Monday, February 20, 2006

Scott Walker: The Man Who Doesn’t Want to Hear a Plan

At the end of his State of the County address last month, Scott Walker said this: “These are just a few of the ideas that came out of a planning session last month with our top staff and cabinet. More will follow in the weeks and months ahead.” Evidently he wasn’t referring to the county parks in this statement.

Instead of being open to generating creative ideas on how to deal with the county parks budget deficit, Walker decided this past Friday to veto the creation of a County Board-supported parks commission charged with studying alternative revenue sources for the parks. He called the commission a “Trojan horse” for a sales tax increase, which is an idea already being pushed by a growing number of Board members. Since the sales tax increase proposal is already out there, I’m assuming Walker is worried the proposed commission might find some justification for the increase. How terrible it would be for our local government to study options already on the table and try to think of new ones before moving forward.

According to a Journal-Sentinel article on the issue, “[Walker] is concentrating on boosting parks revenues through lease partnerships with food and retail vendors, pointing to the Starbucks coffee shop at Red Arrow Park as a model. He said he was examining privatizing more parks maintenance staffing, and looking at more private management of county golf courses in the parks.”

Now why would we crazy liberals get so freaked out, as conservative blogger Brian Fraley put it, about privatization of the parks when all Walker did was make a harmless suggestion in his State of the County address to add a couple coffee shops to some “marginal areas of park land” around the county?

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