So, it’s been a while. How ya been?

I’ve been madly busy with my job as a county supervisor. Generally speaking, it’s been some of the most fulfilling work I’ve had the pleasure of doing. A large part of my job is helping people get things done. Naturally most of that falls on the county level, but I’ve found my influence can carry well beyond that simple confine. And when it does reach beyond is when things tend to get the most interesting.

But even things within the county level often keep my calendar full. It’s not uncommon for me to have four or five work-related events within the day, each one at a different location somewhere around Milwaukee County. That’s not counting the time that I take to return phone calls or research an issue that I’m working on.

While most of what I do will never make headlines, it’s these little things that yield the greatest satisfaction for me. I have helped pass some significant legislation in my four months on the board. And I’ve also gotten graffiti removed and a broken slide replaced at a county park playground, and helped create a new community garden on county-owned land. To me, the latter two are examples of things that will directly and very quickly improve the quality of life for a lot of people.

You might have heard me on Radio Milwaukee’s Neighborhood Project, in which I said that being a county supervisor is what you want it to be. And to me, it is. I’ve been devoting a great many hours per day to my job, attending neighborhood meetings, touring county facilities, and exploring the county’s services. They are very deeply woven into our society. I want to help improve them, which is why I ran for office in the first place.

What? Improve society? Whatever. Hippie crap. 

The reason I’m doing this is to make sure that we can continue to have great events like Chill on the Hill, which brings a couple thousand people to Humboldt Park each Tuesday night in the summer.

Some things are new and unexpected, or at least had been unknown to me. Take, for example, that on Parks Committee, I voted for the Zablocki Park Pavilion (3717 W. Howard Avenue) to be leased to the Philippine Cultural and Civic Center Foundation. That group will use the pavilion as its new cultural center, and will take up the remodeling and upkeep of the pavilion. That means a good space will be maintained and remain open to the public at no cost to the taxpayer.

Sometimes I have to respond to things that make headlines.  I was at home the night that a U.S. Air Force B-1 bomber took off from Mitchell International Airport on August 11, 2011. As it took off with its afterburners engaged, it made a noise greater than a banshee being torn in half as it tried to slip loose from the underworld! Everything in the neighborhoods around the airport was shaking and quaking. My young son, who had been laying on his back and playing, sat straight up with a mild look of terror on his face. What on earth was that noise?

People called and emailed my office to ask what it was, and they called the airport noise complaint line in droves.

In those sorts of instances, folks appreciate hearing from someone who can tell them what was going on. And they really appreciate knowing when something will end, or if it will happen again. We’ve had a lot of issues with airport noise due to the reconstruction of the runways. Again, I can tell people what’s going on, what to expect, and how long it will go on. They really appreciate that, and I am grateful to have helped make it happen.

So, yeah. That’s my job. At least part of it. And most of the time, it’s a lot of what I want it to be.


Author: Jason Haas

Jason is an elected member of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors, occasionally moonlights as an amateur gardener, and is a proud father of two, or three, depending on how you do the math.