Support my Pi Day Fundraiser at Hawthorne Coffee Roasters!

Please join me on the fourteenth day of March 14 — Pi Day! — for a fun fundraiser at Hawthorne Coffee Roasters, 4177 S. Howell Avenue, Milwaukee. In addition to supporting my campaign for re-election, we will be celebrating π, that wonderful number at the heart of every circle.

Plus, there will be pie, delicious homemade pies from many of our friends and supporters. Iron Grate BBQ and Hawthorne Coffee Roasters will have their delicious food and coffee available purchase.

If you contribute to my campaign at or above the Euclid level of $157.08 (roughly fifty times π), my wife Stacie will make you a custom pie with any ingredients that are available here in Wisconsin.

Please contribute through this link, and I will see you on March 14!

Goal Thermometer


2016 Milwaukee County Parks Traveling Beer Gardens Schedule

Here is the schedule for the Milwaukee County Parks Traveling Beer Gardens!


Here it is in PDF format.

Holler Park is in the 14th district, which I represent. The permanent Humboldt Park Beer Garden and South Shore Park Terrace, and Estabrook Park Beer Garden, will all be reopening, dates TBD.

County Board to hold public hearing on Mitchell Park Domes [updated]

The (mostly?) temporary  closure of the Mitchell Park Domes due to safety concerns is old news by now. This is a direct result of the deferred maintenance that has plagued the Milwaukee County Parks System for far too many years now — and I argue deferred maintenance is a direct cause of the tragedy at O’Donnell Park  in 2010. And the issues at the Domes are not at all new. The problems with deteriorating concrete have been known since 2004, and I voted for action on it back in 2013.

The Mitchell Park Domes

The Mitchell Park Domes, a popular tourist attraction and point of local pride, are the latest attraction to have been closed by deferred maintenance. This, despite the fact that in July 2015, I and my colleagues on the County Board allocated $5 million from an already-realized budget surplus to directly address deferred maintenance in the Parks, County Executive Abele dismissed this in his veto message [PDF] as  “flippant and irresponsible decision making” by the Board.

In September 2015, we also approved $500,000 specifically for Domes maintenance.

Half a year later, the Domes are closed.

In response to this closure, the County Board is holding a public hearing at the Mitchell Park Domes Greenhouse [map] at 6 PM on Wednesday, February 24th. We want to find out what the people of Milwaukee County want to happen with this cherished institution. According to an email from County Board Chairman Theodore Lipscomb, the hearing agenda lists presentations by the County Executive; the Parks Director; and the Friends of the Domes, and comments by the public.

I’ll do a gentleman’s bet with anyone willing on whether or not the exec will or will not appear, as he repeatedly failed to represent his own department at a series of budget hearings last year.

Update: An e-mail from Abele to Chairman Lipscomb begins, “Thank you for the invitation. I will make sure that someone from my administration will be in attendance to answer the Board’s questions.” That’s a “no.” It is his sixth? seventh? eighth? failure to appear before the public on official business.

Either way, see you on February 24, 2016, at the greenhouse.

Food Truck Friday at Morgan Park

One of the most satisfying elements of my job as a county supervisor has been working with my neighbors to create Food Truck Friday at Morgan Park. This wonderful biannual event fills a tiny triangular park with hundreds of people who buy freshly prepared food from over a dozen food trucks along the park perimeter.

Original art by dwelliphant.

Food Truck Friday is the brainchild of two park neighbors, Kirsten and Sheri. They were both integral to starting the group Friends of Morgan Park. Sheri is the proprietor of a store across the street from Morgan Park. She noted that there are few options for food this far south on Kinnickinnic Avenue during the Bay View Neighborhood Association’s biannual Gallery Night events. She and Kirsten put their heads together, and Food Truck Friday began in the late summer of 2014.

We expected maybe a few dozen people to show up to partake from the five food trucks that day, but well over five hundred people came to the park that day!

Morgan Park is a little green triangle of grass and tall trees, less than an acre in size. It’s uncommon for there to be more than two or three people in the park for any length of time. So imagine now five hundred folks clamoring around food trucks, sitting in lawn chairs and enjoying the company of neighbors. Despite its size, the crowd was very good to the park, making sure to find trash cans and clean up after themselves. Once the people and the food trucks had left, you could hardly tell there had been an event there.

The following four Food Truck Fridays have each been bigger and better-attended. We look forward to the next one this June!

Below: The smell of hickory barbecue wafts across Morgan Park during Food Truck Friday on June 6, 2014.

June 6 2014 FTF

Victory Garden Initiative comes to Bay View on Saturday May 23

The Victory Garden Blitz is coming! It will be happening all throughout the county, in Shorewood, Riverwest, Tosa, and the northwest and west sides of Milwaukee, as well as our little south side enclave.

So what is it?

On Memorial Weekend, the Victory Garden Initiative and its many partners will be installing “victory gardens” throughout our great city. In the end, we should have literally dozens of gardens built up, each prepared for growing nutritious, delicious foods.

There are many ways to get involved. It starts in Bay View at Katy Kujala-Korpela’s apartment building on S. Austin Street. Folks will be meeting there at 9am, and will help get a garden set up in a neighbor’s yard, who has graciously volunteered the use of their yard as a garden for the apartment dwellers.

There are further stops at 11AM and 1PM, one of which is our place, which I’ve dubbed the Pennsylvania Avenue Yard-Farm. Please call 750-3818 and talk to Mark to find out where you cna go to help.

At my place, we will need folks who can help build raised beds (which involves lifting wooden boards) and moving a lot of soil into the newly built beds. If you’re up to it, please come; we need you!

We will be using plants bought at the Bay View Garden And Yard Society plant sale, which is happening next weekend (the 30th) at South Shore Park, as well as a few local growers and merchants.

Here’s where to find info: [“How to Volunteer for the Blitz”]


Also: Coverage from Journal Sentinel, Shepherd Express, and WUWM. And, Mayor Barrett declared this weekend to be a Victory Garden weekend. Thanks Mr. Mayor!

And… see how our new raised beds look over here!

Getting ready for the Great Milwaukee Garden Blitz of 2009

My home garden bed is coming right along in preparation for the Blitz that will be happening next week Saturday. Using some tools loaned by very generous neighbors, I’ve gotten the dandelion population largely under control, at least in the garden bed. And today, I reunited with an old compatriat to haul a very large amount of lumber down here. On Blitz Day, we’ll be using the lumber to make raised planting beds. (It just occurred to me that we’ll need chicken wire or something similar to keep burrowing critters out. To do next week…)

Having been doing minor things such moving and writing my senior thesis during the past few weeks, I had neither the time nor the energy to devote to preparing the garden area. Here’s what it looked like in April of 2009:

Haasgarten April 09

(If you were wondering, that is not our trailer. It belongs to the previous residents and is no longer here.)

So, time passed, the weather warmed a slight bit, just enough for plants to grow, and here’s how it looked shortly after we started moving in:

May 2009

This is what I got for not putting down a huge tarp! Plants of all sorts, welcome and unwelcome, deliberate and intrusive, all springing to life. A picture from a week later would show lots of yellow dandelion flowers standing high across the yard. (Creeping charlie makes up most of the rest of it.) As I said, using the tools loaned to me by very generous neighbors, I’ve reduced much of the dandelion population.

As eager as I once was to renew my War on Creeping Charlie, which had been inspired by the federal government’s great overwhelming successes in the wars on poverty, drugs, and terra terror, I’m going to let it go for now. We’ll be manually levelling the surface and then putting in homemade raised beds, and I’ll have the open areas covered in mulch after that. And we need to have the overhanging tree limbs greatly shortened, as it’s already blocking a lot of light.

We’ll definitely need help on Saturday the 23rd. If you can lend a hand, no matter how little effort you think you can muster, I’d be much obliged. Get in touch with Gretchen from VGI if you want to help! And thanks in advance.