MNA Board 2013 Candidate Statements

Twelve candidates are running for election to the MNA Board of Directors. Members in good standing (current on their annual membership dues) will have the opportunity to vote for up to eight of the candidates.

Karyn Chacon, Rutledge Street (appointed incumbent, running for one year term)

I am a native of Madison and have lived on the near east side for over 20 years. I am a teacher at East High School and have a child at Marquette. I am at a point in my life where I have the time and energy to become involved and give back to our wonderful and supportive community. In my position as a cross categorical teacher at East High School I see many, if not most, of the students in our neighborhood thrive. I would like to be a part of supporting all the children of the near east side. I feel that our community does a great deal of work towards creating social equity and would like to be a part of seeing that continue and grow.


Mike Soref, Rutledge St. (incumbent)

I’ve served a two-year term on the Marquette Neighborhood Association (MNA) Board and hope to do my bit for the neighborhood by serving one more term. During the last term I was Secretary of the neighborhood association and was on the Traffic Committee and the Preservation and Development Committee. I represented MNA on the city’s 800 Block North East Washington Committee, which selected a developer for that block. I have lived on the east side or downtown for almost all of my 40-plus years in Madison, and in the neighborhood since 1996. Over the years I also volunteered for the neighborhood festivals, for WORT, and the O’Keeffe PTG.


Bill Scanlon, South Few St. (appointed incumbent, running for two year term)

I would like to continue serving on the MNA Board to contribute to keeping our Neighborhood a vibrant, eclectic, welcoming and safe community for people of all ages, abilities and interests. I would bring commitment and a wealth of experience to continued service on the Board. My wife, Eileen McGlynn, and I have been Neighborhood residents for 23 years. Our three children grew up in the Neighborhood and went through Marquette, O’Keeffe, and Madison East. I am a lawyer. I have served the Neighborhood in several ways: on the most recent Marquette Neighbor Plan Committee (’93-’94), the Wil-Mar Board (’98-’00), the Common Wealth Board (’99-’06), including 1.5 years as Common Wealth president, the MNA’s Arts and Culture Committee (’11-pres.), and the MNA Board (8/12-10/12 and 4/13-pres.).


John Coleman, S. Dickinson St. (incumbent)

We are in the process of making decisions that will shape the neighborhood for years: the residential and commercial projects that will enhance our community; the future and flavor of our festivals; our commitment to affordable housing; and the future of our more natural spaces, to mention a few. I have decided to run for a seat on the board to help with a focus on neighborhood input to those decisions. With such a diverse set of opinions in the neighborhood, finding the sense of the neighborhood is usually a daunting task. Even though meetings, surveys and conversations help to inform decision making by the board, it is a very imprecise process. We must work to maintain and improve that process. I am currently serving on a MNA sub-committee reviewing a large residential/retail project in the 700 block of Willy St. I feel it is important to respect diverse neighbor input on development projects. The existing neighborhood plans represent our best, yet imperfect, effort in distilling neighborhood opinion. If we are to greatly deviate from those plans, the neighborhood’s goals stated in those plans should be revised through a substantial effort to gather the opinion of the neighborhood. Similarly, the character of our festivals should be firmly based in neighborhood desires. My particular focus will continue to be the character of development projects and the enhancement of green/public spaces and I will support broadening the base for decision making within MNA.


Colleen Hayes, Spaight St.

I love this neighborhood and want it to continue to be a place for all people. It would also complement my role as a Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center board member. I bring with me enthusiasm for the hood and a belief that we could all benefit from more positive energy in the work we do with each other and for the neighborhood. Additionally, I have much experience working with youth here in the Marquette neighborhood and throughout Madison; I want to ensure the terrific opportunities we have for our kids, Eastside Express as an example, stick around.


Cheryl Solaris, Merry St. (incumbent)

I have lived in the neighborhood for 19 years and I have a great appreciation for our community and all that it has to offer. I have had the privilege of serving on the MNA board and am impressed by the amount of interest, caring, passion, talent, dedication and hard work that our residents have to offer and it would be an honor for me to serve as a board member another term.


Jack Kear, East Wilson St.

I am running for the board of the MNA because I love where I live and I want to help others to have that same feeling about our neighborhood. I have lived in apartments across the area since the early 90s but three and a half years ago I purchased my home on East Wilson with the support of Commonwealth Development. It’s been my home since. After briefly teaching in the Madison Metropolitan School District I found my passion coordinating the events for the Willy St Coop and I’ve been a part of the team there for eight years. I have understood the Co-op to be an integral factor in what makes this neighborhood wonderful since I joined it back when it was on the corner of Few & Willy. I’m proud to now be one of the people helping coordinate its expansion. I want to keep making the Marquette neighborhood attractive, vibrant, and secure and I also want to make sure it stays a little weird


Anne Walker, Winnebago St. (incumbent)

I serve on the preservation and development committee and I chair the traffic committee. I have lived in the neighborhood since 1992 and reside on Winnebago street, which gives me a front row seat to the traffic issues our neighborhood is facing. My emphasis is on sustainability: both of our natural environment and our traffic corridors. I will work for the efficient and safe movement of cars, bicycles, and pedestrians. I will also advocate for best management practices in regards to our festivals and our finances to promote long term sustainability.


Josh Clements, Spaight St.

4+ year neighborhood resident, MNA P&D Committee. I am a UW-Extension Community Development Educator and an urban planner. With development activity picking up I looking to serve on the MNA Board to ensure our neighborhood only continues to improve, insisting on the highest quality development that will improve overall sense of place, safety, vibrancy and unique character and drew me and my family to Marquette.


Marlisa Kopenski, Clemons Ave.

My name is Marlisa Kopenski Condon and for eight years my husband, and now our two daughters, have lived on Clemons Avenue near Dan Murray, Maura Taggart and Bob Queen, all of whom have clued us into what the MNA is all about. I have been the race organizer for the Dandelion Dash for the last six years, I handled the media publicity for Fete de Marquette in 2007, have volunteered with set-up for the Orton Park Festival and have helped promote the unoffical neighborhood children’s Halloween Parade. I work at Design Concepts as the Director of Business Strategy, am a New Urbanist, urban gardener, curb-shopper, local business supporter, Lapham Elementary volunteer and lover of this neighborhood. I would love to help the Marquette Neighborhood continue to grow and thrive.


Lynn Lee, Jenifer St.

As a business owner and resident of the Marquette Neighborhood I am running for the MNA Board to work on growing our membership, help solve the issues that our neighborhood faces, and to be part of the discussion of where our neighborhood is heading. Over the last several years I have worked with Gary Kallas and Bruce Woods to spruce up the Wilmar Center and created a Kids Disco event to bring families into the Wilmar center. I have attended most of the MNA Board meetings over the last 3 years and feel I have a good understanding of how the board works. I have worked on the MNA Chili Dinner and Taste of Willy Street over the last 5 years, and would like to work to improve both and increase attendance. The Marquette Neighborhood is a vibrant, diverse, and wonderful neighborhood. My hope is to serve on the MNA Board and help in any way I can that it continues to grow and thrive.


Jatinder Cheema, Williamson St. (business)

I have recently started a business in the neighborhood that will meet a community need for a space to discuss progressive issues and be able to meet and dialogue about what is important to our neighborhood and what actions to take. The web site will be up in a week.

I retired from the Foreign Service and after 25 years of diplomatic work. I have decided to make Madison my home because of the strong grass roots organization in Dane County, especially in our neighborhood. I have strong management skills and international experience and am interested in bringing my skills and experience to the benefit of our neighborhood.


Hawley Wright, Helena St.

I’ve lived in the Marquette neighborhood for 38 years, in the same house for 36 of them. My husband and I have raised a family here and have been active in the schools, community and local politics. I am very proud of the unique treasure our neighborhood has become.

I’ve been involved wholeheartedly beginning with the original Willy St Coop, all the way through to the fight to recall Walker with side trips of scouting, art programs in the public schools and work with the Hmong community. I was in business for myself as an illustrator for most of my years here and now that I’m retired, I’d like to devote more time to seeing the neighborhood can remain that treasure. I hope very much to be of service to the community still.