Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Representative Government?

I learned a few interesting tidbits about city government yesterday from Alderman Eric Marcus.

#1. There is a committee (name escapes me) with a $10 million budget that does all the buying, selling and rehabbing of properties for the city of Racine. The problem is that there are no elected officials on this committee.

#2. There is no ordinance on the books authorizing the city and the Unified Neighborhood Inspection Team to do what they do. Rather, it was simply put into a recent budget.

Re #1, I don't think city government should be in the property speculation business because they are terrible at it but more importantly because they are competing against the private sector with an unfair advantage.

Re #2, I have railed against UNIT in the past because it deprives citizens of a constitutional right to due process. The city thinks they have found a way around our nuisance of a constitution by reclassifying a fine as an inspection "fee." To discover that the city, with the approval of our aldermen, just stuck this in the budget...

I will have to take a look at my sons social studies text book. I thought I had a pretty good idea about how a bill becomes a law. Now I realize that there is an open process for popular legislation, like resolutions condemning George Bush for torture, and another for less popular measures. We will just stick it in the budget and hope nobody notices. Unreal. And these people claim to be our representatives?


Judge Mental said...

Thanks for shining the light on topics like this. This is yet another example of how fat can be cut from city budgets.

Caledonia Unplugged said...

Denis, that's how Smart Growth (social engineering, land use micromanagement, whatever) became law. Slipped in at the 11th hour into the 2000 state budget with no time for any citizen input. Any estimates on the cost of that little gem?

Denis Navratil said...

Really Calunp? Maybe the Repubs can put repeal on their to do list.

Caledonia Unplugged said...

Denis, Though I think they have a pretty long "to do" list already, you never know. They tried to repeal last year or year before - don't remember exactly, but obviously didn't have the votes.