Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Privatize The Downer Woods: UWM says not its idea

[Updated] More about that plan Walker has sneaked deep into the UW budget to remove the "permanent," legal preservation status for the Downer Woods
Downer Woods
and historic East side Downer campus buildings, raising the specter of condos or perhaps another campus area sub shop or two where the preserve now sits.

Hat tip to activist Virginia Small for nailing down that UWM did not ask for the preservation status to be removed:

"None of these legal changes were requested by UWM, according to Kevin O’Connor, who handles communications for external affairs. “UWM did not ask for the changes to state law that remove the legislative protection for the Downer Woods property and buildings,” he says. “The University has no plans to develop or sell the Downer property or buildings and is presuming that the current protections for Downer Woods would be maintained by the Public Authority that is being proposed for the UW System.'” 
"Did the UWM Real Estate Foundation request these changes? “No, this is the first that I have heard about this,” says David Gilbert, the foundation’s president."
Update 5:40 p.m. Some may argue these changes are merely paperwork shuffles - - drafting mechanics, if you will - - to move the property off the state's rolls and on to the books of to a new charter or Authority-run University under Walker's overall plan sprung with his signature stealth in the budget.

I'd say watching Walker's surprise remake of the entire UW system, to his Act 10 "bomb," to his sudden 'approval' of the right-to-work law to his unanticipated 13-year suspension of the Stewardship fund to his pandering and quick embrace of tougher abortion restrictions means it's foolish to take Walker or state leadership's word or credit them with good intentions. Period.

Also nice blog and photos by the essayist and photographer Eddee Daniel: 
It was a gloomy morning. Although it began with a light snowfall that might have been lovely, by the time I reached Downer Woods the snow had turned to drizzle and the overcast sky dimmed. Despite the undeniably dreary day, however, the gloom I felt had more to do with the news than the weather. 

Since I live clear across town in Wauwatosa I don’t go to Downer Woods often. But when I heard the news I was impelled to do the things that come naturally to me: to walk in the woods and make photographs. The news? Governor Walker’s latest budget proposal includes a provision to remove protection of the “the sole remaining natural area on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee”—in the words of the very Wisconsin Code that established that protection. 

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