Thursday, February 25, 2021

The Capital Theater

 Dear Mr. Jarstad,

The treatment of the Group which wanted to save the Capital Theater really illustrates the problems of dealing with Ratcine City Hall, let the lesson be learned. It is NOT a level playing field and Friends & Family come first. Just compare with the treatment Wildroot Market received - and didn't the City and County throw hundreds of thousands their way? Where did the money go? Into administrative expenses? And then the Knowles Nelson grant for the overlook bluff - ok, now there are a lot of empty buildings there and Monte Osterman got paid. And all the taxpayer money sent to Vanderwalle & Associates which produced fictional and idealized drawings of Machinery Row, etc. And when will Cory Mason's property be assessed properly? It was a nice try to save the building, but you and your voice or your group for that matter don't count - you have been cancelled by Cory and Rebecca Mason. And it was Rebecca Mason who intervened between my Complaint to force Monte Osterman to show me his form 990, as required by law, for his Root River Council group. I discovered tens of thousands of dollars from government grants which had gone to his group and went.... ? Administrative expenses? After Root River Council was disbanded by Monte Osterman and the financial records destroyed, it was quietly brought back and now is under the control of former City Development Director Brian OConnell - and no doubt applying for and receiving funds for..... ?

This comment says it all:

A couple of mistakes in this piece. I teach art history and humanities, not art, and I approached the Mayor to discuss generalized plans to work together on Racine buildings in general - to identify those that need watching and supporting, to get onto the same page about how to do that, and to prevent exactly this kind of thing from springing up. It had not come under my radar when I first tried to talk to him in October last year - completely unsuccessfully so far. I have also, over years, sought to be in constructive contact with the Chief Building Inspector for the same reasons - to know what the City needs from us in order to maintain good buildings - but he has rebuffed all attempts to make contact. In fact, I now wonder if either of them have ever read a word of what I wrote to them.

Perhaps it would be good if they remembered that they are city officials who are answerable to the city residents who elected them and pay them. We can surely expect at least the courtesy of being heard and given a relevant response.

Interesting to note that neither the Mayor nor the Chief Building Inspector was present today to superintend the safe removal of a building they have labeled a "known hazard" and such a huge liability for the City that they would not consider owning it for a second. According to Mr. Plaski, it is the worst building he's been in for thirty years - and yet I'm told that Horlick and Ajax were both a great deal worse. Makes you wonder what kinds of building Mr. Plaski has so proudly torn down among his vaunted 600?

Worse still, the local residents were not informed about the raze and we met one lady who had to beg to get her car out from the razing zone. And then AT&T turned up, having, apparently not been informed about the raze either and bringing everything to a temporary halt while they considered an electric pole with some live wires hitched the the building to be razed. Another member of our group overheard members of the DNR say that they had not been notified of the asbestos abatement and that they could see there was still asbestos in the building.

So now, who is the crackpot here? The person who wants to save a potentially lovely building for the future, and who was involved in raising significantly more in pledges than this article indicates (we could have covered the exterior repairs)? Or the paid officials who apparently have dropped the ball every step of the way?

When I was a child My Father and I would walk to the Capital Theater for Saturday movies - and they always gave away prizes between showings. They would also feature cartoons and shorts, it was an all day affair. The last movie I remember seeing there was Star Wars - the original version.

And down it goes. Cory and Rebecca Mason hate you and your group - their actions which make you and your group persona non grata at Racine City Hall prove it and it is all you need to know that you are a victim of cancel culture, exactly like the Navartil's and Dimples.

Click on image to enlarge

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