Friday, December 2, 2016

Kosciusko Community Center Is A Public Facility Contrary To "Not Public Per-se" According To Milwaukee County Employee

Media was not allowed to news video record at the Kosciusko "Kozy" Community Center during the water filter give away to local residents.

By H. Nelson Goodson
Hispanic News Network U.S.A.

December 2, 2016

Milwaukee, WI - On Wednesday, some media outlets including Hispanic News Network U.S.A. (HNNUSA) were not allowed to news video record at the Kosciusko "Kozy" Community Center, 2201 S. 7th Street during a water filter give away to local Milwaukee area residents who still have fresh water toxic lead laterals connected to the City of Milwaukee water main. The water filters were being given out as a bandage fix from the City of Milwaukee for residents as a first come, first serve basis, who reside in homes that still have the toxic lead laterals.
Media outlets were not allowed to news video record inside the building unless they received permission, but they could only record the legs and feet of those residents waiting in line to get their free water filter because the facility was not public per-se, according to a Milwaukee County worker.
To date, the KCC has not been privatized and is a County run facility. The Milwaukee Parks officials were contacted for comment concerning the issue that the KCC is "not public per-se."
Paula Johnson-Boorse, the Sr. Executive Assistant to Director John Dargle, Jr. from the Milwaukee County Department of Parks, Recreation & Culture released the following statement,  "Kosciuszko Community Center remains a public facility, however, we also serve the community though a variety of membership-based programs and recreational opportunities. Many of these members are children and teens who use the facility for after school programming and tutoring. Because these minors, or more accurately their parents and guardians, have not all given permission for their likeness to be filmed or used, we ask that filming in the facility only take place in areas that are in use by the public, and not our membership base.
"We commend the efforts of the community organizers to distribute water filters for those who have a need for them and would be happy to accommodate filming in the areas of the building that area accessible to the public."
According Johnson-Boorse, the KCC is a public facility and the lobby would be considered an area where video recording could have been allowed, since it was not an area of youth activity. Apparently, the Milwaukee County worker wasn't well informed regarding the policy and banned video recording where permitted.
12th District Milwaukee County Supervisor Peggy West on the contrary questions Johnson-Boorse's statement that the Kosciusko Community Center is actually a public facility, since the KCC has denied people access to use the restroom. According to Supervisor West, the KCC doors are locked and people must have a paid membership to get access to use the restroom at the County facility. West stated, "I've bought a membership for an elderly gentleman, Ricardo Dorantes, so he could use the rest room there. Its private with public access. If it wasn't, why are the doors locked?"
Not allowing Milwaukee taxpayers, local residents or even homeless people access to a restroom at the KCC draws questions about accessibility for those in need to use the rest room. It is illegal to urinate or defecate at the park grounds or in public, but when in need of an emergency, what would be the alternative for people, some might argue.
The restroom restrictions issue is problematic for others as well within the City of Milwaukee, many businesses post signs that restrooms are for customers only, but in reality as a business licensed by the City, it should have restrooms accessible to the public.
Currently, there is no County resolution or City ordinance restricting the public from using restrooms at County facilities or businesses in Milwaukee.
Supervisor West and other public elected officials can actually bring up the issue to the County Board and the Milwaukee Common Council to enact policy (resolution/ordinance) that rest rooms in County facilities and local businesses in the City of Milwaukee should be available to the public when opened.

Video of incident where a Milwaukee County worker restricted video recording

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