be based on a solicitation rather than actually catching people in the act. Department of Neighborhood Services commissioner Marty Collins said he would have a part-time graduate intern working on this issue over the summer and fall, prime time for UWM apartments to be let.