Blanche DuBois Takes Over Milwaukee County
The news that a Harley-Davidson motorcycle raffle and the opportunity to win other fabulous prizes is planned to sop up a little of the red ink staining and drowning the Milwaukee County Parks System leaves me shaking my head.
Though I have great respect for the Parks People - - and our family takes no back seat to Harley-Davidson loyalists anywhere, as my grandmother was driving one 90 years ago in Brooklyn, where her brothers ran a service station and bike repair shop there - - I am amazed that keeping the grass cut and the masonry from crumbling and the equipment from rusting and failing needs "the kindness of strangers," and their $5 raffle ticket purchases.
Again: no offense to good corporate citizen Harley-Davidson, or the other corporate donors, or to the Parks People. Those parks' lovers are out there pulling Mustard Garlic, and pulling their hair out looking for allies and permanent taxing shifts and other solutions to the parks dilemma.
The problem is bigger than the parks' budget, too. It reflects the continuing devolution of Milwaukee County government and credibility of the public sector situated up there in the Courthouse.
Tom Ament and his cronies, along with some selfish County Board supervisors, looted the treasury for extra helpings of pension payments. For those offenses against the public interest and treasury, recall and resignations and defeats at the polls were not punishments enough.
The fact that one and only one person associated with that organized grab of county tax dollars went to jail for his offenses was a justice system practical joke.
But Scott Walker has made a bad situation worse by starving county departments and balking at even minuscule taxation/revenue increases that could have been strategically helping the parks years before a well-intentioned citizens group and corporate donors needed to step up with what is now going to be an annual raffle.
These parks were designed by the some of the great naturalists and architects the country ever produced.
Legacy. Heritage. Birthright. All describe what the parks have meant to generations of Milwaukeans.
Now two administrations of failed leaders are to blame for throwing this wonder away, and it is unlikely that a jazzy lottery is going to save the parks, and County Government's reputation.
Maybe when he's tooling around the state on his Harley, campaigning for governor on our tax dollars, Scooter could sell a few raffle tickets, too.
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