Thursday, April 23, 2009

Just Like The Academy Awards

It was announced today that the Milwaukee County Parks System is one of the finalists for an award with a rather lengthy name: "2009 National Gold Medal for Excellence in the Park and Recreation Management Program."

The echo chamber, including, but not limited to, Charlie Sykes, Preview McIlheran, Kevin Fischer, Patrick Dorwin, Owen Robinson, and Cindy Kilkenny (who had to go and make it personal), all chipped in declaring that this put to rest the stories that the parks were a shambles. Walker couldn't resist saying so himself either.

Appropriately enough, Parks Director described it as the "parks equivalent of an Academy Awards." I say that she described it accurately, since there seems to be some kind of story line going on. But this is a very poorly written story, full of holes in the plot.

The first point is really a minor one, but the easiest to point out. Walker and Black both say this is in high praise of the park workers. That is swell. But if the park workers are so darn good (which, of course, they are), why does Walker keep trying to lay them off each year?

But now the story gets a little more complex.

Some eighteen months ago, Gretchen Schuldt and Brew City Brawler, here, here and here, gave us picture proof that the parks were not in very good shape. Last summer, Gretchen showed us that the parks not only hadn't improved, and that Walker had proposed to slash maintenance funding by some 72%, which belies the claim by whoever filled out the application for the award.

Something just wasn't adding up, and it was about to get weirder.

In the article on JSOnline, they quote County Board Supervisor as stating that there was still a $276 million dollar backlog in repairs due. With all due respect, I would suggest that the good Supervisor check his numbers again.

Just last July, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel ran a story telling us how Milwaukee County was lagging behind the rest of the nation in parks spending, and boy, did it show. Just a week later, the paper ran another story telling us that 32 park bathrooms received a D grade and 11 of them failed outright. It was so bad that to fix the 11 failing bathrooms, it would cost the County $862,000. However, the 2009 budget didn't include nearly enough money to cover either of these totals. This, of course, doesn't mention that Walker now wants to cut the budget by another 6% for the rest of the year.

There is no way that all of these repairs were done in nine months with insufficient funds.

But we're not done yet. This mystery is about to turn into a murder mystery. Besides the obvious disconnect from reality in thinking that the park fairies came and fixed everything, something was not adding up. There seemed to be three different story lines.

We have the JSOnline article (which I expect to appear in tomorrow morning's paper) and we have the press release from Walker. These two don't seem to fit together too well, but not enough to raise any eyebrows. But there is a third story.

Thanks to Owen Robinson's unique blogging style, in which he links to the story and then copies and pastes a paragraph or three, we see this:

Judges have named the Milwaukee County Parks Department a finalist in a competition for the best managed park program in the nation.

The county parks system is one of the top four contenders for the 2009 National Gold Medal for Excellence in the Park and Recreation Management Program. Leaders from the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration and the National Recreation and Park Association choose the top candidates each year based on a review of their master plans and a 12-minute video featuring the department’s programs.

Now that just doesn't fit either of the other two. Well, Lady Luck was smiling on me while I was getting all the different sites up. While combing through MJS's archives, I noticed that this story was originally done this morning, by a different reporter altogether:

I then went back and reread Owen's post, and things became clearer. This award isn't about having the best parks. It is about the "best managed" parks which was being decided by a 12-minute video and a "master plan."

In other words, they can take some footage of the beach from last summer, the Domes, a couple of golf courses and put it in a video. Then they can come up with the whatever wish list they want to have and submit that with the video. It doesn't meant that the plan has to be actually implemented or even be that it be even close to being realistic.

And those are the kinds of things that Walker is very, very good at.

It still doesn't explain why the paper decided to kill the first story. Maybe they are planning on a sequel.

But I wish Mr. Walker all the best in this contest. If he wins, there is a good chance he could parlay that into another victory in 2010. No, not the gubernatorial election. I still don't think he will even make it to the primary election. The victory I was referring to happens in Burlington.


  1. Poor loser. Now the real truth comes out.

  2. Nice to know you're ok with people lying to you, skittle boy.

  3. Dude, you are starting to be the Barack Obama of Milwaukee County. He spent months campaigning on how much America sucks. You're doing the same with your employer.

    Is there anything you like about the place?

  4. The Obama of Milwaukee County? Oh, I wish I was that popular.

    But to address the question, yes, there is a lot to be proud of, and some of the credit does go to Walker. For example, MKE Co. is finally expanding its housing for the mentally ill. It's just a shame it took a public shaming before action was taken. But now that action is being taken, at least regarding community-based housing, that is going well. As for the mental health complex, there is much to be done.

    But even though the county has many positives, I am also realistic, and realize that there is a lot wrong that needs fixing. Is there something wrong with wanting one's community to be the best it can be?

  5. Make your own video and show all the naysayers what you are talking about.

  6. Good point Anon. I'm sure all of the park systems cherry picked their videos, but apparently we are a lot better at it.

    I wonder how many times Capper reread the story in amazement before he came up with this lame response. And then he published it with pride as if it were a good response that people needed to see.

  7. What do you think about his budget surplus? Do you think Doyle could have done a better job if he ran the county?

    And who's the biggest liar, Bush or Obama? (Or does Obama just change his mind more often?)

    Once I understand this I'll have a better understanding your post.

  8. Do you think Doyle could have done a better job if he ran the county?TerryN -- Er, he (Doyle) hasn't run the state into the ground and it's slightly larger than Milwaukee County (of course, I will allow we may have a difference of opinion.) So I guess the answer is yes.

    btw: How's that inbreeding lifestyle thing going? Still about the funniest thing I've read yet.

  9. Dan calling someone else a loser -- that's funny and makes me feel so good about myself.

    Thanks Dan.

  10. OS, I'd like to comment on your intelligence, but you have have some intelligence first before I can comment.
    But I do admire you for having Bill the Cat as your idol. A cat who has a drug addled mind that says "ack" all the time is a really good representation of you.

  11. Hmmm . . . has Doyle ran the state into the ground?

    Well, yes!!! What do you call a $6 billion dollar deficit? I guess running a tight ship now a days is "running the county into the ground" whereas a record breaking deficit is doing a good job.

    How is living in opposite land working out for you liberal bloggers?

  12. Please name one part of the State that the feds had to take over due to Doyle's supposed incompetence.

    Perhaps the State would be better off financially if it wasn't continuously forced to bail Walker's butt out time after time after time.

    Oh, and anonymous, please keep reading. You will be a subject of a post soon.

  13. Oh, and TerryN, just what does Bush or Obama have to do with this post? Maybe that question explains why you don't understand much.

  14. ...but apparently we are a lot better at itSo anony confirms that he works for Walker. Now we know where he learned how to lie.

  15. Capper,

    I really don't see much a distinction between "best parks" and "best managed parks." If a park is among the best managed, then it should be among the best parks. I think this is more of a common sense rendering, don't you?

  16. Scott Walker could find a cure for 99% of all cancers and Capper would complain that Scott is responsible for the 1% that haven't been cured.

  17. ... but you have have some intelligence first before I can comment.Well then, generally speaking, how are you able to comment, Dan?

    Thanks again for making me feel smarter. You really should give up Dan.

  18. I asked these questions for a better understanding of why you dislike Scott Walker. And IMHO Doyle has run this state into the ground.

    Before his last election Jim Doyle stated that he balanced the state budget. The MJS agreed with him. Now Wisconsin is more than 5.5 billion dollars in the red.

    Scott Walker's budget has a surplus. Milwaukee County Parks are up for an award and your blog should be renamed, I Hate Scott Walker.

    So I ask Who's doing a better job. Doyle or Walker? And for fun I ask the same about Bush or Obama because what you write in response gives insight into whether you are insightful and respect accountability, or just myopic hack not worth my time.

    So please name one part of the county that's had to be removed from Walker's control due to his supposed incompetence, if that's your standard.

  19. O.S. If you're going change the definition of marriage you've got to change it for everybody. Not just a group you personally support. And you really need to go easier on Arkansas. That's where Bill Clinton was raised.

  20. Terry,

    I think that our friends on the left may have a difficult time demonstrating that Doyle is better for Wisconsin than pretty much any republican candidate at this point. With unemployment at a 27 year high and a record breaking budget deficit, conservatives have a good shot at taking Wisconsin back.

  21. Terry,

    Apparently you don't pay too close attention to the news, or you wouldn't have asked such an obvious question. What part of the county did the state have to take over to avoid a multimillion dollar lawsuit? Income Maintenance. Of course, the take over will now cost the County another $14 million at least. If Walker had done his job, this wouldn't be necessary. And our taxes would be lower.

    Mmmm. Will that be his slogan? Walker: Incompetent, AND a tax raiser!

    Now where is your sense of accountability on this issue?

  22. Patrick-

    Walker would have to learn how to spell cancer first.

  23. Aaron-

    One would think best managed parks would also mean best parks.

    Unfortunately, it was made clear that in this case, best managed doesn't mean best managed. It merely means best hoped for.

  24. Oh, and Aaron, if you think Walker's budgeting skills is all that, let me know what you think when he comes out with his proposed budget this fall. Or better yet, let me know when the people feel the pain next year.

  25. Just admit it capper, you were caught in a lie and you really have no clue what you are talking about, when it comes to Scott Walker.
    Up until now, I really have given you the benefit of the doubt about Walker, but not I find that you really don't have much creditability. Unless you can show that this board that may honor Walker about the parks is a Walker political group, your posts on Walker really are meaningless.

  26. Dan-

    I never said that the group was political. What I DID say was that Walker was fooling them, or if you prefer, lying through his weasel teeth.

    You obviously failed to not this part of the post:

    Leaders from the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration and the National Recreation and Park Association choose the top candidates each year based on a review of their master plans and a 12-minute video featuring the department’s programs.That means it was on what he is telling them he would like to do, not what he has done or is doing. Nor does it mention whether is plan is even feasible.

    What do you teach? I sure hope it isn't reading comprehension.

  27. I never liked Bill Clinton and did not vote for him [my candidate received less than 1% each time Clinton won -- oh well], so what's your point, Terry?

    I believe you are the one who raised inbreeding to lifestyle status. That's funny.