News editor Bill Lueders goes one-on-one with mayoral candidate Gene Parks. He is challenging incumbent Joe Sensenbrenner, who last year fired Parks as the city's affirmative action officer. "I know city government better than the mayor himself," Parks, 41, contends. "I'm the only candidate running who's been a member of two unions. I'm the only candidate who's served six years on the Madison Common Council and nearly 10 years in city government as an administrator.... I offer a willingness to confront the issues openly, directly, honestly, compassionately." What do you say, Lueders asks, to people who think Gene Parks is off his rocker when he starts attacking public officials? "Read history," Parks responds. "I celebrate with Nelson Mandela, Harriet Tubman and Martin Luther King. I've not done nothing any more extreme than what they did. I challenge the system. But I challenge the system to make the system better. So throughout this campaign I will tell people what they need to know; not what they want to hear. And my life will go on if I don't win." Parks finishes a distant fourth in February's primary, which former mayor Paul Soglin wins en route to unseating Sensenbrenner in April's general election. Parks mounts another mayoral bid in 1999, once again falls short but keeps striving to make the system better right up until his death in 2005, at 57.