Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Walker lining up WI state parks for decay, then sale

There could be nothing closer than a psychotic break from political reality for a Governor of Wisconsin than pulling operating revenue from the state's signature recreational asset - - its state park system - - but that is exactly what Scott Walker the Destroyer is proposing through his new bi-ennial budget, according to the State Journal's Dee Hall.

Walker is proposing fee increases on parks' users to make up what will only be a portion of the inevitable shortfall in funding to keep these organic legacy public parks clean and staffed and appealing and alive - - so when they fall into disrepair, and the volunteers are tired or tapped out, guess who Walker is positioning through intentional neglect as buyers for acreage that he or another Governor can put on the market without competing bids through power his ALEC-obesiant Legislature has already assigned to the Executive branch?

Developers. Logging companies. Subdividers. Who knows, maybe you, too, could get an mega-hog farm or insecticide factory up-wind from where there once were trails, pleasant waters, peace and quiet.

In fact, the Kohler Company already has its eye on a piece of Kohler-Andrae State Park to fill out a plan for another of the high-end golf course it wants to site principally on a company-owned, wetlands-rich and thickly-forested Lake Michigan shoreline nature preserve south of Sheboygan.

At some point, Wisconsin's anglers, hunters, birders, photographers and everyday picnic-goers and overnight-put-the-kids-in-a-pup-tent folks are going to rise up and demand that the Legislature derail Walker's politically-inspired budget attack on the state parks, the DNR's science mission, the UW's teaching and research assets - - and now the land and water we already own and which is entrusted to temporary managers, like Walker - - and say, "hell no, hands off."

My friend and former Milwaukee Journal colleague - - the science, energy and environmental writer Paul Hayes - - put it far more eloquently in a recent Journal Sentinel op-ed:
From whence came these "leaders" who are inspired not by sunlight, moonlight, starlight or rainbows but only by the glare of gold? From whence arose these "citizens" who see moraines, prairies, lakes and streams not as gifts of a gentle nature, but as opportunities for mining, subdivisions and profit? Why do they not see what we see? Why can't they love what we love? What compels them to destroy and then move on, like locusts?
Props to Capital Times editor Paul Fanlund for calling Walker's budget "small and conniving." 

And props to business leader and former newspaper editor John Torinus for calling Walker out. Torinus wonders why a presidential candidate would be anti-conservation.

Is the game here to starve and toxify and corrupt and cut everything (except for road-building and those donors' profits), letting GOP legislators ride in on white stallions and restore, what, 50% of state parks funding - - Hooray! - - distracting us from the 13-year cessation of public access stewardship land purchases, DNR scientist layoffs and silenced citizen input at the Natural Resources Board.

So Walker can run nationally as the baddest of the Tea Party bad-a**es?

What kind of a sick substitute for governance is that?

And what would possess a Wisconsin Governor to go down that road other than an overdose of power-drunk arrogance and off-the-charts ignorance.

Walker '16"

Walker '11-'15 has been bad enough.


Sue said...

"At some point, Wisconsin's anglers, hunters, birders, photographers... are going to rise up and say hands off"
Wish they'd hurry up, it's been lonely out here.
"Torinus wonders why a presidential candidate would be anti-conservation."
Torinus forgets Ronald Reagan's first Secretary of the Interior, James Watt. Ronald didn't have to be quite as vocal about it when he was running, but oh-yes, his anti-conservation cred was in place and easily seen prior to his election.

Anonymous said...

Every outdoors organization should be in Madison lining the capital. How many people have we told, "you were warned".

Anonymous said...

All of us should be in Madison telling each other that this man has to be stopped. He is about cutting everything and anything that has been of value to our way of life. There will be nothing left of Wisconsin once this man has purposely mismanaged Wisconsin's fiscal assets so that he could cut the programs that his ideology declares unnecessary!

Marie said...

Walker's ambition knows no bounds and he displays no concern for Wisconsin citizens, its traditions and legacies, or even its economy. It seems clear that he's headed elsewhere--payoffs for White House runs include jobs as millionaire-lobbyists and other ways to cash in. (That seems more likely for this cynical lightweight than the WH.)

But he may be overreaching now with UW System, DNR, etc. We must try to derail his destruction of Wisconsin before he leaves the state for good...

Anonymous said...

In Walker's former role as Milwaukee County exec, he got the ball rolling on selling off public assets, including public parks.

But his successor, so-called Democrat Chris Abele (funded by Sheldon Lubar, MMAC, et al) has been much more aggressive on this. His plan to sell off O'Donnell Park, Downtown Milwaukee's promontory park with the best views and the gateway to the city's most famous building (MAM's Calatrava) was voted down by just one vote in Dec. Abele et al said Northwestern Mutual, Wisconsin's richest corporation, deserved to own/develop the site because the public's long-time interest is irrelevant and so "19th century" (when the park first was first set aside). And park-sale promoters tried to shamelessly sneak in another scheme to declare this money-maker with MKE's best views "surplus" a few weeks ago. That got tabled but it's far from over...

NML hired at least 4 paid lobbyists to help secure the proposed sale (plus teams of lawyers, PR folks and staff). How can the public compete with such deep pockets in the long term, whether it's NML, the Kochs or some other billion-dollar corp doing the buying?

Even the mayor and some city officials (most are Dems) reportedly approve of the O'Donnell Park-sale concept. With the new "Wisconsin Idea" being "whatever can be privatized for corporate gain, must be privatized," we're in much worse danger than we think. Some MKE supervisors spoke out against selling parks but virtually all other sitting politicians have remained silent. Unless something changes, this is the new norm in MKE County and Wisconsin. Citizens must lobby relentlessly to keep public what they already own...