Mike Waldner gets ink in Chuck Clement's second Madison City Commission candidate profile. Waldner, a long-time local computer guru, naturally hits some encouraging tech notes, although the specifics don't shout innovation:

According to Waldner, the community should make certain that it is taking full advantage of the knowledge and innovative ideas that originate from DSU.

"There are many technology ideas that DSU students take as second nature (for themselves). If we don't take full advantage of that, it will be our loss," Waldner said.

Waldner said the city could expand its use of Madison's website similar to the events calendar available at the Madison Chamber of Commerce's Internet site. He said the city could provide an electronic newsletter similar to the paper publication that arrives with utility bills [Chuck Clement, "Waldner Ties Growth to Quality of Life," Madison Daily Leader, 2012.03.12].

A community calendar... maybe Chuck missed something in editing, but the official City of Madison website already has a calendar. As for a newsletter, well, the city has already been experimenting with Nixle and its own e-mail notification service to share city information. Newsletters are cool, but they're also a rather rudimentary, Russell Olson concept of the Internet as a one-way communication tool.

I would think that, if we're looking for Internet innovations for the city, we'd be talking about ways to engage citizens, to share and discuss their views and draw them into participating in crafting local ordinances and budgets. How about some real social media presence for our commissioners and other officials? How about investment in broadband and virtual storefront renovation to promote economic development, as well as real openness, not just propaganda (again, the Russ Olson mindset) from the taxpayer-funded economic development corporation?

Of course, I'd be happy just to see the city keep more than the last four city commission agendas online in a permanent archive.

Clement's article doesn't give us much else in terms of specific items on Waldner's governing agenda. Waldner says we need to give local entrepreneurs "our support and the tools they need to grow." He says we build great businesses "by attracting and retaining great employees." He says we need to "support, motivate, and encourage" city employees. He says we need to create affordable housing for younger people in Madison who "currently can't find what they're looking for in Madison." (Careful, Mike: Madison-bashing like that last line will get Dan Lembcke telling you to move to Spearfish.)

Alas, Clement's article offers no specifics on how Waldner would turn those goals into action. I know our candidates are bigger than any one news article, but compare the Waldner profile with Clement's write-up of city commission candidate Jeremiah Corbin last week. In about the same amount of ink, Corbin proposes three specific improvements:

  • a revolving loan fund for downtown restoration;
  • expanding the softball complex
  • creating a city campground (hear, hear!)

If you're just reading the paper, you're giving Corbin an edge over Waldner on specific ideas for making Madison even better. But Madison gets to pick two out of five candidates. We have yet to hear from Scott Knisley, Pat Mullen, and incumbent Nick Abraham. Stay tuned!