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Does Alderman Jeff Coe know what he is talking about – in regards to Civic Centre taxpayer funded subsidizes? The 2017 Audited Financial Report indicates that he is either misinformed or malfeasant when he wrongly asserts, in a Journal Times article, “First District Alderman Jeff Coe is concerned about the city spending much more on its annual Civic Centre subsidy — set at $323,000 in 2016. Coe said he doesn’t want to go back to the situation in 2005 when Racine was spending upwards of $800,000 on the Civic Centre”.
RACINE — In an effort to bring more people, business and festivals Downtown, the city is planning to retool its contract with the business that runs Festival Hall, Paul P. Harris Rotary Park and Memorial Hall.
Currently, the three city-owned locations — collectively known as the Civic Centre — are run by VenuWorks, a venue management company based in Ames, Iowa, that runs more than 30 arenas, theaters and convention centers nationwide.
The current contract with VenuWorks was most recently approved in fall 2017, when doomed discussions to build a hotel and arena Downtown were still ongoing.
First District Alderman Jeff Coe is concerned about the city spending much more on its annual Civic Centre subsidy — set at $323,000 in 2016. Coe said he doesn’t want to go back to the situation in 2005 when Racine was spending upwards of $800,000 on the Civic Centre.
The facts, revealed in the City of Racine 2017 Audited Financial Report evidence that Alderman Jeff Coe, at best, doesn’t know what he is talking about. The Audited Financial Report reveals that the Civic Centre was taxpayer subsidized to the tune of $807,061, with an operating loss of of $675,357! The evidence is presented below:
Exhibit One : City of Racine Loss Leader – Civic Centre
Hey Hey Hey! Da Mayor Dopee needs to go away! Elect Sandy Weidner if you want a truly better day!
It is time for a TAXPAYER FIRST! Racine Spring!
Honest, Open, Transparent!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Bill Lueders (608) 669-4712
March 6, 2019
Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council names ‘Opee’ winners
Wisconsin’s largest newspaper and a small Madison paper produced mostly by teens are among the honorees of the 2019 Openness Awards, or Opees, bestowed annually by the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council, along with awards to a Wausau-based citizens environmental group and a state senator who is seeking to end his colleagues’ ability to destroy records at will.
Meanwhile, the Opees recognized both Racine Ald. Sandra Weidner and the city of Racine, for being on opposite sides of the same issue. Weidner was honored for blowing the whistle on her city’s extraordinary effort to suppress public records, for which it received negative recognition for the Council in the form of another award.
The awards, announced today in advance of national Sunshine Week (sunshineweek.org), March 10-16, are meant to recognize outstanding efforts to protect the state’s tradition of open government, and highlight some of the threats. This is the 13th consecutive year that Opees have been given.
“Each year, we recognize people who take it upon themselves to fight for the transparency our democracy needs to thrive,” said Bill Lueders, council president. “And each year, sadly, there are forces within government fighting just as hard to keep things secret.”
The Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council, a nonpartisan group that seeks to promote open government, consists of about two dozen members representing media and other public interests. Sponsoring organizations include the Wisconsin Newspaper Association, Wisconsin Broadcasters Association, Wisconsin Associated Press, Wisconsin News Photographers and the Madison Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.
The winners will be invited to receive their awards at the ninth annual Wisconsin Watchdog Awards Dinner in Madison on Tuesday, April 16, at the Madison Club. The event is open to the public and is presented by the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council and the Madison Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.
Awards are being given this year in six categories. The winners are:
Whistleblower of the Year (“Whoopee”): Sandra Weidner
Not only did this Racine alderperson file suit over her city’s efforts to claim that some of her own email exchanges with constituents could not be made public because they dealt with advice from the city attorney’s office, she was actually cited for contempt of court for disclosing information about her case, which a Racine County judge decided to conduct in secret. After media groups intervened, virtually all of the case records were made public. But Weidner has spent tens of thousands of dollars to prevent the public from being kept in the dark about its right to know.
No Friend of Openness (“Nopee”): The city of Racine
Officials including City Attorney Scott Letteney and Mayor Cory Mason, wasted more than $75,000 of taxpayers’ money on an unwise and ultimately failed effort to prevent the public from seeing run-of-the-mill emails and other records. Letteney’s office even at one point claimed it could not release records showing how much the city was spending on outside counsel for this foolish fight. The city trampled its citizens’ right to public information — and then made them foot the bill for it.
And from JT:
The Journal Times reached out Wednesday to the Mayors Office, which declined to comment.
Weidner, who represents the city’s 6th District, said she plans to attend the Wisconsin Watchdog Awards Dinner on April 16 in Madison.
“I am tremendously honored to be selected as one of the recipients of an OPEE award,” Weidner wrote in an email. “I do not have a comment regarding any of the other recipients except to say if the City of Racine would like me to pick up their award, I would be happy to do that for them.”
“Chain Lightning” by Steely Dan off “Katy Lied” featuring Wilhelm Reich’s “The Mass Psychology of Fascism” in poster form as preformed by The extraordinary New York Surveillance Camera Players a combination theater and protest performance group that performs to the surveillance cameras. Photos of include Stalin*, Nixon, Bush and Clintons. According to a group member, a liberal estimate of the number of surveillance cameras in operation in Manhattan is now more than 10,000. This pales in comparison to London, the city with the highest concentration of surveillance cameras, where it is estimated there are 10,000 cameras in operation in London’s financial district alone. The location of surveillance cameras is noticeably peculiar considering their perceived purpose of crime prevention. Cameras are installed in predominantly rich zones of the city and markedly not in zones where there is high crime (the predominantly poorer zones). Cameras are also installed predominantly in crowded thoroughfares rather than in back alleys. Cameras are frequently installed within private property (though technically legal) but are obviously directed at monitoring public space.
Free PDF of Wilhelm Reich’s “The Mass Psychology of Fascism” available at: http://www.relatedness.org/Mass_Psychology_of_Fascism.pdf
For those astute enough with Ears to Hear, and Eyes to See – straight from City of Racine CIP – available at City of Racine Finance Department:
Click on the below image to ENLARGE!
As incredible as it seems, in former Democrat Mayor John Dickert’s Broke-Down City of Ill Repute, which was so broke he had to break down and beg Non-Profits to send in donations – newly elected Democrat Mayor Cory Mason proposes increasing the City Administration Staff from 3 positions to 5 positions – while nearly doubling the cost in salaries and benefits to taxpayers!
Concerned and Over-taxed Residents can view the City of Racine 2019 Budget by clicking on the link: 2019 Proposed Budget
Tax and Spend Mayor Cory Mason plans to add 2 positions to the Mayor’s Office – a Communications Coordinator, and a Strategic Initiatives/Community Partnerships Office! At an additional cost of $266,845!
From the proposed 2019 budget, pages 22 and 25:
It seems unbelievable – but it is true! The Mayor’s Office doesn’t need 5 positions – at best it requires 2! What the Common Council needs to do is reject Mayor Cory Mason’s outrageous budget proposal and eliminate 3 positions; restricting the Office to 2 positions! They can choose from Titles – Administrator, Mayor and Assistant – only TWO are required to efficiently operate a City like Racine. But since the overstaffed Mayor’s Office has become accustomed to 3 positions, for this budget, the Common Council should amend the 2019 budget to retain the existing 3 positions and plan to eliminate another position in the next budget.
Since it is now obvious that Racine Mayor Cory Mason can’t handle the job he was elected to do – without a bloated staff – WHY DID HE RUN FOR THE OFFICE OF MAYOR? It appears to be just a ploy so he could hire family and friends into high paying positions with a huge taxpayer funded tax-free benefit package with functionally meaningless jobs with impressive titles.
Ask Racine Mayor Cory Mason – Why did you run for Mayor if you couldn’t handle the job?
The City of Racine DOES NOT NEED a BLOATED and Unnecessary staff of 5 persons collecting taxpayer $$$, bennies & pensions in the Mayor’s Office!
Truth be told – when a City has both an Administrator and a Mayor – the Mayor’s position is superfluous and he acts mainly as a figurehead – an unnecessary expense who extends a welcome mat to visitors and dignitaries. Racine Mayor Cory Mason and his hiring spree with a bloated staff are an UNNECESSARY EXPENSE!
The scope of statutory authority allotted to the Mayor’s Office is VERY limited!
From page 21 of Cory Mason’s proposed 2019 budget; the function of the Mayor’s Office is very limited:
That’s it! The Mayor does NOT need a Communications Coordinator, and a Strategic Initiatives/Community Partnerships Office! Especially at an additional cost of $266,845! If Cory Mason wants to step outside the bounds of his statutory duties and authority, then he needs to fund those activities out of his own pocket, NOT the taxpayers of Racine!
Further, if Cory Mason can’t handle, or is incompetent, to wield the elective position he campaigned for, then Cory Mason shouldn’t have run for that position in the first place! It is time for Racine Taxpayers to demand that the Common Council, in the future, pare the Mayor’s Office to 2 positions and choose to either have an Administrator or Mayor, with an Assistant. PERIOD!
In addition to being Racine’s biggest tax and spend Mayor, Racine Mayor Cory Mason and Municipal Judge Rebecca Mason refuse to pay their fair share of the property taxes, which they expect to spend and profit from! And how has the value of their Lakefront Property, purchased by the Mason’s in 2018 from Robert H. Lehner II, Father of Benjamin Lehner, who is employed by City of Racine Housing & Community Development as a Community Development Program Specialist and close personal friend of Cory’s from the Root River Council, decreased in assessed value by nearly $400,000 from 2013 to 2019? IT’S A MYSTERY!
A Racine County judge said he’s only sealed one case in his career. The case he chose to hide from taxpayers and Racine city residents? A petition for access to public records.
The unusual case, now on appeal but also absent from the Court of Appeals web-based index, has only come to light because a maverick Racine Common Council member got tired of what she calls growing secrecy and concentrated power in her local government.
“To me, it’s a huge issue,” said Sandy Weidner. “I’m willing to defy the judge’s order that it’s sealed.”
Advocates for open government are astounded and have never heard of a public records suit being sealed, or any kind of case without some record of who the parties are and why it was under seal.
“Everything I know about this case seems atrocious,” said Bill Lueders, president of the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council.
“These communications should never have been withheld. The trial court judge should never have allowed this matter to be adjudicated in secret. His decision should not have been sealed. The appellate court should not have allowed this secrecy to extend to the appeal.”
“These are low-level communications from local residents about local issues, not the Pentagon Papers,” Lueders said.
Patrick Kabat, a First Amendment lawyer in Cleveland who leads a First Amendment clinic at the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, said it’s unheard of for a judge to seal an entire case without some public record of why.
“This is not a public records issue, it’s a courts access issue,” he said, “and state open meetings law doesn’t control that, it can’t be wished away.”
Kabat said his clinic’s focus is “reminding courts there are two parties in front of them, but the forgotten third party is the public. And its right is enforceable.”
“We have probably the worst council I’ve seen — naive, inexperienced — and so the city attorney was trying to control it all himself,” Spodick said. “Stuff never gets the light of day. He’s scaring the other council members by making Sandy an example of what happens to ‘troublemakers.’ ”
The criminals public officials who operate Racine County and the City always seems able to find a willing Racine County Circuit Judge who will hide their misdeeds and provide cover – while a comatose public remains complacent to the crimes being committed daily by Racine County and City Officials.
Does anyone remember when Racine County Circuit (Circus might actually fit better) Judge Gerald Ptacek ruled that John Dickert was acting in his official capacity as Mayor while he was campaigning during a radio interview at WRJN? Thus forcing City of Racine taxpayers to pay John Dickert’s S100,000 legal bills? A ruling which any competent Judge or conscious public would know was – at best – LAUGHABLE, and downright contrary to the laws of State of Wisconsin! Because IF John Dickert was campaigning while Mayor, it would be a criminal act! And YES! Racine County Judge Gerald Ptacek is laughing at the fools of City of Racine who paid up!
WHAT A SURPRISE!
And now here comes Racine County Circuit Judge Eugene Gasiorkiewicz, after meeting with lawyers in his chambers (concerning Sandy Weidner’s Open Records lawsuit) , telling others there for the hearing that they had to leave because he was sealing the case.
The judge said recently he sealed the case “because of the nature of the action. It’s one that shouldn’t be open. I made a public policy determination.”
But wasn’t it an open records case? “I’m sorry, I can’t tell you. It’s sealed,” Gasiorkiewicz said.
And yeah – this is the same Racine County Circuit Judge who sentenced convicted Billionaire Child Molestor Curt Johnson to only 4 months in jail…..
In Racine County – anything goes for those with Political Power, Connections, or Wealth!
Three years and a lengthy court case later, the 59-year-old heir to “the family company,” as the cleaning product empire is known, is out of jail after just three months.
As the Racine Journal Times in S.C. Johnson’s company town of Racine, Wisc. first reported, Johnson was released on Sunday. He served three months of his four month sentence, which was reduced thanks to time served.
The convicted child molester, worth $2.7 billion, also paid a $6,000 fine as part of his punishment for two misdemeanor charges of fourth-degree sexual assault and disorderly conduct. He pleaded guilty to both back in June.
Both charges were drastically amended; Johnson was initially charged with repeated sexual assault of a child, which is a felony.
The corrupt Courts and Judges of Racine County are just there to provide cover for the criminal misdeeds of Public Officials and the wealthy – it happens again, and again, and again. Anything goes for those with the right political connections.