In the Media

South Side to Elect New County Supervisor

By Lisa Kaiser of the Shepherd Express

February 1, 2011
On Feb. 15, Bay View and near South Side voters will decide which of three candidates will advance to the April 5 general election for District 14 County Supervisor. The three candidates are salesman Gregory Dickenson, community activist Jason Haas and business owner Steven Kraeger. 
Gregory Dickenson
Gregory Dickenson, a former intern for Ald. Bob Donovan who’s currently working as an appliance salesman, said he decided to run for the county board to maintain the quality services expected by county residents.

“I feel that this area has previously had good representation and I feel that we need to continue that,” Dickenson said. “I want to be able to serve the people around me with honest, effective and responsive representation.”

His top issues are the parks, transportation and seniors’ issues.

“I don’t support selling the parks, but I would be open-minded to public-private partnerships, vendors in the parks,” Dickenson said.

He supports taking the parks and mass transit off of the property tax rolls, an idea that county voters approved in a November 2008 advisory referendum. But he didn’t think that the state Legislature would approve the change.

“In the meantime we need to be smart with our limited resources,” Dickenson said. “We have to make sure we’re being as efficient as possible with our facilities and our resources.”

Dickenson said he would only support an increase in the sales tax if it directly resulted in a decrease in the property tax.

“I would love to see dedicated funding for mass transit,” Dickenson said. “I only support the sales tax increase if there’s a corresponding property tax decrease. It’s a two-way street. I would like to have discussions with other entities over a regional transit authority, but that’s not on the table right now.”

He said he wants the airport to stay under county control.

Dickenson also said he wants to preserve programs for seniors, such as meal sites and keeping the Milwaukee County Transit System and Transit Plus affordable for seniors and the disabled.

To learn more about Gregory Dickenson, go to

Jason Haas

Jason Haas, a community activist and stay-at-home father, said he is running for the county board to continue the sort of active leadership demonstrated by its most recent supervisor, Chris Larson.

Clean parks, better transit and economic development top his list of issues.

He said that preserving the parks, especially those in the 14th District, will help promote community safety and involvement.

“If we let the parks slide, if they become fallow or are not maintained, then people don’t use them and the neighborhood around the parks suffers,” Haas said.

He said he supports increasing the sales tax to support the county’s parks, transit system and other assets.

“I’m not at all optimistic that we are going to get it in the next two or four years, given the current state Legislature and the new governor,” Haas said. “But we have to try. Without that we are going to face even more difficult choices.”

In the meantime, Haas said bus ridership could increase if one-way fares were lowered from $2.25 to $2, or if one-way fares were greatly reduced but free transfers were eliminated.

“If we lower it far enough, even to a dollar, I think we could see a surge in people riding,” Haas said. “I haven’t seen the figures on whether it would be feasible, but it’s an idea we need to explore.”

Haas said he would like to increase urban redevelopment, especially of the county-owned Park East land. He said that more urban agriculture could be established in the district, just as it has thrived at Sweet Water Organics in the north side of Bay View. He also supports the aerotropolis proposal, which promotes intergovernmental cooperation to improve the airport and the businesses around it. He said that broadening the tax base through business growth would reduce property taxes for homeowners.

To learn more about Jason Haas, go to

Steven Kraeger

Steven Kraeger owns a trucking business and specializes in road building and sewers, but he said he would sell his business if he is elected. He has run for state Assembly, the county Board of Supervisors and Milwaukee Common Council in the past, but has never been elected.

Mimicking Gov. Scott Walker’s slogan, Kraeger said that he wants Milwaukee County to be open for business.

“It would be a shame if Wisconsin is open for business and Milwaukee County is not,” Kraeger said.

Kraeger’s top issues are balancing the county budget, the Hoan Bridge and constituent services.

Kraeger said that the county budget isn’t being adequately audited right now and that he would “audit, audit, audit” the budget if he is elected.

“You can’t throw money at it without an audit,” Kraeger said. “Without taking [the budget] apart, you don’t have any ideas for cutting.”

He said that he didn’t have any suggestions for reducing the budget without doing a line-by-line audit.

Kraeger said that although the Hoan Bridge is not owned or operated by the county, he would like to see county officials push to have the bridge repaired so that it doesn’t collapse, as it did in the 1990s. He said the bridge is far more dangerous than drivers realize and that he doesn’t trust the state’s promise to fully redeck the Hoan this year.

“I’m not holding my breath,” he said.

Kraeger said he is “absolutely against” raising the sales tax to pay for county services, even with a corresponding decrease in the property tax, since it would encourage people to shop in other counties.

“I can’t imagine Walker breaking his campaign promise and approving it,” Kraeger said.

He said the county could raise revenue by making the county “open for business.”

“If you increase sales, revenue goes up even without a sales tax increase,” Kraeger said.

To learn more about Steven Kraeger, go to

5 seeking county executive, supervisor posts

Carlson, 48, of West Allis, is a first-time candidate. She said she was motivated to run based on her concern for patients at the Mental Health Complex and abused children. She preaches on a local cable TV program.

Kraucunas has explored bids for several local offices and mounted an unsuccessful recall campaign in 2002 against John Norquist, the Milwaukee mayor at that time.

Several current and past local and state office holders have expressed interest in a possible run for county executive, including former Democratic state Rep. Sheldon Wasserman; Republican Rep. Jeff Stone of Greendale; County Clerk Joe Czarnezki; County Treasurer Daniel Diliberti; County Supervisors Marina Dimitrijevic and Johnny Thomas; County Board Chairman Lee Holloway; and former County Executive Tom Ament.

Two upcoming vacancies on the County Board spawned three hopefuls.

Eyon Biddle, deputy political director for the state council of Service Employees International Union, is aiming to succeed Supervisor Elizabeth M. Coggs to represent a portion of Milwaukee's north side on the County Board. Coggs was elected to the state Assembly.

Jason Haas and Gregory Dickenson declared themselves as candidates to succeed Supervisor Christopher Larson, who represents a portion of the city's south side on the board. Larson was elected to the state Senate.

Haas, 35, is a stay-at-home dad and community garden organizer. Key interests for him are maintaining and improving county parks and transit, he said. He supports dedicated funding for transit, such as a local sales tax.

Dickenson describes himself as a lifelong resident of the Humboldt Park area in a campaign blog. He says he would "fight to maintain the high quality county services taxpayers expect and deserve," including transit.

All five candidates have filed registration statements with the county Election Commission.

The seats will be up for election this spring.