Friday, April 13, 2007

City of Racine Violates English Language Rules

According to an article in today's Journal Times, the city of Racine's Unified Neighborhood Inspection Team (UNIT) is substituting $50 inspection fees for $80 citations for building code violations. I wonder if they ran that idea past the city attorney.

Angry at your neighbor? Call the UNIT, make up some bogus violation, and your neighbor will be socked with a $50 inspection fee. Now I strongly suspect that the fee will only apply to those inspections that find a violation. So inspections that do not involve a violation will be free, while inspections that involve code violations will cost $50. Thus the city simply is actually engaged in semantics, substituting the word fee for citation. It is a citation but it is called a fee.

Also problematic is the appeals process, wherin those who recieve an "inspection fee" will have the opportunity to appeal to the chief building inspector, Rick Heller. It would seem to me that the only way to dispute an inspection fee is to argue that the inspection did not occur. It will be easy enough to prove that the inspection did indeed occur because the inspectors will be photographing the properties in question. Thus there would be no point in appealing. Of course we must remember that this is really a citation and not a fee, so I suspect that reasonable appeals of the citation will stand a fighting chance will Rick Heller, whom I have found to be a reasonable fellow.

The city is using the term fee when in reality they will simply be issuing citations and calling them fees. To me this is an obvious abuse of the English language. There should be an English Language Inspection Team (ELIT) and a fee, of course, for violators.


Denis Navratil said...

On second thought, I am a serial violator of the rules of grammar. I could go broke.

RacinePawnBroker said...

wait until some slick lawyer gets ahold this issue and does a class action suit on the city

Anonymous said...

Well I received a letter from “The UNIT” because one of my neighbors complained.

I have been putting new windows and doors on my house little by little as I have time.
I put out a door one day and junk man or whoever appears to love this stuff!! I would rather see it reused vs. going into a landfill.

I figured that I would put the item out by the curb for the junk man or whoever wants it when replacing a window, door or etc.

Like I said, “They love that stuff!!” Especially aluminum storms!

The neighbor that complained must think differently. They must love watching that land fill get larger. Maybe they are taking bets on how big it will get over a years time. Who knows?

Why couldn’t these people just leave a personal note instead of going right to the city and having me fined? Wouldn’t that be more tasteful? A nice friendly reminder stating, “We don’t like junk men driving through picking up doors.”

Maybe I need to become a noisy neighbor that drinks beers on the front porch all night tossing cans all over. They appear to think that behavior is ok.

I guess I will have to use CraigsList and invite the junkmen into my garage when discarding something still worth material value. Maybe some wacko from the internet will see this as an opportunity to corner me in there and knife me or something. That would make my neighbor jump for joy!!

Quiet Northsider

Jeffrae said...

Mayor Becker is a Joke!!