by Jay Kirk More than 250 people attended a Forum on the Parks sponsored by The Parks Coalition, a group formed last month by several existing parks groups, to hear the views of candidates for County Executive. The forum was the first of seven in March, as County Executive candidates prepare for the April 2 primary election. The top two finishers from that election will face off on April 30. The forum focused on support for the Milwaukee County Parks. Candidates who attended were Tyrone Dumas, Victor Huyke, Jim Ryan, Dave Schall and Scott Walker. Neither Timothy Weber, a student at UW-Madison, nor Thomas Nardelli was there. Bill Lynch, president of Preserve Our Parks, acted as moderator. Following is a brief outline of each candidate’s position on parks: Huyke indicated his desire to enhance the attractions of the parks. He suggested creating a task force to study duplicative services, and he wants to see government and business working together. Dumas advocated combined planning for all recreational venues in the County, in particular, the parks and school recreation departments. He would oppose the addition of another level of bureaucracy. He observed that parks compete with human services, and that is a difficult trade off. Ryan would develop partnerships to provide leverage for County funds. Ryan suggested that the parks were the most broadly used of the County’s services; however, he sees funding as a major challenge. He would use partnerships to multiply county funds Walker noted that the parks are an important part of the quality of life in the County. He commented that the recall effort demonstrated the willingness of the people of Milwaukee County to take back control of their County. Schall, a write-in candidate for the Socialist party, advocated making County services so good that paying for them was a good deal. He noted that parks enhance property values and he would restore accessibility for those who cannot afford to use the zoo and other parks. The crowd strongly supported upgrading the parks, particularly those such as Washington Park that are falling into disrepair. The issue of County Grounds land use was also raised. All candidates supported the main
by Jay Kirk