Challenger Hits the Campaign Trail

by Vince Bushell Although time was limited, one of the challengers to Penny Podell, long-time East Side resident Gerry Broderick, was available to answer a few questions on his campaign for the 3rd District Milwaukee County Supervisor position. Broderick’s background includes police work and neighborhood activism in his Murray Hill neighborhood as well as with the Oakland Avenue Business Improvement District (BID). County Parks are a big issue for East Side and Riverwest residents. With much of the lake front and the Milwaukee River valley owned by the County, services, funding and maintenance are issues that often come up when parks are discussed. Broderick states, “Parks are sacrosanct, and that’s that.” He is concerned with privatization of services in the public parks and is opposed to uses that limit public access to facilities. He is aware that funding is the crux of the park maintenance issue and brings up the point that in 1980, 20% of the county tax levy went toward the parks and that in 2002 it has dropped to less than 10%. Broderick suggests “short of its own taxing authority, set aside a percentage of the total tax levy” for the park system. Possibly this could be done by a consensus agreement of the board members. Broderick was not clear if this type of arrangement would be legal. When asked what percent of the present County tax levy would be needed to adequately maintain our present system, he said 17-18% of the levy should do the job. We need to “reorder priorities so they represent the public priorities and will.” Broderick said in response to whether he would support increased park funding. Although strongly supporting parks, he said we “can’t balance the budget on the backs of the poor and elderly” and he suggested that we need to tighten loopholes in the tax system that allows some property owners and companies to evade their fair share. Broderick favors a board which is a policy setting board. He proposes cutting the pay in half and maintains that many members of the current board do not spend full time on the job, stating: “We currently have a part time board.” He believes with the role the board plays defined as policy setting and not meddling in the day to day affairs of County business, that part time is adequate to do the job. Concerned about adequate representation, he feels we should not decrease the number of supervisors. Sum: same number, less pay, part time job is how Gerry Broderick sees the role of county supervisor in Milwaukee.
by Vince Bushell