Letter to the Editor:
The Tea Party sent a message in the November election. They represent Middle America, working Americans, tax-paying Americans and citizens who believe we are a government of, by and for the people. Our city wants to rule citizens, not represent us. I write this letter at risk of bringing more abuses toward myself. The city works against residents and progress and is literally making people not want to live here.
My neighbor on the corner of S. Mine LaMotte and E. Marvin got two abatements on his grass and downed trees. The same time, I had abatement for my grass stuck in my door by the dog catcher. My son and I both made extra efforts to trim around the drive and mow again. I wasn’t told specifically what bothered them.
The following Sunday I observed my neighbor mowing as I went to church. Again as I returned home and again as I returned to church that evening, and every day thereafter, he trimmed the city’s ditch and shoulders with a weed eater, cleaned the east fence row and cut up the trees that were downed by the storm in May of 2009. His place looked like a golf course. Then, on September 2, he went in to get a drink and a police officer knocked on his door and gave him two tickets. His hearing was set for October 21, same as mine.
I hired an attorney due to multiple unreasonable abatement notices and about 25 years of harassment, selective enforcement, unreasonable demands, discrimination, abuse of discretion and failure by the city not the county to protect my property and the taking of property with police guard, when they had been notified that it was my property verbally and in writing. This was done without notifying me when in many other issues of people taking property that didn’t belong to them, their standard answer has been that it’s a civil matter and you’ll have to sue them.
Why do I mention my neighbor? I would not be true to myself if I didn’t. When anyone sees the elderly being shook down and coerced out of their hard-earned money, not to mention the stress, upset and physical effort expanded to please the city, something needs to be said. My neighbor is 80 years old, has had cancer and chemotherapy, a broken wrist that hasn’t totally healed, had his house hit by a large tree in the 5-08-09 storm and a tree destroyed his shed and he was caught without insurance. Like me, he’s still cleaning up from the storm. I had 12 properties in the city to deal with and had no help from FEMA or SBA and only six hour help by Samaritan’s Purse when I had two large hickory trees crushing the brick on the west side of my home. I consider the city’s response to, especially my neighbor, and me abusive and unreasonable. A little help when you’re down would be more appropriate.
At the time, I began talking with the mayor and my alderman, Rick Polete, who went by and saw the effort my neighbor was making to comply with the city’s demands. Also, I have pictures of areas all over town where the city property wasn’t mowed or trimmed, as well as many private properties. Since August 16 there have been ninetickets given, fourto my neighbor and me, one for an automobile and I know of at least one to another landlord. I’m told if they drop the ticket, it’s not public information and apparently they are just swept under the rug.
My understanding at my neighbor’s court hearing is that the judge asked him if he had cut and trimmed his yard. A police officer there stated that it looked pretty good but my neighbor said there was still a little more he wanted to do so the judge said the standard fine is $50 on each ticket and fined him $100 plus costs of $153, which he told me he paid.
According to the information I have from city officials, there is one alderman pushing for these fines and a speed-up of the system in enforcing them. I called (Alderman) Merriman and got his answer machine. I left a message asking him to call me but to date, have not heard from him.
Rick Polete has indicated to me he believes these actions by the city are wrong and he drove by and saw personally the property in question.
Another piece of property in the city at N. Chamber Drive and Garrett St. has the grass rolled up in round hay bales. What’s the difference?
There are several other issues I could give specifics on where the city has turned their heads to more serious issues and failed to make a reasonable effort to enforce ordinances or try to catch thieves for stealing and breaking and entering but my purpose of this is to ask the appropriate authorities to investigate the scam and abuse the elderly citizens, Mr. Christos and myself, by this city and take proper action. It would be nice if just one city alderman would stand up for the people they represent.
Wm N. Killian