by Sonya Jongsma KnaussMark Goff

Voters sent a clear mandate for reform to county government in last month’s elections, where Penny Podell of Shorewood was one of three Supervisors unable to survive a recall election. In the six-way primary, Podell garnered 23% of the vote and was narrowly edged out by Gerry Broderick and Mark Goff, both of Milwaukee’s East Side. Podell had spent 22 years in office. East Side wards had the dubious distinction of lowest voter turnout in the city, at just nine percent, compared to turnout as high as 35 percent in Greendale. The vote for a new County Supervisor for the Third District will take place July 16. The district includes Shorewood, the East Side, and a portion of Riverwest. The Currents attempted to interview Broderick, a private investigator, and Goff, a public relations consultant. Due to deadline constraints and his busy schedule, the Currents was unable to interview Broderick. For an article on his positions, please see our June issue. Goff, a single parent, was ironing a dress for his 17-year-old daughter as he spoke with us, proof, he pointed out, of his multitasking abilities. Q: As someone who ran on a reform platform, what are the three most important changes you’d like to see in county government? Goff: We need a smaller, more focused county board. We need a county board that is accessible to the public with meetings at night and on the weekends. And, we need county supervisors who do not view themselves as professional politicians. Q: What are your thoughts on the size and compensation of the board? Goff: I definitely want the board to be about 17 people — about 2/3 of what it is now. It should be part time. The biggest reason is there are people who have regular day jobs who probably would like to serve on the board but can’t if it’s something you do all day long. I think you should draw your major salary and benefits from your own employment and not from the taxpayers. Q: Are you in favor of establishing an independent Parks board? Goff: I’m in favor of a semi-independent parks board. We need to create a conservancy, which is a way to get private donors to support the parks. Currently the parks system as a whole doesn’t have a way to receive grant money. If we did this on a small scale like with the zoo and museum when they became too expensive to run, we could create a semi-independent board of directors and a non-profit corporation to run it. And there would be no naming rights or loss of public access. Q: Do you support a bike trail that would be built from Locust Street to North Avenue, linking Gordon Park with trails that lead downtown? (This would involve a land-swap giving a private company land near North Avenue east of Humboldt in exchange for land they own now where the bike trail would be built). Goff: I’m very supportive of the bike trail. I think the one we have on the East Side has been very successful — it’s for everyone. I’m very very very leery of any sort of development or private enterprise North of North Avenue along the River… There may be some plan that would be acceptable to the residents and the area, and if that was the case, I could be persuaded to support it. This is a situation in which I’d take advice from the residents. Q: You share the Riverwest neighborhood with Supervisor Willie Johnson Jr. Do you see yourself working closely with him on issues of interest to the neighborhood? Goff: I’ve been involved with politics for years, and I know you have to build coalitions among your peers. I definitely will go to the county board with an attitude of building partnerships and making friends. Any of us that come in in the new wave are going to be facing some hostility and resistance. We have to mend fences and build relationships, not go in like it’s a hostile takeover. Q: Are there any places in Riverwest you visit regularly? Goff: I don’t regularly visit hardly anything. I run two businesses – a videotape duplication business in addition to my marketing and PR business. But I did live in Riverwest when I first got married, for about four years. I was a writer and photographer for the underground paper, the Bugle American. Q: Is there anything else Riverwest voters should know about your campaign? Goff: Mass transit is a big issue with me. It seems we’re back to where we were 40 years ago now – developing freeways, tearing up neighborhoods, tearing up green space. Other cities aren’t doing this; they’re looking at commuter rail, transit terminals, thinking outside the box. We should take the 6 billion we’re going to pour into concrete and put together a good public transportation system. See a fuller explanation of Goff’s views at: Who’s in the Third District? IT’S COMPLICATED…. The general boundary is from Fratney to the River and from North Avenue to Locust. But there are a couple blocks North of Locust. The district includes all of Humboldt from North to Locust. From Wright to Chambers, the boundaries extend west to Fratney. However, Fratney south of Center is only the even (east) side of the street. Weil from Locust to Chambers is only the odd (west) side of the street. The district includes all of Pierce Street from Center to Chambers but only on the even (east) side. Everything east of Humboldt Boulevard is included in the Third District. Riverwest Currents – Volume 1 – Issue 6 – July 2002