Sunday, February 10, 2019

City of Vice

Dear City of Racine Alderpersons, 
According to the Journal-Sentinel: 
The more we know about efforts by officials in Racine to shield public 
records from public view, the more outrageous it seems. 
In late January, the office of Racine City Attorney Scott Letteney 
disclosed a summary of records it has fought tooth and nail to keep 
secret. It showed these to be ordinary email communications, mainly 
between Racine Ald. Sandra Weidner and her constituents. 
In one email, Weidner asked the city attorney’s office whether a given 
contract would need city council approval. Another attached a 
resolution regarding the creation of a redevelopment authority. There 
were also emails concerning a bar license and a constituent's claim 
for garage damages. 
These are the kinds of records routinely released by local governments 
throughout the state. 
Yet Letteney’s reaction suggests the emails contained vital national 
security secrets, perhaps the nuclear launch codes. He believes, 
apparently, that any communication from within city government that 
intersects with the work of his office is top secret. 
Letteney’s bad judgment was matched by that of Racine City Judge 
Eugene Gasiorkiewicz, who agreed to seal the entire file of Weidner’s 
lawsuit challenging the city attorney’s actions. Even the judge’s 
ruling, which found that some of these records should be public, was 
filed under seal. 
The public was literally denied the right to know about a lawsuit 
regarding its right to know. 
And when Weidner did the courageous thing and went public with 
information about the case, Letteney demanded and Gasiorkiewicz 
imposed a contempt of court charge against her. 
It gets even worse. 
A request from the Racine Journal Times for records showing how much 
city taxpayers were paying an outside law firm to go after Weidner was 
denied, on grounds that these were filed under seal. 
As the Journal Times reported, the released invoices show Racine 
taxpayers have shelled out nearly $18,000 to fund Letteney’s crusade 
against Weidner. This went to pay two attorneys $350 and $205 an hour, 
respectively, for about 68 hours of work. Weidner’s attorney, Terry 
Rose, deemed these fees “excessive in light of the issues involved,” 
noting that his defense of Weidner, at $300 an hour, came to less than 
Let us be clear about what has happened. City Attorney Letteney, with 
Judge Gasiorkiewicz’s help, has wasted many thousands of taxpayer 
dollars to embrace a shocking level of official secrecy. Weidner and 
media organizations have, at their own expense, pushed back against 
this, and thus far prevailed. 
But the wrong that has been done here has not yet been righted. There 
ought to be consequences for the bad judgment shown by Letteney and 
Gasiorkiewicz, as well as by Racine Mayor Cory Mason — who, as far as 
I can tell, has sat on his hands as this outrage has played out in his 
The violation of the public trust here has been severe. The 
repercussions should be also. 
It is well past time to rectify the situation and do the right action 
for City of Racine Taxpayers. In addition, pursue criminal charges 
against Malfeasant Officials - and demand  restitution to make 
Taxpayers whole again. 
It is glaringly obvious that City of Racine can now *FIRE* 3 
unnecessary positions from the 5 currently ensconced in the Mayor's 
Office - begin wage and compensation decreases  - to better match that 
of 3rd World Nations, and emerging economies, and.... 
*FIRE* Glaringly Incompetent City Attorney Scott  Letteney and his 
entire incompetent and seemingly malfeasant staff. When public records 
are made secret - Racine Residents are being ruled by mentally ill 
*FIRE* Glaringly Incompetent City Administrator (profit? Loss? 
Revenue? Expense? - what's the difference) Nick Palenick - who is 
completely lost to the basics of a balance sheet. 
*RESIGN* Cory! Who ran for Mayor but believed he couldn't do the job 
so he demanded two more in the Mayor's Office - 3+2 = 5. THIS IS 
*FREE* Sandy! STOP the HATE! End the oppression of a courageous 
Alderperson who performed her role with diligence, respect for the 
rule of law, and utmost consideration for her constituents. 
Tim & Cindy 

No comments: