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Put points on the political agenda

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On Nov. 6, the students at the West Allis campus learned about city government from Jim Owczarksi, city clerk for the City of Milwaukee. Owczarski has been city clerk for six years, is a former Milwaukee Sentinel reporter and has been around government in some shape or form for many years.

Owczarski spoke about the false information included on the City of Milwaukee Wikipedia entry. He also explained the different levels of city government, which is city clerk, Common Council and the mayor, and how these offices, through their committees, act as decision makers for Milwaukee citizens.

Owczarski detailed how the city clerk works closely with the Common Council on all the law- making proposals, committees and hearings of the City of Milwaukee.

Owczarski also elaborated on the laws of democracy. He stated, “Get to know who your alderman or alderwoman is and what committee they work with, to get your concerns met. Remember they’re people just like you and I.”  Owczarski pointed out how the Common Council works off a  calender, which is available on the City of Milwaukee website.

Council members’ phone numbers are available at city.milwaukee.gov, revealing names, pictures and districts. He also explained the procedure for getting a concern heard by the council.

The first step is to contact your alderperson, let your concern be known, be persistent and push for it to be heard. Once your concern is presented, it goes to a committee that handles those concerns. If your concern is passed by the committee, it then goes to a hearing by the council, which can take up to three weeks. Upon approval by the council, it goes to the mayor for approval to make it law. In most cases the council will work with you, he said, provided there are no legal offenses against you. Owczarski encouraged students to “just keep pushing, if you believe in what your concern is.”

This lecture given by a man who knows the ins and outs of city government was informative, and stressed getting to know your city representatives and engaging them if you want any kind of change for the betterment of Milwaukee. You have that right.

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Put points on the political agenda