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Letters to The Platteville Journal for Oct. 9
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Terror and intimidation

To the residents of Platteville: The team of Rick Riniker, the so-called city building inspector better known as “the Terrorizer,” and Larry Bierke, better known for his master plan to drive seniors out of their homes, have struck back from the last letter I submitted to The Journal.

Here is a quote from a letter I received Sept. 15 from the City of Platteville: “You shall correct the violations of curled shingles by Aug. 28, 2014 and all other violations shall be corrected by Oct. 15, 2013. These violations must be corrected or Municipal Citations will be issued to you.”

I ask you: Is this the city you want to live in? The city threatens you if you speak your mind and oppose a decision made by a complete stranger who will probably not be here three years from now, but will have divided this city down the middle.

There is a homeowner who lives on the northwest side of the city, next to a student housing facility, that was approached to sell his property. The developer told him it was more money than he was willing to pay. Guess what happened next?

Rick the Terrorizer showed up and fined this man who fought in the Vietnam War. Because Rick the Terrorizer wanted to prove he is good at his job, he doubled the fines to more than $1,500. The next thing our wonderful building inspector did was to tell the man he is too slow and ordered him to hire help to get the job done, raising the cost of repairs to thousands of dollars.

This homeowner lives off Social Security and a small pension. He is also in his late 60s. How does he pay back the loans needed to make the repairs in compliance with Rick the Terrorizer’s demands?

Earlier this year our city council voted 5–1 to keep Mr. Bierke as city manager. This is like turning a fox loose in a chicken coop. There comes a time when you should cut your losses and try someone new … that time is now.

There is a homeowner on the west side of Platteville who had his roof damaged in November, and it leaks over his back bedroom. While repairs were being made, this man was forced to store his belongings on the side of his house. Rick the Terrorizer showed up and ordered that his belongings be removed. This man is in his 80s.

A woman on Water Street was threatened with a fine for parking on her lawn when her own driveway was unusable due to street construction. Yet almost every out-of-town landowner who rents to students has a car parked on the grass, but because they’re not full-time residents of Platteville, like our city manager, nothing is done.

Drive around town and ask yourself if we should jail the homeowner and sell their property because the homeowner is retired. Remember that 84 people were ordered to paint their homes and the majority were older than 64.

A man bought a house on the northeast side of town. The day he closed on the home, Rick the Terrorizer ordered him to do quite a few repairs and gave him only a short period of time to get them done. The homeowner wanted to remodel the inside of the house before doing the outside, but the Terrorizer said no.

Most people in Platteville do not make the salary that Larry Bierke does. Bierke does not understand that most people in Platteville struggle to pay their bills.

A homeowner who lives on the south side of Platteville went to a city council meeting to complain about the treatment he received from Rick the Terrorizer and Larry the Intimidator, and was told he’d be fined if he came back.

I invite you to come to my property at 785 S. Chestnut St. and check my property. There is a small enclosure that houses my fuel oil barrel. There is no way to get into this enclosure. When I built this enclosure, about 20 years ago, I used marine grade plywood for the roof and coated it with a resin used to seal boats, so I did not have to use shingles. Rick the Terrorizer is going to fine me if I do not put shingles on this enclosure. Isn’t this like putting shingles on the bottom of your boat?

Is this the city you want to live in? I have never pointed out homes in need of repair to the city. I believe that their neighbors can do a better job than me or the city.

Drive slowly in the three-block area of my property. See what you find. Then go to city hall and you will be surprised who owns these properties.

Something for you to check on is how much, in bonds, the citizens of Platteville had to have issued to build the dorms at 800 S. Chestnut St. (Are the taxpayers of the City of Platteville responsible for that loan?) Then look and see how much it is insured for. You should be really surprised.

I used my right to appeal the decision of Rick the Terrorizer’s orders to the Board of Appeals and they complemented me on what I have done to my property. I figured I was done with the Rick and Larry team, but because I have tried to stand up for every taxpayer in Platteville, Rick and Larry don’t care what the Board of Appeals had to say, as they continue to terrorize me to this day.

If you are being terrorized by the city, please let your voice be heard and please call the city manager and tell him that the bottom of a boat does not need shingles.

I heard Bierke speak at a function recently. He referred to the City of Platteville as one big family. I looked up the word family and no where did it have the words “Terrorizer” or “Intimidator.”

The city council is the boss. Tell them to do their job, or “are they?”

Please run for city council. This city needs to change. Push for reform.

Darrel Browning

P.S. I apologize to you for a statement I made in my last letter, Platteville’s share is not $20 million for the Innovation Center, it is only $7 million or $8 million.

Reform redistricting

I am writing to urge all readers to join in support of Assembly Bill 185 and Senate Bill 163 (identical bills), which would change the redistricting process and end the possibility of purposely creating voting districts where the outcome of elections is generally predetermined, otherwise known as “gerrymandering.”

This is done by manipulating voting district boundaries so that the party in control has more of their known supporters than the opposing party in a given district, thus basically ensuring victory in that district’s partisan elections. Today this is done by computer mapping programs.

The bills provide, if voted into law, that the Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau, a nonpartisan state agency, be largely in control of redistricting legislative and Congressional voting districts. Even in these contentious partisan times, its neutrality is respected. The costly (almost $2 million) redistricting and secret agreement of 2011 is ample proof of how inefficient the present legislative redistricting has become.

AB185 and SB163 would end this problem and all of the negative effects, such as a decrease in the number of competitive elections, reduced voter participation, the growing sense that “my vote doesn’t count,” potential candidates not entering elections because they “can’t win anyway,” representatives who become less responsive to their constituents because they “can’t lose,” and an increasingly polarized political atmosphere where compromise and progress become less and less possible.

Although “gerrymandering” is not illegal, there is no argument that can defend it. Any manipulation of the popular vote, either directly or indirectly, is completely contradictory to “government of the people, for the people, by the people,” as Abraham Lincoln so accurately stated. The Wisconsin Department of Administration has determined that if these bills become law, they will have no fiscal effect on the state of Wisconsin. Compared to 2011, they will save taxpayer dollars!

Contact your state legislators to take some action. This is not a “Republican” or “Democratic” issue, it is a people issue because it affects all of us!

John Durham

Appreciating nurses

I am writing to inform the people of this area of the great resource that the Grant County Health Department Home Health Nurses are to the area.

I recently had two major surgeries that made me very ill and when I was released from the hospital, I felt I needed assistance at my home. I chose to select the Grant County Health Dept. Home Health nurses for this assistance. I am so very happy that I made this decision. These nurses were so very professional, competent and helpful. I refer to them as my angels because they were there when I needed them and always with a smile on their face regardless of the time of the day.

If anyone has similar needs I strongly suggest they select this agency to assist them. I especially want to thank Michelle and Holly.

Thomas J. Lindahl
295 Flower Court, Platteville

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.