Avert Tyranny on the Local Level


This past weekend the people of America celebrated our victory over British tyranny. With Independence came the ability to form a representative government-of the people, by the people and for the people. To ensure we wouldn't again be exposed to tyrannical rule, our forefathers enshrined a system of government with checks and balances to, in fact, represent all the people. All branches were to have equal power.

Unfortunately, we are now being exposed to a new tyrannical threat. This threat comes from a proposal in the State budget, targeting only Milwaukee County.

Hidden away in the Wisconsin State budget is a scheme that would endow Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele with the ability to sell, lease, or otherwise dispose of County assets without review or voting by our elected County Board. The Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors provides a necessary balance to the whims of the county executive. The Board, as elected representatives of Milwaukee County's 18 districts, holds monthly meetings. The public is welcome to attend, and to speak at public hearings. All Board meetings are also televised live and for later viewing, to keep us informed. The Board listens to public testimony and then rules. The county executive, on the other hand, does not provide any forum for public participation.

Public input, as well as checks and balances, are vital at every level of government.

The most-distressing concern of The Park People--if this stealth provision is tacked on with the budget-- is that we, the people, will lose the right we now have, to oppose the sale of park land and other contractual decisions concerning county governance. The provision specifically targets O'Donnell Park for sale, not by name, but by its location. This scheme attempts to undercut ongoing negotiations between the Milwaukee Art Museum and county government to preserve and protect Milwaukee's cultural-gateway park for the public's benefit and the museum's long-term viability. The provision sets the table for the sale of one park, thus creating a legal precedent for future parks sell-offs. Enabling the county executive to sell off a designated and actively used park will make all county parks vulnerable to sale. If a corporation, business, or individual should want to purchase a park, or a portion of a park, for any purpose, citizens would no longer be able to effectively oppose the sale by petitioning our elected representatives on the County Board.

Read the rest on ParkPeopleMKE.org below:

The Park People believe that public parks enrich our lives and communities. Whether one is biking along a path, pushing a child in a swing, or merely cherishing a view, our daily lives benefit from our park experiences.