RULES for the REAL press

by: Diane Benjamin

If the bird-cage liner or the low information radio station ever want creditability – here’s a tip:

When a government official glibly says the law doesn’t say we can, or I can’t by law – CHECK the law!

I’ve seen a pattern with the local officials.  To deflect further questions or discussion, claim something is against the law or by law we can’t do that.  The questions end there because nobody has the law memorized.  It works every time for them.

First example:

Evidently David Hales hired a water director who wasn’t qualified for the job.  I wonder how many applicants the City paid to travel here for interviews?  Hales’s is MIA, reportedly on vacation.  Wonder why Hales claimed it was against the law for him to comment?

Former Water Department Director, Ron Schultz, spoke at public comment last night.  He spelled out the serious and dangerous error made by the City in hiring the guy at all.  Hit play –


Second Example:

This morning Assistant City Manager Rasmussen was on the low information station.  He was asked why the City can’t condemn the Front and Center building or force the owner to make repairs and/or tear it down.  He replied they couldn’t because the building didn’t pose a public health or safety threat.  Maybe he needs to read the City Code:

Chapter 10 : Section 33 : Repair or Demolition Order.

The hearing on such application to the Circuit Court shall be expedited by the Court and shall be given precedence over all other suits. Upon a showing that a building or structure is unsafe or abandoned, the Court shall grant relief as herein provided:

The building has no occupants.  No construction or repairs are taking place.  I hear the paint on the outside is peeling and the windows are boarded up.  Add that this condition has existed for a LONG time.  The only part of this building that hasn’t been abandoned is the mortgage being held by CEFCU.  (hence the bailout!)

Also at public comment last night was former Alderwoman Judy Stearns.  She recapped the history of the Coachman Motel that the City also tried to talk the Council into buying, but ended up in court instead.  Stearns was the first speaker, hit play below.  14 people spoke, several were really good – don’t miss the last guy.




9 thoughts on “RULES for the REAL press

  1. Interesting about the Water Director. I bet they hired someone not qualified is what happened. So Hales to possibly keep egg off of his face used the law as an excuse not to say why the person left. Possibly the person wasn’t truthful about their qualifications or no background check was done.

    I do find it odd that the city moved on the Coachman Hotel yet for what Huff owns they aren’t giving him the same treatment.


  2. Let’s just clarify, Ron Schultz was never the water department director! He may have been a superintendent or assistant, Ron Schultz was never the water department director! He may have been a superintendent or assistant.


  3. The Front and Center building has been empty for at least 10 years. The only recent tenant was the bar which closed several years ago. I can’t imagine why the city let this area deteriorate without fines. Let the developer buy it, build a parking lot and set up monthly rates. This will never happen though. I enjoy shopping and dining in downtown but our needs must take precedence over these grandiose wants! Did you hear Jim Karch tell them what it would take to bring our roads UP to a 4/10?


  4. Even though the building is unsightly, apparently it is structurally sound at this point and property taxes are up to date. The City would rather pay the Huffs the “market value” of $2.9 million for the property than go to court. The City is desperate to get the Huffs out of town and wants to have control of what is built on the site. Having said that, the developer (any developer) should SHARE the cost of a “public-private investment.” There is no developer in sight. Mr. Giebelhausen is not the developer in this deal. He is the real estate broker who will benefit greatly from the commission for the sale.


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