Monday, July 6, 2009

Historical Liberty Beats City Hall, Unanimously!

Many of you have read about the City proposal to create an "Historic Preservation District" on the City's south Side from 8th to Dekovan and Lake Michigan to approximately Park Ave.

Several members of LiberTEA Racine and other citizens were in attendance at the "Landmarks Preservation". We listened to the members provide Documented complaints, as well as personal testimonial, and each member spoke his or her opinion and thought process. It seemed as if several of them had felt it was either a matter of "poor communication" or too large of a district originally proposed. Yet upon a study of the affected properties in what would be a smaller area the number of people who verbally spoke up at the open meeting last month were also overwhelmingly opposed to the idea.

The audience today was presented with a list of those who spoke, and the residence of those who spoke. However the property owners who may have been affected, but don't actually use those property for a primary residence.

Todays attendees were also allowed to offer commentary after the initial arguments made by the commitee members. Initially the call was to "table" the idea. But upon public urging....OK It was me...The Motion was changed to "Receive and File" the motion. It was seconded and then voted in favor of Unanimously!!

The mystery of who the "somebody" was that started this process was narrowed down somewhat, the mystery is still ongoing.....But that "Somebody" is going to be Pissed!!

I appreciate the committee allowing us to attend. I must add one additional comment to the members who suggested it was communication problem...I believe the people heard loud and Clear! No more Govt. thanks anyway!!


  1. It seems to be a trait of human beings that when they sit down at such a table as the six Landmark Commission members did July 6th, that in order to justify their existence they feel must do something oppressive to liberty. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Such groups always do that. A trademark of government seems to be, “We aren’t doing anything unless we force people into behaving in a particular manner.” I just wonder, “Why?”

    The question was asked, “Why have a Landmark Commission if we don’t do something?” When it was suggested that compliance with Historical District standards be entirely voluntary, that was not considered “doing something“ I guess because they ended up “receiving and filing“ the Historical District concept, meaning the idea was killed. Being a consultation board rather than a compliance regulator apparently is “doing nothing.” Communication and Persuasion is not an option. Only Regulation and Coercion will do.

    In response to an owner’s desire to maintain 100% control over his property, Eric Marcus stated that no one is in 100% control of the use of their property, zoning laws already restrict your rights. So that means it is OK to have more restriction? Because we already have some restrictions?
    I have heard this argument used more than once in other discussions. My response to the argument is, “Instead of increasing the regulations, let‘s decrease them. In stead of less freedom let’s have more!”

    Eric stated what I believe is the real danger in the proposed district when he stated that “substantial and irreversible changes might be done to a property.” Therein lies the rub. Defining what a “substantial an irreversible change” is must give us pause. There is little that can’t be undone in the alteration of a building. It is only a matter of opinion as to what is “substantial and irreversible,” and when you get into that area of play—opinion rather than fact—you are into the field of oppression and arbitrariness. And there goes Freedom.

    I believe it would have been best to maintain an advisory committee to communicate and educate owners of “historically significant” properties and the value of dealing with them “properly.” But if it won’t be done on such a voluntary basis, then “receiving and filing” is certainly appropriate.

  2. My problem with the idea was a basic understanding. I won the house. I have to abide by building codes, that should be enough. Telling owners that they should use certain materials or methods is more of a neighborhood covenant used to protect neighborhoods as they grow. Ours has been in existence for over 120 years now. My house was built by the Jensen's on Franklin Street and the first owners were the Billings family. We bought a historically aged home for the character, and our house looks better than it did 19 years ago when we moved in. This was without being told we had to do things a certain way. Glad it didn't pass.