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Letters to The Platteville Journal for July 10
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How much for the trip?

I was at the last meeting of the Zoning Board of Appeals, which was then supposed to act to handle appeals of city building code violations, June 25.

While there I could not help to see what City Manager Larry Bierke submitted as his final budget for the trip to Denver for the All-American City awards, which Platteville did not receive. I saw that Mr. Bierke accounted for 14 people traveling, and the rate per person for air fare was approximately $457 per person.

After doing some follow-up, as I was employed in the travel and airline industry for more than 30 years, I found out that using the 14 people who were supposed to be going to Denver I was able to determine that the round trip airfare on a 30-day advance purchase price was $327, a saving of $130 per person), and that does not take into consideration the group of 14 people. Every airline that I know of will give any group of 10 or more a discount of a minimum of 10 percent.

I also was informed that one of the professors at the university paid for, out of his own pocket, air fare and hotel accomodation for himself and three others. Using just the regular 30-day advance purchase price there should have been a savings of $4,578 in air fare alone.

Then you also have to take into consideration of the fact that the Common Council, on Ald. Barb Daus’ motion, will provide a maximum of 50 percent of the cost of the trip, minus any donations that the committee raised up to a maximum total cost of $15,000.

Yet the information in the final budget includes a contribution of $7,500, from the city on a total budget of approx $14,200. That was not the amount proposed in Ald. Daus’ motion.

What is the explanation for the $4,578 difference in air fare? I am sure between Mr. Bierke and our new finance director they could come up with an explanation, but will it be accceptable to the residents of Platteville?

Michael V. Mayo
375 N. Chestnut St., Platteville

City harassment

I was born and raised here in Platteville. My father was born and raised here in Platteville as well.

Two years ago the University Alumni Association tried to buy my property, across from Rountree Commons, from me at a price I set. They told me they would get back to me in two weeks time and I haven’t heard a word from them. I waited two or more weeks and I called them. They never responded or took my calls.

The next thing that happened was the Common Council president announced that my property was a disgrace to Platteville and the price I had asked for it was ridiculous. Then the City’s Building Inspector attacked me by issuing $790 in fines.

Due to the fact that the city manager and building inspector both did not read the city’s codes and follow them, Grant County Circuit Judge Robert VanDeHey ruled in my favor, but before the judge had made his ruling, the city, in fear of losing, reissued their prior orders that stated their past complaints. That meant I could have been fined almost $1,600.
Last year 84 people were ordered to paint their properties, and the majority of these people were 64 years old. I guess the city figures that people being seniors and living on a fixed income means you aren’t going to fight.

If you think this can’t happen to you, you’re living in a dream world and not in Platteville.

If my mother or father ever helped you out, if I treated you with respect while buying or repairing your car, please call your alderman and tell them if you think this is the way a taxpayer should be treated.

Our city manager is on the radio saying that I don’t meet minimum standards, yet when I requested a copy of the city’s minimum standards I never received them. I have waited for more than three weeks and still haven’t gotten anything from them. In court, under oath, the city’s building inspector testified that he used the strictest of either the International Property Maintenance Code or City’s Code.

My conclusion from these two statements is that our city manager has never read the city codes. There is no section for minimum standards and if our city’s building inspector would have read and understood our city codes the judge wouldn’t have ruled in my favor.

Please help me. I lay in bed at night and my stomach turns and many mornings, I throw up before going to work. Please come and inspect my business at 785 S. Chestnut St. if you think I should go to jail, have my land seized and sold at auction, then call your alderman.

Remember when the Kallembachs were sent to jail and their property sold at auction. They were arrested on Southwest Road while working on a house they were trying to make it comply with city codes.

I have been involved with Boy Scouts for 25 years. If I helped your son learn about the outdoors, please call your alderman. I am a Platteville fireman and I have been for 45 years. If you ever had a fire or needed help and called the Fire Department, then call your alderman. They need to know that the city manager and the building inspector are terrorizing the taxpayers of Platteville and it needs to stop and the Common Council has the power to stop it.

Darrel Browning

Corporate ‘speech’

“We the People” are losing freedoms with the Roberts Supreme Court. First corporations were granted the same rights as people in 2010. Now states are given the right to purge the voting records.

People of both parties are unhappy with these decisions. The Court overturned a Senate voting rights bill passed unanimously by both parties, 98–0. Polls indicate that more than 80 percent of Americans do not believe that corporations should have the same rights as people.

Now corporations are free to fund campaigns of state legislators who will disenfranchise voters who support individual rights rather than corporate interests. Legislators are also able to gerrymander election districts to obtain the desired election results. In Wisconsin as a result a minority of voters elected five of eight representatives to the House, leaving the majority of voters with only three.

The Supreme Court seems determined to erode individual rights in favor of corporations. The president and legislators of both parties are too concerned with corporate financial interests that pay for their elections.

What steps can “We the People” take to preserve our democracy? First we need to find common ground regardless of political differences. Right to vote is a foundation of democracy.

Congress can still act to restore voting rights for all citizens. While the Supreme Court decision is still fresh in everyone’s mind, encourage your representative and senators to restore voting as a basic right of all citizens.

John Hempstead
La Crosse

The Platteville Journal will print most letters to the editor, regardless of the opinion presented. The Journal reserves the right to edit material that is libelous or otherwise offensive to community standards and to shorten letters the Journal feels are excessively long. All letters must be signed and the signature must appear on the printed letter, along with a contact number or email for verification. Some submitted letters may not be published due to space constraints. “Thank you” letters will not be printed. All letters and columns represent the views of the writers and not necessarily the views of The Platteville Journal.