By H. Nelson Goodson
Hispanic News Network U.S.A.
April 21, 2016
Milwaukee, WI - On Thursday, El Conquistador Newspaper reported that the Puerto Rican Cultural Committee (PRCC) was denied a festival permit in September 2015 at Humboldt Park to hold their Puerto Rican (PR) annual festival in August 2016. According to El Conquistador, last September the PRCC met with Milwaukee County Park administrators and Milwaukee County Sheriff's Lieutenant Tricia Carlson who apparently made allegations that members of the Puerto Rican community attending the festival were a big "problem."
In early 2016, the PRCC contacted the Milwaukee County Parks once again to discuss permit filings, but in response Ryan Broderick, the Milwaukee County Parks Special Events Coordinator in an e-mail to the PRCC denied to grant another permit citing multiple issues from last year's festival. Broderick claimed that allegations of public urination were reported, there was excessive trash during and after the festival, loud music and vehicles squealing tires, overcrowding exceeding permit estimated attendance and parking complaints by neighbors around Humboldt Park. Broderick confirmed that in the September 2015 meeting between the PRCC members and park administrators, it was decided to denied the PRCC a permit to hold this year's PR festival at Humboldt Park.
Hispanic News Network U.S.A. (HNNUSA) learned that staff administrators and Milwaukee County Sheriff's Lt. Carlson did not provide any information or statistics to the PRCC whether anyone was actually cited for public urination and vehicles squealing tires around the festival after it ended, questioning if they were just mere allegations made by the all White residents living around Humboldt Park to keep Latinos, especially the Puerto Rican community from using the County park again.
The parks department charges extra for using park workers to clean the park of trash left and not picked up by organizers and their volunteers. The PRCC did not confirm, if the parks department charged them extra for cleaning the park after the event.
A member of the PRCC who did not want to be identified on Thursday says, that talks between the PRCC and the Milwaukee County Parks department are ongoing and hopes the issue can be resolved. Milwaukee County Supervisor Peggy Romo-West and Chris Abele's Milwaukee County Executive's Office has been contacted by the PRCC to help resolve the PR festival permit denied by the parks department.
Last year, about 5,000 people attended the alcohol free event at Humboldt Park, according to the PRCC. This year's PR festival is being planned for August, but where it will be held is still undecided.
Is the Milwaukee County Parks department trying to keep Latinos taxpayers from renting and using the parks system? Large none Latino venues are permitted to use Humboldt Park and other parks as well.
Maybe it is time, to replace the Milwaukee County Parks director with someone who will allow ethnic community groups to rent its parks for rich traditional cultural events that generate funds?