Franz Meyer
Press Release

Milwaukee County Supervisor Candidate Challenges Incumbent in Debate

Franz Meyer challenges County Board incumbent on Lincoln Hills scandal and Estabrook Dam giveaway while casting vision for a county government that works for all residents

By - Mar 2nd, 2016 05:48 pm

MILWAUKEE – Educator and community organizer Franz Meyer challenged incumbent County Supervisor Jason Haas Tuesday on key issues facing Milwaukee County, including Haas’ consistent support for the unpopular and unnecessary Estabrook Dam, and the board’s failure to act in response to allegations of child abuse at Lincoln Hills School.

“The county board has been asleep at the wheel,” Meyer said of county officials’ inaction during years of allegations of abuse and assault at Lincoln Hills School.

Meyer stated that Haas and other officials had reason to suspect trouble at least as far back as 2012, when Racine County responded to reports of abuse and sexual assault by removing their young people from the facility.

“The fact that our kids were there another four years after that is really upsetting,” Meyer said.

Haas countered that the board had recently voted to remove all 160 county children from Lincoln Hills after the scandal broke.

Meyer refused to accept Haas’ response:

“If the county board can do the right thing in 2016, the county board could have done the right thing in 2012,” Meyer said.

The exchange occurred at the Bay View Neighborhood Association candidates forum Tuesday.

Haas flip-flops on Estabrook Dam giveaway
Meyer also held Haas accountable for his consistent support of costly and unpopular repairs to the Estabrook Dam, which is opposed by groups representing fishermen, paddlers and other recreationalists, as well as environmental advocates.

Haas, who has repeatedly voted to spend as much as $7 million to repair the dam, told the debate crowd that he had changed his mind about the project and now opposes it.

Meyer, on the other hand, has consistently supported the removal of the dam “from the moment I heard about it.”

In an interview following the debate, Meyer described the dam repair as a giveaway for a small number of affluent suburban homeowners who want county residents to foot the bill for their private lake.

“This should have been an easy one for Jason Haas,” Meyer said. “The scientific and economic cases for removing the dam are overwhelming. County residents deserve a consistent voice willing to stand up to a small group of wealthy individuals and make county government responsive to all of us.”

Meyer casts vision
Throughout the course of the debate, Meyer shared his vision for a Milwaukee County where everyone has access to a high quality of life, regardless of income. An educator and community organizer, Meyer especially highlighted the critical role county transit, parks and other cultural amenities play in creating safe, desirable neighborhoods in the 14th District.

This is a vision he said is rooted in values learned from his family: “Hard work, fairness, and taking care of the people around you.”

However, Meyer said county government is not living up to these ideals. He cited deferred maintenance at parks that led to the failure of the Mitchell Park Domes, and a bad deal that gave away valuable land to the wealthy owners of the Milwaukee Bucks.

“If we can invest $80 million in a basketball arena for New York billionaires, then I know we can invest in a botanical garden for all people here in Milwaukee,” Meyer said.

Next debate March 23
Constituents interested in learning more about Meyer are invited to a candidate meet-and-greet from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 16, at The Bubbler, 3158 S. Howell Ave.

Meyer will face off against Haas again at the Garden District Candidates Forum, which begins at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 23, at Burdick School, 4348 S. Griffin Ave.

Voters will make their choice on April 5.

For more information, visit http://www.franzformilwaukee.com or contact Jim McLaughlin by phone at (773) 552–7961 or by email at jmclaughlin53207@gmail.com.

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5 thoughts on “Milwaukee County Supervisor Candidate Challenges Incumbent in Debate”

  1. TLee says:

    “a giveaway for a small number of affluent suburban homeowners who want county residents to foot the bill for their private lake” ? Are you kidding me?!?!
    Do you realize how many people and neighborhoods use this section of the river that flows through Lincoln park?
    Millions have been spent to clean up the section of the river and the Lincoln park lake and now you want to take it away forever?
    REPAIR the ESTABROOK Dam!

  2. Truth Be Told says:

    Estabrook and Lincoln Parks provide valuable open space for Milwaukee County residents. Removing the Estabrook Dam will not eliminate any unique historical or current recreational uses of the parks or Milwaukee River aside from the few waterfront property owners that insist on using deep drafting power boats. It amounts to a taxpayer subsidy to a few waterfront property owners. Removing the dam would benefit the majority of County residents who have previously supported removal. Removing the dam would improve the quality of the river, the fisheries and the river would remain navigable by small personal watercraft such as canoes and kayak. The USEPA, Wisconsin DNR and County spent $49 million dollars as of 2015 removing over 174,000 cubic yards of PCB contaminated sediments or over 12,400 dump trucks. If the dam is repaired, the County will no longer be allowed to flush sediments by draining the pond every fall as they have been for several decades. As a result, the pond will accumulate sediment at a fast rate. Expect nuisance algae blooms and turbid water. The county parks have over $250 million in deferred maintenance not including the Mitchell Park Domes at $75 million! The County’s own consultant estimated annual maintenance for the dam and planned fish passage at $160,000 per year! The repairs are a “Band Aid” and the entire dam concrete is deteriorating such that it will have to be replaced in its entirety in just 20 years. Removing the dam at $1.7 million is $4.5 million less expensive than repairing the dam. Advocates for dam repair, including County Board Chairman Supv. Theo Lipscomb, have been arguing for years that the dam protects against floods, however engineering studies in the 1980s and most recently in 2015 concluded that the dam INCREASES flood levels. One only needs to look downstream at what removing the North Avenue Dam has meant to the Milwaukee River. “Lipscomb’s Folly”

  3. Casey says:

    Historically the recreational use for this was swimming and boating for the entire community not just those that had property along it. The current condition of this stretch of the river is a recent development.

    Using your logic we should allow all the golf courses to go fallow because adjoining properties have too easy of access to the golf course and it isn’t fair to others. And those golf courses are a whole lot more unnatural then having an impoundment along the river.

  4. TLee says:

    Dear Truth be Told – You have been drinking the Riverkeeper cool aide. Fishing has already dropped off. The Inner City Sportsman club did not even consider holding their fishing clinic at Lincoln park due to the lack of fishing spots and fish. As for being able to kayak and canoe, the river depth or lack thereof hinders paddle sports during some summer months and is unnavigable in many areas along this stretch of the river. And you can’t even use a row boat or a paddle boat.

    REPAIRING the Estabrook Dam would retain a historic natural lake that defines three large Milwaukee County Parks. Swimming boating and all manner of recreation could be resumed now that the poison has been removed!

  5. Truth Be Told says:

    TLee. Here are links that refute your assertions about the socio-economic and environmental impacts for repairing versus removing the Estabrook Dam.

    http://urbanmilwaukee.com/2016/03/15/op-ed-dont-repair-the-estabrook-dam/

    https://static1.squarespace.com/static/55157271e4b0179c6ec8b662/t/56e342154c2f8502d979d2aa/1457734177488/EstabrookDam_ver_FINAL+03112016.pdf

    Either review and respond directly to the various issues or get over it.

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