A Madison alderwoman plans to introduce an ordinance change that would keep police from fining the homeless for public urination and sleeping in parks. Brenda Konkel says she'll introduce her plan at a City Council meeting in September, and hopes to spark discussion about how the city treats the homeless. Madison has limited shelter space, and no new city programs for the homeless population coming in 2009.
She says that the nighttime closure of bathrooms at a park on the south side — a response to complaints about the homeless population at the park — led her to formulate the proposal
Konkel's idea doesn't hold water with at least one colleague. Alderman Mike Verveer, who is also a prosecuting attorney for Dane County, says the city's time might be better spent finding places where the homeless can legally go to the bathroom–especially after hours when most public facilities are closed.