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City Can't Afford to Lose Protection, More Lives

Beth David writes that a pending decision to close a fire station in the City of Racine, especially after the fire that claimed the lives of two little girls, is a bad choice that could have long-term negative consequences.

I attended the vigil last night at 7 p.m. that was held in front of the home where 2 girls' lives were cut short, 9-year-old Dayja Scott and 8-year-old Dalijah Scott. 2 little boys were hurt; 7-year-old Michael Scott and 5-year-old Luther Scott remain hospitalized.

I saw a community come together, people young and old, people from all walks of life to show they care and to show sympathy after such a tragic loss. I saw tears coming from children’s eyes who played with the victims, friends and neighbors hugged each other, strangers that never met the family bow their heads. I went as a mother of two daughters to show my respect for the family, I could never fathom the pain they are going through right now.

I stood in front of the boarded up house where 911 dispatchers heard that calls for help that children were trapped in a fire and screaming, the firefighters gave so much that they dropped because of exhaustion, where police officers were hurt trying to rescue the kids, as I looked at the home I couldn’t even imagine the chaos and pain that everyone earlier that day felt.

What I didn’t see, public officials coming to pay their respect. One alderman showed up to pay his respects. What happened to our city? Our leaders? Our priorities? Do they they think because its not in their district it doesn’t affect them? Or because it wasn’t in the perfect neighborhood people don’t count?

We face a fire station possibly being closed because the Mayor said cut the budget. But we are going to buy property and pay $70,000 a year to maintain it so it looks good? $400,000 on bathrooms, $200,000 to fix the transit center that was built very poorly in the first place? Giving loans (TIFs) for over a million dollars? The list goes on and on. But we can’t spend $3.10 per person to keep this city safe? Businesses and people won’t move here or thrive here if there aren’t the vital services that a city needs to sustain itself.

All that remains this morning is a boarded up home where happy memories once happened and tragedy occurred and lives stolen too young. There are two little angels looking down on their family right now and 2 little boys fighting to live.

It is a very sad time in the city I love so much and fight for. I can only hope that the Common Council realizes that WE RESIDENTS are #1 priority, not concrete, not copper roofs or marble bathrooms, that the breathing living people that love this city deserve the protection and demand it. I don’t want to write about people losing their lives or their homes because the city didn’t want to spend the money. Some may say well it goes into certain funds, in the end it comes out of all of our pockets.

There is a public meeting on Monday November 12th at 6 p.m. at City Hall concerning the closing of Station #5. I highly encourage everyone to contact their elected officials and demand better of them. Show up at this meeting you are allowed to speak your mind and even if you don’t want to speak, show up to support the community before it’s too late.

Beth David
Editor “Racine Uncovered”
www.racineuncovered.org

Johnny Blade November 09, 2012 at 06:45 PM
The station is open now and thier lifes were lost ... We don't need more fire stations, but people to take more responsibilty .. have smoke detectors, have fire extinguishers, have an exit plan ... Stop relying on the government to take care of you ... but i do agree on stopping BS spending
Richard Head November 10, 2012 at 05:13 AM
Police and fire protection is one of the legitimate functions of government. The City of Racine is going to close this fire station so that 1.1Million Dollars of taxpayer money can be given to Micah Waters and Team Porters to rebuild the vacant Porters furniture store into retail space and one bedroom apartments in a Downtown Racine that already has an excess capacity of available and ready retail and apartments. The Racine Fire Department has endured many cuts over the years - and cutting this station will endanger residents lives and properties. This is what residents pay taxes for! The City is obligated to protect those properties because that is the collateral for the Bondholders. The Bondholders of the City of Racine debt have a right to make sure that their property is safe and protected. If the City of Racine cuts the fire station, the bond rating of the City needs to be adjusted. It is also a concern for residents with their insurance coverage - distance from a fire station is one factor that Insurance Companies review. If the City needs to cut something - they need to cut out Tom Friedel, the $1000,000+ do nothing City Administrator and cut the pay and benefits of all those being paid $100,000 Plus. City Hall is filled with Gold Plated Boat Anchors. Also remember that the City of Racine taxpayers are paying John Dickerts personal and private legal bills. That's just wrong - but that's Racine!

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