Following up from yesterday, here is the memo that they had all written that the public didn’t get to see and they blindsided everyone with. I added a few comments.
DATE: August 8, 2012
TO: Environment, Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee
Health & Human Needs Committee
Personnel & Finance Committee
Homeless Issues Committee
FROM: Dane County Park Commission
RE: Res. 86, 12-13, addressing Emergency Housing needs of the Homeless
Park Commission recommends denial of Res. 86, 12-13, Addressing Emergency Housing Needs of the Homeless, for the following reasons:
o Dane County campgrounds are available as a recreational resource for all to enjoy. This is a reason to deny people the right to not move every 14 days? How does that make the parks less enjoyable? What evidence do they have the somehow allowing people to stay past 14 days will make the parks less enjoyable? Are the homeless people not having enough fun? Yeah, being homeless, even in a campground, still sucks.
o Campground rules exist to create a safe and clean environment and are neither discriminatory nor arbitrary nor do they place unfair burdens on an individual. On the “safe” argument, are they saying homeless people are somehow “unsafe” for other campers? On the “clean” issue, are they saying the campers are not “clean”? What evidence do they have of either? Their rules do indeed seem to be arbitrary and discriminatory, families can have more than 6 people on a site, unrelated people can’t? (see bold below) That is discrimination based on family status in a public accommodation. Someone should file a complaint with the EOC . . . hmmm. And for arbitrary, you should have heard the new rules they want to arbitrarily impose on this group, that they can’t camp in sites next to each other. Seriously, that rule isn’t listed below and seems to be completely arbitrary! And who decided that these rules place an don’t place an unfair burden on an individual? Did they listen to the testimony about how people without cars can’t get to Lake Mendota reasonably and how that is the only other park in the system where people without cars can stay? How is that not a burden on an individual? I know I feel burdened by it every other Friday when I help people move in the rain and the 100 degree weather!
o All individuals are welcome to utilize campsites, regardless of their housing status. Again, not seeming to be a reason to deny a request not to move every 14 days.M/span>
o To treat all campers fairly, everyone needs to be governed by the same rules and have the same responsibilities. Ok, they have the “fairness” argument”. It’s not fair. Is anyone complaining? Would anyone even notice for a month and a half? That is all the waiver is being requested for, is this really going to be burdonsome for that period of time? Hey, why not just waive it for everyone, I highly doubt anyone else would use that waiver.
Furthermore, pursuant to State Statute 27.05, governance of county parks, including the power to make rules for the regulation of the use and enjoyment by the public, is an authority that rests with the Park Commission. Dane County Parks staff are charged with managing the park operations including enforcement of the rules and administration of the campground. OK, then why did the Dane County Board pass ordinances . . . do those ordinances need to be removed, removing the Parks staff authority to ticket? Since they can’t make rules about the parks that only seems reasonable. Or, what if they just change those ordinances?
The Park Commission is not compelled to alter or suspend the campground rules at Lake Farm County Park as suggested by Res. 86, 12-13. The campground at Lake Farm County Park was developed under a
master plan for the Capital Springs State Recreational Area that was developed in partnership by Dane County and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The Park Commission intends to honor the
recommendation of the master plan to provide a campground of statewide significance at Lake Farm County Park. The Commission believes that altering or suspending the campground rules for only one group of persons does not meet the spirit of the master plan, nor does it meet generally accepted principals for managing public parks. I missed any discussion of a master plan at the meeting, but I had to leave early, now I want to see the master plan to see what is in it to prevent simple rule waivers.
The Commission’s review of the campground rules found that they do not prevent the homeless or unhoused persons from utilizing County campgrounds and that there is therefore no need to alter or
suspend the rules to provide accommodations as contemplated in the Resolution. All visitors are treated with respect and dignity.
Well, they’re right, they don’t prevent them from using the parks, but just like everything else when you are homeless, the government does nothing to make it easier and in fact, works really hard to make sure that they don’t.
For your reference, the campground rules are as follows:
1. There is a limit of one family or six persons per campsite.
2. There is a limit of 6 tents per campsite.
3. Campers must register prior to setting up.
4. Camping is limited to a 14-day period.
5. Re-registration is by 10:00am on the day of departure.
6. Checkout time is 3:00pm.
7. Camping is allowed only in those areas designated for that purpose.
8. Campsite must be occupied the first night of registration.
9. Campsite must be reserved by the person occupying the site.
10. Quiet time in the campgrounds is from 10:00pm to 6:00am.
11. Pets are not allowed in the showers.
12. Pets may not be left unattended at the campsite.
13. Self-registration cannot be made for a future date.
14. Leave campsites clean and orderly at all times.
And there you have it. Funny how that got written before anyone even discussed this and the staff knew that was what the commission was going to think and we so confident that they had this typed up in advance. Something smells. And its not the smell of respect, dignity or equality and fairness.
While we’re at it, is that respect and dignity and equality and fairness that is prompting the Madison Police Department to now drive through the campsite 2 – 3 times a day? There’s been exactly two police calls about people on the site and one call from people on the site to remove an intruder in more than three months – what’s with the sudden harassment?
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